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The Low-Code Recipe for Digital Transformation

There are many facets to digital transformation, but according to a recent study, a low-code development platform can help you accelerate your efforts

Digital transformation is a complex topic. It is a far-reaching concept that, at its core, is about fundamentally reshaping the customer experience and an organization’s underlying business and operating models.

A fundamental shift in power to the customer has made organizational speed and agility chief enablers of competitive advantage. This change has left organizations scrambling to assemble a new set of tools and approaches to help them transform their organizations.

According to a recent Forrester study of large enterprise IT executives, low-code development platforms are an important part of this new toolset. The study, sponsored by Appian, found that approximately 75% of respondents felt that these platforms played a major role in creating digital customer engagement, in supporting digital process automation, and in enabling their overall digital transformation efforts.

Overcoming Digital Transformation Challenges

While digital transformation is a multi-faceted effort, there is no question that the development of software that differentiates an organization in the market is an integral part of the equation. Unfortunately, enterprise executives are also finding that capability to be a roadblock on their digital transformation journey.

In response to questions asking them to identify their top challenges with building custom applications, the participants’ top responses all centered on a small set of themes: high costs, slow speed and the difficulty to adapt.

Long development cycles, increasing skills shortages, and legacy architectures have all combined to put a straightjacket on enterprise application teams. Even with efforts to adopt new development methodologies and shift the organizational culture, the traditional methods of development are proving too costly and rigid to provide organizations with the speed and agility they need to respond to market shifts and changing customer expectations at enterprise scale.

When asked, however, the degree to which they believed that low-code platforms could help them overcome these challenges, the survey respondents were optimistic. Fully 89% felt that low-code platforms could help them deliver process innovations and do so at scale. When it came to overcoming cost challenges and more rapidly adapting to new requirements, between 72% and 80% of respondents felt that these platforms would help them show a notable or significant improvement.

Better Customer Engagement and Process Automation Drive Business Results

Low-code development platforms play an important role in the digital transformation story, because they help organizations simultaneously focus on two distinct elements of the transformational process.

On the one hand, digital transformation is about the transformation of the customer experience including the reimagining of the various aspects of customer engagement and the identification of ways in which digital technologies can enhance it.

Because of their dynamic and intuitive nature, low-code tools enable organizations to collaborate with their customers and rapidly iterate customer-facing applications to meet changing needs and expectations. According to the study, this capability allows organizations to continually tune and improve the customer experience, innovate more rapidly, and ultimately drive increased revenue as a result.

On the other side of the equation, organizations recognize that they must also transform their business and operating models to thrive in the digital era. Here, too, low-code platforms enable enterprise organizations to rise to the digital transformation challenge.

Especially when using business-process-based platforms, organizations can rapidly model, reshape, and automate their business processes to drive transformational change. This streamlining and automation of process is a critical element of digital transformation, both because it serves to support an enriched customer experience, but also because it increases operational efficiencies and frees resources to focus on more value-generating activities.

According to the study, nearly half of respondents are already reporting that the use of low-code platforms has helped streamline and modernize their business processes. Moreover, 40% also say that they have realized increased business flexibility, an improved customer experience and even increased revenue from their business process automation efforts.

The Intellyx Take

Digital transformation is a never-ending, multi-faceted journey. There is no end, and there is no single tool or approach that will make transformation a magical reality.

To succeed in their digital transformation efforts, enterprise executives must first accept that it is a journey that will fundamentally change everything about how they work, do business and go to market. They must also accept that the fundamental drivers of advantage are now organizational speed and agility. But this acceptance is only the first step.

To realize their transformational vision, organizations must assemble and employ the right tools that will enable them to achieve their objectives, transform their organizations and create organizational agility. That toolset will require a wide range of new approaches and methodologies, new attitudes and ideas, and, of course, a whole new set of technologies. Within this broad mix, low-code development platforms will play a central and vital role in the organization’s new bag of tricks.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Appian is an Intellyx client. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this paper.

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More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.

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