Connecting people, technologies and data: How low-code acts as the vital link
We are in the era of digital transformation. In this fast-moving world, with fierce competition to develop customised, digital solutions for customers, businesses are relying on technologies that could ease their processes, optimise their resources, and reduce their timelines.
One such technology is low-code.
Low-code is a visual approach to software development that empowers citizen developers, or business users with a minimal coding language, to build applications with ready-to-use templates, and drag-and-drop components.
Many studies are proving that low-code will be a game-changer. For example, a Forrester study commissioned by Appian proves that low-code enables the development of applications 20 times faster; 84 percent of enterprises have turned towards low-code to reduce strain on IT resources, and increase speed-to-market. Interestingly, 100 percent of enterprises have received ROI from their low-code adoption.
Due to its simplistic and flexible development approach, low-code is being used across different industries such as fintech, healthcare, and manufacturing for creating a range of applications.
The beauty of low-code is that it connects people, technologies and data seamlessly for end-to-end process automation. Let’s explore further:
Low-code platforms enable collaborative working environments. For instance, the marketing team wants an application for their upcoming campaigns, and the software teams have their plates already full. What if both the teams combine—one with domain expertise, the other with technical expertise—to work on it.
On a low-code platform, professional developers or architects and other users can work together to optimise the processes.
Whenever the processes change in a business, low-code platforms can easily scale to immediately adapt to the changes in a dynamic environment.
But what one must keep in mind well laidout workflow to remove repetitive activities, ensure support from internal IT teams within their guardrails to remove shadow processes, and provide enough training for non-developers to understand how low-code works.
When an organisation is looking to step up digital innovation, chances are more applications may have to be created. As low-code enables rapid development of different applications for customer experience, business process management, inventory management, etc, more data gets generated from different sources.
The challenge lies in the integration of data, which may require good levels of database skills, and above all, the right data.
Three things to consider are:
- Data visibility
- Interpretation or understanding of complex data
- Data mapping for better business decisions
Automation requires reliable and accurate data. Low-code platforms help solve the challenge of data integration and make it easy for users to track and identify data scripts from various systems in a secure way.
Automation and intelligent automation are often used interchangeably, but both are different. While automation is a simple process of automating repetitive tasks, intelligent automation is a combination of technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation that can orchestrate workflows for human-bot teams. With AI and ML capabilities, the bots will learn and evolve from historical data.
For example, consider a customer service department that wants to analyse customer interactions for deriving key insights from various sources like emails, phone calls, social media channels, etc.
Instead of manually mining data, applying AI for detecting language and sentiment, speech analytics, and other innovative technologies can greatly improve the way human representatives work.
How low-code connects technology
Let’s look at it with an example.
Order-to-cash involves a series of process steps that occur from the moment a business receives a customer order and until the business gets 100 percent of cash paid. These steps include order management, credit check, contract management, order fulfilment, shipping, billing, accounts receivable, payment, and data reporting. The steps may be challenging if organisations are using too many spreadsheets, outdated systems, or email-based processes or manual processes. Manual processes are time-consuming, lack efficiency, and are prone to errors. In addition, there could be higher lead times, delayed response to customer queries, and reduced profits.
Automation with low-code can streamline the entire workflow for better coordination among multiple stakeholders or “people” – like sales, finance, administration, teams, while ensuring speed and accuracy.
A low-code solution improves visibility into contracts, builds transparency, helps businesses with better insights into payments, and ultimately accelerates cash flow.
Automation can automate the process of collating order data from various sources like email, telephone, SMS, and paper-based documents. Human representatives do not have to spend excessive amounts of time on pulling out, and collating order data. Low-code solutions can help automate data extraction, invoice processing, assessment of credit quality, and sending timely notifications to customers.
- Manage and receive orders automatically
- Automated credit approval process for customers; instant notifications to finance teams about denial or approval of applications
- Automated inventory management to alerts business users of order stocks to decide whether to fulfil or reject new orders
- Automated shipping management
- Invoices are generated and sent to customers automatically with correct dates, costs, order specifics, etc.
- Users can access order data to correct any mistakes
- Automatically flag delayed payments
- Generate reports of the entire process to check and optimize slowdowns.
What does the future hold?
Low-code adoption is moving at a faster pace. The accelerated need for digital solutions at cost-effective options, especially post the pandemic, has fuelled the need for low-code adoption. High levels of flexibility to make customised applications with boilerplate codes using fewer resources has made it a truly innovative technology for all sizes of businesses.
It is estimated that companies will increasingly rely on low-code technologies to support their application innovation and integration strategy in the times to come. Forrester states that the platforms will account for 75 percent of application development by the end of this year. This is a considerable 44 percent increase from last year.
It also projects that globally, most of the organisations would have adopted multiple low-code adoption by the end of 2022.
Successful implementation of hyper automation involves a robust foundation backed by low-code, in-depth analysis of the business processes, identifying technologies that complement the existing infrastructure, as well as agility capacity of the companies.
This is why low-code is emerging to be the go-to solution for organisations as it adorns the role of a connective technology that helps seamlessly integrate customers, data, and technology.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)