Author: Jonathan Wiener – Chief Revenue Officer at Aurachain
With the journey to digital transformation now a necessity for businesses everywhere, the finance sector is feeling the push towards workflow automation more than any other. But many are facing the issue of high up-front investments, a lack of resources and complex coding. Here, Jonathan Wiener – Chief Revenue Officer from Aurachain, shares how digital democratisation is the ideal solution.
Setting the scene
Picture this scenario – a large-scale retail banking organisation encounters an issue: one of its operating systems is not responding. The outage slows down the bank’s business services, and ultimately affects it’s the user experience and availability of the service. In order for users to even report the problem, the system’s failure must firstly be discovered and communicated to the service desk, before being diagnosed and, finally, resolved. Such a scenario demonstrates the importance of digital transformation in banking when it comes to delivering robust and reliable business processes. The ideal solution would be the implementation of an Incident Management System to allow swift action, initiating a change process to solve the issue before it leads to a more serious problem. While the solution seems obvious, these sorts of systems can prove complex and challenging to implement – often requiring highly skilled coders and developers, a significant upfront investment and complex integration between multiple business systems.
The rise of digital democratisation
Finance organisations and all other enterprises are challenging the status quo. They’re demanding that enterprise software can be built quicker, more cost effectively and with bigger ROI. Digital democratisation through low-code is providing finance organisations with a way of rapidly automating business functionalities through collaboration, and without the need for expert coders or developers. This revolutionary approach to software development is not only radically transforming the way that workflows and processes are digitised, but also enhancing cross-team collaboration between business teams and IT. In order to fully understand the benefits of digital democratisation, we must first understand the challenges that come with traditional software development in the current market.
Arguably the most complex and challenging sectors when it comes to business functions, there is no room for error within the finance sector, with even minor mishaps risking major losses. Because of this, finance businesses and departments across the world are under increasing pressure to improve efficiency, narrow the margin for error and boost productivity. This comes at the same time when many businesses are still feeling the effects of a global pandemic and the subsequent financial crisis, causing companies to cut costs wherever possible. While traditional software development provided businesses with new ways of working, it is becoming increasingly clear that it’s not able to support the needs of all businesses in today’s unchartered environment.
The downfall of traditional software application development
For example, limitations on the capabilities of traditional software applications can cause roadblocks to success as they are often built to be deployed and used in a specific way. This makes the process of adding features and functionalities further down the line at best costly and challenging, and at worst technically impossible. If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that businesses needs evolve quickly and flexibility is crucial – this includes flexibility within the technology stack. As a business leader, you wouldn’t create teams, goals and processes that are impervious to change, so why would you spend time and money creating rigid applications?
Just like how you would want communication between your teams to collectively solve your customer’s pain points, it would make sense to expect the same from the applications you have in place. Traditional software applications are all too often developed to solve single problems and, as a result, become monolithic structures, unable to talk to other systems. To top it off, we all know how important both time and money is to an organisation. Traditional development cycles of workflow applications can take as long as 18 months, depending on the complexity of the solution. And the costs associated with undertaking a traditional development project can wipe out a significant part of your IT budget.
This means that in reality, you could find yourself putting time, resources and money into developing an application, only for it to become inflexible and closed off to new technology. You could even end up having to start the whole development process over again to implement crucial changes. Ever wondered why IT teams spend the majority of their time and budget maintaining deeply embedded legacy systems? This is it!
Achieving digital democratisation through low-code
It’s clear that there is a need for innovation to overcome the challenges of traditional software. But what exactly is digital democratisation and how is it implemented? To put it simply, digital democratisation is the result of low-code – a fast and flexible way of delivering applications across all lines of business. It uses a controlled and collaborative approach to development that brings business and IT together, working on a single platform to swiftly deliver applications as and when they are needed.
Low-code eliminates the language barriers found in traditional software development, removing the need for coding experts and allowing citizen developers – people from various departments of your business – to unleash their knowledge and expertise into applications that focus on the end and not the means. Business leaders have always had a good understanding of what they want their organisation’s software to achieve, low-code allows them to directly contribute those ideas. Once you start thinking about the possibilities of business process and workflow automation, ideas for revolutionary applications can come at any time – be it in the board room or the breakroom! There may also be a sudden external change to the market that you have to adapt to. Low-code allows you to respond quickly and efficiently to these priorities, without overwhelming your professional developers. Instead, business experts across different teams can begin mapping the application and data model, setting up the teams, roles and users and even inserting rules for process behaviour. This is all made simple through easy to understand drag and drop visuals, allowing users to connect elements and create a process flow. Because of the user simplicity, applications can be generated in a fraction of the time – taking just days instead if months. Behind the scenes the low-code platform automatically generates the code needed to turn all of this into a functional software application.
CEC Bank accelerates digitalisation using low-code
Think back to our original scenario, in which a bank needs an effective Incident Management System. By using low-code, the organisation could build an application that ensures operating system problems are instantly identified and managed transparently, in close relation to; the level of expertise of the support team, the technology used, apps, type of incident and its severity. In fact, that is exactly what happened when CEC Bank initiated a partnership with Aurachain to accelerate its journey to digital transformation.
CEC bank created an application that automatically routes incidents through a total of eight stages, from identification to incident closure. The application uses various functionalities, including: instant alerts when key functions or services crash or under-perform; assigning incidents to the appropriate support team; automatic incident report generation and performance monitoring for teams and systems; facilitating requests for additional information such as images or file uploads; delivering resolution confirmation from clients; and when required, automatically sending escalation of an incident to a senior level of support; and enabling the set-up of deadlines and SLAs on several levels of incident support.
The low-code platform means the operations department has insight into the state of the incidents raised from the corresponding events, while the service desk gains causal Configuration Item (CI) awareness for the incidents. It also enables operations to take actions for events, while incident updates are automated and closed upon successful remediation.
Through the use of low-code input was gained from the support team, operations team and the IT department on what processes they felt would be best suited to provide the best level of service. This collaboration and transparency also extends to the delivery of the software, where the low-code platform sits at the heart of the organisation’s application strategy. Developers, testers, analysts and business experts can be brought together for cross-team collaboration that supports continuous delivery, integration and monitoring.
A future of collaboration without compromising on governance
While low-code offers the flexibility of collaboration, it also doesn’t simply hand over all power to the general workforce. A huge benefit of low-code is that it takes a new approach to governance. Instead of a situation where it slows innovation and restricts access to development, causing roadblocks to new techniques, this modern form of governance enables a wider constituency of software creators by embedding the principles of reliability and contract obligation into the deployment pipeline. These controlled paths to production deployment give users freedom to create without needing to find ways around frustrating restrictions. The best low-code tools deliver deployment pipelines with flexible permissions, configurable approval stages, and multiple deployment environments into the process. Users can use push-button deployment for simple apps for their teams and use the same button to push updates into pre-production for validation by the professionals.
The benefits are clear – digital democratisation through low-code can provide the finance sector with scalability, efficiency and flexibility, at the same time as encouraging collaboration between teams. And while businesses compete to stay on top, delivering efficient service through workflow automation is becoming a prerequisite to success. With digitalisation already fully in motion, low-code helps businesses to achieve unprecedented speeds of digitalisation by reducing the risk of coding, creating an environment in which business owners, analysts and tech teams can work more effectively to create complex, yet easy to use enterprise apps which until recently, were unavailable outside of legacy systems.