Ushering in the Next Era of Digital Transformation with Low Code
July 28, 2021

Anthony Abdulla
Pega

Last year, companies around the globe faced the unforeseen challenge of a remote workforce — this required quickly transforming the way they conducted business, as well as supporting overwhelmed customer service teams. Despite some companies allowing employees to return to an office again, this "transformation" isn't done — in fact, it's critical that business leaders keep their foot on the gas pedal, with low-code technology fueling the engine.

What makes low code such a crucial technology within a digital transformation journey? Overall, it gives businesses the opportunity to empower all users — even those outside of IT — to drive significant change within their organizations. Low-code implementation enables a business to bring all of its investments together to achieve true transformation.

When done right, a low-code approach can enable business and IT functions to collaborate at a higher level and ensure everyone is speaking the same language and innovating as one, regardless of coding expertise. Because it requires little-to-no development experience, low code levels the playing field and allows citizen developers to drive significant change within their organizations.

Low code can also alleviate pressures on IT and experienced developers to create more custom software that complies with organizational guardrails. Gartner estimates that the number of active citizen developers at large enterprises will be at least four times the number of professional developers by 2023, further indicating that the future of business lies in low code.

One important and often overlooked part of strategically deploying low code is to combine the right platform with the proper strategy, supported by a design thinking approach. Design thinking naturally complements low code as its core tenets — to understand users, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems — can be applied to application development. This helps businesses establish the right teams, tools, and mindset needed to make low code a foolproof enabler of digital transformation.

By combining a focus on designing solutions that work well for the end-user with business viability and technical feasibility of the projects, businesses will realize their ability digitally transform their organizations.

Once equipped with the right platforms and training, bringing an idea from concept to delivery will be significantly more seamless than with traditional coding. To take a one-time victory and turn it into continuous transformation, however, requires a framework for reuse and scale.

These four tips for low-code success will help businesses achieve ongoing digital transformation:

1. Start small before scaling

Before making grand plans to rebuild from the bottom up, focus on a specific challenge in a single office, department, or functional organization. Source stakeholders and involve them from the beginning through workshops and brainstorms to identify challenges and define problems that need to be solved.

By starting small, teams can find success and begin to implement change without creating unnecessary risk to other areas of the business. These applications will begin to grow, connect with each other, and establish themselves as business-critical over time.

2. Identify the right citizen developers

Business and data analysts, as well as operations leaders, with the right skills, attitude, and drive to have an active role in solving everyday challenges should be involved from the get-go. Early on, outline roles and responsibilities for each member of the team and ensure you have buy-in to establish responsibility and oversight.

From there, you can identify who has the appropriate knowledge and skills to kickstart projects and take on leadership positions to ensure others are brought into the fold effectively. With the right guardrails in place, you can let employees build without constant oversight so you do not create barriers to innovation.

3. Invest in a scalable platform

Most platforms out there can't take on the breadth of challenges necessary for true transformation. For example, one could offer a simple authoring environment that's best for apps in small departments, but might lack the features and tools required to scale to more meaningful enterprise deployments.

Digital transformation is on a spectrum, so look for a collaborative, flexible, scalable platform that builds along the full spectrum of use cases, skill sets, and ecosystem requirements.

4. Build a supportive environment for makers at all skill levels

Users need a creative space to build out ideas with a degree of freedom. Businesses must offer the flexibility for makers and citizen developers to learn at their own pace in the format that works best for them. At the same time, there needs to be guidance and assistance on everything from design, data architecture, naming conventions, testing, governance/access controls, and security and policy compliance, when necessary. With the right balance of flexibility and support, users will be empowered to create solutions that truly have an impact on their teams while staying within organizational guardrails.

As we look ahead to the next phase of digital-first businesses, low code is proving to be the great unifier and, when implemented strategically and with a design mindset, it will fulfill its promise to make application development simple and accessible for all users across the enterprise.

Anthony Abdulla is Senior Director of Product Marketing, Intelligent Automation, at Pega
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