How to find the 'sweet spot' with low-code automation

Today, low code is all the rage, with the worldwide low-code development technologies market expected to reach $13.8 billion this year, according to Gartner. One major factor driving investment is hyper-automation, as organizations look to quickly identify and automate appropriate business and IT processes.

It’s no surprise robotic process automation (RPA) and citizen automation and development platforms (CADP) are two of the technologies seeing jumps in revenue, pointing to the current interest in low-code automation.

More stakeholders within the organization can contribute to initiatives through low-code automation. But there are a lot of choices when it comes to platforms. Choosing the wrong one can actually impede progress rather than expedite it. A low-code automation platform that’s "too simple" won’t give IT teams the tools they need to work on more complicated workflows, while a system that’s "too complex" will overwhelm nontechnical users.

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When organizations take the time up front to find that "just right" solution, you unlock the true potential of low-code automation. Digital workflow transformation accelerates and hyperautomation becomes a reality. It’s the "sweet spot" of low code.

Low-Code Automation Analysis: What’s 'Just Right' for Your Organization?

Identifying the right low-code automation solution requires a hard look at the players involved. If the platform doesn’t check the boxes for everyone, you won’t get the maximum benefit.

Company executives are always looking to drive efficiencies, improve the customer experience, reduce costs and ensure compliance. Automation can help achieve all of these goals, but low-code automation is even more enticing because it puts an end to the long development timelines in many IT departments.

Let’s imagine the following scenario: Management starts a new initiative to improve the customers’ journey during their interaction with customer service. Customers often reach out via chat and then send follow-up emails and phone calls, with an average of five touch points before their issue is resolved. This lengthy process creates a negative customer experience and leads to complaints, lower revenue and declining customer loyalty.

Management sets a goal to reduce the average number of customer touch points from five to two and wants to use low-code to accomplish it. So, you have buy-in, but what about everyone else impacted by this selection? In order to make a wise decision, you need to understand the roles and needs of everyone who will use the low-code platform.

One of the first user personas to consider is business process owners. This non-technical user understands the process is being automated. They can put their in-depth knowledge of the problem to work in a low-code automation platform by leveraging components built by more technical individuals.

But the platform has to be easy to use. Drag-and-drop tools and mobile device support are some features this user group will typically find valuable. An intuitive interface lets them make minor adjustments to automation workflows, such as making sure the types of questions coming into call centers are addressed in the workflow.

Another user persona to consider is the citizen developer, a non-professional developer who has enough awareness of basic programming and business process management concepts to use IT-developed components to create robots, user interfaces and workflows. They work closely with business process owners to identify areas where automation workflows can be reused to accelerate automation.

In our customer touch point scenario, the business process owner can explain the different types of cases coming into customer service with a high number of touch points. The citizen developer can determine how best to reuse automations to speed up the project timeline.

And, of course, we can’t forget about IT and development teams. They may be skeptical of low-code, worried that non-technical users may break a system or introduce security issues. Buy-in and support from this group is critical for long-term success. There are two users within this area to consider.

Professional developers create integrations, apply business rules and are responsible for security and governance. They’re capable of writing code and need a platform that allows them to carry out more complex coding and automation tasks.

System administrators are responsible for the maintenance, configuration and operation of the low-code automation platform. They’ll also play a role in making the IT-developed components available to citizen developers. These users will look for features such as simple integration and native support for emerging technologies and modern, cloud-first architecture.

What Happens When You Find That ‘Sweet Spot’?

When the low-code automation platform meets the needs of business process owners, citizen developers, professional developers and system administrators, the results are impressive. A recent study asked automation decision makers what benefits they would expect to see if their automation platform was more user-friendly. The top responses were:

  • Increased employee productivity (52 percent)
  • Improved CX (49 percent)
  • Improved operational efficiency (45 percent)
  • Better ability to provide service to customers (41 percent)
  • Better internal collaboration (40 percent)
  • Less employee pushback when new technology is implemented (38 percent)

In other words, the right low-code platform empowers everyone in the organization to put their knowledge to work and accelerate automation and digital workflow transformation. With all stakeholders able to contribute, the burden on IT and development decreases, so they can focus on more complex programming needs without slowing down progress on simpler initiatives. Rapid, scalable automation becomes possible, and the business can easily adapt workflows as automation needs change.

As more organizations turn their attention to low-code automation, it’s important to remember how critical the decision-making process is. When you consider all of the relevant user personas and ensure the solution meets all users’ needs, everyone -- from IT to business line managers -- can work smarter and faster. Now you can find your "sweet spot" and work like tomorrow, today.

Image credit: Visual Generation / Shutterstock

Omid Aslani is Director of Commercial Product Management at Kofax

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