The Low-Code Brothers: Two Dudes on a Mission to Save the World From Technical Debt
Low-code development has mainstreamed from fringe to movement status, which was accelerated by hyperautomation and the surge in remote work during the COVID-19 crisis.
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There’s a scene in the cult classic flick The Blues Brothers (circa 1980) where Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues — two hard-boiled blues rockers — are about to drop the hammer on an epic mission to put their old band back together and save their old orphanage from financial doom:
Elwood: It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.
Jake: Hit it!
The redemption story behind that iconic riff was the inspiration for this tale of two bodacious dudes on a mission to save the world from technical debt. Why technical debt? Because research shows 40% of development time is wasted on technical debt and 50% of new application development requests end in failure, according to a study by IDG.
If none of that freaks you out, digital disruption is always just a heartbeat away and has a way of showing up whether you’re ready for it or not.
None of this is even slightly copacetic. This brings us to the metaphorical Low-Code Brothers (Dev and Ops) and the powerful juju of the modern low-code automation platform for the CIO who wants to solve the technical debt problem by injecting Agile development processes into her IT organization. Case in point: Aviva, a multinational insurance company with 33 million customers across 16 countries. Using a low-code platform, this London-based company was able to quickly combine data from 22 different systems and build a single customer view to optimize call center performance.
As a result, customer service response times improved by a mind-blowing 9x and operating costs plummeted by a remarkable 40%.
The Mojo of Low-Code Redemption
Faster than the Bluesmobile jumping a Chicago drawbridge, low-code automation frees us from the ball-and-chain of technical debt and revolutionizes our ability to orchestrate how people, bots, and artificial intelligence all work together to accelerate digital transformation. But many IT organizations are stuck in project backlogs that force them to cut corners just to keep up with the blistering pace of digital transformation.
Low-code automation is the opposite of that. It inoculates IT organizations against debilitating backlogs by multiplying the productivity of developers to build enterprise-class applications 10 to 20x faster than writing code — without sacrificing quality or accumulating more technical debt.
Sure, you could buy off-the-shelf software instead but then integration becomes an issue. Silos of data and processes start to build up and you’ve suddenly created a bigger problem than you had before. You could also play it safe and build your own custom applications the old-school way.
But this has equal challenges when it comes to keeping up with the ever-growing demand for unique software. Finally, you could add more developers, but the talent is scarce and expensive. Better to take a low-code approach.
Orchestrating Workers, Bots, AI, and More
Case in point: The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) — the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization — used a low-code platform to build a custom application in just six weeks. The Chicago-based organization went on to build and deploy nine critical risk management applications with low-code in 18 months. Today, they can build an application in a day.
In the post-COVID world, this kind of transformational speed will separate winners from losers.
Speaking of speed, Gartner recently reported global revenue for robotic process automation (RPA) software will reach $1.89 billion in 2021 and grow at double-digit rates through 2024. The problem is many companies have implemented bots from multiple vendors. On top of that, software robots are often deployed in silos without effective human oversight. Which makes security-and-governance-minded CIOs cautious about scaling up RPA use cases.
In contrast, the best low-code automation platforms:
- Unify low-code development and RPA in one comprehensive automation platform, enabling the orchestration of humans, bots, and artificial intelligence.
- Offer case management capabilities that allow humans to quickly handle exceptions and errors made by bots.
- Deliver mobile and web-based RPA governance, monitoring, and reporting capabilities that allow organizations to better manage a bot workforce.
Yes, technical debt is still a conundrum for many organizations but the promise of low-code automation has raised expectations so high, they may never come down again.
The experts say low-code development has mainstreamed from fringe to movement status, which was accelerated by hyperautomation and the surge in remote work during the COVID-19 crisis. Looking ahead, trend watchers expect most large organizations to adopt multiple low-code tools by the end of 2021.
The Bluesmobile as a Low-Code Automation Platform
Flash cut to another classic scene in The Blues Brothers movie. The one where Elwood introduces Jake to the Bluesmobile (a fantastical, decommissioned police car). But let's re-imagine the scene with The Low-Code Brothers (Dev and Ops) as our protagonists, and let's replace the Bluesmobile with a Low-Code automation platform:
Dev: What’s this?
Dev: This platform. Where’s the platform we used to have?
Ops: I traded it for a low-code automation platform.
Ops: It’s got low-code under the hood, visual design. It’s got unified data, fast integrations. It’s got solutions for workflow, AI, and RPA. And you can run apps on it without writing code.
Whad-daya say, is this our new platform or what?
Published at DZone with permission of Roland Alston, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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