Automation. Optimisation. Digital transformation. These buzzwords are now commonplace on whiteboards and in corner offices throughout the world, as executives recognise the importance of technological innovation for long-term growth and success. According to the 2021 Gartner CEO Survey, one in five CEOs used the word “digital” when asked to describe their top five business priorities for the next two years.
But while a vast majority of enterprises are pursuing some form of digital transformation, many of these initiatives fail to meet their objectives. From lack of executive support to siloed deployments, innovation is often hampered by poor planning and miscommunication; as IT teams struggle to advocate for the necessity of their solutions, some teams choose to double down on their preferred legacy systems.
However, a trend is emerging among the companies finding success with their digital initiatives. A recent Gartner report found that 80 per cent of technology products and services “will be built by those who are not technology professionals” by 2024. Digital innovation is becoming democratised, bolstered by rich data resources, low-code development tools and automated processes.
Creatio’s 2021 State of Low-Code/No-Code Report offers a clear picture of the current situation as well as what’s to come. With 43 per cent of IT, digital and business leaders reporting that a lack of skilled resources is the most significant barrier to their digital transformation, it follows that companies will pursue tools that enable them to make progress without the need for highly skilled experts.
The growing appeal of no-code platforms
While Gartner’s prediction for non-technology professionals building technology products is clear, we are still in the early innings for development by non-skilled professionals. The State of Low-Code/No-Code Report found that just 6 per cent of low-code development is conducted by business users without any assistance from IT teammates. For most businesses, the barrier to entry is a lack of familiarity with the tools: 60 per cent of respondents claim that the biggest obstacle to low-code adoption is a lack of experience with low-code platforms.
Support for no-code technology is growing, however. According to report respondents, low-code is largely being used primarily for custom app development within separate business units. As business leaders come to recognise the potential for low-code and no-code platforms to speed time-to-market, reduce costs and lower maintenance needs, they will undoubtedly overcome any hesitance or unfamiliarity to begin using these platforms in their operations. The benefits of low-code and no-code are limitless within an enterprise, as they support optimisation across sales, marketing, customer service, and every possible business unit.
How to create a low-code company
What steps do companies need to take once they’ve decided to invest in low-code and no-code solutions? Creatio’s recent eBook, 4 Steps to Creating a Low-Code Company, identifies people, processes and technology as the core elements of a successful transformation: “For processes and technology to work harmoniously and efficiently, you should empower people with appropriate skills, experience and knowledge to create, optimise and automate operations that are key to reaching business goals.”
Building a low-code company begins with a wholesale reassessment and revision of the company’s tech strategy. This approach demands an honest evaluation of the tech stack: do employees have the tools they need to succeed? Will the company’s current solutions still be effective over the next five years? Deficiencies in tools can have knock-on effects on productivity and morale. If an employee doesn’t feel they have the right tools or training for the job, they’re less likely to take the initiative to proactively address a challenge, and they’re more likely to feel disengaged and frustrated in their work.
If a company identifies gaps in their tech stack, it can then begin to evaluate whether those gaps could be filled by low-code tools and automated processes. Those same frustrated employees can be empowered to develop solutions in their business unit using low-code development tools. The next step following an assessment of the tech strategy is a company-wide mindset shift: regardless of an employee’s position, they should be given the opportunity to become a developer. Every single employee in a low-code company is capable of identifying a problem within their area and building the app that solves that problem.
Long-term low-code success requires enterprises to address one of the biggest issues plaguing digital transformations: lack of communication and cross-departmental collaboration. Low-code companies must embrace alignment, with company leaders advocating for the removal of silos and open communication between employees at every level and in every business unit. The beauty of a no-code platform is that it enables anyone – skilled or unskilled – to develop a business app or design a new feature. This democratisation removes any barriers between IT teams and non-IT teams, but proper communication is necessary to ensure that this level playing field becomes a point of pride rather than a point of contention.
Uniting IT and non-IT teams
While the promise of no-code empowers every employee to be an app developer, we’re still not at the point where business users are comfortable building their own applications without IT involvement. According to a recent ZDNet eBook, IT departments are still being called upon to “hold users’ hands” in low-code environments. However, the same IT departments have recognized the long-term utility of low-code platforms for fostering innovation, with 92 per cent of IT leaders reporting being comfortable with business users employing low-code tools.
In the near-term, open-minded IT teams can help to bridge the gap towards a future of innovation through low-code technology by providing the support and encouragement necessary to introduce business users to low-code and no-code platforms. Instead of viewing these initiatives as a threat to IT activities, technology specialists can view low-code platforms for what they truly are: a vehicle for innovation that enables IT teams to focus on higher-level tasks – which has always been hailed as the goal of automation.
To find out more about how companies can take advantage of no-code platforms, check out Creatio’s 2021 State of Low-Code/No-Code Report.
by Katherine Kostereva, founder and CEO, Creatio