Author: Chris McLaughlin
What’s ‘essential’ in a business can vary hugely, depending on size, industry, focus and much more. But events in 2020 have demonstrated more than ever how valuable it is to be ready for anything. This approach had dawned long before COVID-19, but the lockdown has certainly reinforced it.
Content is also hugely important, especially during these recent months. If an organisation’s employees, supply-chain partners and customers found it difficult to engage fluidly with content and processes beforehand, this was certainly the case once office premises closed. This means usual courses of action could not be taken and operations were disrupted.
When launching content-based apps – those apps that provide access to information – enterprises need agility and speed. Rapidly changing market conditions make this need even greater. Low code development is the key to achieving such agility.
The digitisation of content
Content digitalisation was once a means of continuous business differentiation, pivoting activities to respond to new opportunities and keep ahead of competitors and market disruptors with new and exciting propositions. During lockdown, however, manoeuvrability became a matter of survival. If different parties couldn’t access the information or digital assets they needed on-demand to accomplish routine or new tasks, companies simply couldn’t function as they needed to.
By contrast, those companies that were empowered by smart and flexible content access were able to progress ably under even the most extreme conditions. A good example can be found with manufacturers and designers. They were able to bypass stages of materials sampling and physical prototyping, using virtual sampling and digital 3D product design, as global supply chains were disrupted. The most notable point of difference for the businesses that continued to thrive was that 100 per cent of their critical processes were digital. This digitalisation was supported by on-demand, anywhere access to whatever information or content people needed.
‘Low code’ development and content-based apps
It is in this context that ‘low code’ development has risen up the business agenda. This is about giving companies the ability to create and roll out new user experiences without having to engage in long development projects.
Low code allows developers to re-use existing components and templates to speed up application delivery, drawing on vast libraries of proven constituent software assets. It’s also an approach that can be applied specifically to content-based applications. This paves the way for companies to create new content-based services at high speed.
It would have taken up to 12 months to create a new customer or supply-chain experience the traditional way. But development teams with access to a low-code development platform for delivering new content-based services and experiences can do so within just a few weeks. It’s also much easier and quicker for them to make iterative improvements to applications.
A more agile take on business
A good current example is the plummeting interest rates triggered by the pandemic. Here was a chance for mortgage and loan providers to roll out something special for customers that found themselves financially challenged during the pandemic.
Historically, gearing up for peak demand for borrowing would have required advance warning, exceptional resourcing and staff training. Many Financial Services (FS) firms were simply not agile enough to move as quickly as required. Those FS providers that could switch on a distributed workforce, however, are able to react with the agility needed. Employees would have secure remote access to all of the information and content they needed, and be able to fulfil demand fairly spontaneously.
This ability to sprint from idea to execution while prevailing market conditions remain ripe for exploitation is transformational. It also helps deliver exceptional digital experiences, putting businesses in a very powerful position relative to their competitors. It’s important to consumers too. Recent Nuxeo research indicated that 54% of shoppers would change from a favoured brand or retailer to a competitor, if the overall digital experience did not meet their expectations.
The pandemic put pressure on many companies’ ability to function even at a basic level. Others however, were able to turn the unprecedented market conditions to their advantage. Organisations with fully digitalised processes – supported by on-demand, anywhere access to whatever information or content people needed – were able to spin out new use cases for that content on the fly.
This must be the goal for enterprises, both now and in the future. Agility and speed are essential when launching products and applications, and a low-code development approach is the most effective way of achieving this. It provides enterprises with the agility to create new content-based services at high speed.