“Agility” has long been a watchword at most organizations, but in 2020, the term has taken on new importance. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed transformation initiatives into overdrive, throwing CIOs and app development leaders into the front lines of a digital revolution. Overnight, in-person channels for customer and employee interaction have been either blocked or greatly limited, forcing CIOs to rapidly move processes online to serve customers and employees.
Yet few IT leaders were prepared for the challenges the global pandemic presents. A survey of 2,200 IT professionals and senior IT leaders that OutSystems conducted this spring found fewer than 25% are confident their organization is ready to deal with unplanned change. What do IT teams need to survive and thrive in the new reality, and what’s standing in the way?
Meeting Customers’ High Expectations--At Warp Speed
With stores shut down and call centers overloaded, customers who traditionally used in-person channels are moving to digital interactions. Already overburdened IT departments have been further pressured to quickly launch new applications to serve customers in a digital-only way. But a mobile app or website is not enough: Customers want to interact with organizations on their terms, via the channel, device, or interaction modality that is most convenient. Whether using a desktop, mobile device, wearable device, voice assistant, or chatbot, customers demand a seamless experience across all of them. They don’t want to relearn how to use an application when they move from one device to another, nor do they want to be forced to repeat steps, such as having to input their account number multiple times.
The move to remote work further adds to the app dev burden. Compared to CX, employee experience and the UX of employee apps have typically been lower on the IT team’s priority list. And while it was already clear that a poor employee experience negatively impacts efficiency and, ultimately, the customer experience, the pandemic has made that even more evident. For example, if overburdened call center employees can’t access customer records or key information quickly, the result will be slow, inconsistent service. Formerly, process or UX inefficiencies could be overcome with in-person collaboration or paper-based solutions, but that is no longer an option.
The Old Ways of Application Development Won’t Work in the New World
The need to deliver transformative technology quickly has never been greater. Yet in our survey, the majority of organizations said they needed 3 to 6 months to roll out a web or mobile application. Organizations that are crystallized in the old ways of delivering software will struggle to survive in this new era.
It’s been estimated that IT teams spend up to 80% of their time maintaining legacy technologies, leaving just 20% of their time to develop new solutions for internal and external customers. Too often, that precious time is eaten up by traditional app development models and technologies. Developing software using traditional development requires using different development teams, each with its own unique skill set, working side by side on different technologies to build applications for the various channels and touchpoints a company needs to interact with customers and employees. This not only means long project times because traditional software development is inherently time-consuming, but also means these teams end up creating the same functionality over and over again for each channel or application. This is labor-intensive and costly—precisely the wrong approach for 2020, when CIOs need to cut costs, speed up release cycles, and add value quickly.
Organizations without the developers, skill set, or technology required--or simply those who want to move faster--often turn to pre-packaged software and outsourcing as solutions. Unfortunately, these tactics take control of your digital customer experience--something that is critical for any business - out of your hands and make app development and updates slower and more costly or flat-out impossible.
A New Breed of App Development Platform for Great CX and EX
It’s often said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result every time. In the face of urgent customer and employee demands for a better digital experience, CIOs hoping to stop the insanity need to do things in a fundamentally different way--and for that they need a new breed of application development platform. They need a modern app development platform that allows teams to create high-quality digital experiences for customers and employees at speed, by automating repetitive development and deployment tasks, and allowing for maximum reuse of functionality across applications and channels. They need a solution that allows them to leverage their existing development skills and use a single platform to create applications for any channel or device.
Reusability eliminates the time-consuming, costly need to repeat coding processes in multiple apps and channels. Developers can build an app once and reuse elements such as UX/UI components, business logic, and data across all interactions, rather than rebuilding the same interactions for every channel or application. Reusability means updates and fixes can be done once and replicated. Instead of outsourcing or hiring for specialized skills, CIOs can use a single technology to leverage their existing developers’ know-how. Enterprise-grade, high-speed app development platforms that are scalable and secure meet the needs of even the most exacting CIOs.
By using visual development instead of hand-coding, modern app development platforms facilitate up to 10X faster app development. But this is not just a faster app development platform; it’s a whole new approach to development that Gartner coined multi-experience.
The multi-experience approach to development upends the traditional inside-out mentality of focusing on channels, such as mobile or web. Instead, it uses an outside-in approach focused on creating an optimal customer experience across channels. No matter what modality is used to interact with an organization, a multi-experience development platform makes it easy to deliver the consistent, seamless experience that customers and employees expect across touchpoints.
Rethinking App Development
Even when the COVID-19 pandemic ends, there will be no putting the agility genie back in the bottle. The need for agile IT will only grow in the coming years, and the organizations that survive and thrive will be those that can rapidly bring new applications and iterations to market.
Successfully unifying your end-to-end customer and employee experience requires a fundamental rethinking of the way your team delivers new applications. A modern app development platform built on a multi-experience approach like OutSystems, can overcome the constraints of legacy systems, unify and simplify app development, and prepare your organization to succeed in any environment.
The OutSystems app development platform can give companies the tools and processes needed to build even complex applications in weeks instead of months or years. Learn more in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Multiexperience Development Platforms, where we were honored to be recognized as a leader in the field.