Power Up Business Process with Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAP)

Companies are facing a big automation gap with their enterprise applications that can be filled with Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAP). LCAP aims at increasing user productivity and experience by delivering intuitively designed apps, replacing and automating manual processes, bringing insights and knowledge together on the spot, so that users can make the right decision.

Power Up Business Process with Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAP)
Power Up Business Process with Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAP)

Whatever the scale of your initiative with our PowerLAB approach, we mobilize multi-disciplinary teams to turn your ambitions into automation fast.

Table of contents

The present state of automation
The impact of manual processes
The challenge is bigger than just automating processes
Low code application frameworks power up your business
We realize good benefits with low code
Powerlabs drive ROI
Accelerate your transformation now!

If improving Business Processes was only about automating manual processes, why not just file up other IT projects to extend and integrate existing legacy systems and applications you might ask?

Well, company-wide ROI starts by looking beyond merely automating processes…

In this article, we explain how low code platforms revolutionize automation, and how our PowerLabs help you to deliver value fast.

For several decades, many companies have invested in automating their business with legacy enterprise applications.

Despite these investments, 37% percent of organizations are still using paper to manage critical business processes. Research indicates that inferred productivity costs can total up to millions. Companies need to look into a new way of digitizing their business to accelerate transformation. In this article, we explain how low code platforms revolutionize automation, and how our PowerLabs help you to deliver value fast. However, realizing company-wide ROI starts by looking beyond merely automating processes….

The present state of automation

For several decades, many companies have invested in automating their business with enterprise applications as ERP, CRM, CMS, Workplace, Marketing Automation, or HR solutions. But despite these investments, many companies have a big automation gap around those enterprise systems. In this space, processes are executed manually, or in the best case, supported by office tools. On the operational side, employees must deal with many manual tasks like classification, routing, copy-pasting, or emailing, and are juggling between several systems and office applications. On the management side, time-consuming manual collection, preparation & consolidation of data, rarely leads to a trustworthy view of company performance. Examples of manual tasks can be found throughout the entire organization; here is a take on what activities we find users are doing still manually

Customer Service

  • Manually tagging a case based on email or web request texts hundred times a day
  • Copy-pasting data across CRM, ERP, and logistic systems to properly register a customer order
  • Filling out an excel document so that finance can issue correct credit note or invoice
  • End of day report writing, collecting photo’s, customer data, location data, and service activity data

Sales & Marketing

  • Assuring activities are completed in due time to launch a new product or service, by coordinating tasks between several internal and external parties
  • Assuring all content, copy & media is prepared in due time to publish a new product on a webshop.
  • Driving a customer prototyping process or a sample request involving coordination across several internal departments.

HR, Legal, Finance, IT

  • Manually coordinating all the logistical, HR, and operational aspects of onboarding a new employee
  • Capturing & processing several employee requests and questions related to devices, access & authorization, benefits & rewards, expenses, etc.
  • Consulting many departments to assure correct invoicing & payments, considering the customer service, commercial & delivery status of the customer involved.

The impact of manual processes

Manual and office-based processes are prone to error, hard to govern, hard to scale out, and make it difficult to assure consistent outcomes. This affects business performance in many areas like:

In an Economic Impact Report, Forrester calculated that the efficiency loss for a company could total up to several million in a period of 3 years. In their research, they found that a company with 1650 users could lose up to 1.6 hours per week due to manual, paper-based activities. Next to productivity findings, Forrester also found other consequences as e.g. up to 200k periodic overspending on warranty claims.

And in some cases, manual procedures even led to 4,3% percent missed revenue….

But, next to business performance impact there is perhaps an even bigger risk. How can companies assure compliance to corporate security standards or several regulations as GDPR, or prevent loss of critical data…?

Sales & Marketing

  • Erroneous or inconsistent content, offers, pricing on sales & marketing channels
  • Missed launched dates of campaigns, offers, and products
  • Lagging / late insights on sales & marketing performance

Service

  • Longcase, complaint, or request resolution times
  • Increased number of escalations
  • high variations in service reliability
  • Overtime due to reporting needs

Financial

  • Incorrect invoices due to sales/finance misalignment
  • Unpaid invoices due to finance/service misalignment
  • Increased credit notes due to inconsistencies

Experience

  • Customers face high effort when dealing with your company, because of inconsistencies, or lagging answers to questions
  • Lower employee experience because of lack of user-friendly, non-integrated, or missing tools

The challenge is bigger than just automating processes

If it was only about automating manual processes, why not just file up another IT project to extend and integrate existing legacy systems and applications you may ask? For sure, while enterprise systems allow you to reach high automation and standardization at scale, it is important that companies assess how to cope with potential shortcomings and constraints in the following area’s:

Flexibility

Markets change, customers change and businesses change. Processes that run in a certain way need to run differently the next day. The development of legacy applications is not always capable of keeping up with this pace of change. A survey by Forrester demonstrated 65% of organizations report a development backlog, leaving business without proper support.

Simplification

Legacy systems tend to be very feature-rich and henceforth often overwhelming for the people using them. Many of those systems have been designed to handle a great variety of business scenarios, but on some occasions have been overengineered towards handling the exceptions. Newer generations of employees often expect a much more simplified and ‘app style’ user experience, supporting them very intuitively in achieving the top tasks in their daily job.

Mobility

Legacy systems are often not designed for mobile use and in many cases are not even mobile accessible. This leaves processes and employees disconnected when they are not behind their PC or laptop, leaving them uninformed and unsupported in their mobile activities.

Embedded Intelligence & Advanced Analytics

In the pursuit of becoming more data-driven, companies are often disillusioned after the implementation of a legacy system. In many cases, they need to invest in an additional track that will provide the necessary process analytics for them. With new automation initiatives, companies expect intelligence & insights from day 1, without the need to wait for bolding on additional BI and AI solutions.

Low code application frameworks power up your business

Gartner defines a low code application platform (or LCAP) as an application platform that supports rapid application development, deployment, and execution, and that for any user experience, business process, business logic & data requirements.

LCAP’s aim at increasing user productivity and experience, by delivering intuitively designed apps, replacing and automating manual processes, bringing insights and knowledge together on the spot, allowing users to make the right decisions and actions promptly. So LCAP’s allow you to power up your business far beyond just automating a process, as they enable you to solve the “full” user problem. At the same time they mitigate the challenges with legacy systems by offering combined features in 4 categories:

Automation

  • Enable automation of (repetitive) tasks with AI/ML or RPA
  • Orchestrating processes across users, departments, and legacy systems

Analytics

  • Enable integrated processes & app reporting to detect process improvement opportunities & bottlenecks
  • Embed AI/ML to support a micro decision like approvals, routings, escalations.

Knowledge

  • Accelerate access to knowledge for employees with virtual user assistants
  • Connect to legacy BI, CRM, ERP, Workplace solution to bring contextual knowledge to the user

Experience

  • Build web & mobile apps with a low-code/no-code development experience, allowing large control over user experience
  • Reach out to external customers and partners via portal functionalities

We realize good benefits with low code

Low code platforms are not only about realizing development speed, flexibility, and user experience. They are instrumental in driving business benefits and ROI. But what proof can we find in practice? Here are some cases describing what customers have achieved working with us.

A European DIY Retail Chain

  • For a European DIY retailer we implemented an app to accelerate collaboration between the contact center and product experts working in nation-wide retail stores
  • This resulted in faster resolution times, better customer & employee experience, and a better insight into expert-level questions

Leading Insurance Company

  • For a leading insurance company, we implemented an NLP (Natural Language Processing) Virtual assistant for frontline employees, capable of answering thousands of questions
  • Results were astonishing, with 40% fewer calls to the Back-office, a large reduction in waiting times, and the ability to offer 24/7 automated support

Public / Government (1)

  • For a national department, we replaced several outdated applications and Excel-based processes with low code apps that were integrated with their CRM solution.
  • The implementation resulted in more simplified processes with a uniform user experience, a better-centralized view on citizen data and business safely secured by enterprise IT

Public / Government (2)

  • For a national department, we automated an incoming flow of questions by using auto-tagging to classify cases, additionally supported by approval & validation workflows
  • This improved the screening of incoming questions and complaints boosted the overall cross-department performance and streamlined the entire resolution process

Now how do you reach benefits at this scale, and where do you start? With our “PowerLab” approach we guide you from the early stages up to scaling out into sustainable company value.

Powerlabs drive ROI

Strong outcomes come from strong teams. Today’s business environments & IT are very complex, and digitization touches many disciplines. To tackle this complexity, we mobilize multidisciplinary teams to turn your ambitions into automation fast! Whatever the scale of your initiative, we help you to ideate, develop prototypes and roll out to achieve full ROI. Here are the 4 steps we follow!

4 steps to ideate, develop prototypes and roll out to achieve full ROI.
4 steps to ideate, develop prototypes and roll out to achieve full ROI.

Initiate-Ideate-Prototype

In the initiation phase, we get you “into” the low code mindset, by giving you the first glimpse of your future solution: we will create you an app in 1 day. This will allow you to become more familiar with the low code concept and framework and will help you to better frame the business challenge that needs to be tackled.

Next, we go on to ideation. Now, ideation is all about getting creative about defining the solution, right? Wrong! Before thinking about the solution, the problem must be very well diagnosed (note: 87% of executives think that their company is bad at problem diagnoses, HBR 2017). Understanding the pains & gains a user is facing in the context of the daily task he/she is trying to accomplish is a very good start. It will identify many opportunities to automate as we uncover deep insights into user behavior. Once the problem to solve is clear, an ideation workshop will naturally lead to the formulation of a solution concept.

Then after, it is low coding time. In the prototyping phase, your solution concept will come to life as a working app, a series of automated tasks, an automated workflow or process, a virtual assistant, or a working RPA scenario. Prototypes are intended to give first good feedback to the team that has been producing the original idea. It will also give great insight into what is needed to actually scale out a broader group of business users.

Accelerate your transformation now!

Gartner estimates that 65% of all app development will be low code by 2024. So now is the time to accelerate your digital transformation!

To summarize, here are the 4 critical success factors that will power up your business:

  • Start with the business benefit in mind: identify areas of productivity loss, unmanaged risks, missed deadlines, or collaboration issues and frame your challenge.
  • Solve the ‘full’ user problem, look beyond just automating a process: maximizing the use of LCAP features in the area of automation, analytics, knowledge, and experience
  • Leverage the creativity of multidisciplinary teams, embrace ideation & agile implementation techniques to scale into full ROI.
  • And finally, evolve to an LCAP factory – establish a center of excellence to turn early successes into company-wide, sustainable value.

Source: PowerLabs