Digital transformation has been become increasingly apparent in all aspects of society at large in the last six months, business included. In both their personal and professional lives, people have relied on new and innovative technology solutions to support the processes they rely on day-to-day – whether that be replacing in-person get togethers with video conferences, trips to grocery stores with home-delivery services, or in-classroom courses with virtual learning opportunities.
Businesses, too, have relied on technology to overcome massive hurdles to their operations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It didn’t take long for executives to realize that embracing digital transformation is the key to surviving the downturn. For many leaders, however, achieving this is easier said than done. That explains why, in a recent study by Harvard Business Review Analytics Services and sponsored by Quick Base, less than 22% of business and IT leaders surveyed were willing to rate their current digital transformation efforts as “very effective”.
When asked what primary factors were at play when digital transformation fell short of an organization’s goals, over 400 executives identified the following as strategic and cultural gaps that undermined their projects’ success:
45% of respondents attributed it to “an organizational culture that doesn’t easily adapt to changing business conditions.”
21% of respondents said, “backlogs in the IT or operations departments for creating new or updating business processes.”
25% listed “an organizational culture that doesn’t foster innovation.”
The good news is that these challenges are not insurmountable, and with a proper strategy in place, companies can avoid these pitfalls and achieve true digital transformation success.
Enter Dual-Track Transformation
When looking for sustainable solutions that can allow your business to weather disruption, identifying digital transformation as the “what?” is the first step, but the next step (the one that leaders struggle with most) is figuring out how to get there.
A dual-track digital transformation strategy answers the “how” question and addresses the issues that commonly cause transformation efforts to fall short. As the name suggests, a dual-track approach combines two forms of digital transformation initiatives: innovation at both the enterprise scale and the business-process level.
Activating this second track, known as rapid-cycle innovation at the business-process level, accounts for any strategy and cultural gaps that often result from a traditional approach that only focuses on enterprise-wide efforts.
Business and IT leaders across industries have found that low-code platforms like Quick Base target specific pain points that hold back their transformation efforts by allowing traditionally overlooked but essential-to-business processes to undergo rapid-cycle innovation.
Low-code Unleashes Rapid-Cycle Innovation
Low-code application development allows for a quick turn-around time from ideation all the way through implementation. This eliminates the budget and resource strain of traditional software development techniques, allowing for teams to pursue quick-wins that boost efficiency and deliver real business value while longer term enterprise-wide initiatives are still in the works.
Better yet, low-code applications are designed to be iterative and can be easily modified to scale with your business and adapt to support your company’s unique and changing needs. This means that the progress you make at the business-process level will last as new technologies emerge and processes evolve.
Citizen Development Enables IT Where They’re Needed Most
IT departments face the unique challenge of implementing grand-scale digital transformation initiatives across the enterprise while also supporting the technological needs of individuals and teams in the business. With the added stress of many IT teams now having to support a fully remote workforce, saying that IT has a lot on their plate is nothing short of an understatement.
IT departments struggling with maxed-out bandwidth have identified Citizen Development with low-code as a tool to help lighten their load. By allowing people in the business to build application solutions to solve the issues they face day-to-day, IT can offload non-priority tasks and put the opportunity for innovation in the hands of those closest to the actual work. And with robust administrative and governance tools, IT can still have the oversight to ensure that application development adheres to company policy and any industry compliance standards without having to get deep in the weeds of each specific project.
Raising Employee Capabilities to Foster a Culture of Innovation
Most enterprise-wide transformation efforts aim to influence the culture of an entire organization but are often met with resistance from employees who are hesitant to change the way they work. Citizen Development, however, turns this on its head – allowing change to start from the bottom up.
Buy-in from leadership at the top where resources are provided is crucial but ensuring that people in the business are supportive of the change is what makes organization-wide cultural change happen naturally, and stick. It is truly the people within and on the frontlines of your company who can make-or-break your digital transformation. Getting everyone on board can not only accelerate transformation, but also align teams across departments to focus on business goals.
The Benefits of Low-Code on Your Digital Transformation Strategy
When asked about the primary benefit of using low-code application development to support distributed innovation, IT leaders and CIOs ranked the following:
44% reported “[delivering] business applications more quickly than with traditional development processes” as a primary benefit.
20% said that it “let professional developers within IT focus on complex applications that require their expertise.”
52% also said that it “[encourages] business professionals and business-process managers to be more involved in innovation and idea generation.”
In a world where companies can’t afford to let their digital transformation efforts fall short, it’s no surprise that so many business and IT leaders are turning to low-code as a solution.