How a low-code application development platforms can help your organization deal with the 3 C’s in the ‘next normal’.

We are somewhere in the beginning or the middle of a global digital upheaval. Suddenly, five-year corporate plans to migrate from a legacy infrastructure to cloud-based systems have had to be achieved within an impossibly short time frame.

As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella put it, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven “two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” Workers, customers and corporate supply chains have been displaced. E-commerce has become the mandatory mode of socially distanced transactions. Customer have become impatient, bored, demanding, highly price-sensitive and disloyal. Global recession is upon every shore, and business survival is now universally understood to hinge on being totally ‘digital, agile and future-proof’.

With every government pumping billions to fast-track digital transformation nationwide, businesses can just channel limited funds into revamping their outmoded legacy infrastructure, jumping headlong into anything Cloud, and relying on the nearest available SaaS and PaaS platforms to get a head start, right?

Not so fast. Haste makes waste if planning is lacking. The continued uncertainty of the current pandemic also makes rushed digitalization a risky proposition. So, if a business needs to chart out a digitalization plan that will work well regardless of the uncertainty, what should it do?

To answer this trillion-dollar global question, DigiconAsia and digital innovation specialist OutSystems came together in a virtual fireside chat to discuss some key considerations.

Crisis, continuity and customers

The three Cs of the current global business climate say it all: the crisis is stressing out business continuity plans, and every level of customers—whether they be internal (employees), external (vendors, partners and corporate clients) or eternal (the much-needed last-mile users and customers)—has been impacted and subjected to transformative and existential strain.

According to Mark Weaser, OutSystem’s Vice President of the Asia Pacific markets, the fulminant digital economy that has been forced upon the world has lifted the veil off the ‘leaders’ and the ‘laggards’. Yes, the pandemic has produced leaders such as Netflix, Amazon and Alibaba. They were fully digitalized and cloud-native long before the pandemic, and their abilities to quickly retool and react to changing supply chain and customer conditions have seen their value grow exponentially — in spite of the sea of ‘laggard’ corporations fighting for survival. Victor Ng, Editor-in-Chief of DigiconAsia, posed the question: “Every business is now aiming to be software-defined, becoming its own software developer. So, if data is the fuel, and apps are the engines, how can organizations become nimble and agile for the next normal? How can they develop applications to make use of the digital data coming in from every direction, and leverage that versatility to be future-ready and future proof?”

Mark’s answer is consistent and clear throughout the webinar:

  1. Digitalize in a strategically-concerted way that focuses on adding continual value to the business’ survival and future readiness.

    First and foremost, hold an Application Strategy Workshop involving not just IT staff but every key organizational stakeholder. This critical step will form the masterplan code for all subsequent digitalization priorities.

    Says Mark: “Use this workshop to reprioritize all app development. Only apps that bring value continually to the organization’s survival will be at the top of the shortlist. The sticky issue of the technical and legacy debt of old apps will need to be addressed, and if agility and future-proofing are critical, funding for these debts will be reduced.”
  2. With a strong blueprint code for digitalization priorities established, proceed to leverage agile development of mobile apps, as they are now the baseline tool for almost every person involved in the new global workplace. With low-code platforms, years of traditional waterfall-style app development can be completed within months or weeks. Web apps and web portals will also be a part of the overall masterplan to achieve optimal customer acquisition, retention and loyalty.
  3. Finally, the other priorities will include the utilization of digital transformation tools such as advanced DevOps, cloud platforms, robotic process automation, IoT/5G/AI and other tech—all deployed optimally in line with the overarching framework defined by the Application Strategy masterplan.

What’s your code?

In a vivid real-time demonstration to the audience, OutSystem’s senior solution architect Riva Uy was able to develop a simple mobile app—a product catalog plugged into the ERP database—within minutes using just a drag-and-drop interface. It was compiled and put online right before the eyes of the audience for download and use.

Furthermore, Uy incorporated a QR-code feature (from the low code platforms rich library of modules) directly into the app to allow users to say “hi!” to her and indicate the geographical location they were sending their greets from.

The point of this demonstration was to underline the power of low code development platforms in supporting organizations’ drive toward agile app development that is secure, flexible and future-proof.

According to Weaser, in response to questions from the audience: “Low code is five times faster than traditional app development. When incorporated within a proper ‘code’ (of thought and conduct) behind prioritizing the digital transformation, organizations will be able to emerge on the other side of pandemic stronger than before, and readier than ever for any future crisis.”

So, what code does your organization wish to adopt in your BCP and Digitalization plan? If this webinar has piqued your interest, take the NextStep in understanding more about unlocking the ‘code’ that can unleash greater resilience and agility in your organization.