The use of low-code platforms for quickly developing and deploying custom business applications has become increasingly pervasive over the past few years. For enterprises with complex information management requirements and diverse business units that may have unique content management and workflow needs, the ability to leverage a platform that can be configured to create custom applications with little to no IT intervention is of enormous value.
A growing number of organizations are phasing out their legacy applications and migrating IT stacks to the cloud – Forbes is predicting that 67 percent of enterprise IT infrastructure and software will be cloud-based by the end of 2020. This is with good reason. Many legacy systems were designed more than a decade ago and represent a significant monetary investment as well as a burden on already stretched thin IT resources. In U.S. government agencies, for example, research shows that on average, 75 percent of IT budgets go to operations and maintenance (O&M) of existing infrastructure. This is common as older systems require a high level of maintenance to ensure they can address both current and evolving business requirements and mitigate potential data breaches. Successful digital transformation requires a complete commitment to modernizing IT systems and platforms, making the inherent flexibility and control of cloud-native low-code platforms a step in the right direction.
Low-code has been key to driving innovation in the content services platforms and enterprise management space. The “platform vs solution” approach enables organizations to do more with less while relieving the burden on IT staff and empowering their ever-expanding remote employee workforce.
Low-code-enabled content services platforms can be used to develop custom applications for a growing list of use cases, including HR, sales, marketing, finance and accounting, legal, customer service, etc. The inherent ability to create custom applications and content repositories and to automate workflows that were previously completed manually delivers a heightened level of efficiency and control and begins to deliver on the promise of digital transformation.
What to look for in a modern low-code platform
It’s important not to put the cart in front of the horse. Therefore, the first step is to audit existing applications and processes and identify the outcomes your company hopes to achieve by migrating away from legacy systems. It’s also critical to gather feedback from employees because their participation in and embrace of the new platform is imperative to its consistent use and adoption throughout the organization.
Once the initial audit/feedback phase is complete, it’s time to consider the key factors in choosing the right low-code platforms, which are not one-size-fits-all. It’s best to start with industry-specific requirements, such as compliance, security, system integration, legal and other potential impacts involved in both the implementation of the new platform. Depending on the industry, some companies may require tighter controls, including the ability to control admin roles and privileges, the need for detailed audit trails, and comprehensive version control and roll-back capabilities. Next, consider the scope and volume of content management that will be required and how many company processes are file dependent (or not).
It’s also important to take into consideration the organization’s level of data complexity and whether there will be a need to integrate the chosen low-code platform with other systems and databases, such as a productivity platform as a service like G Suite or Microsoft Office. If this is the case, then having a team of “citizen developers” will come in handy. Citizen developers are typically non-IT staff members who are not skilled in software development but do love to solve business challenges. As the use of low-code and no-code platforms continue to proliferate, citizen developers will become even more important to business growth and success. Not every team member may want to be a citizen developer, but those with good problem-solving capabilities (and tenacity) are good candidates.
There is no time like the present to consider whether your organization will move ahead, taking advantage of low-code platforms, or remain in the past, anchored to legacy systems and software that represent a growing burden on finances and resources. As companies continue to struggle with how to best equip employees for success (working remotely or otherwise), now is the right time to be strategic and intentional about modernizing applications and accelerating digital transformation. Ultimately, making the right decision will put your organization in a much stronger position to succeed in the future.