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How low code is changing the role of IT

Katie McBeth, Log in to subscribe to the Blog

Technology, and the IT professionals that create and manage business systems, have seen drastic changes in recent years. The global pandemic accelerated the evolution of tech, placing an increased emphasis on remote collaboration, improved automation, and streamlined business operations.
But beyond the pandemic, keeping up with competition and rapid digital transformation has pushed IT professionals into a new era.

Low code is an increasingly important tool for businesses and their IT teams in accelerating digital transformation – and according to our Future of IT report, it’s accelerating changes in the role of the IT professional as well. While previous generations of IT leaders focused on maintaining and building tech infrastructures, the latest generation faces new challenges in their roles and how they interact with business technology.

Forging a faster, more collaborative app development process

Unfortunately for IT professionals, the speed and amount of work required to maintain a business’ digital architecture is becoming impossible to tackle using traditional development methods. Even a decade ago, companies could release digital updates on quarterly or annual bases and maintain relevance. Now, market needs and technologies are evolving so quickly, that the solutions developed today can rapidly become obsolete.

Plus, companies are also struggling to fill IT roles, as there simply aren’t enough programmers to meet workload demands. Staffing concerns were already becoming apparent before 2020, and only became more of an issue as the pandemic forced people inside and increased people’s reliance on technology and digital connection.

Low-code platforms can help solve these concerns, by empowering the people who really know the business – business users – to collaborate on solutions. Low-code app development provides rapid deployment of small, purposeful technological changes within an organization. But beyond the speed low-code platforms offer companies, they also offer a new approach to development.

Traditional development typically required months of research, discovery, and a lot of technical coding. As the name suggests, “low code” requires very little coding knowledge, which makes development both intuitive and accessible to non-coders. This changes development from a function exclusively executed by IT to one that is decentralized and spread throughout business units. Already, IT teams are beginning to see the disbursement of digital transformation.

"In our report, 62% of respondents shared they’ve already noticed decentralized and dispersed authority over digital transformation in their organizations over the past few years."

The shifting dynamic of the IT professional

As the nature of development changes thanks to low-code solutions, so does the role of an IT developer. Our report also uncovered how IT professionals and C-suite executives believe IT roles will change in the coming years. For one, hard technical skills, like data management skills and coding knowledge, will become less critical. Instead, IT professionals will shift from maintenance roles to infrastructure and people management roles as they maintain control over digital transformation but spread-out rote work to other business users. As a result, certain relevant soft skills that previously were not required for IT roles will gain importance.

In our survey, business users were asked, “Which competencies will be most important to you over the next two years?” Here’s what they had to share:

  • Digital and computational skills (43%)
  • Leadership skills (38%)
  • Problem solving skills (37%)
  • Emotional and social skills (35%)

How this might look in a company setting will depend on factors such as the size and workload of IT teams, the structure of leadership, and the speed of development needed to stay competitive in the industry. For example, IT teams may take the lead in establishing governance and managing their low-code development processes.

"Already, our survey found about a third of businesses (35%) are reporting their IT teams maintain centralized responsibility for digital transformation."

Additionally, many IT teams will also spend more time collaborating with other departments and focusing on innovating business operations. With collaboration and a change in which soft skills are required for the job, IT teams will transition from complex technological management to a more layered integration of human knowledge and business logic.

IT’s evolving role in business decisions

As technology continues to evolve, IT staff will become critical at staying ahead of changes and on top of potential disruptions from start-ups or other competitors. To be clear, the need for specialized coding and development skills will never go away. However, by empowering business users to solve for smaller process needs with collaborative, low-code app development platforms, IT leaders can focus more of their time on bigger strategic initiatives.

Plus, this shift in focus could impact how decisions are made and who is involved, as many leaders believe CTOs and CIOs will become more prevalent in the C-suite. Technical and business operations will become more intertwined as tech shifts occur, and:

"41% of executives believe keeping abreast to the latest tech changes will have a transformational impact on their role in the coming years."

Low code is already impacting business agility and shaping the future of IT. While previous digital transformations brought an end specialized IT users and focused careers, the latest evolution of technology is revolutionizing the role of IT for business enterprises yet again. Application development will become more decentralized, and IT staff and leaders will be offered more opportunities to problem solve, get creative, and develop essential leadership skills. But despite the pressure to adapt to these changes, many IT managers reported they expect their roles will become more enjoyable in the coming years.

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The future of IT starts now.

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Product Area: Intelligent Automation

About the Author

A writer and researcher with Pega, Katie McBeth explores the impact intelligent automation can have on business success both today and tomorrow.