We’ve all seen that digitization and automation of business processes can completely revolutionize a company’s operations, especially in complicated areas like supply chain and logistics. Developers who can digitize and automate business processes can give the business not only mobility and scalability but other practical benefits such as increased productivity, reduced costs, increased worker safety, and even greater workforce retention and satisfaction. Mobility and cloud-based access to data can dramatically improve the visibility of information and applications across an entire company. And mobilization of these apps allows employees to conduct business and access their company’s online resources from anywhere.
Sadly, though, too many modernization projects have come up against a shocking hard stop. The current shortage of highly skilled programmers, combined with the hiring freezes of a sluggish economy, has hampered innovation for many developer teams. Low-code platforms can alleviate some of the challenges of the talent shortage by allowing developers to automate their more rote and basic programming tasks through pre-determined blocks of code. This lets them innovate more with the same amount of developer resources. Yet as the creators of low-code solutions, we find that not enough CEOs understand how these low-code platforms can solve their specific business problems, impact their operations, and deliver business value. So it’s been difficult for developers to get their application migration strategies back on track.
Here’s where the disconnect lies: Low-code technology is something you care about as a developer. You know how rapid application development can create efficiencies and how that translates to improved operations. However, realize that low-code development isn’t something that’s necessarily meaningful to your CEO in and of itself. Even if they have an understanding of low code development, it’s likely not second nature for them to imagine the practical impact of this type of integration. If you want your CEO to sign off on your low-code/no-code modernization projects, you need to communicate to them how these tools will allow you to improve their daily operations.
Business Value, Not Programming Logic
This is what we’re finding more and more as we talk about Pillir’s low-code supply chain solutions in the marketplace: CEOs and CIOs don’t want to hear about the capabilities of a software application. They want to hear about business value. They want positive results that impact their KPIs, their workforce, and their costs. They want details on how the solution performs in the field, how it saves money, how it improves safety for their employees, or how it helps them do their jobs better.
C-level executives respond best to specific, proven examples. As a developer, you should define how your intended modernization project will affect business in concrete terms. For example, as a strategic exercise, we created a chart illustrating how several specific low-code modernization projects have created real-world increases in productivity, safety, visibility, cost-efficiency, etc.
Real-World Business Value
Here are some of the use cases we’ve been relying on to illustrate the business value of low-code development projects. They typically involved customized, low-code software business applications for large enterprises, within an ERP-based environment.
30% Reduction in Material Master Management Costs
Household name packaged foods company: A software project for this organization digitized and created mobile applications to manage, sign, and authorize material master data for their frozen food delivery operations. The applications yielded a 30% reduction in material master maintenance costs. This project was completed in 60 days from start to finish using only one or two developers—nearly six times faster than traditional integration methods.
99% Reduction of “Near Miss Accidents”
Global plastics company: This global producer of synthetic fibers, textiles, and chemicals digitized its warehouse management through a low-code platform. The new solution allowed heavy equipment operators to input information on tablets directly from their forklifts, preventing the need to walk across the busy and sometimes hazardous shop floor to input data. This significantly increased data visibility throughout the organization, and they recorded a 99% reduction of “near miss” accidents. Using two developers, the full warehouse automation project was completed, from kick-off to “go-live,” in ten weeks. Development time was reduced by nine times compared to using traditional development efforts.
480% Reduction in Payroll Processing Time and Effort
Major payroll systems company: This provider digitized and modernized its project management, material allocation, time tracking, payroll and compliance business applications. They increased the accuracy and efficiency of their systems across various departments, reducing the cost of field technician data entry by 95%. Payroll processing time was reduced by 480%. This complete project was developed and delivered by two employees in eight weeks, compared to the eight or nine months and the six-member team that conventional methods would require.
Such examples tend to get the light bulb to go off for CEOs and CIOs. It definitively communicates how a company can improve operations in a cost-effective manner through low-code programming, even in the midst of a talent shortage. In this way, a “business value” approach may just help developers get their modernization plans back on the books.