There comes a time in every successful organization’s existence when they transition from a world driven by manual labor and repetition to one governed by innovation and transformation. Although this move is not an easy one, it is a much-needed or demanded one.
In 2019, enterprises were spending over 40% of their technology investment on digital transformation practices. And, this number is set to increase further in the years to come. But, as businesses realize that market sustenance and a competitive edge isn’t a possibility until they go fully digital, they will also comprehend that there is no one solution or approach to help achieve their digital transformation goals. Instead, it requires several innovative technologies and a wide range of agile, futuristic, and disruptive techniques to help enterprises adapt to the digital economy.
Unfortunately, traditional software development cannot keep up with the speed and scale of digital transformation. Most organizations don’t even have the staff and skills required to support such initiatives. They still rely on the heavily coded backend, manual operations, and siloed data to achieve the speed, flexibility, scalability, and agility required by modern business models. It is where low-code development tools and platforms like OutSystems come into play and address those needs.
What is digital transformation? Why do organizations need it?
There has been too much talk about ‘digital’ and how important it is for organizations to achieve it. We hear about digital technologies, digital data, digital media, digital transformation, digital marketing. Of course, everyone was to go digital. But what is it and which way to go?
Going digital means discovering new ways and possibilities of replacing an existing service and ultimately delivering a better experience to your customers. Digital transformation is what propels your business to move forward, explore new opportunities, adapt to the current market trends, optimize data analytics, stay relevant and competitive, and facilitate a better connection with your customers. There is no one definition to going digital, but it is a compilation of several individual methods.
Organizations embark upon their digital transformation journeys for several reasons: to identify business opportunities, adopt data-driven insights and behaviors, explore emerging trends and technologies, streamline data workflows, or personalize customer experiences. Irrespective of why organizations need digital transformation, it typically involves:
- Developing new applications, capabilities, or integrations
- Modernize legacy architecture for the cloud
- Build mission-critical business applications
- Automate manual workflows or processes
- Allow seamless integrations
- Enhance customer experience and engagement
- Improve business productivity
- Better process efficiency
Digital transformation allows enterprises to stay relevant and competitive in the market. It is an employee, customer, and enterprise-friendly solution that elevates business productivity and efficiency. Being a digital-first business is the need of the hour. Fortunately, organizations have access to a plethora of low-code processes and tools that can help them develop, deliver, and deploy change applications against the backdrop of rapidly evolving market models and drive accurate business results with guaranteed ROIs.
What digital transformation challenges do organizations face?
A few years back, enterprises focussed all their efforts on improving operational efficiency. However, that focus has moved to enhance customer interactions via modern digital core systems. We all know that organizations need digital transformation to survive and thrive. So, what stops them from achieving it?
Suppose you’ve ever planned a digital transformation roadmap. In that case, you’d know that there are some challenges that every enterprise faces—lack of expertise, too much reliance on legacy systems, and limited budget, to name a few. However, as you progress on your journey to achieve complete digital transformation, you keep clearing these roadblocks and moving ahead. These obstacles might slow down your pace but can’t stop you from reaching your destination.
That said, meet the top 6 challenges that lead to an organizational digital deadlock:
- Scarce resources: Most enterprises lack the required talent and find it hard to hire digitally capable professionals that could bring value to their processes, systems, and consumers.
- Legacy system debt: As per research, legacy-led operations account for 70-80% of IT budgets. Inefficient back-office systems, deficient APIs, and weak integrations complicate digital adoption or delay the delivery of new apps.
- Massive IT backlogs: Most organizations have more work for their IT team than they can deliver. Reports say, over 65% of respondents complained about application backlogs, and only 32% of them have improved over a year.
- Silos of innovation: When an enterprise plans its digitization, they consider it separate from their traditional IT setup. It prevents the singularization of both the technological structures, ultimately creating data silos that hamper complete transformation.
- Non-flexible organizational architecture: Legacy processes like agile and waterfall continue to slow down the digital evolution of organizations from legacy systems to digital systems to digital disruptors.
- Lack of patience: Genuine innovation is time-consuming, which is why organizations aren’t ready to replace their traditional systems and embrace the uncertainty of digital transformation. Most organizations might commence their journeys to go wholly digital, but due to lack of time or urgency of application deliverance fail to follow it judiciously, resulting in partial evolution. It complicates things more than solving them.
These challenges are faced more by established enterprises than startups or digital disruptors. According to McKinsey, several prestigious firms “are losing as much as half of their revenue growth and one-third of earnings growth” to the more digitally savvy competition. And, these are not all the only challenges that leading organizations face.
- They need to maintain the current on-premise monolithic systems like the ERP to keep their business running,
- Adopt new technologies, deconstruct the legacy systems and innovate operations to achieve more excellent business value
- Restructure a strategy that offers a delightful customer experience and redefines their competitive advantage
Everything has to go together and in sync to meet business requirements, modernize legacy systems, and become a digital disruptor. Digital innovation is a tedious and expensive process; however, it is a necessary one. No organization can achieve the same productivity, performance, and results as a digitally transformed organization with its legacy systems. Fortunately, it is not too late for enterprises to reengineer their strategies, take a more profitable growth path, invest more than their peers, control the existing operations, and develop a new business model. To do all this, such enterprises need to wisely choose a platform that elevates current performance levels and explore opportunities to derive more value from the industry chains.
Digital transformation and low-code: The connection
In a connected world, the demand for business applications is more than ever. Customers have higher expectations from technology, which ultimately puts tremendous pressure on the IT leaders. As per a McKinsey report, over 70% of digital transformations fail. Everyone hears about digital evolution and how important it is and rushes towards it. They fail to understand that the only way an enterprise can achieve accurate and genuine innovation is via a successful digital transformation strategy that involves identifying business challenges and finding the right technology that solves these challenges.
It is where low-code comes into play. Disruptive technologies like low-code empower companies with flexibility and agility to adapt their existing infrastructure to the ever-changing industry demands while dramatically increasing the application delivery speed and time to market with the minimum upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment. The pre-coded templates make it easy to build innovative applications, and the widely available third-party integrations allow adding extra functionality and features to it instead of hand-coding. Low-code accomplishes five digital transformation priorities:
- Allow process innovation to reinvent competitive advantage
- Adopt a scalable and agile methodology to go fully digital
- Employ DevOps practices for consistent and continuous application delivery
- Recruit or train development resources for modern methodologies
- Speed up visual modeling of responsive web user interfaces to better user experience
Low-code’s high productivity platform as a service (hpaPaaS) helps enterprises to stay competent and competitive in the ever-changing digital dynamics. However, to reap the full benefits of the low-code, picking the right platform matters.
Enable transformation and business productivity with OutSystems
When we talk about low-code technology, it always gets floundered on one question: which low-code platform should I pick? With a plethora of options to choose from, a low-code platform should fulfill every digital transformation priority and make application development simpler, smarter, and more streamlined.
OutSystems, a leading low-code application development platform that empowers a new generation of coders called citizen developers, expanding the talent pool for such technologies and taking advantage of its unrivaled platform features. From customer experience transformation to application modernization, process automation, and workplace innovation, OutSystems supports all business goals. Although many low-code platform providers are out in the market, several vital distinguishing features place OutSystems at the forefront.
Unlike the other platforms, which partially or inefficiently address the application development lifecycle, OutSystems provides a full-stack visual development platform capable of developing enterprise mobile and web applications. Moreover, these apps attend to three major digital transformation use cases:
Digital Operations: These applications replace the traditional, inefficient, time-consuming, and tedious internal business operations with intelligent and automated processes. They include rapid development of mobile and web applications, structuring forms and workflows, speedy integration, quick changes and deployment, and built-in dashboards for productivity insights to be used by managers.
Digital Experiences: Improving customer experiences digitally has always been on a marketer’s mind. With rapidly prototyped visual development and powerful tools that manage, maintain, and deploy pixel-perfect user experience, OutSystems help secure digital moments across all touchpoints via responsive web and mobile apps.
Digital Core: Core systems lack the speed, agility, and flexibility demanded by modern businesses. OutSystems’ advanced features empower enterprises to take up the charge of replacing their large core systems and modernize legacy solutions. This transformation includes ERP systems, clinical trial management systems, etc.
OutSystems framework of enterprise change and innovation
Digital evolution is a massive undertaking for an organization. OutSystems follows a STEP (Structure, Talent, Ecosystem, and Process) framework to address such requirements. From laying the foundation of digital evolution to forming a center of excellence to oversee the actions and becoming a complete digital enterprise, OutSystems support you at every stage.
- Structure: It involves structuring an executive team for successful low-code development and delivery. It includes team size, team roles, governance & testing.
- Talent: Using OutSystems, organizations can build sophisticated solutions without the need for highly specialized resources. The platform allows you to train and recruit talented citizen developers.
- Ecosystem: you can integrate your OutSystems platform with other systems for high productivity and performance.
- Process: For change management to work efficiently, it is essential to know how different parts of the system would work, where low-code works, and how traditional and IT systems should interact with the modern platform.
OutSystems intuitive drag and drop functionality simplifies enterprise application building procedures. Developers can access the generated code, optimize it per requirements, and place it in the core systems. Furthermore, it allows developers to code apps for all industrial verticals and caters to the needs of employees, vendors, partners, and customers. Such versatility negates any IT dependency, thus streamlining the application development process.
OutSystems helps organizations and business leaders rapidly build new, scalable, secure, adaptable to business shifts, and reliable applications from the ground up. From updates to workflows, user experience, backend integration, support for new mobile devices, or new infrastructure technology – OutSystems helps developers adapt solutions to meet their organizations’ latest challenges with unprecedented speed. In addition, it alerts developers in case of bugs or broken code to be fixed. It temporarily pauses publishing functions until the fix is made. Said to be a developer-friendly platform, it empowers them to control every aspect of app development using its visual modeling interface and custom coding features.
OutSystems empowers developers, customers, and enterprises
Through OutSystems, anybody can build applications or dashboards to improve business productivity. It allows teams to build end-to-end solutions and integrate them with the core ERP or CRM system that steadily accomplish all digital transformation goals.
Since it is a true enterprise-grade platform, it supports all levels of business performance and boosts operational efficiency. It allows enterprises to start from a certain level and scale from there with continuous improvements. Users can deploy the solution on-premise, or the cloud, as per their business needs.
To conclude, OutSystems is a crucial enabler of digital transformation initiatives worldwide. With reputed companies like Schneider Electric, AXA, Randstad, etc., adopting the low-code platform, OutSystems is the right path for enterprises who wish to achieve complete and productive digital evolution.