Regarded by many as the ultimate bespoke IT solution that can evolve with the needs of an organisation, the greatest upside to low-code is perhaps its ability to bring staff on board with technology and foster a start-up mentality. However, this cultural change works both ways and executives will have to get used to supporting the teams they have empowered.
Until now, one of the most significant challenges to the successful implementation of a new IT system in any organisation has been adoption. If managers, workers and other stakeholders are not enthusiastic – typically because they feel that an unwanted change is being foisted upon them from above – then it will always be difficult to get the most out of the investment.
With low-code, the opposite is true: by allowing and encouraging users to help develop the system they need, it is possible not only to get everyone on side but also to maximise value as the original system is tweaked to help individuals at the ‘coal face’ do their job better. This is why the new wave of low-code solutions could truly revolutionise corporate IT, allowing businesses to harness the entrepreneurial spirit of their employees and escape the cycle of cumbersome IT procurement, compatibility issues and legacy systems.
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Everyone has this spirit – but it’s not always aimed in the right direction. Naturally, workers want to make their job easier, although even these solutions can be ingenious and useful: Think of the bottling plant that installed a state-of-the-art system to detect unfilled plastic bottles making their way into the final crates. When managers went to investigate why the system never sounded the alarm, they found an employee had placed a fan next to the conveyor belt, blowing any empties into a convenient bin, before they reached the new sensors. Why? The alarm was annoying and meant he had to go over and remove empty bottles by hand!
However, if you create the right corporate culture, workers will be motivated to do their job and in particular, to seek good outcomes for the customer. Most leaders want to create a culture that is focused on excellence and improvement, but how many are prepared to also empower their staff, and encourage them to develop their own best ways of supplying great service?
For those who will take that leap of faith, low-code development strategies present a golden opportunity for entrepreneurial organisations to re-shape their entire IT functions around the needs of workers and customers. Whereas previously most departments had to request a new IT project and then wait for approval and implementation, low-code can empower departments to get up and running much more quickly and make their own enhancements to the tools they already use.
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Because more people will understand how the platform really works, there will be far more ideas on how to improve it and the kind of solutions possible. For the best results, workers require not only permission and suitable training, but also a reliable flow of information, because service levels will only be as good as the data that can be quickly accessed at the customer interface.
This is not to say that staff should be given free rein: suitable security must be put into place, alongside visibility across the organisation that means management can monitor developments at a glance.
It is crucial that low-code solutions are implemented in an environment where information is shared between departments, and senior managers have a full overview of what is happening. Such a system – which can be built using an enterprise information platform with native content, process and case management capabilities – has many advantages beyond IT implementation but is particularly important when encouraging a highly adaptive, entrepreneurial approach. In this regard, low-code could change far more than just IT procurement.