Software engineering has, for decades, been the domain of coders and IT specialists, but the introduction of low-code has cracked the door on application development for business users whose coding experience begins and ends with drag and drop.
Low-code application development enables users to produce internal apps and business functions from a simple user interface that requires little actual coding. This means employees of small and medium-sized businesses maintain control over how they spend their hours—focusing on time-sensitive work and automating, delegating, or building apps to handle everything else.
Low-code is already producing results. According to KPMG, 100% of companies that have implemented a low-code platform have reported a positive ROI.
The year 2023 is slated to bring about a slew of new functions and benefits that are relevant to small businesses and accessible via low-code, including predictive data analysis, effortless task automation, and increased opportunity for collaboration. But, preparation for these changes is not as simple as putting a low-code system into place.
Here’s more on what to expect in the coming year for low-code trends and how you can begin prepping your platforms.
3 Low-Code Trends in 2023
1.) Predictive Data Analysis
The first of the low-code trends takes place as CRM systems improve. When this happens, their capacity for handling large amounts of data also improves. However, companies don’t need to be collecting more data, but rather analyze the data they already have.
This is where current low-code technology shines. With only a few clicks, any user can synthesize data into a series of charts, graphs, or whatever sorts of visualizations make the most sense—and the resulting images can be arranged on a dashboard and immediately shared with all relevant team members. This offers transparency and real time feedback on changes to processes, though it requires a bit of a cognitive lift to determine what data points are more relevant than others.
Soon, analysis will require even less work on the front end. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) capabilities are being integrated into low-code platforms, with more coming next year, and the technology allows the system to analyze and present mounds of data automatically. Real-time updates to data, pulled by AI/ML, ensure the system is only working with the most relevant numbers.
In analyzing the results, small businesses no longer need to draw their own conclusions on whether an initiative was successful. Modern testing capabilities allow employees to run their own instantaneous program to measure all types of KPIs—not just financial ones. As AI/ML capabilities grow, testing and updating old data can become an entirely automated process. Next year, as the machine learning capabilities of low-code improve, platforms will be able to enact a more robust testing program that adapts as it goes.
Expect this to pay particular dividends for developing and honing CX. Spending less time figuring out what’s going on with a company’s platform means more time for that team to build, test, and deploy consumer-facing improvements. And, because testing can be completed quickly and the results analyzed and presented in a snap, DevOps can execute tight pivots and stay ahead of customer expectations.
Now’s a great opportunity for companies to ensure their employees are trained on low-code, particularly customer-facing ones. Not just how to build apps, but how to take a look at apps created by others and make modifications guided by recent customer data.
Low-code enables the people who actually oversee the jobs to come up with the training. Just as a back-office employee could build an app that helps with tracking company expenses, a customer service supervisor could also construct a training module for a new team member to complete. All businesses operate under limited time constraints, particularly small businesses, and low-code helps maximize what little time is available.
2.) Effortless Task Automation
The second of the low-code trends expected in 2023 is increased task automation. Low-code enables swift completion of tasks that used to require hiring outside specialists. In this case, it’s writing the program itself. With advances in automation, low-code is poised to take even more off the plates of employees.
Low-code platforms are starting to enable automation—dealing with repeatable, menial tasks that would usually require hours of employees’ time. This can take the form of expense tracking, time card punching, or customer interview transcribing—crucial but decidedly mundane tasks.
This low-code trend is going to help small businesses in 2023 weather a bunch of storms currently converging into a hurricane. One of the major issues brought about over the last few years, across all industries, is a staffing shortage—both finding candidates with the right skillsets or, in some cases, finding minimally qualified talent at all.
Task automation can’t take the place of an entire employee, but it enables the ones that currently exist to perform their jobs more strategically and quickly, allowing them to focus limited time on the more mission critical aspects of their jobs. And, because automation exists within a low-code context, it’s far easier to expand the range of available applicants by not requiring a highly specialized background.
Low-code goes a long way in helping employees across businesses and departments, producing a snowball effect of benefits. For example, customer service representatives could automate sending customer follow-ups post-purchase while spending time overseeing improvements to current systems and scaling them for a growing customer base.
Prepping for increased capacity for automation in 2023 requires a bird’s eye view of employee responsibilities, and companies, particularly larger ones, would be wise to start that process right away.
Once again, low-code can help. Most platforms come standard with a blueprint-like feature that allows anyone to craft organizational and workflow charts that remain centrally available to all employees. By establishing roles and responsibilities, and offering access to everyone, employees can focus on only what matters most, including placing the onus for automating work on the person who actually completes it. Less time guessing, more time focused on the future.
3.) Increased Opportunity for Collaboration
The third of the low-code trends on the horizon is increased collaboration. Given the emphasis on remote and hybrid work, employees are going to require a centralized hub from which to do business. Some tools have stepped in and offered their services, while others have been accessible for awhile but are currently enjoying a sharp increase in the number of users.
In fact, according to Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work 2021 report, 38% of employees say their company has upgraded their video setup to enable more remote collaboration.
The trend is slated to capitalize on low-code technology in 2023. Some of the process is outlined above, including empowering employees who own a particular facet of the business to build low-code apps that directly address their needs, and a never-ending supply of data points, automatically sorted to highlight the most salient metrics. But, low-code helps to alleviate one of the most important concerns with remote work: privacy.
As has become a ubiquitous process, many businesses choose to store their important files on a physical server that’s accessible from machines located within an office but requires a VPN to access from the outside. Sounds simple, but the potential for issues abounds. For one thing, the cost to set this up can be prohibitively expensive for some small businesses. Files can often take awhile to update, meaning folks who work remote might be viewing an outdated document or referencing worn stats in a meeting. And, should a security breach occur, the option to work remote could disappear.
Low-code facilitates a more flexible way of working. All files live in the cloud behind numerous layers of security, including an adherence to strict regulations set out by national and international law. Information stored on the server updates instantaneously and from anywhere, and often can be done by leveraging automation.
As technology improves into 2023, companies don’t have to jump into a comprehensive low-code privacy solution feet first. Instead, they can migrate a few key processes out of their existing systems and onto a low-code platform, beginning to build the framework and best practices for operating out of the cloud. They can measure the levels of security every so often, a process made painless thanks to low-code and automation, and make micro-adjustments as they go.
Next Year in Low-Code
Low-code is enabling a technologically egalitarian way of doing business, in which the folks who sweat the details are given the opportunity to immediately simplify how they work. Processes also become more sustainable. So as a company grows, their tools won’t need to constantly be updated.
Small businesses already need to operate lean-and-mean. And thanks to low-code, they can veer towards leaner and meaner. Next year is going to set a high bar for low-code.
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