It is increasingly common to hear that businesses need to find a way to bring together “business services” and “IT services”. After all, it is especially through the use of innovative software and mobile applications that valuable competitive advantages can be gained and maintained. And that’s where an “agile” approach comes in, which, in light of the current global situation, is becoming more important than ever.
Agile has shaped tools such as low-code application development platforms, allowing application versions to be developed in equally short cycles. The resulting flexibility allows IT teams to quickly adapt to changing business conditions. According to a recent study by Forrester Research, the low-code market is growing by almost 40% as it helps companies reduce the time it takes to develop, test and deploy the solutions they need. Thus, it becomes clear that companies that rely on low-code have greater organizational agility than those who do not use a low-code approach at all.
So what opportunities can companies take from this approach? And what are the obstacles to realizing this value?
Agile requires a different approach
Agility is not a method that can be simply introduced into a business without changing processes and expectations. With methods such as Gantt or cascade, the tasks are processed one after the other in rigid sequences. With these methods, once a task is completed, the teams involved move on to the next. Small delays are enough to disrupt the plan, which then continues until the end of the project, as experience shows. In the day-to-day operations of an IT team, this means that applications cannot simply be developed overnight, nor created for functional departments in a short period of time.
Agile work works differently and above all in a transversal way. Instead of a very detailed planning process, many tasks and challenges are addressed simultaneously. To achieve this, a clearly defined goal is needed. Teams, whether in business, management, or IT itself, tackle solutions together in several small steps. They divide a general goal into many smaller, manageable goals. This makes it easier to react to changing conditions and to adapt more easily. The more people with different professional perspectives work together, the more innovative the solutions can be.
But to benefit from all these perspectives, transparency is essential. You need the right software that can handle such an agile approach and make this process visible to everyone. With a clearly mapped roadmap on the development platform, multiple applications can be developed in the shortest possible time, creating an overview of desired goals – visible to everyone involved, whether business or computer science. Shorter development cycles allow for a higher return rate, which in turn leads to higher quality applications with increased user acceptance. This virtuous circle requires a strong commitment from all stakeholders, which is only possible by breaking down existing internal barriers.
Remove internal barriers
Fast application platforms overturn the traditional computing model. Instead of developers themselves determining the appearance of an application, hierarchical management can now become an active part of the process. Much of what was configured in Excel spreadsheets or clipboard checklists can now be changed using cloud-based software. The main benefit here is visual access to the elements of their application development environment. Because it is more transparent and easier to use, front-line managers and other non-technical people can configure front-end and basic functions on their own, such as creating their own interfaces, designs, and functions. Instead of telling developers what they want, they can show them. This eliminates the need to code everything manually. This speeds up development and improves overall quality.
Essentially, low-code platforms deliver on the promises of IT-business alignment made by the agile software movement over a decade ago. But instead of just integrating software development with the rest of the business, they allow the rest of the business to be a part of software and application development. An important factor for the strategic consideration of a CIO is to transform the entire organization over the long term into versatile and agile teams and to break down existing structural silos.
Agility increases cooperation
No-code / low-code platforms make it easier for technical and non-technical team members to collaborate in real time, shorten the development cycle, and lower costs. This allows the QA tester to provide feedback, the developer to make changes and modifications to be tested in real time instead of getting lost in the tedious process of identifying, documenting, prioritizing, correcting, and retesting. bugs. Rapid application development platforms typically allow users and developers to view an application together and discuss changes between them in real time. This requires rethinking working methods, but if agile methods are consistently implemented, it results in a considerable reduction in cycle times and unnecessary effort. Experience shows that the return on investment (ROI) of agile approaches often appears after just a few months.
Agility is not a method that can be simply introduced into a company but must be understood as a transversal process. Using the right software helps bring visibility to all areas of the project and allows us to manage them accordingly. Low-code platforms remove internal barriers and enable everyone in an organization, from IT to enterprise, to be involved in the entire software and application development lifecycle, ensuring thus a holistic development approach.