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Enterprises that are in the throes of digital transformation are quickly beginning to realize that agility has become a key factor for success. Nowhere is this truer than in the arena of DevOps, where digital transformation often means recoding applications, incorporating the cloud, leveraging APIs, and supporting the burgeoning mobile and remote markets.
Perhaps the secret to solving those challenges comes in the form of low-code or no-code application development tools, something that Appian Founder, Chairman & CEO Matt Calkins fully believes. Calkins said “Developers are embracing Low-Code Platforms to collaborate with business owners to deliver sustainable apps faster.”
Naturally, Calkins has a vested interest in the low code ideology, after all Appian is a Business Process Management (BPM) platform provider, seeking to topple the apple cart, with Appian Quick Apps, a product that transforms how applications are built, deployed and modified. Calkins added “The goal with Appian Quick Apps is to keep users from getting bogged in specifying granular actions when building the core app while maintaining customizability.”
Calkins isn’t alone in his observations, both Forrester and Gartner, well known research houses, agree with Calkins assessments, offering that BPM tied with agility is the key for digital transformation success. However, there is a lot more to the story of low-code & no-code solutions than drag and drop simplicity. It all comes down to the creativity that such a development environment can deliver.
Calkins added “Low-Code Platforms free up software developers from mundane tasks like adding fields to forms or testing mobile apps so they can do more of what they love: creating and inventing.” Capabilities that bring experimentation and agility to the forefront of BPM. Interestingly, BPM has become a bit of a misnomer in this arena, as low-code platforms can do much more than just automate business processes, something that adopters are starting realize.
Case in point is operational advantages that major wireless carrier Sprint-Nextel discovered by entrusting their digital transformation to low code ideologies. Sprint-Nextel was able to quickly rework how they deploy and manage their growing wireless network. The company turned to an ideology of deploying some 70,000 “mini-macros”, small amplifiers to boost coverage. Which proved to be a complex legal, regulatory, technological and overall program management endeavor.
In the past, provisioning something along the lines of a new cell tower could take up to 30 days, simply because of inefficiencies found in process and data management. Sprint switched to a BPM solution, more specifically an iBPMS (intelligent business process management suite) to improve and accelerate the 8,000 business processes involved in provisioning a new cell site. Thanks to a low-code, no-code ideology built into the iBPMS, Sprint was able to reduce data collection, analysis and reporting times from 30 days to 7 days, with a solution that they were able to deploy in just 3 weeks.
Sprint isn’t alone in the race to innovation, countless other organizations are turning to iBPMS to realize the agility needed today for successful digital transformation. One such organization is Sanofi, the 4th largest pharmaceutical company in the world. Sanofi’s goal was to achieve faster clinical trial start-ups, a key competitive advantage for getting new drugs to market. Sanofi approached the ideology of digital transformation by looking at ways to automate the numerous steps involved for getting a clinical trial started.
Adopting an iBPMS solution that leveraged a low code approach enabled Sanofi to reduce clinical trial startup times from six months to just two months. What’s more Sanofi was able to reduce exposure to risk, by making sure every procedural step met the strict filing deadlines for compliance with regional governing bodies.
While Sprint and Sanofi prove the value of iBPMS with low code methodologies, the applicability of iBPMS is much broader. Most any organization can benefit from the agility provided by low-code solutions, agility that is magnified when coupled with BPM. It is that realization that makes iBPMS the secret sauce for digital transformation, simply by liftng the constraints of high-code environments and manual tasks and transforming process creation into something akin to plug and play simplicity. After all, organizations are better served by their developers focusing on logic and not the particular nuances of a complex development environment.