Digital transformation is a hot topic these days. Global competition and digital-first competitors threaten traditional businesses like retailers and manufacturers. Business need to “go digital or go extinct”.

What does digital transformation mean? To modernize operations and recreate the feeling of consumer applications in business systems. Mobility, collaboration, and information access is vital.

For example, mobile apps are present in most people’s lives. Why need a desktop to share information with my colleagues? Book vacation time? Submit an expense claim?

Most businesses need to catch up. Tools that allow business people to create applications with no code are “low code” tools. These tools should be a key part of your digital transformation strategy. Why? Cost, skills, and business agility.

1. Cost

Software development is expensive. Every IT leader knows that. Applications may not provide the promised value, and maintenance costs add up. Yes, businesses need to digitize, but they are still businesses who look for profits. Huge costs for abstract future gains is difficult for shareholders to accept.

2. Skills

Software development is expensive is because the skills are rare. Software development is difficult, and often requires industry knowledge and experience. Now there’s two separate, expensive skill sets … if you can find them. And one developer may have a different skill set than another. You already have knowledgeable business people – that’s why the company is successful. Why not empower them?

3. Agility

Businesses cannot develop custom apps with velocity because of the reasons above. Custom apps need updates which takes resources away from new applications. Some business strategists argue that the only business strategy today is agility. Complex, custom applications across different technologies don’t fit that model. Low code tools do because you can go from concept to app in no time. You may even build an MVP or pilot in a low code tool before deciding that it is worth a custom application.

What are some good low-code tools? MRS focuses most of our efforts on Office 365 and PowerApps. We believe in this direction for a few reasons. First, Office 365 has huge market penetration with limited use of the services beyond Exchange and SharePoint. Most of the investment is not yet realized. Second, so much data already lives in your AD, Office apps, and other Microsoft services. Third, the connections to third-party tools are extensive, such as Asana and Salesforce. We’ve also worked with K2’s business process management platform, and Salesforce’s own low-code tools.

There is a time and place for custom software development too. Governance plans ensure that low-code strategy works harmoniously with full custom software development. Stay tuned for our next article about when and how to decide to develop custom software.

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