How Low-Code Removes the Disconnect Between Line-Of-Business and Developers
March 21, 2018

Malcolm Ross
Appian

Do you spend more time worrying about the "up-time" of your servers than the productivity of the employees who use them? Are you overly concerned with systems maintenance rather than software use cases? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may need to consider low-code development.

Here's why: while IT delivery is still the responsibility of a CIO, growing the business and keeping customers happy is the goal of the organization. If CIOs want to remain relevant, they need to align IT priorities with business priorities and stop treating IT systems management like plumbing.

Of course keeping IT systems up-to-date, secure and available is important work, just like keeping good hygiene is important to a food service business. But business executives just expect that and don't care about the details. What the business wants is IT professionals to deliver transformative business solutions. The business appreciates the business results of software innovation, not necessarily the long hours of grinding IT work it takes to both innovate and keep IT systems healthy. So if you are spending time on tasks like tuning memory on an application server, ask yourself if there is a better way to spend your time on tasks that your organization really cares about.

This is increasingly important in a digital economy, where the business is under pressure to keep up with customer satisfaction, drive business efficiency and grow the business with digital technologies. The pressure to deliver trickles down into pain points for IT professionals who are buried in yesterday's work. In fact, Appian's 2018 Digital Transformation Readiness Survey found that 91 percent of organizations struggle with growing technical debt that has accumulated over time. And these respondents admit that these backlogs stay stagnant for extended periods of time.

As organizations seek to transform their business with digital technology, it's low-code development that presents a tremendous opportunity for teams to translate ideas into innovation quickly, while keeping IT relevant, on-task and aligned with their business' goals.

The Line of Business-IT Disconnect

It's no longer considered a win for CIOs to keep infrastructure running — growing revenue and enacting digital transformation are what truly drives IT strategy today. While organizations are eager and optimistic about their digital prospects in the coming years, 72 percent of respondents from the survey believe they won't be able to scale their efforts to keep up with business demand.

But out of all of the challenges standing in the way of true transformation, businesses cite one fundamental problem: a disconnect between the line-of-business and IT that inhibits the business from turning technological innovation into true digital transformation.

Even when business leaders are armed with the right data, it's still a struggle to render it into a technological approach that will support an overarching strategy. Often the problem here is that business and IT owners don't share the same goals — and as a result, it makes it tough to turn ideas into action, no matter how Agile an organization may be. In some cases, relationships between business and IT is outright hostile, with business feeling IT pros don't understand the importance of business goals, and IT feeling the business does not appreciate the challenges they face in delivering new digital solutions.

This is where low-code technology can play an integral part in transforming the business and solving the readiness problem IT teams face today. Low-code development platforms can bridge the gap between IT and line of business, allowing IT to spend more time on innovation and less on maintenance, while also expanding the number of people able to contribute to new digital solutions through development tools that are easier to learn and more intuitive to less-technical business developers.

Enterprise Ready Low-Code

Not only are organizations not aware that low-code technology is an option, some may feel threatened by the idea of implementing a technology that gives non-developers the power to be involved in building solutions and testing them with customers.

However, low-code isn't taking away the job of a developer, instead, it's taking away the complexity of development and making it simpler for IT to meet the needs of the business. Many low-code platforms have specialized in rapid delivery of common digital solutions for an enterprise, such as digital process automation, customer service, mobile enablement and case management. In fact, some even provide zero-code design patterns for creating a new custom software application in just minutes.

Furthermore, low-code isn't just for departmental solutions with a few users. Major initiatives inside the US government and leading financial services institutions have successfully leveraged low-code platforms to rapidly deliver solutions for thousands of users and processing millions of transactions. Low-code platforms do this through two key capabilities:

■ Simple and intuitive ways to express complex business logic in software

■ Protection against technical debt and ensuring all solutions are always delivered with top-level security, scalability and reliability

Using Low-Code to Solve the Readiness Problem

As organizations scramble to ready for digital transformation, they'll need a secret weapon to help them overcome the inhibitors they face today. Low-code development technology offers organizations the means to deliver software fast, with enterprise readiness, and without scaling their engineering team unsustainably. What's more, it is just another way to align IT with what the business wants, so developers can spend more time building the experiences that matter.

Malcolm Ross is VP of Product at Appian
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