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Thursday, 01 April 2021 11:59

How low-code is lighting a fire under the digital transformation tech trend

By Luke Thomas, Regional Vice President APAC at Appian

Given the market disruption experienced by the corporate sector over the past 12 months, companies found themselves needing to make bold choices and implement operational or product changes, fast. That pace proved to be the downfall of many, as all too often, companies were hamstrung by an inability to keep pace with their own plans. That gulf between vision and delivery at a critical time is perhaps most visible in application development.

The customer experience has never been more important

The pandemic has radically changed the way that businesses use technology. However, what we’re actually seeing right now are trends that were already in motion. Long before the start of 2020, companies were heavily reliant on software applications that are often difficult to modify or update. In times of crisis, that lack of software agility can quickly go beyond simply being a source of internal frustration.

Digital transformation projects to improve the customer experience have previously been a priority for many organisations, but now customer loyalty is more important than ever. Following the business disruption caused by COVID-19, the use of new hyperautomation technologies to speed digital transformations, create positive customer experiences and improve financial performance has become critical.

Automation at speed

Simply put, hyperautomation is automation at speed. It’s a combination of technologies that allow faster application authorship (like low-code) and automation technologies, including Business Process Management (BPM), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Together, these technologies help developers create applications faster, automate complex and long-lived workflows, coordinate different worker types from humans and bots, enhance the customer journey, and offer insights to employees. Automation does not mean replacing people with technology but rather, augmenting human efforts with digital helpers.

COVID-19 has sparked a quiet revolution in ways of working, with the human workforce dispersed across more locations than before. Developers still hold the keys to security and governance in IT. Hyperautomation seeks to unite technology and humans, automating mundane tasks and keeping humans in informed control so they can make better, faster decisions. RPA bots are fast and inexpensive but cannot handle exceptions or change. AI is great at evaluation, recognition, translation, and giving advice; but generally, cannot make the final decision. People are best at making decisions and talking to customers. Each member of the automation workforce has a distinct role to play.

Low-code is a vital piece in the hyperautomation puzzle. Through visual drag-and-drop interfaces, business analysts and IT developers can collaborate to create enterprise applications in a few days or weeks - something that previously relied on developers writing thousands of lines of code, taking months to deploy. Low-code software and agile methodology make it quicker and easier to adapt to change and automate processes to improve the customer experience.

For example, Australian headquartered fintech - Hay, used Appian to automate many customer transactional workflows, providing a fast, seamless and mobile-first experience for customers. Automating the checks required to carry out new customer onboarding due diligence, Appian interfaces with Hay’s onboarding process, providing a world-class customer experience. The Appian platform allows customers to securely open an account in less than five minutes, which differentiates Hay from traditional banking providers that can take days or weeks.

Tomorrow’s business needs hyperautomation

According to Forrester's 2021 predictions for software development, low-code will break into the mainstream next year, with 75% of development firms estimated to adopt it. I’m a firm believer in low-code because there’s a real need to remove outdated practices from the application modernisation process. COVID-19 has shown us this need has never been greater. In 2020, most executives appreciate the need for a digital transformation strategy, but there’s little consensus on the most effective paths to take. There is agreement, though, on the need for removing complexity and injecting speed into the application development process. Now, more than ever, speed and agility are paramount for organisations across industries.

When an organisation really wants to change something, it can usually do so quite quickly. A logo can be refreshed, an office location can be moved - even an entirely new business ethos can be carved out. With the right leadership, all of these can and should take place at speed – including technology.

The world has changed. Tomorrow’s enterprise will need agility, unification, speed, and collaboration. In a word, it will need hyperautomation. Now is the time to review existing workflows, look for improvements, and deploy hyperautomation to reach your end goals, fast. COVID-19 has placed a spotlight on inefficiencies, tensions between IT and the rest of the business, and lack of resilience. Hyperautomation - uniting your digital and human workforces at the speed of low-code - is an increasingly obvious answer.

By Luke Thomas, Regional Vice President APAC at Appian

About Appian: Appian helps organisations build apps and workflows rapidly, with a low-code automation platform. Combining people, technologies, and data in a single workflow, Appian can help companies maximise their resources and improve business results. Many of the world’s largest organisations use Appian applications to improve customer experience, achieve operational excellence, and simplify global risk management and compliance. For more information, visit

A video interview with Appian CEO Matt Calkins by iTWire in an October 2020 article titled “VIDEO INTERVIEW: Appian CEO Matt Calkins explains the low-code revolution, HyperAutomation, business, board games, Garry Kasparov and more” is here.

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