Don’t Look Back, Disruption Might Be Gaining on You

Baseball legend Satchel Paige is reported to have said: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”

In the digital economy, that “something” might be digital disruption.

One of the biggest challenges for large companies is the relentless pressure to evolve. Many long-time successful brands run into trouble when they should be building on innovation—but don’t.

Here’s the thing. Back in the predigital day, it could take years for competitors to run down a major brand. But with the rise of digital transformation—not to mention the recent frenzy of mergers & acquisitions—companies on the S&P index are being replaced, on average, every two weeks, according to researchers at Innosight.

On top of that, over 50% of Fortune 500 companies have gone extinct since 2000, according to Constellation Research.  

The question is, will your industry…your organization…your business be next?

So how can you compete and win? If you’re already on top, how can you stay there? The answer, in short, is low-code digital transformation.

And here’s the good part. By the end of this decade, the percentage of enterprises with advanced digital transformation strategies is expected to more than double, according to IDC.

Coincidentally, low-code development will continue to rise, as app development shifts away from IT to business users, and businesses no longer have to choose between custom apps or off-the-shelf software.

Pick a digital transformation battle. Make it count

The truth is, the world of enterprise software development is evolving. Today, software is essential to automating the things that make us successful, that distinguish us from competitors, that help us to overcome disruption.

But disruption is a relentless beast. You just can’t stand pat, continue to do things as you always have, and expect to dodge disruption in the long run. Sooner or later it’s going to catch up to you.

Perhaps a better choice is to pick a spot in your organization where digital transformation will have a big impact. Then, go all out on implementation. This is precisely what decision-makers at Barclays Bank did, when they tapped Appian to transform their call center operations.

As a London-based bank, Barclays has focused on customer experience (CX) for over 300 years.

But the company’s Barclaycard group wanted to capitalize on this long-successful CX tradition by automating it into call center operations for Barclaycard US.

For starters, the bank replaced their aging call center software, and ran their contact center operations on Appian’s low-code app development platform instead. Within one month of deploying the platform, Barclays saw a 64% increase in customer satisfaction scores— and an 84% increase in operational efficiency.

One of Barclays’ transformation goals was to create a consistent omnichannel experience for customers, no matter how they interacted with the Barclay’s brand, including via smartphone, iPad and IVR.

With Appian’s Low-Code Platform and “Records” dynamic case management functionality, Barclays quickly unified data across all of their back-end systems, and overlaid it with contextual interaction data to create a seamless experience for inbound callers.

App development time reduced from months to weeks

Before Appian, call center agents at Barclays had to swivel between multiple systems and screens to service customers. But the advanced case management functionality of Appian Records eliminated the frustration of multiple logons, and the inefficiency of swiveling between systems.

And all of that back-end, customer and interaction data? It was unified in one place.

The call center transformation was so successful, Barclaycard decided to expanded their use of Appian to include Fraud Management, Billing Disputes, Global Commercial Payments and more, in the US and abroad.

“With Appian,” says Roy Aston, Barclaycard Group CIO, “we’re on a hugely transformational journey in a low-code environment, where we can build advanced, highly automated workflows and business processes that create value for our customers.”

Productivity soars with low code development

In his book entitled “The Rise and Fall of American Growth,” author Robert Gordon warns that America’s innovation engine has run out of gas. Gordon argues that productivity growth will be further held back, if we are unable to reboot innovation.

Enter low-code development.

The best low-code platforms can multiply developer productivity by a factor of 10 or more, making old school approaches to app development look, well, old school.

Everything about low code is graphical—from its intuitive approach to wizards and prebuilt interfaces, all the way down to integrating a new data source, making a rule, or creating a form or a user.

This user-friendly approach to app development allows skilled developers to build and deploy secure enterprise apps faster, and immediately mobilize them. It also empowers non-developers to build apps that are automatically usable on all major devices.

5 Ways Low Code Gives Innovation a Jolt:

  1. Low-code digital transformation platforms enable rapid delivery of business applications, with minimal hand-coding, upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment. Unlike traditional platforms, low-code platforms rely on visual development tools instead of programming languages, to deliver applications faster than traditional platforms.
  2. Low-code platforms are scalable. You can use them for everything from small, simple applications to complex, enterprise-scale applications. Relatively simple applications can be created without writing code. Others may require some programming for integrations with source systems or applications, custom algorithms, or delivery of special functionality not found within the platform. In these cases, you can use programming extensions and scripting found within the low-code environment.
  3. With traditional platforms, coding new applications can be labor intensive. And changing custom-built applications with thousands of lines of code can be a nightmare. Compared with hand-coding, low code’s ability to visually configure applications significantly accelerates your application delivery.
  4. Low-code platforms improve agility for application development. They allow your developers to quickly build prototypes or minimally viable products to validate requirements and test ideas before investing time to fully build out application functionality. This reduces your overall development time, optimizes developer resources, and enables digital innovation through cost-effective experimentation.
  5. Because low-code platforms are so user-friendly, you can use nontraditional developer resources to manage them. Low-code platforms also allow you to harness the power of citizen developers and business experts to build and deploy applications. Which makes it that much easier to align IT and business priorities.

If your approach to innovation has you worried about surviving and thriving in the digital economy, consider doing something different.

Low-code app development is a good place to start.

It’s worth noting that PCMag recently gave Appian the nod for its second straight Editor’s Choice award, as the best low-code platform for 2017. (Read the article).

What it all comes down to is this.

In the long run, the best way to overcome disruption is no looking back, just moving ahead.

Roland Alston

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