Companies are struggling to scale low code, an obstacle that blocks more ambitious transformation goals. But technology has struggled to take hold in the business context.
Forty-one percent of companies are currently using a low-code platform, according to data from OutSystems. And while Gartner expects low code to power nearly two-thirds of all application development over the next three years, the current use of low code occurs primarily in IT.
Proponents of low-code technology say the technology can aid rapid prototyping, leveraging the domain expertise of business users to quickly iterate digital products. But to develop low-code programs and energy efficiency, companies must take a digital approach to their operations, said John Bratincevic, senior analyst at Forrester, speaking on Wednesday during a panel at the Low-Code Marathon. organized by Creatio.
âReflexively, as a cultural attribute, you should turn things into software,â Bratincevic said. “It should just be the way business is done.” Businesses that rely on Excel and email “pass spreadsheets, update cells, and email each other” to move processes forward.
âIt’s not digital,â Bratincevic said. “At best, that’s a bad analog metaphor.”
Low code programs can introduce more digitalization into business operations, but employees must instinctively build software applications and resolve the bottlenecks they face.
A roadmap for scaling up
Developing internal low-code skills is an essential first step in bringing applications built with technology to scale, affecting more processes within the organization.
A lack of experience with low-code platforms is the biggest obstacle to deploying the technology at scale, according to a survey released by Creatio. Low-code work is siled in IT, with only 6% of low-code work done only by business users, without the involvement of IT people.
âBuilding low-code apps is still totally foreign to most people, which means they won’t even recognize opportunities to do so when they arise,â said Dan Robinson, CTO at Heap, in a statement. E-mail.
Hackathons, or other opportunities for professionals and IT people to work together, can help expose wary employees to technology in an environment conducive to experimentation.
âActivation efforts should be focused on getting their first low code payoff,â said Robinson. âOnce you do that, people’s desire for better tools will take over. “
Spreading the potential of low code as a problem solution can also contribute to greater adoption.
Teaching people what technology is capable of will lead to workers who “will think of technical solutions rather than manual solutions,” Bratincevic said. But not all businesses need to follow the same formulas. Bratincevic shared three roadmaps for expanding citizen development programs within the company:
Equip small, ultralight teams to move quickly on low-code projects with little IT support. They will prioritize the applications themselves and report to a business unit.
A more democratic model where there is full self-service and where workers who interact more closely with a process are encouraged to digitize or automate processes as part of a self-service type model.
A federated model according to which a pole of excellence unit builds platforms, trains and places departmental champions. The products that emerge from this framework are more variable and complex.
Regardless of the approach, there needs to be harmony between policies and processes and the deployment of technology, according to Stephen Ehikian, co-founder and CEO of Airkit.
âA low-code platform needs to support your internal policies and processes in both engineering and industry,â Ehikian said in an email.
Looking at a vendor, Ehikian suggests companies assess whether a platform supports engineering processes such as continuous integration and user acceptance testing, while also managing business requirements such as brand and standardized code libraries, role-based permissions, reports and analyzes.
âUnless low-code platforms can do that, they can’t really support business requirements,â Ehikian said.