Code makes the world go round. Today, so many facets of our lives — from healthcare to education and from entertainment to security — are governed by it. An expansion of the device ecosystem from rigid VAX terminals and desktops to pocketable smartphones and sleek tablets has brought with it an app explosion that has cried out for more coders.
According to an e-Conomy Africa 2020 report, a collaboration between IFC and Google, Africa’s Internet economy has the potential to reach $180 billion by 2025, accounting for 5.2% of the continent’s GDP. Key to this will be growing the developer talent that builds the products and engines on which it runs. Coding is one of the most in-demand jobs across Africa and there is a drive on creating equitable opportunities for young people in Africa wishing to train in this field.
Why low-code?
We know that more coders are required to satiate a burgeoning appetite for apps. And enterprises know that the release cycle must shrink to accommodate this demand. These two realisations have led very quickly to the increase in popularity of low-code ecosystems. The business case for low-code is simple: build better experiences for customers and employees; do it faster; do it more cheaply; and release it more efficiently. Also, more and more organisations are using low-code, which begs the question: “Are your competitors among them?”
IT teams cannot fulfil the demand for digital change foisted upon them by corporate visions and circumstances. Low-code not only helps these professionals, who may not specialise in software development, but it helps non-technical employees with otherwise strong digital ambitions to add value to the enterprise. Programming tools that are intuitive and that can abstract orchestrations and workflow allow business units to accelerate the time to market of their digital ambitions without having to wait for the attention of overworked IT staff.
If you still aren’t sold on if your organisation should be investing in low-code, here are four benefits of the technology that should make the decision an easy one.
1. Create faster
The concept of a citizen developer has evolved to encompass coding as an implied part of every knowledge-employee’s job description, like e-mailing customers or filing paperwork. The ability of low-code tools to capture and model business processes granularly is appealing to strategic-minded business leaders who want to be able to extend their fiefdom’s digital capabilities without weeks of requirements gathering and development.
Being first to a commercial market with an innovative customer experience can bring many revenue opportunities. Being first with an enhanced employee experience can help an organisation attract and retain talent in a region replete with skills gaps. And operational efficiencies can be gleaned by automating tasks.
Also, once citizen coders churn out one successful prototype it can be reused by other business units. This means organisations can learn with every low-code project and become more agile.
2. Experience first
Code reuse is also a bridge to exceptional customer experience. Without low-code, siloed digital transformations can lead to inconsistency at the brand interface. Digital-savvy consumers will notice these inconsistencies, and retention rates will plummet.
If organisations build their digital presences with a platform model in mind — unified cloud, unified data, unified workflows, and a unified interface — they can present a digital ecosystem that is more conducive to recurring usage. Consistency in look and feel across engagement channels and business units is vital to enticing digital natives.
A smooth workflow must be supplemented by individualised experiences that automatically recognise returning users and integrate that recognition seamlessly. And advanced, customisable analytics must allow a rich view of the user and employee journeys to allow for continual improvements.
3. Scale, don’t sprawl
Hybrid cloud environments have a habit of introducing complexity that encumbers rather than empowers. The platform-of-platforms approach that will deliver consistency and brand loyalty must be built on a low-code environment that abstracts this complexity for citizen developers and end-users, covering every issue from security to latency.
Innovative enterprises need to make sure their low-code toolset will let them scale across their entire ecosystem. They will also need to be mindful of disparate transformation programmes creating more technology silos — another source of complexity.
4. Noticeable value
CIOs and other IT leaders are under pressure to draw a line from their decisions to revenue surges and cost reductions. Once low-code is established as the go-to approach for digital extensibility, C-level executives will quickly see how, for example, a major digital development took place without the need for expensive and time-consuming recruitment drives.
Everything enterprises do, from the back-office to the public domain, will be touched by the ability to innovate independently and deploy those innovations securely and efficiently. Automation and analytics, IOT and robotics — nothing is impossible, and imagination will often be the only limitation on business growth. When you throw in cost-efficiency, robust uptime and increased brand engagement, it is easy to see how low-code could become the region’s chosen engine of change in the years ahead. Convinced yet? 


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