Digital transformation programs have intensified and accelerated in 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted entire markets and normal business practices. As new waves of the pandemic compound the impact of original lockdowns and cement more permanent changes to the way the world works, organisations have found that they now have no choice but to reinvent their established practices and client services.

Our latest research Onepoll / Nuxeo “The low-code imperative” highlights the fact that the ability to respond rapidly to evolving market demand has become more important, with 70% of UK software developers saying that digital transformation had become more of a priority in their organisation since the threat of Covid-19 first emerged.

There is more to it than that, though. This is about speed of response as much as having a new, updated vision to execute. The crisis is affecting businesses, supply chains, and consumers right now, just as it will for the foreseeable future.

Managing Content Effectively

The dispersal of teams during pandemic-induced lockdown, and the growing reliance on digital channels to maintain workflows, deal with suppliers and provide services to customers, has placed new emphasis on organisations’ ability to manage content assets easily, efficiently, and reliably online. That could be traditional enterprise content such as documents and business data, or broader digital assets including photos, video, audio, graphics, 3D product visualisations, and more.

For Financial Services (FS) teams, typical challenges experienced since March 2020 have included approving loans or processing insurance claims. For design companies and manufacturers, there have been issues progressing new product prototypes. For fashion brands and retailers, problems are likely to have included how to refresh promotional campaigns if unable to readily create new visual assets.

It is clear that organisations across all of these sectors are facing similar pressures to accelerate digital transformation to cope with the pandemic and its pervasive disruption to business-as-usual and to the global economy. This intensified pressure to deliver quickly, in response to immediate market conditions, has magnified the already long understood limitations of traditional approaches to IT project delivery. Against the backdrop of Covid-19, almost one half (47%) of developers said they lacked the tools to build applications and products quickly enough to meet deadlines.

‘Low-code’: the Antidote to Inertia

It is in this context that ‘low-code’ development platforms have risen up the business agenda. Low-code tooling makes developers more efficient, by allowing them to re-use existing components and templates to speed up application delivery. In the context of content-based applications, it introduces the ability to create a new digital customer or supply-chain experience with a very rapid turnaround. In short, low-code allows IT teams to make smarter and more efficient use of their time and skills, accelerating the delivery of new user experiences.

As a result, almost two-thirds of our respondents reported that their use of low-code tools had increased in 2020 (since the initial global lockdown).

Demand is coming from employers too, as low-code’s benefits become more widely appreciated. More than half (55%) of developers in the survey said they were being encouraged by the business to use low-code development tools.

Smarter use of technology and digitisation of employee/supplier/customer services and experiences will be critical to organisations’ revised roadmaps, and in a post-Covid world that includes the ability to launch and scale up new innovation quickly, efficiently and effectively.

Agility is Everything in a Post-Covid World

Whatever the specifics of an organisation’s renewed digital transformation agenda, making content work harder and accelerating service innovation requires that two fundamental conditions are fulfilled.

  1. First, existing information silos need to be bridged so that content assets can be released and used in a range of new ways.
  2. Second, content needs to be made ‘smarter’ so that it is easier to find, combine, analyse, and act on.

The good news is that the digital enablers that allow people to discover more about content and do more with it are more accessible now than they have ever been. Progress starts with embracing a common foundation or ‘platform’ for all of the content assets the business wants to be able to exploit in new and better ways. Then teams need to be able to leverage the content in as short a timeframe as possible in new apps and services, which is where low-code development tools come in.

Our survey shows that 41% of software developers want more than half of their organisation’s app development to be delivered using low-code by 2022. An encouraging sign that businesses are moving in the right direction with regard to digital transformation, whatever lies ahead.

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