How Low Code Platforms Enable Remote Collaboration

As I said in my last post, the world took a hard pivot right over the last couple of weeks. I'm reasonably sure that whatever you had planned to do this week is crossed out and replaced with a new plan and way of working.




Many organizations closed their offices and working remotely. I ran a small poll on Twitter to snapshot the impact, and over 26% of respondents state that at least part of their organizations shifted to working remotely because of COVID-19.



The Tools that Enable Remote Teamwork


CIOs and IT leaders spent last week dusting off business continuity plans and ensuring that employees are safe. They bought laptops for more employees, reviewed networks hot spots, and ensured collaboration tools were ready for greater use.

But collaboration is more than Zoom, Google Meetings, and Microsoft Teams. Video conferencing, chat streams, and digital whiteboards only address parts of in-person collaborations.

A second part occurs in workflow tools: Jira and Microsoft DevOps for developers. Cherwell and ServiceNow and for IT Operations. Salesforce, Dynamics, or Sugar for Sales. You get the picture.

These tools not only help orchestrate business processes, but they are also the basis for collaboration and sharing information.

Emails, Spreadsheets, and PowerPoints Limit Remote Collaboration


And for just about all organizations, the last mile of collaboration is still buried in emails, spreadsheets, and PowerPoints. Many leaders recognize the problems of relying on these tools for collaboration and knowledge sharing. And I've certainly done my share of exposing spreadsheet jockeys, discouraging PowerPoint abuse, and extending ERP beyond email collaborations.

But the problem now, today, here and now is that these tools heavily rely on in-person collaborations. Business processes that heavily rely on email collaboration often require meetings to get all participants aligned. Sure, PowerPoints and spreadsheets can be shared, but the underlying message often needs the author to present and discuss with the intended audience to ensure there is a shared understanding.

Safer and smarter organizations are rapidly pivoting to a new way of working remotely. And all signs suggest that this may not be a two-week speedbump to business as usual. This might last for months, and there will likely be longer-term changes to how industry support remote working.

Safer Smarter Organizations Enable Collaboration with Low Code Platforms


So what should IT leaders be looking to do next when it comes to collaboration?

My answer lies in low code, no code, and citizen development platforms. I've been writing on these platforms for years, including how low code platforms are key to digital transformation and how less code is more. I asked developers to ask themselves if they are writing too much code and why they should not dismiss low code platforms.

This may be a perfect time and opportunity to manage business process debt, a form of technical debt and data debt, with lightweight, easy to develop, easy to use workflow and collaboration applications.

Let me suggest a few examples.

  • Developing mobile service desk applications with Pow Wow Mobile to help employees ask questions and seek assistance working remotely
  • Using QuickBase app to capture decision agile teams make while designing systems
  • Using Caspio to create master forms and views that connect to multiple operational databases
  • Building new knowledgebases and FAQs to help employees with Creatio 
  • Sharing real-time analytics on new types of customer issues using Tableau Server

There are plenty of other examples that can be developed in different platforms, including Claris, Vantiq, Kintone, OutSystems, Mendix, Microsoft, and others.

Even the fastest agile software development teams with the most advanced devops automation and sophisticated cloud capabilities will take a lot more time and effort to design, develop, test, and deploy workflow applications. 

But businesses that are pivoting to remote collaboration and adapting to evolving health and financial conditions need rapid development tools. Organizations with the low code swiss army knives may have an advantage. 


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