Low-code/no-code could reshape business innovation

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Adam Bearden, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Software Engineer at Accenture in North America.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney are two of the greatest songwriters in music history. Without their talents there would be no pop music as we know it. So it’s even more surprising that neither of the two Beatles could actually read the music – they learned the chords of each song by heart before translating them to vinyl. This shows something important: creativity does not need formal preparation to flourish, it is only a means of expression.

This is a lesson that many businesses can now apply to their systems using low-code and non-code-based tools. These tools allow anyone to build applications, even if they have little formal training in coding. Such tools have been around since the 1990s, but only now are they widely used with cloud services and enterprise-level software development. A recent Forrester study predicts that by the end of 2021, low-code and code-free platforms will account for 75% of new application development. These tools reflect the democratization of technology and a significant shift in the way we manage, promote and feed innovation in our business.

Even at this early stage of adoption, several compelling use cases are seen. Most obviously, low code / no code can be used to automate repetitive and routine transactional tasks. Low code / no code turns software users into developers, giving them the tools to automate the usual and get the most out of the tools they use.

But with low code / no code – it’s more than automating the ordinary, it’s also releasing the extraordinary. In the age of digital technology, businesses need to move fast to stay ahead of the competition and adapt to change. Therefore, applications need to be constantly developed, released and improved.

For example, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, health worker Geisinger noticed a sudden 50 percent reduction in outpatient visits and an increase in the need for hospitals and resuscitation. The company has faced a serious challenge in trying to deliver the right healthcare professionals to the right place at the right time. It was launched using a low-code development platform from Quickbase Inc. In just one week, Geisinger staff was able to add the COVID-19 Resource Center to its mobile app, which helped coordinate and reassign thousands of healthcare professionals in its network. for the needs of the patient.

Innovation in the fast lane

Low code / no code is an important factor in the rapid development of innovation and benefits both professional and civic developers. First, low-code / no-code sprints are accelerated and simplified, as low-code / no-code tools can quickly prototype interfaces or processes. Low code / no code becomes the basis for prototypes, which developers can then add more detailed coding as needed.

Low code / no code also helps procaders by reducing their workload. The shortage of skilled coders is a real barrier to innovation and can overwhelm a team of professional developers. Low code / no code provides a solution by creating a new group of civil developers capable of sharing the workload.

Using Power Apps from Microsoft, G&J Pepsi has demonstrated exactly why this approach is so changing the game. The company quickly created and deployed transformative digital applications as part of its inventory and merchandising functions. In one case, employees with little software development experience created an app that would view store shelf images to determine the number and type of bottles on it, and then automatically order the right items to replenish stocks based on historical trends. In total, the group created eight applications without a professional developer and saved $ 500,000 in the first year alone.

Professional coders are Bachs and Beethoven companies that organize complex lines of code to create sort of complex functions and algorithms that result from years of dedication and formal training. The other employees are our Lenan and McCartney, who create beautiful and important programs that can change the world, but which are relatively easier to create. Low code / no code can free developers, but it also stops the monopoly on innovation.

Implementation tips with low code / no code

Low code / no code is one of those destructive movements that businesses cannot afford to ignore. Doing so will ultimately put businesses at a disadvantage in the competition. So what should the Director of Information and Other Business Leaders keep in mind when implementing a low-code / no-code approach? In my opinion, there are a few key considerations:

  • Review the purchase and assembly equation. For years, the balance has shifted in favor of buying commercial finished products rather than own construction. A low code / no code changes this equation. There is still a strong argument for using standard software for standard and generic core systems that directly affects the experience of customers, employees, or partners. However, major software vendors recognize that customers no longer want to wait until they decide that a feature is important enough to create and release in six months – customers expect new features quickly, and low-code / no-code features can help cope with this expectation.
  • Talent travel map. Low code / no code expands the pool of talent available for application development. Training is needed to achieve maximum results for users with low and no code. While deep technical skills are not always required, civic developers need to be taught to think like traditional developers and architects and reuse common services and features for efficiency and consistency. At the same time, generations of developers trained in older systems such as mainframes and middle classes can improve their skills to work in a low- and code-free cloud world because they have invaluable knowledge of existing processes and systems.
  • Put the fence in place. Safety and reusability are important issues. If you want your people to use the same authentication service for the applications they create, you need to embed the appropriate level of management. I recommend choosing low-code / no-code solutions that allow you to configure tools to create standard platforms that civilian developers can use by default.
  • Start small and move slowly. Take enough time for the first low-code / no-code deployment to smooth out any bad notes before they become a bigger problem. As your civic developers and IT staff build on competencies and begin to better understand possible uses, they can expand the program and features with low- and code-free code. It also allows you to set up more sophisticated notes such as security, data management and reusable components such as authentication. Slow and steady always wins the race with a low code / no code.
  • Use the right tool for the song. Low code / no code is one of the many tools available for building custom systems, but just as you don’t add a guitar drum, it’s not always the right tool to use. Low code / no code is a great choice for departmental-level applications that help automate certain processes. It is also a good choice for accelerating the interface development of more complex enterprise-level applications. But more sophisticated components or features often involve the use of professional encoding tools, such as Visual Studio, to achieve a more multi-layered melody.

Lennon and McCartney were great because they gave power to their imagination and enthusiasm and then changed the face of the musician in the process. Now, with low code / no code, businesses enable their employees to do the same in a business context. I, for one, can’t wait to see the results. I believe our era of digital innovation is just beginning.

Adam Bearden (@adampburden) is Accenture ‘s chief software engineer and leader in North America in Accenture technology.


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