Driving innovation and accelerating digital transformation with low-code
According to IDC, technology and services that enable digital transformation across the Asia-Pacific region are expected to grow by 15.3 percent annually to more than $386 billion (U.S. dollars) in 2018. With the demand for applications and platforms currently at an all-time high, CIOs know their enterprises need to deliver technology and product innovation faster while responding rapidly to new market opportunities and threats.
In a world that is changing at breakneck speed, it comes as no surprise that many enterprises are falling behind their more digitally-savvy competitors in the digital transformation race. With the exploding demand for new web, mobile, and enterprise apps, 43 percent of IT teams in the Asia Pacific already anticipate delivering 10 or more applications in 2018, according to the OutSystems report, The State of Application Development 2018. However, beyond ensuring fast delivery, IT teams are also expected to create applications that provide brilliant and consistent digital user experiences on multiple platforms and devices. In addition, the sheer number of coding languages and continually evolving development frameworks further increase the complexity of building modern, future-proof applications.
While many CIOs would like more applications to be created to streamline internal and external processes, a common concern is the capability of IT departments to deliver them on time and whether or not the IT teams are overstretched. Unfortunately, challenges such as the scarcity of IT talent, massive backlogs, and the high cost of maintaining legacy systems plague the digital transformation journeys of many enterprises.
Gaps that need to be plugged
According to The State of Application Development 2018, 14 percent of IT teams in Asia still have a backlog of more than 10 applications. With the rising demand for apps in the region, significantly speeding up the web or mobile application delivery process, which, on average, takes 47 percent of IT teams at least five months to complete, is imperative. However, the shortage of IT talent keeps many IT organizations from addressing the lags in the application development process. Whether organizations focus on retraining or recruiting IT talent, the fact remains that remedying the skills drought is time- consuming and expensive. Even when they do find developers with a strong grasp of the ever-changing array of technology required for digital and mobile development, it is difficult to retain them.
Additionally, when you combine the shortage of developers with inflexible, hard-to-integrate back-office systems, keeping the lights on becomes the main IT focus and not innovation. With an “all hands on deck” approach to addressing legacy issues, integration challenges, and deficient application programming interfaces (APIs), there are further complications and delays in the delivery of new web or mobile apps.
Companies need to change course quickly if they want to seize opportunities in the burgeoning digital economy. Now more than ever, speed-to-market and speed-of-change are the factors that separate successful companies from the underdogs. This is perhaps one reason why organizations are shifting towards continuous delivery—which is a far cry from typical application updates that used to happen only about once a year. However, continuous delivery demands hard work and significant investments in technology and personnel. Such complexity also risks becoming a further drain on IT resources that could be more focused on delivering customer value.
Enabling innovation through low-code development platforms
Given the pressure to advance digital transformation, CIOs need to adapt their technology and processes by using modern, rapid development approaches that can enable more innovation, continuous delivery, and better talent resource management.
One way is to bet on low-code development platforms, which streamline the software design and development process with minimal hand-coding, enabling skilled people to deliver value more quickly and more reliably.
With low-code application development platforms, IT teams can definitely get more experiments off the ground. As development becomes up to 10 times faster than hand-coding, not only do IT teams get on top of the development queue, but they are also able to realize fundamental changes in the risk-to-reward ratio for custom development. Additionally, low-code development platforms are fast enough to enable visual mock-ups that elicit high-quality requirements and feedback, thereby stimulating design thinking.
How does low-code development work? Fast, visual modeling of responsive web user interfaces and mobile apps put the user experience at the heart of the development process. Built-in user feedback ensures that rapid, collaborative design iteration doesn’t depend on developers and users sitting side by side. The best low-code development platforms also enable prototypes and user interface mockups to scale into fully integrated enterprise applications, making this process part of mainstream development instead of a disposable luxury.
A healthy appetite for change
Innovation necessitates an undeniable need for greater speed and experimentation. And while investing in new skills such as design thinking, lean startup, and customer journey mapping is a step in the right direction, much of this investment can go to waste if organizations don’t change their risk appetites. With scarce developer resources and slow hand-coding challenging the promotion of an innovation- oriented culture, experimentation can get lost in bureaucratic requirement gathering and risk-averse prioritization practices.
Low-code development platforms can ease these pains and deliver value because they support the key digital transformation priorities of CIOs. Most importantly, they drive innovation with minimal upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment.