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Gearing Up with Low-Code Automation to Bounce Back from the COVID Lockdown

Roland Alston, Appian
July 8, 2020

With coronavirus numbers surging,at least 16 states have pumped the brakes on reopening plans hoping to stop the next wave of infections. On top of that, experts now believe the number of cases in the U.S. alone could be as high as 20 million because of limited testing and missed mild cases. All of which makes the return-to-work podcast linked to this blog that much more relevant.

So, if you're ready to gear up for a roll back in the COVID-19 lockdown, the pragmatic commentary in this must-hear podcast offers a playbook for leveraging low-code automation to accelerate workforce re-entry amid the coronavirus pandemic. This recap is based on a recent episode of KPMG US's "What now, What Next" podcast series. The conversation features Appian Founder and CEO Matt Calkins and Marcus Murph, a Principal in KPMG US' Digital Enablement Practice.

Listen in on COVID-19 and the Low-Code Automation Momentas Calkins and Murph dish on leveraging low-code capabilities to:

    • Safeguard employee privacy and security in a volatile environment.

    • Overcome the operational challenges of legacy applications.

    • Solve the three most common stumbling blocks to workforce re-entry.

    • Do a better job of managing return-to-work amid the complexities of the pandemic.

    • Prepare for the next outbreak which could be much worse.

A Solution that Transcends COVID-19

Calkins and Murph cut through the complexity and break down how the pandemic has exposed problems with important systems that many large organizations have relied on for decades. Learn why the coronavirus lockdown is an existential challenge that calls for a flexible digital solution that transcends COVID-19.

"We've been talking about the lack of agility in business for a long time," said Calkins. "We've been talking about transformation and speed, but only now in 2020 have we seen how essential it is for a business to live up to that talk."

Businesses now depend on customer relationships more than ever before. But it's also true that being able to safely bring employees back to work is a critical success factor.

The problem is that it's hard for a large organizations to safely bring workers back in a unique way and do it rapidly.

"A year ago," said Calkins, "if you had told a business that they might have to build an application their business would depend on, they might not have believed it because back then digital transformation was mostly talk.But in the age of COVID, the life of a business may depend not only on the next app you build, but you might only have three or four weeks to build it."

"And that's a scary prospect for a lot of businesses right now," said Calkins. "Many organizations are just not ready to bet the business on an application that they have less than a month to deliver. But this is where low-code comes in."

An Inflection Point for Low-Code

The pandemic has revealed that a lot of large enterprises are really not as agile and flexible as they need to be, said KPMG US's Murph. What companies are dealing with in the short term, said Murph, is a crisis management situation. The question, he said, is how do we get people back to work in this fast-changing, uncertain environment?

"Things are changing every day and there is no rule book," said Murph.

"Clients need a very flexible digital solution to help them manage through this. And, and if you think about it, the answer is not homogenous. It's going to be unique to each company which further increases the complexity."

"In the long term," said Murph. "What we're beginning to see at KPMG is that this crisis is going to be an inflection point for low-code technology. Clients and large enterprises will come to grips with the need for greater flexibility and agility. They're beginning to see that there's something missing from the architecture of their digital transformation. So, there's some goodness that will come out of this (pandemic) for many of our clients," said Murph, "because it's going to drive adoption of low-code across the market."

Ditch Spreadsheets. AutomateInstead

Which brings us back to low-code automation. When it comes to bouncing back from the pandemic lockdown, every business has to consider their unique factors, their resources, their facilities and come up with a strategy that makes sense for them. Every organization is going to have a different solution. And when they decide to automate or create an application that allows them to return to work, the challenge will be finding an application that also gives them the ability to do it in a unique way that fits their specific requirements.

But forget about running your return-to-work effort from a spreadsheet, said Calkins. He warns that spreadsheets are far too slow to react to the volatility of a pandemic. Safety depends on being able to react quickly to patterns in COVID data. For example, said Calkins, "if you've got a person who's reporting a sickness, you want to react quickly to ensure that the people contacted by this person don't come into work the next day.

"You can't be fast enough on a spreadsheet," said Calkins.

"...A spreadsheet is not an appropriate place to store the health and personal data that you will have to collect in order to have a full range of considerations when you make decisions about who should come to work."

"This is a time when an application has to be created quickly," said Calkins, "and it has to be important because many companies are betting their business on it. This is a perfect time for low code."

P.S. Be sure to catch the replay of this timely podcast here:COVID-19 and the Low-Code Automation Moment.