Digital transformation is not a new concept that emerged in 2020. The need for digital transformation existed before this year and will continue long after COVID-19 has eventually faded away.
But that’s not to say that the pandemic hasn’t had an enormous impact on the digital transformation plans of organizations in different industries all over the world. Recent Nuxeo research with software developers revealed that for 70% of companies, digital transformation has become more of a priority since the pandemic first emerged.
The digital transformation imperative has intensified and accelerated in 2020, as the pandemic has disrupted entire markets and normal business practices. As new waves of the pandemic compound the impact of original lock-downs and cement more permanent changes to the way the world works, organizations have found that they now have no choice but to reinvent their established practices and client services.
As organizations strive to make these changes, the focus is on how best to approach doing so. Low-code development tools have grown in both prominence and use in 2020 and are regarded as increasingly important in accelerating digital transformation pace.
Changing business requirements
Some companies had already lost a great deal in 2020 – revenue, customers, market position – because they weren’t ready or didn’t have a plan B when circumstances called for it.
That new digital service, channel, or app they were devising: if it wasn’t primed to go live, it is likely to have been put on pause as businesses redirected energy and resources to fire-fighting and trying to survive the immediate crisis brought on by the pandemic.
But now, it has become clear that companies and their customers are in this for the long haul, which means organizations must adapt and innovate today if they still want to survive.
This, in turn, is putting pressure on software development teams to move quickly: they need to find ways to deliver new digital capabilities and services in a matter of weeks rather than months or years.
This is where low-code development tools have proved to be so effective. Low-code tooling makes developers more efficient by reusing 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.
The impact of low-code tools
Nuxeo’s research shows that digital transformation has become more of a priority for seven in every ten organizations since the threat of COVID-19 first emerged. In turn, this has been having a direct effect on development teams and what is expected of them.
When asked to identify the main implications for their role, 37% of software developers confirmed they were under renewed pressure to enable more effective collaboration across their organizations as people continued to work from home.
A third (32%) were being called upon specifically to facilitate more effective use of content while teams were dispersed and to enable new experiences and services, while a similar number (31%) felt under intensified pressure to launch applications at speed.
It is no coincidence that the profile of, and interest in, low-code is rising. Close to a half of software developers said they already used low-code development tools occasionally (once a week or less), and almost two-thirds (64%) reported that their use of low-code tools had increased in 2020 (since the initial global lockdown).
Demand is coming from employers, too, as the benefits of low-code 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. A substantial majority (60%) reported that they use these tools specifically to create content-based applications.
The low-code benefits
Nuxeo respondents cited some of the benefits of low-code development tools to the business, and seeing those, it is little surprise to see how the use of low-code tools has grown. The principal benefits included simplifying the development process (cited by 35%); accelerating digital transformation (by 25%), and boosting innovation (also cited by 25%).
Tools that speed the development process are hugely impactful in terms of helping companies transform and innovate, which has a knock-on effect in improving the customer experience. This all helps make a business more competitive – always important but especially so in this current period of uncertainty.
It is important to note that COVID-19 didn’t create the need for businesses to digitally transform; it’s just one more contributing factor. But if it was necessary to be agile, create new services and experiences to respond to the market demand quickly before, then it has now become essential. COVID-19 didn’t establish the need for this but did create a real sense of urgency.
Low-code tools can significantly enable addressing this urgency. Their use is all about being ready for tomorrow and what could happen in an always evolving environment.
In simple terms, they accelerate digital transformation and the businesses that adapt to the use of low-code tools will find themselves infinitely better placed for the future than those that do not.