It’s time to get on the low-code fast train

This is a guest blogpost by Gaurav Dhillon, CEO, SnapLogic.

Low-code technologies are not new. They’ve been part of IT’s application development kit for decades. But in recent years the adoption of low-code has soared to new heights, thanks to its promise of getting technology capability into the hands of more users, and delivering much-needed business agility and fast time to value.

The unexpected gut-punch of Covid-19 has only hastened the rise of low-code within organisations. Digital transformation initiatives that may have been planned for 2021 and beyond have now become an urgent priority. The new normal of remote work and predominantly online-only business brought on by the pandemic has made it clear – those who are slow to embrace the cloud, digital tools, and automation solutions will fall behind, if not disappear altogether.

Low-code is transforming how work gets done. No longer is tech-driven innovation the sole domain of IT. From building new products to engaging customers, workers of varying technical ability across every business function are leveraging the power of low-code to work better and faster.

The new workplace

Millennials now make up more than half of today’s global workforce. The generation that grew up with Facebook and smartphones knows their way around technology. In their personal lives, when they got stuck or wanted to customise their technology, they figured it out themselves. No calling a helpdesk or waiting for someone to get back to them. They tinkered, messaged a friend, or searched online for an immediate answer.

They’ve brought this tech-savviness, self-reliant spirit, and need for instant gratification into the workplace. They’re not about to wait for an IT backlog to clear up before they can proceed with their project. They’re downloading the apps and accessing the data they need to get on with their work and deliver the results the business expects from them.

Low-code, self-service, cloud-based technologies have facilitated their success. A business analyst on the finance team can easily calculate sales commissions by slicing and dicing data by sales rep, product, or territory. A marketer can build, prototype, and A/B test a new website. An HR leader can connect various systems to ensure a seamless onboarding experience for a new hire. And, they get all this rich technology capability without having to learn Java, write code, or rely on IT.

Establishing guardrails

For all the benefits that low-code offers, critics will argue the resulting technology capability lacks the rich sophistication, functionality, and performance of solutions built by experienced Java programmers. It’s true there are some technology problems that are simply too complex and best left in the hands of skilled developers and IT experts. But those experts are increasingly difficult to find, not to mention costly to keep, and many of today’s tech problems can be solved by lines of business with minimal IT oversight.

Still, others will warn of a coming chaos, where the number of self-procured apps and systems in use across an organisation balloons to unmanageable levels. Our recent research found that the average large enterprise is using hundreds of discrete cloud applications, and this number is only growing. Fears of ‘shadow IT’ run amok, with increasing concerns around security, compliance, and governance, are valid. But there are ways to manage through this.

We work with some of the largest enterprises – in retail, healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, government, and more – and best practices have emerged to ensure the right balance between empowered, self-service business teams and proper IT management and oversight. Many organisations have adopted a federated model, where a business user can build new things that meet their evolving needs but before it goes into production it must be reviewed and given a quick nod of approval by IT.

In this way, IT is aware of all the apps in use across the organisation and can manage potential sprawl concerns. They can ensure there are no runaway performance issues, and that data security, compliance, and governance mandates are upheld. And, importantly, they can spotlight opportunities for reuse, ensuring breakthrough innovation doesn’t remain in isolated pockets but instead can be deployed and scaled across the enterprise.

Powering the automated enterprise

We’ve experienced periods of business disruption before Covid-19, each of them marked by unexpected challenges and new opportunities. While some might be inclined to be cautious and step on the brakes, the leaders of tomorrow see opportunities, they flex and adapt, and they speed up to meet the moment head on.

These leading organisations are employing low-code platforms as the engine to accelerate and automate their business. Enterprise automation gives you the power to achieve what every company wants: a single source of truth for data-rich decisions; agile innovation that delivers products and services to market faster; exceptional experiences for customers, partners, and employees; and amazing business results – higher revenue, profit, market share, and competitive standing.

Low-code is the accelerator businesses need to adapt, innovate, automate, and transform their business. It’s time to get on the low-code fast train.

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