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Shift from Working in Silos. Achieve Agility Using Low-Code Platforms

Here’s a thought. Every minute, more than one person in the workplace is using an application to connect, communicate or coordinate. More than one person is responding to emails from their smartphones, digitally updating a sales opportunity, virtually conducting a project meeting or collaborating to update workflows and tasks.

Welcome to the hyper-connected workplace, a complex ecosystem where people, devices , and applications interact.

Be it an HR application, an instant messaging application, a task management tool, a virtual meeting or a team coordination application, core business applications have become the lifeline of enterprise operations.

As enterprise applications become easier to develop, everyone in the workplace wants to develop an app for their specific business needs. An app to interact with other peers, to collaborate and share work, for leave management, IT support, project planning and management, content management, resource management, learning and development, the list could be endless. But what about the stamp of approval from IT? What about security and agility? Are Lines of Business (LoBs) working in silos?

LoB Apps – Fighting Functional Silos of Teams Within Teams 

When LoB units, with teams within teams, decide they need a software application to solve a business need, it leads to the development of innumerable enterprise applications.

While this system may solve individual business unit requirements, a need will arise to interact and connect, securely and seamlessly. With this hyper-connectivity comes the need for agility and security, and here’s where the technical challenge arises. The ground reality, however, is that LoB units within themselves and IT are working in silos, while in fact, they need to complement each other.

As digital businesses today need faster release cycles and agile development, ensuring tools, processes, and knowledge skills are established early in the development lifecycle is needed. To bridge silos and improve the performance of application development, a new approach of Agile Operations must be embraced.

The Winning Agile Approach for LoBs in the Application Economy 

Go beyond “Keeping the Lights On”. The core focus of LoB managers is on improving the quality and performance of applications. Maintaining the balance between “keeping the lights on” or reducing operational expenses and innovation will result in operational excellence and internal competency. Adopting an agile approach gives LoB leaders to streamline processes to achieve competency and optimize resources.

With agile development techniques, LoB and IT functions can be connected. IT is part of every business function. With more freedom for developers and LoB managers to develop applications independently, the bottleneck arises when it has to be vetted by the IT team for security and viability. To ensure better collaboration between IT and LoB, and accelerate project delivery, enterprises are embracing agile development practices.

Using Low-Code Platforms to Achieve Agility and Shift from Working in Silos 

A ‘not so secret’ ingredient to achieving agility is connecting people, devices and applications seamlessly. Each line of business require various types of applications specific to their business needs and as LoB applications store valuable data typically in legacy databases, integration with other systems is complicated.

Moreover, LoB apps are built by mainstream developers than business users. For them, innovation and code control are important factors in their development process. Here is where low-code platforms positively impact professional developers to build and maintain LoB applications. low-code platforms provide agility to LoB managers and team members by:

  • Streamlining the process of collaboration and developing solutions to connect business units seamlessly.
  • Enabling the reuse legacy functions, integrations and scripts, therefore empowering LoB app developers to rapidly develop and deliver responsive apps.
  • Providing visual tools that team members can use to communicate and collaborate better.
  • Enabling them to handle technology requirements to process data, develop shared repositories, automate workflows and create dashboards without writing a line of code or visiting the IT team.
  • Enabling better collaboration between  LoB and IT to drive real-time, data-driven decision making.
  • Creating customized applications that provide a functional technology solution which drives specific business goals faster.

21st-century LoB leaders understand the importance of achieving agility. Low-code platforms empower professional LoB app developers to develop new apps to meet functional needs and bring LoB into the mainstream. In this hyper-connected workplace, low-code makes it possible to connect, communicate and coordinate, seamlessly.

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How CIOs Can Drive ROI of Digital Transformation with Low-Code

The role of CIOs has evolved. With the emergence of the app economy, they need to adapt to a hyper-connected world, work with the next-gen, digital workforce, and adopt a strategic role.

To support the fact that the role of CIOs is changing,  the 2019 State of the CIO’ report by IDG states,

“67% of IT leaders are spending more time on business strategist activities to help drive innovation and nurture go-to-market plans.

Over the next 3 years, CIOs expect to not only retain but to expand their newly-established business strategist charter.

77% of CIOs are planning to devote time to activities like driving business innovation.”

What’s your level of involvement? How are you planning to drive business innovation? Where would you start your digital transformation journey? Take a look at our previous post which emphasizes that the best place to start would be at the core, which is IT. 

To achieve digital transformation success, enterprise application development is emerging as an integral aspect. Get to know how you can drive digital transformation ROI using enterprise application development and low-code platforms.

Leveraging the Power of Low-Code

How rapid application development platforms help CIOs drive digital transformation ROI

  • Modernize with Transformative Technology – Traditional software and application development falls short of fulfilling the hyper demands of modern enterprise applications. They are linear, time-consuming to develop, have minimum iterations and low customer / user interaction. The essence of your digital transformation strategy needs to primarily revolve around modernizing traditional software.

In modern enterprise application development, ‘transformative technologies’ such as rapid application development platforms drive ROI by providing ready-made application infrastructure, full stack development, improved usability with rich user interfaces, predefined best of breed technology stack, API-driven integration and business user participation.

  • Align Strategically. 1% Vision + 99% Alignment = Performance – Your strategy, digital or otherwise could be visionary, but it is ineffective if its not aligned to the business objectives and user needs. C-Level executives must be tuned into the needs of their business, customers and users to drive experiences that revolve around their expectations.

By adopting low-code platforms and rapid application development, you can align teams and enable them to focus on innovation providing the necessary support to your digital transformation strategy and revenue-generation initiatives.

  • Enhance User Experience (UX) in the Experience Economy – Your business users are your customers and every CIO needs to tune into their pulse. To materialize exceptional UX, you need to understand their line of work, how they function, what they need to improve productivity and how they collaborate and communicate. The framework of your enterprise application development strategy ideally needs to revolve around their ethos.

Low-code platforms provide the agility to create and deliver custom-built applications that revolve around user preferences, with a speed that resonates to demand. CIOs who utilize rapid application development to implement their DX strategy have a better opportunity to create custom enterprise apps that adapt to experiences rather than devices.

  • Realize Real ROI in Line of Business (LOB) Apps – Transformation is an enterprise-endeavor and enterprise app development is a departmental endeavor. Modernization has to seep into every facet of your enterprise as different lines of business have distinct requirements. When devising digital transformation initiatives, CIOs who consider LOB apps mapped to specific requirements have been successful in improving usability and productivity, and inherently boosting ROI.

What rapid application development platforms offer that traditional IT development dosen’t is ‘inward-facing’ agility with intra-departmental APIs. By supporting the development and delivery of custom LOB apps efficiently and on-time, low-code platforms ensure enterprise agility.

  • Be Equipped with The Tools of The Trade – C-Level executives when developing transformation strategies, need to identify the right type of IT infrastructure. Given the evolving demands of the digital workforce, transformation initiatives require IT infrastructure to be flexible, agile and cost-effective.

As traditional software run out of steam, enterprises can transition IT infrastructure to app modernization using low-code development. With rapid app development and agile integration, CIOs can support the digitally-empowered workforce in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

  • Be the Leader of Change or You May be Forced to Follow – To achieve successful digital transformation, CIOs have got to be the leaders of change. The digital workplace thrives on collaboration and to be effective it requires the involvement of the entire enterprise.

To realize ROI on modernization and transformation, CIOs need to ensure a culture of innovation, where creativity and productivity are instilled. They have to be committed, involved and encourage technology enthusiasts to work on emerging technologies.

CIO’s ‘Not-so-Secret’ Approach to Digital Transformation Success

Business transformation is all-encompassing, it affects everyone, involves everyone, and requires strategic alignment between processes, people, technology and culture. There is a ‘not-so-secret’ approach to digital transformation success. It’s the innovation philosophy of design thinking. More than ever before, CIOs are leveraging design thinking (observing and analyzing user behavior to gain insights) when devising IT development strategies. This however, will be covered intensively in another article.

As a tip-off, there are several sides of digital transformation you need to consider:

  • The ‘technology-centricity trap’. Does application of the new technology solve a need?
  • App-fatigue. Does every business unit need a line-of-business (LOB) app?
  • CEO buy-in. Does your digital transformation strategy have the stamp of approval?

Many questions need to be answered, several strategies need to be made, different demands need to be met, now. As they say “take your time but hurry up”, because digital transformation demands velocity!

With transformation comes change

With change comes making choices

With choosing comes responsibility

Make it count!