By Lax Gopisetty, Vice President, Global Practice Head for Microsoft Business Applications & Digital Workplace Services, Infosys
Today, across industries, companies believe digitalization is key to their survival as it is increasingly becoming evident that every business is a technology business. However, no digital transformation can be complete if technology isn’t made accessible to all.
Low Code No Code (LCNC) promises the democratization of technology. With the evolution of the latest generation of computing languages, coding has evolved to such sophistication that you can simply write instructions in English or drag and drop pre-composed modules and functionalities and create an application. Thus, businesses can simplify the software development process, in turn reducing the time taken to build applications and update them.
The low-code approach allows users to assemble drag-and-drop code components, machine learning, IoT capabilities, API-based services with ease. Retailers can create custom solutions to cater to their clientele by deploying LCNC solutions. In the EV market, for example, consumers can give their specifications for customizing their car on the manufacturer’s website. This provides benefits such as reduced cost, faster time to market, and helps with customer engagement and retention.
It is no surprise that LCNC technologies are fast becoming the new way to build applications. According to Gartner research, at least 70 per cent of new applications will use low-code or no-code technologies by 2025. In 2020 that number was 25 per cent.
Motivations for embracing LCNC
Low code technologies are helping businesses run more efficiently. For instance, even a brick-and-mortar business such as Starbucks was able to clear huge backlog of development tasks that had piled up during the pandemic, in record time. The coffee shop giant realized that everyone in the world was fishing from the same finite pool of data scientists, and citizen developers, using LCNC platforms, offered the most logical way to scale.
While using citizen developers helps with a timely, democratic solution, the product development process needs to work in tandem with designing the customer experience. Doing so helps businesses effectively use LCNC and CX design to get to market faster, save production time, and enhance the customer journey. At the same time, they can work on alleviating their problematic areas at various touchpoints such as chatbot interactions, on the website or mobile app.
Citizen developers and the challenges to governance
Let’s take the example of a bank teller. Traditionally, such a person used to be responsible for carrying out various transactions on your behalf. The teller was the governance filter and the bank’s systems would respond only to that person or anyone having their access.
Today, thanks to the ubiquitous nature of cloud, edge devices, and increased disintermediation, as a business user, you can perform all these tasks and more, using an app, without having to go through the teller. Now, these applications have become composable. That means you can directly compose, configure, and customize a new functionality or report based on what you want. For example, you could log into the banking system and generate a consolidated report of two different accounts, move funds or do various other transactions. The composable nature implies that another user can come up with a different set of features based on their requirements.
In the enterprise space, Pidilite’s use of Power Platform Dashboards and composable apps have enabled their sales teams to access their KPIs on the go through a live dashboard that is customized for each sales representative. They can zoom in on their own performance and gain insights into their dealers’ requirements.
However, citizen developers are likely to define their own set of customizations during development in a non-standardized manner. Therefore, disintermediation requires robust governance frameworks that can handle these customizations in large numbers.
Set basic skills requirements
As alluring as the idea of democratising low code platform seems, it helps to expect certain basic skills requirements from citizen developers. Two such parameters could be: understanding of the data that is being used and an elementary understanding of mapping business processes.
A sandbox is a staging environment that is independent from an organization’s digital assets and active network. Even professional developers create sandboxes before introducing their programs to the main network.
Monitor all applications
Unfortunately, citizen developers are usually – novices. Professional coders should oversee the work and set access control and permissions. Low code applications can transform the way a business is run but governance is key. Red Hat Linux that made billions by simply adding a governance layer to open-source programs, is a shining example of just how important governance is.
Studies indicate that by 2025, most of the business capabilities can be composed by business users and directly influence customer experience. LCNC technologies like Power Platform give incredible programmatic power to business users who can employ it in the dynamic composition of end-user interactions across touchpoints, which in turn, enhance the overall customer experience. This will pave the way for ease of use and more choices to customers in a non-intrusive, sophisticated manner that form the core of customer-centric experiences.
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