Now you know the high-level differences between low-code, no-code, and pro-code development, and hyperautomation. In this lesson, we are going to explore the two specific problems which have been driving the interest around these topics and evaluate the solutions they can provide to you and your company.
In this video you get an introduction to Enterprise Problems and LCNC Solutions.
Companies are Drowning in Data
As of 2021, about 60% of the world’s population is online, and many organizations also have an online presence, so most companies, particularly medium- and large-size companies, have too much data. This is not just electronic data pulled in from the internet and the World Wide Web, but also paper-based data from forms, spreadsheets, and other documents. A lot of electronic data also ends up being routinely printed on paper.
Companies have too much data and paper. Finding ways to cope with this data while reducing the environmental impacts of paper documents has become urgent. The longer it takes to effectively deal with these problems, the more harmful and expensive they become.
You can implement technology that can mine and manage this data. There are already advanced types of software, such as process mining, workflow management, robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI), which can turn large quantities of data into valuable assets for a company. However, historically, this implementation required a skilled IT workforce, and a big budget.
This is where we encounter the second big problem companies are facing today, the global shortage of professional developer talent.
Global Shortage of Skilled IT Workers
There are many software and web-based solutions that could help companies get value from their data, but the reality is that enterprise solutions usually must be installed and customized by professional developers and IT experts. There is also a large, and growing, lack of available professional developers and IT experts. This problem is expected to get a lot worse, at least in the short term.
How bad is the global shortage of IT personnel? In 2021, the shortage totaled some 40 million technically skilled workers worldwide. In the United States alone, 69% of US employers reported having difficulty filling tech positions in 2020. This situation is not expected to improve. Economists are predicting that the global talent shortage will reach more than 85 million workers by 2030.
The reasons for the short supply of IT personnel are many and complex, and something that we don’t have time to get into here, but it means that many companies and organizations are under pressure. They have too few qualified people in place even to maintain their systems, let alone help drive innovation and new product development.
LCNC Development and Hyperautomation to the Rescue
So, what can organizations do to keep on top of the data flow? For many companies, hyperautomation is a big part of the answer.
Manually transferring data is a time-consuming and, often wasteful, task. A typical example is requesting parental leave. In most companies, this is still a manual process of filling a form, scanning, and sending via email. Someone in human resources usually must enter at least some of the employees' basic data (name, contact information) into a spreadsheet or company database before the request can be processed.
Ideally, many kinds of data sets or information should be entered once and only once. What if there was a way to transfer all the information contained in a parental leave form into an online spreadsheet automatically? The employee has already provided the relevant data, and it’s likely that they have done so correctly. Why duplicate this process and risk typos or errors by having another person manually input the same information?
There are several other wasteful and repetitive processes in areas such as purchasing, billing, order fulfillment, and so on. Hyperautomation aims to automate as many of these kinds of data input and extraction tasks as possible. Companies that hyperautomate these kinds of processes can save enormous amounts of time and money and can free their employees to concentrate on more value-adding and creative kinds of work.
Enter low-code/no-code (LCNC) development. You’re taking this course to find out more about it, and you’re likely here because either you, or the decision-makers in your company, have realized that one of the better solutions to dealing with growing mountains of data and a lack of professional developers is to turn employees into "citizen developers".
Let’s return to the example of extracting data from a parental leave request. In our LCNC universe, automating this process involves a visual interface that lets users build an automation step-by-single-step, using reprogrammed building blocks. These blocks are pre-built to search for information in a specific field (such as "last name") in an online form, copy it, and then automatically paste the information into the correct cell of a spreadsheet.
A citizen developer could then use that same process in another scenario, for example to extract job applicant data, this time with the instruction to copy-paste the applicant’s first name. The same function can be used again and again to extract all the information from an online form. Put all of these single-step functions together, and you have a simple, but robust, application that automates data extraction quickly and without any risk of input errors (at least not on your company’s side).
You’ll learn a lot more about LCNC development in other units later, but we want to reiterate a couple of things. Firstly, using such a visual no-code interface doesn’t require knowing how to program. Secondly, creating such a visual interface requires some knowledge of programming. Even though some programming knowledge is required, creating no-code apps is becoming faster and easier for professional developers because of the low-code tools that are frequently part of hyperautomation toolkits.
Summary: Enterprise Problems and LCNC Solutions
There are two main takeaways from today’s lesson:
- There are two main problems driving the move to hyperautomation. The first problem is the exponential increase in the amount of electronic and paper-based data that companies, and organizations must cope with. The second problem is a global shortage of trained technical developers and programmers.
- Hyperautomation is seen as a major solution because it pairs AI, RPA and other intelligent technologies, with the use of LCNC development tools that non-technical people, the citizen developers, can learn to use to automate time-consuming, routine tasks.