As organisations across the globe ramp up digital initiatives, they require tools and technologies which can ensure a seamless experience. Low-code is one such platform. Sudhama Vemuri, Director, Mendix Channel Sales at Siemens India, tells us how low-code enables organisations to rapidly build scalable and secure applications while improving collaboration between IT and business units.
What has been the impact of the pandemic on innovation and digital initiatives?
The pandemic has impacted innovation and digital initiatives but it might be surprising to learn that most feedback has been positive.
I recently explored the findings of a study which looks at a parameter called the Global Innovation Index and studies enterprises in around 132 countries to assess how much investment is going into digital technologies.
It highlighted that the usual suspects, like pharma companies and BioTech companies, have increased their investment in digital technologies. In some cases, there was an increase of as much as 30% compared to previous years. But interestingly, sectors like manufacturing and logistics have also increased their investments. Many organisations have taken this period of uncertainty and fast-tracked their innovation or at least put their innovation back on track.
What are some of the challenges that organisations face when it comes to digitalisation?
There are many challenges and most organisations face these very successfully, but the pandemic has essentially made the business reality very different. We have observed that organisations will fundamentally change the way they do business.
Much is driven by what the customer demands and wants – most organisations have very demanding customers. Are they geared up to meet these expectations? Most are, but a lot aren’t.
One of the primary challenges is around the ability to deliver a lot with less resources – whether that’s time, people or budget. One consulting firm did a survey with 900 CXOs and 79% said that without the right kind of resources at their disposal, they would not be able to meet the digital roadmap they have set for themselves.
How is ‘Agile’ helping organisations to accelerate Digital Transformation?
Every organisation has to be agile – it is not a choice anymore. When we say ‘Agile’ we are talking about both the noun and the adjective. IT teams cannot function in silos anymore – for a Digital Transformation project to be successful, the business and IT have to work together. Teams have to be cross-functional and focus on collaboration and customer experience.
Organisations which have been able to navigate this and successfully implement Digital Transformation initiatives have seen a lot of gains. These can come through higher employee engagement, or improvement in operational performance, or increase in customer satisfaction. But most importantly, I think ‘Agile’ drives a cultural change within the organisation. For companies which are looking to be digital first, adopting ‘Agile’ and driving the right kind of culture through that is going to be very important.
What role will low-code platforms play in Digital Transformation?
Low-code will play a significant role in Digital Transformation. One of the key things we have noticed, which affects many organisations, is a gap between business teams and IT teams. The low-code platform improves collaboration across different teams, bringing together the business teams, which understand the industry and the customer, with the IT teams which understand the technologies and frameworks.
Secondly, low-code can add value to any digital initiative through the speed of delivery. As the name suggests, low-code is all about the ability to develop enterprise applications with minimal code and enables the development of applications much faster. We have seen that with low-code, organisations are able to deliver applications at least five to six times faster, even sometimes 10 times faster.
How does low-code empower business and IT and improve collaboration across the organisation?
Low-code focuses a lot on collaboration between business and IT. Typically, in any organisation the business wants to develop new solutions or bring new ideas to market. They are looking at solutions that will improve the experience of customers, partners and vendors that they may have. But when you look at the IT side of the equation, the IT teams are usually overloaded. There is very little collaboration that exists between the two.
With a low-code platform, we focus a lot on collaboration between these two teams so that the business teams can bring in their domain flavour, industry knowledge and customer knowledge, and that helps to make the application development process much better.
Within most enterprises today there is the concept of a ‘citizen developer’, which is becoming more and more popular. This is someone who understands the business and industry. With a low-code platform, we are essentially empowering the citizen developer to become a more active participant in the entire process of software development or application.
What are the key benefits of adopting low-code platforms for developing enterprise apps?
The obvious benefits are that, with low-code, you can reduce the cost of development of enterprise applications and you can get to market much faster.
But another important and related element is application velocity, which means you can do a lot of work in a very short period of time.
We have seen customers who have adopted a low-code platform successfully develop 100+ applications in just about two years.
Another benefit is around the ability to build secure and scalable applications. Sometimes people think you can only build simple applications which may not be secure. But with low-code, you can build secure, scalable applications which are enterprise grade. We have customers in the banking sector, for example, which have built online banking portals for their customers and it’s imperative that these are secure.
One other benefit is around building multi-experience applications. We all consume applications on our mobile phone or tablets, but when it comes to consuming applications in an enterprise environment, the experience isn’t great. But with low-code, you can focus on providing the right kind of experience with the applications that you develop so that they can be consumed on a mobile, tablet or any device that you have.
What are some of the solutions that can be developed on low-code?
The solutions can be classified into three different categories. The first is around digitising the experience of external stakeholders like customers, partners and vendors. One example is a portal used by employees or customers.
The second category is about automating business processes. Think about an incident management solution in any enterprise, for example, or anything to do with maintenance workflows.
The third category is around modernising core systems. A lot of companies still use legacy solutions and legacy software, so when they look to move out of these, they can look at modernising their core systems on low-code platforms.
Tell us about the low-code offering from Siemens.
The low-code offering from Siemens is called Mendix. It is an acquisition that Siemens made in 2018, though Mendix has been in operation since 2005/2006.
The genesis of Mendix comes from the fact that the founders themselves identified the need for a low-code platform. As they were delivering and developing software for their clients, they realised that collaboration had to be improved. They had to look at frameworks and tools which could help to speed up the application development time.
Therefore, the fundamental pillars of the Mendix platform are collaboration and speed. Today, the Mendix platform is used by about 2,000+ enterprises around the world, across different industry segments, developing and building a variety of use cases.
Why is the Mendix low-code platform an industry leader in low-code?
Mendix happens to be the number one local platform in the world. 2021 reports from both Gartner and Forrester identify Mendix as the number one low-code platform and there are multiple reasons behind this.
One is the focus on collaboration – we enable different teams to work together to develop and deliver software.
The second differentiator has to do with the fact that we are the only low-code platform which allows customers to develop native mobile apps.
The third aspect is that you can manage the entire application journey within the Mendix platform itself. And finally, the fourth reason is that the applications developed in Mendix are cloud native, so as an organisation if you’re looking to be future ready, then you should be looking at the platform.Click below to share this article