Speed is king. It's what puts your business at the top of the leaderboard in the race to digital transformation. Your time of reaction to change is the marker of your business performance. Innovators don’t wait and think – they get up and do. We talk to clients on a daily basis and we tend to hear about the same challenges again and again. Gone are the days when we could afford to spend months on solution development – companies need business gains now!
What's holding us back?
The challenges don’t stop there. Certainly, our clients mostly mention the speed. They need fast deployment in quick sprints to address urgent issues. The solutions don’t need to be perfect right from the start, they can be changed later – thus, they need to be agile, too. Lengthy deployment also means higher costs. Often companies make large investments in systems which don’t solve the problem. We need to be able to provide solutions that we can demonstrate at the outset. They then need to be implemented quickly and adapted easily, with low budget burn and high business value. But it is not enough to deploy a solution and start the change process – the real challenge begins AFTER deployment – at the end-user level. Just because you present people with a product, it doesn’t mean they will use it. If it isn’t user-friendly, intuitive and familiar, your entire project may have been for nothing.
Low code in practice
One of our clients has spent 3 months with another consultancy on developing a solution to their workflow issue. 3 months of in-depth analysis, costly consulting, resulting in a heavyweight paper document which described the product in theory, but provided no way of assessing whether it will actually solve the problem.We are able to take a slightly different approach. In a client meeting, we don’t take notes – we build a prototype. Within 3-4 hours we can present to you a model workflow which we can implement within your organisation in a matter of days. That’s quite a drop from 3 months, isn’t it? Instant digital transformation!
How is this possible?
3 words: low code solutions. What are they? According to Forrester Research: "Products and/or cloud services for application development that employ visual, declarative techniques instead of programming and are available to customers at low or no cost in money and training time to begin, with costs rising in proportion of the business value of the platforms."
Simply put, they are platforms which allow you to build apps quickly with little to no need to code. They rely on visual design tools, such as drag-and-drop modelers and point-and-click interface creation, allowing developers to design, deploy and adapt powerful business apps in very little time. We believe in the Pareto principle: you should get 80% of your gains from 20% of the effort. Likewise, a low code platform can potentially answer your business needs in 80% as out-of-the-box solution with basic configuration, with 20% of coded customisation to your particular scenario. This means that the business side of your company can get more involved in what IT systems you adopt. You no longer need translations form your IT department – you can see the results right there in the envisioning meeting. And after implementation, you can easily change and adapt the solution further, week after week.
That sounds fine, but what does the change process look like now?
In the past, you may have gone through numerous brainstorms, design thinking workshops, prototyping and a number of drafts, each of them tailored to the need of a specific team. This lengthened the time it took to implement the change and made things difficult if it didn’t work out the way you expected the first time around.W ith low code solutions, the focus is on time and results. The interface is customised to your brand but standardized, so that it is consistent across the business, and as easy as possible to adopt for the majority of users. And because the solution uses platforms already known to a lot of users (e.g. SharePoint), it doesn’t require extensive training. Another advantage is that low code comes with zero-effort mobile. The low code platforms use native user tools, such as a web browser, Outlook or a web application. Thus, they are accessible instantly anytime, anywhere, in a way that’s most convenient for the employees.
So, if it’s “low code”, how is it set up?
These solutions make use of graphic modeling. Instead of writing a script, you can map out workflows, processes and configurations in a visual editor. With drag-and-drop integration, you can also connect many services you already use together into one automated flow. We configure the product in a development environment, and it can be deployed in minutes anywhere – within a single department, the whole business, or on your subsidiary’s environment. You just need to set it up once, and the solution is ready to be deployed to multiple environments, anytime, instantly. There is another key advantage of agile build like this – you can take advantage of features such as InstantChangeTM . Implementing a new process is one thing, but changing it later is another. With this feature, you can change your workflows easily and deploy quickly, updating the entire environment in one go – with no need to engage the IT admins. Plus, the processes you’ve deployed will form a basis for new ones. Because they all form a single, consistent environment, all new workflows will integrate seamlessly.
This solution sounds great – but what can I actually use it for?
That’s a good question! And the answer is quite simple – you can use it for any scenario where you can automate your workflow. A lot of knowledge about your business is tied to your employees. For instance, when Jim from Sales has a VAT receipt for a training workshop to process through expenses, he’ll know to send it to Carol from Procurement this time, because Paula from Accounting is on holiday this week. But what about new employees who might not know these nuances? This is where automation comes in. With a low code productivity solution, you don’t have to worry about who’s in or out of the office, or about what will happen if something changes in a team. All this business knowledge is just transferred to a simple system. It then automatically directs the documents to the right people depending on the process you set up. This simplifies the onboarding process for new employees and minimises any confusion about who does what. Your employees needn’t worry about whom to speak to – they just follow the process steps and the system takes care of the rest.
Perfect! I’m convinced! So which product could I actually use?
At SoftwareOne, we have chosen WEBCON BPS, the world-leading low code solution, to use for our own business processes, and we thoroughly recommend it to our clients. We use it regularly following a successful launch, and soon we are looking to implement new workflows. Consequently, we can also propose it to other companies that wish to automate their processes. It is a tried and tested solution and we can see its benefits on a daily basis.