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The secret to sustained low-code success: IT leadership

Emily Hickox,
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Low-code application development is on the rise. By 2023, Gartner predicts that the number of active citizen developers at large enterprises will be at least four times the number of professional developers. And with the abrupt and aggressive shift to remote work triggered by COVID-19, a need for the rapid change that low code can provide has moved to the forefront of strategy for companies of all kinds.

Despite the excitement around the opportunities low code can afford businesses, transitioning from traditional development can be bumpy, and leveraging low code successfully is not quite as simple as it sounds. As business users take matters into their own hands, turning to free low-code resources and taking initiative in areas for which they used to rely on IT, issues with shadow IT are emerging that may put enterprise systems at risk. These issues can range in severity from inefficiencies and wasted resources to cyberattacks and compliance violations. To eliminate shadow IT, reduce risk, and improve app development, it’s important for IT to manage the guidelines for low-code development across the enterprise.

IT leadership is essential for low-code development

Low-code serves as a fantastic entry-point for non-technical business users to play a role in application development and solve business problems with software. And it can be executed to great success. But business users cannot do it alone. Low code is not a ”silver bullet” that permanently alleviates development responsibilities from developers and IT teams. Without the right strategy or infrastructure in place and involvement from the enterprise IT team, low-code solutions simply won’t work at the enterprise level. In the long-term, they may even cause more problems than they solve.

If IT takes an active role in low-code application development, governance, and rollout, enterprises can capitalize on all of low code’s benefits without the risks. In addition to great low-code application authoring software, a successful enterprise low-code strategy needs these key elements:

  • A centrally managed application development dashboard that gives visibility into all ongoing projects to streamline efforts and help avoid redundancies.
  • Parameters and guardrails set by the IT team to ensure development occurs in compliance with company policies and to help avoid shadow IT problems.
  • Collaboration and communication tools to provide business users with support from developer, IT, or other business user “coaches” every step of the way.
  • A proven approach that breaks down complex problems into digestible components that can be built out for quick wins and layered upon to scale.

Low-code solutions abound in the marketplace, but a business user downloading a free tool will not solve enterprise-grade problems. Support and commitment from the IT team is essential to setting up a foundation for low-code development success. With the right framework in place, aspirational low-coders will be able to jump in and solve their business problems quickly and creatively, all while avoiding risk to the company and alleviating the burden for developers of unraveling their mistakes.

Empower business users with a collaborative approach to low-code development

A comprehensive approach to low-code that uses a management framework like Pega’s App Factory provides the tools, training, and guidelines for anyone to quickly develop enterprise apps with the consistency of a fine-tuned assembly line. The approach empowers business users to build and change apps faster with low-code capabilities in an inclusive environment that fosters collaboration with developers and oversight from enterprise IT.

A low-code factory approach like Pega’s gives employees the freedom and confidence to build the apps they need to succeed while giving developers back their time to focus on high-value coding projects. At the same time, IT remains in control to ensure every app is created within organizational guardrails – whether it’s one or 1,000 apps built at a time.

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Challenge: Business Agility Industry: Cross-Industry Product Area: Platform Topic: Low-Code Development

About the Author

As a Product Marketing Manager for low-code application development at Pega, Emily Hickox helps clients understand how the right low-code approach enables enterprises to adapt quickly and consistently by building apps faster, smarter, and at scale.

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