Business optimisation through technology is a focus area for many organisations today. According to Brian Kropp, group vice president of Gartner’s HR practice, more than two-thirds of business leaders believe that their organisations could lose their competitive edge if they do not achieve significant digital transformation by 2020.
Can enterprise software development teams turn this goal into a reality?
The short answer is “not that easily” – today’s IT departments are under pressure to automate and optimise a great many processes across the enterprise. Adding to this challenge is the shortage of skilled and experienced software engineers on the market.
Research by The Coalition for a Digital Economy reveals that the UK will face 800,000 unfilled digital vacancies by 2020. Given this staggering talent gap, it’s not surprising that a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of The Telegraph and Brother UK found that a lack of IT skills is the greatest headwind for companies when implementing their technology strategies. This is the chief concern for close to a quarter of respondents, ahead of budgets (22%) and company culture (19%).
This means that many IT departments are not appropriately resourced to deal with the tide of requests for new digital assets. As a result, IT backlogs are making it difficult for various functions across the enterprise to access the business process applications they need to solve their unique problems.
This calls for a different way of thinking
To address the skills gap, innovative organisations are giving users outside of the IT department a greater role in the design and development of the digital assets they need.
This approach is made possible by the availability of low-code and no-code business process automation (BPA) software that provides business users with the tools to rapidly build the digital assets they need in a secure environment, sanctioned by IT. Instead of having to code these solutions from the ground up (which is something only a skilled software engineer can do), these “non-IT” users have access to visual drag-and-drop application designers that enable them to configure applications and other solutions using modular components.
If the applications built are able to integrate well with existing technologies and pull in data from multiple sources, this helps various functions to innovate their process without having to replace the underlying line of business systems which are critical to their operations.
Some BPA platforms also offer application templates, which can be customised in just a few steps to automate common tasks and processes, such as:
- Employee or customer on-boarding
- Training request approvals
- Invoice management
- Marketing content approvals
- Customer complaint management
- Defect tracking
A departmental approach for enterprise-wide impact.
In the low-code environment, business teams and departments can build lightweight applications and workflows to realise quick productivity gains. There’s no need to wait months and months for IT to provide these services.
This allows digital transformation to happen at the departmental level, in a way that makes sense to business users, because they’re designing their own digital solutions. But the business benefits don’t end here.
With this type of business optimisation strategy, skilled software engineers or staff are only asked to step in when complex configuration or coding becomes necessary. This makes optimal use of their sought-after skills, while freeing them to focus on other projects – helping to speed up digital transformation across the organisation.
This not only elevates operational efficiency, but also helps to reduce risk. When business users are able to build the digital solutions their departments need, they are less likely to resort to “shadow IT”. This term describes a situation where business users purchase and run software or applications outside of the CIO’s and/or IT department’s control – an approach that is risky from a governance, regulatory compliance and, of course, cyber security point of view.
A process-first mind-set
This approach to business optimisation may seem a little daunting for business users with minimal technical expertise – but it really doesn’t have to be.
Rather than starting with the technology and viewing digital transformation as an IT-led project, users could begin with the business process itself – taking a process-first approach to digital transformation. This involves looking at the business problems that need to be solved and then customising the technology to match.
A business optimisation expert like Velocity IT can guide you through this exercise, because we’re not a technology vendor, but rather a business optimsation partner. This means that we start by streamlining the processes that require attention; and then we find the right technology to optimise these processes and run them efficiently – with a focus on user-friendly, agile solutions that do not disrupt the business-critical systems already in place. This enables any department to embark on their own business-led IT project that delivers results fast.
A process-first approach to digital transformation gives organisations an opportunity to reduce costs, enhance operational performance and improve compliance across multiple functions at the same time – which helps to bridge the IT skills gap and keep organisations competitive in an increasingly digital environment.
Before unleashing the bots on your organisation, download our useful guide that explores the benefits of taking the process first approach.
SOURCES:  https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2018-09-06-gartner-says-only-20-percent-of-employees-have-the-skills-needed-for-both-their-current-role-and-their-future-career