To date, businesses have applied automation to just a few high-stakes processes – typically processes tied to core operations or necessary for achieving regulatory compliance.
But there’s a vast number of other processes, less central but still important and time-consuming, that would benefit from automation and integration. These processes are often complex. Many of them involve a lot of stakeholders from multiple departments or even multiple divisions. And these processes still rely on manual work, paper forms, and even faxes. (Faxing remains popular in healthcare, for example.)
These processes slow things down at a time when organizations need to be working faster than ever. And these processes also increase the risk of error.
The only way to automate these processes is by creating more software, whether in the form of new applications, new integrations, or workflow automation. “Great!” a CIO might say. “I’d gladly get our internal development team right on it. But. . . . “
But the development team is already overworked. And the pace of software creation from that overworked team – as well as from the overworked IT teams in other large organizations – has stalled.
That’s right: despite the growing adoption of agile practices and the popularity of languages like Python and Ruby that are primed for rapid development, the pace of software development in organizations hasn’t changed in years, according to research from Forrester and others. Teams are working smarter and harder, but they’re not releasing any more software than they used to.
As a result, most organizations won’t be able to automate their manual processes by relying on the traditional model for application development. That is, they won’t be able to have business users sit down with developers and walk them through these complex processes, which the developers will then go off and replicate in software over many weeks or months.
A better solution—in fact, the only practical solution—is to adopt an intelligent low-code development platform that enables business users and other experts to help directly with code creation. Low-code development will accelerate software creation and enable these myriad other processes to finally get help from automation they need.
And if that development platform is powered by artificial intelligence, gleaning best practices from observing the automation work of other similar users and organizations, then that low-code workflow automation will be achieved even more quickly and successfully.
AI-powered Low-code Development Yields High-speed Results
Low-code development platforms provide graphic, drag-and-drop interfaces for designing and generating software. These platforms can be used by software developers as well as by non-technical users, whether “citizen integrators,” business analysts, or some other knowledgeable stakeholder. They make it easy to build and re-use components for critical operations. And they yield powerful results: a 10X improvement in software development, according to some studies.
What are the requirements for a low-code development platform?
· Ease of use The platform should minimize the requirement for coding while ensuring that the resulting software is fast, efficient, and secure.
· Broad connectivity The platform should be able to easily connect to all the business applications and data sources involved in any process being automated. It should offer ready-to-use connectors for the most popular applications, such as Salesforce and Workday, and it should make building new connectors quick and easy. It should be vendor-neutral, not requiring users to move all their workflow data into a particular CRM or database in order to automate processes. The platform should integrate and work with whatever applications and data sources the organization has already invested in.
· Data governance In addition to connecting to applications and data sources, the platform should support data governance and data quality controls, so that data types, such as customer records, are consistent through any process being automated.
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· Best-practice guidance from the collective intelligence of many enterprises The platform should be able to leverage the experience of multiple enterprises and many automation projects to offer guidance and suggestions to users building new integrations and workflows. A development platform can obtain this wealth of experience only if it is a multi-tenant cloud platform continuously collecting and analyzing the anonymized meta-data of hundreds or even thousands of businesses. Anonymized data protects the privacy of individual organizations while ensuring that their best practices can be shared productively.
Imagine the difference such a platform would make for organizations mired in manual processes. Instead of having to hire more developers or consultants to hand- code automation projects, they can train a few employees on using the low-code platform. Business users can meet with these low-code-savvy developers and explain the business requirements. Then drawing on both the specific in-house knowledge of the particular workflow and the built-in intelligence of the multi-tenant cloud platform, developers or technical business users can build automation quickly, confident that they’ll avoid common pitfalls and deliver software automation that works.
Workflow automation that might have seemed an unaffordable luxury previously becomes a practical, highly rewarding activity. Instead of taking weeks or months, automation projects can be completed in days—and, in some cases, mere hours.
Rapidly Creating Rapid Workflow Automation
This is the next phase in the evolution of digital transformation, applying AI and state-of-the-art development practices to hundreds of previously overlooked use cases and processes across the organization.
The goal is to make more people more productive and the organization overall more agile, efficient, and successful. An intelligent, low-code workflow automation platform can do just that.
Ben Thrift’s comprehensive interview will be out with us on May 10, 2019 at 6:30 am ET.