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2 Unexpected Ways Organizations are Transforming with Low-Code

Charles Araujo and Jason Bloomberg
June 18, 2019

When you hear the termlow-code, what comes to mind?

Most enterprise leaders that have begun to explore low-code development platforms, land quickly on a fairly narrow set of use cases.

It's an interesting phenomenon rooted in the industry's historical attempts to adopt rapid application development approaches or push development-like activities to non-technical users. Most enterprise leaders lived through these various efforts (and their limited success) and immediately link these past efforts to modern low-code initiatives.

That's a mistake.

Today's low-code development platforms bear little resemblance to these efforts of the past. More importantly, the limited functionality of these past efforts also limited the use cases to which organizations could apply them.

Those memories have left a lasting impression with enterprise leaders ñ but those impressions may now limit their ability to see the full potential of what modern low-code development platforms, such asAppian, can offer them.

In this three-part blog series, we are examining the three broad categories of use cases in which enterprises are using low-code to transform their organizations.In the first article, we explored how enterprises are using low-code to optimize the organization. In this one, we will dive into the other two use case categories.

Unifying Systems and Data

While optimization is sometimes enough, in many cases processes and the underlying systems that support them need a more wholesale transformation. Over time, these combinations of processes and systems can multiply and metastasize as the organization incrementally adds functionality and expands their scope.

These systems eventually take on a Frankenstein-like nature, and no degree of optimization will help. Instead, organizations realize that they must consolidate applications and business processes and weave them together in a unified fashion to achieve the business outcomes they seek.

As enterprise leaders quickly come to understand, however, this is anything but a simple task.

Low-code platforms provide organizations a welcomed alternative to the brute force modernization approaches of the past. The ability to incrementally build and deploy modern applications helps organizations avoid the risky forklift updates that until now were the only option.

At the same time, the ability of some low-code systems to seamlessly integrate with disparate elements of the legacy technology stack enables organizations to cross the chasm and create a unified and modern experience without the risks or costs of traditional approaches.

For example, Aviva, a multinational insurance company, used the Appian low-code platformto unify twenty-two legacy systems into a single unified call center operations platform. The new unified solution provided its agents with a 360-degree view of their customers. Most importantly, it decreased customer service response times nine-fold.[4]

The power that low-code offers organizations, however, extends beyond just the ability to unify legacy systems and processes.

Data is rapidly becoming a primary driver of business value for the enterprise. Unfortunately, much of that data is presently locked in legacy systems and is hard for organizations to access. The deep and intuitive integration capabilities typically found in enterprise-class low-code platforms offer enterprises a way to unleash that data without having to grapple with high-risk lift-and-shift modernization efforts.

The combination of visual interfaces and deep, built-in integration capabilities found in enterprise-class low-code platforms offer enterprises a wealth of opportunities to unify disparate systems and data sources. This unification, in turn, enables them to modernize systems, and transform business and operational models without the risks and costs typically associated with these efforts.

Transforming the Experience

When most enterprise leaders think of low-code development platform use cases, they immediately go to either process automation, optimization, or systems unification.

What they often gloss over, however, may be one of the most impactful ways in which they can deploy a low-code platform:to transform the customer, partner, or employee experience.

In the digital era, in which the consumerization of technology has dramatically shifted expectations, every customer, partner, and employee now expects a digital experience that is on-par with consumer technologies such as Apple, Facebook, and Google.

As a result, the experience is now a primary driver of competitive differentiation. And this fact has left many enterprises on bad footing, scrambling to create modern digital experiences that will enable them to remain competitive on all fronts.

Low-code platforms offer enterprises a versatile toolkit that enables the rapid transformation of the digital experience. Their unique attributes help organizations remove transaction friction, improve delivery speed, and enrich customer, partner, and employee interactions throughout their respective journeys.

These capabilities are particularly important as those digital experience transcend functional teams, process domains, and even entire business units.

For example, DFW in Dallas, one of the world's largest international airports, used Appian tobuild a portfolio of experientially-focused applications in only eighteen months. The result is a mobile-first operational platform, run via tablets, that transformed all aspects of the digital experience for travelers (customers), airport stores (partners), and employees, enabling them to improve everything from compliance to restroom maintenance.

In another case, Sunsuper, a large Australian employee retirement fund, used the Appian platform to build an end-to-end rollover automation solution in only a few weeks.The app enables members or employers to complete an application online with the benefit of automated checks, verifications, and other features that dramatically improved the customer experience.

On the backend, the application gave plan administrators a holistic view of each member, enabling them to simultaneously streamline operations, while providing better and faster service to members.

The result is a transformed process that reduced rollover processing times from weeks to (typically) a single day, dramatically improving the customer experience. At the same time, it reduced processing costs by 50% and made it easier for employees to do their job.

What should be clear from these examples is that there is no shortage of impactful ways that enterprises can leverage low-code development platforms, such as Appian, to transform their organizations.

The reality, however, is that not all low-code platforms are created equal. In the final part of this three-part series, we will explore the specific enablers that you should be evaluating as you choose your low-code partner.

Learn more

To learn more about the current state of low-code development and how organizations have already leveraged it to deliver meaningful results, register for the upcoming webinarHow to Transform your Organization with Low-Codeon June 27, 2019.

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