You’re evaluating different technology to support your digital transformation strategy, and you’ve just come across low-code development. If this story sounds familiar to you, in this blog post, you'll learn how low-code addresses the most common pain points encountered when developing a digital transformation strategy. In the meantime, if you’re not sure what low-code is, take a look at this full guide to low-code development

Digital Transformation and Low-Code

The demand for more business applications, the increase in connected devices, and higher expectations are putting tremendous pressure on IT leaders. So, I can’t say I was surprised when I recently read a McKinsey study that stated that 70 percent of digital transformations fail. Sure, there are plenty of culprits you can point your finger at. But one of the most common mistakes I see IT leaders make is thinking about technology first and rushing to get it. Think of it as being drawn offsides (I’m a football addict, so be prepared for more references to football).

A successful digital transformation strategy should start by identifying strategic business challenges. Then, you can find the right technology for creating digital processes and solutions to solve them.

The value proposition of disruptive technology like low-code is that it gives companies the flexibility and agility to adapt to the ever-changing industry reality while accelerating the time-to-market of new applications and functionalities to keep up with or change markets. That’s what I like to call the Digital transformation Super Bowl.

In the real Super Bowl, what do the teams that usually make it through the playoffs have in common? They’re never short on speed, agility, and a deep bench of talent to execute fit-for-purpose plays for big gains. Similarly, in the digital transformation Super Bowl, digital agility and adaptability are required to compete at the hyper-speed pace of ever-changing digital dynamics.

Let’s see how low-code can empower and enable your team to gain speed, agility, competitiveness, and differentiation.

3 Tips for Building a Successful Digital Transformation Strategy with Low-Code

To participate in the Digital Transformation Super Bowl, IT executives and managers must execute “Visionary Leadership.” In other words, you need to have a complete understanding of where your business stands and what it can become, along with well-defined goals, and then take steps to get there.

What you choose to do or not will impact your ability to win, the trajectory and speed of your success or failure, and the value of the legacy you leave behind. Your team has to play to win every game, from kick-off to the final second, and it’s up to you to lead them.

So, here are three tips for a successful digital transformation with low-code

1. Play to Win Instead of Playing Not to Lose

Digital Transformation Strategy: Play to Win Instead of Playing Not to Lose
Source: Dave Adamson

Have you ever watched your favorite sports team get a lead in a critical game, alter their game plan by taking a “play not to lose mindset,” and then suffer a tragic loss after the opponent staged a comeback? I’ve lived in Houston for most of my life, and this nightmare is vivid. I called it years ago when the Oilers lost to the Bills in the playoffs after being up 35-3, and this year again when the Texans lost to the Chiefs after being up 24-0 in the first quarter. Trust me, I’ve learned to spot the symptoms, and when I see business leaders succumb to risk avoidance strategies versus playing to win, I cringe.

Just take a look at when Ford presented the revolutionary assembly line. Today, we all know the value of robotics in increasing efficiency and replacing boring and repetitive tasks; it’s hard to compete or even be viable without them. Now, imagine years ago putting the decision to add or not add robotics in the hands of line workers. I don’t think they’d be that excited.

The same goes for digital transformation. Why do so many IT leaders put the decision to disrupt software development by using low-code in the hands of their development teams?

Building and keeping a strong development team and developers is crucial. To win the big game requires improving their performance, increasing their productivity, and expanding your bench strength by optimizing the team's talent pool. Your team needs to respond to the needs of the business with greater speed and agility, closing all gaps in processes as well as gaps in your capabilities versus those of your competitors.

It requires a visionary leader with a play-to-win mindset to make the decision. Involve everyone in the research, but this is a Moneyball moment, and it's 4th and 1, you make the call.

2. Establish and Share a Winning Vision

Digital Transformation Strategy: Establish and Share a Winning Vision

For a successful digital transformation, you need to optimize the output of your development team; no questions there. But how do you keep your team in the game, when their domain is being disrupted?

Put yourself in your dev team’s shoes: you invested 4+ years in college, plus several years of gaining experience in writing code, and suddenly you’re being asked to replace all that you’ve worked so hard to master by something that lessens the complexity and simplifies the work.

The challenge here is, you can’t scale efficiently and keep up with the demands of your market by simply increasing your developer headcount. You would quickly reach your salary cap, so something's gotta give. So, how do you fix it?

You have to create a win-win vision. You have to show your team that a low-code platform won't replace their work and skills, but rather it’ll free them to use their skills and experience in projects that bring more value to the business.

In other words, rather than pumping out seven apps a year (one touchdown), our chance to win is significantly greater if we can put 24, 36, or even more on the scoreboard. And if we can do that without having to add headcount, there's a better chance we can all leave with a Super Bowl ring. Everyone will have the ability to contribute, and everyone will have a shot at winning greater rewards.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: for some people on your team, coding has sentimental value, and they care more about the craft and improving their skills than being rewarded.

In that case, I leave it open to altering the composition of your team. Visionary leaders have to look forward with high-beam precision to see what's on the road ahead. Can you get to the Super Bowl next year or the next by playing a traditional smash-mouth game? Or do you need to expand your talent pool with a business analyst to support a low-code, agile environment? Or maybe create an AI-supported experience that enables you to run more plays based on best practices to make bigger gains and increase production from your gameplan.

If you establish a win-win vision but also consider alternative gameplans, you will avoid having players leave as free agents.

3. Increase Your Ability to Score

Digital Transformation Strategy: Increase Your Ability to Score
Source: Joe Calomeni

While getting field goals will keep you in the game, you’ll never get to the Super Bowl if you don’t score touchdowns. When you limit your team’s production output to only tackling tactical applications, the best you can hope for is more field goals. To score touchdowns, you need to take on operational and customer-facing applications that change your field position.

You may even take on legacy apps that are no longer cutting it (I'm not talking to you, Tom Brady. With a good line, you still have a few years left in you). But, you'll never get into the Red Zone if you don't improve your ability to gain better field position. If you don't try to address more complex requirements, you restrict your ability to be a disruptor and lessens your chance to make a comeback when necessary.

How many applications do you currently own and yet use less than 10% of their capability? How much does it cost to maintain them? How many of them limit your ability because you can’t get the data out of them or expose that data in other applications?

If you’re like most companies, you have a backlog of applications that need to be developed. In fact, what most companies find is that the backlog creates a log jam when it comes to creating a high-performance, innovation-driven mindset across your company. To win the Super Bowl, you need to eliminate the backlog, encourage innovation, reduce the number of third-party applications, and make big plays.

And that’s where low-code shines. Take Schneider Electric, for example. Schneider discovered that their IT landscape was fragmented, with duplicated apps that used non-standard architecture and poor security practices. So, the company used low-code and built 60 applications in just 20 months, while replacing a bunch of legacy apps that ran on Lotus Notes technology. In the words of Amarpreet Kaur, Director at Schneider Digital,

“We saw a low-code platform as a catalyst to bridge the gap between business demands and the available IT resources. We chose OutSystems and now we have an engine in place that’s fueling digital transformation at Schneider Electric.”

Looking for a Playbook?

If you want to learn more about how low-code can help you embrace a successful digital transformation strategy, you can schedule a demo with someone from our team. We’ll share our game-winning playbook that is helping thousands of companies globally to obtain limitless potential. But, if you’re more interested in learning the pros and cons of the leading low-code platforms, check out Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms

Are you ready for the big game?