In the last lesson, we talked about the three main categories of people who are affected by or involved in low-code / no-code (LCNC) development and hyperautomation.
As a reminder, they are:
- Citizen developers, who may have little or no technical knowledge or experience, but who are experts in their field of business and understand what needs to be done to meet the company’s goals and expectations.
- Professional developers who know one or more programming languages, can solve computer software and/or hardware problems, and can design or enhance and implement new applications.
- IT administrators, who help set and implement company policies relating to software applications, access, product lifecycles, and so on.
We’ve talked about the personas involved in LCNC development and hyperautomation, but now it’s time to get personal, after all, a legitimate and natural question to ask yourself when learning about something new, particularly in an employment setting, is "What’s in it for me?" Let’s start figuring that out, beginning with our non-technical business personnel.
Benefits for Non-Technical Business Personnel
As a non-technical businessperson, your job probably entails data extraction and input tasks, especially tasks that might require you to spend extra hours trying to keep up. For you, the most obvious benefit of using LCNC tools to automate your work is that, once you set up a new automation or application, you will no longer have to deal with the paperwork, data, and spreadsheets that go along with a particular activity.
This can give you the time you need to work more creatively, connect with colleagues and customers, and enjoy greater work satisfaction.
Let’s think about handling job applications. Companies can receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications in response to a specific job opening. Automating data extraction can help you sort through those resumes and CVs, and hyperautomation can be harnessed to look for job-specific work experience and education or training within those CVs. At the end of the automated process, your human resources department has a smaller number of candidates who meet certain specific hiring criteria.
What hyperautomation cannot do right now is help with the subtlety and details needed to select the best candidates. However, by reducing the time needed for the mechanics of data extraction and sorting through applications, you will have time to look more closely at the credentials and experience of the pre-screened candidates. You have time to thoroughly check the contenders, talk to their current or previous employers, and double-check their degrees. All of these are activities that should be done (especially when the job requires handling confidential or sensitive information), but all too often are not.
Benefits for Professional Developers
Let's look at how professional developers stand to benefit from LCNC development with hyperautomation.
As most people directly involved in IT know, there is almost always more demand for software development and technical troubleshooting than there is capacity to deliver. A significant number of technical people are constantly dealing with problems, helping new employees with technical onboarding, and dealing with updates, both in-house and for commercial software products. Such routine tasks cut into the time developers need to work on creating or improving software. Urgent, time-dependent tasks usually take precedence over important tasks, at least until hard deadlines turn "important" tasks into "urgent" ones.
The net result is that requests for app extensions, suggested and, even necessary, improvements to functions and user interfaces usually end up on a list of backlog items that IT engineers hope to get around to doing eventually.
The beauty of LCNC development is two-fold. Firstly, low-code programming can help speed up the time it takes professional developers to improve software applications. Secondly, it can help them refine the no-code tools that citizen developers can use to automate their own tasks and enhance the software tools they use.
The more empowered non-technical users are to create and deploy the items on their own wish lists, the fewer items there will be in the backlogs for professional developers to deal with, freeing them to focus on the more complicated kinds of work that adds value to the company.
Benefits for IT Administrators
Finally, let’s examine at least one-way LCNC and citizen development can be helpful to an IT administrator, and that’s the avoidance of "shadow IT."
What is shadow IT? Simply put, it is any kind of technical workaround or software application that employees, sometimes desperate, fed-up, out-of-patience, people, end up using to try to fix a problem that affects them or their department.
Shadow IT often emerges when the backlog items on a professional developers’ to-do lists remain untouched for months or even years, because there’s always something more urgent for them to deal with first. As we discussed before, IT departments are chronically short-staffed, so backlogs get longer as time goes on. Shadow IT brings with it a host of potential problems, including incompatibilities with company-wide systems and a serious risk of security breaches.
We’ll talk more about this in our next lesson. For now, LCNC and citizen development can greatly reduce, if not entirely eliminate, shadow IT. Replacing different kinds of software with apps that can be integrated with approved applications that already exist on a company’s platform ensures greater security, coherency, and transparency.
Benefits to Departments and Lines of Business
It is likely that you can now think of ways that LCNC development can be applied to automate some tasks in your department. We’ve already touched on how automating job application data extraction can speed up the hiring process. Almost every department and every line of business has tasks that can be automated through low-code / no-code development.
Tasks that can be automated include invoicing, managing purchase orders, approval processes, deadline reminders, missing document alerts, accounts payable, accounts receivable, customer inquiries, updates, invitations to events, tracking shipments, generating leads for sales, customer retention, logistics, soliciting feedback, and work scheduling. The list goes on.
Any task that requires data input, extraction, or collation can be automated, and any task that is automated frees up people to work on more challenging and satisfying activities.
Benefits to Organizations and Companies
When business processes and applications are built with LCNC and hyperautomation, the organization or company as a whole can benefit in several tangible ways, such as:
- Maximizing the value they get of their existing applications, which means saving money.
- Increasing customer satisfaction.
- Freeing up time formerly spent on boring tasks and spending it instead on more value-added and creative tasks.
- Increasing employee satisfaction by relieving them of these boring tasks.
Summary: Benefits for Employees, Lines of Business, and Companies
Today’s main takeaway is simple. LCNC development can help citizen developers, professional developers, and IT administrators automate certain tasks in virtually every department and in every line of business. This means they are saving time, which means saving money, increasing customer satisfaction, and freeing up time that employees used to spend on repetitive tasks, allowing them to concentrate instead on more value-adding tasks that can bring them greater satisfaction.