The sudden outbreak of Covid-19 uncovered weaknesses in business models across the world as organizations struggled to adapt to change, let alone keep their doors open. A recent survey conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytics Services asked 527 global executives about the impact of the pandemic on their organization, especially regarding their digital transformation efforts. The findings speak to the magnitude of the challenge faced by businesses at large – 91% of organizations reported altering their operating models because of Covid-19, with 33% going as far as to describe the changes as “significant.”
But to an even further extent, the way leaders approach planning and goal setting has also fundamentally changed. Since the outbreak, 53% of those surveyed said that improving business continuity and resiliency is a primary goal, marking a 33%–point change from prior. 43% reported their primary goal as increase agility associated with operations and business workflows, a 12%-point change from prior.
This data can be interpreted as a call for operational agility: the ability of a company to flex and adapt operations, technology, and information to constant change. The capacity of a business to be operationally agile is critical for success – perhaps even survival – by ensuring resiliency and business continuity amidst disruption.
By achieving true operational agility, your business should have full visibility across processes and access to relevant insights to empower people to make faster, more informed decisions. Additionally, operational agility involves the strategic implementation of technology to modernize processes and rapidly innovate by creating digital solutions. Collectively, these factors supercharge an organization’s ability to adapt to change and overcome disruption.
The concept of a business functioning with operational agility may at first appear to be idealistic. In truth, however, achieving this state starts with empowering the people in your business with the tools to innovate. If the question remaining is how, then low-code application development is the answer. This category of cloud-based software provides tools that enable business professionals or business-process managers to create their own applications and services with the oversight of IT.
Low-code tools add a layer of agility on top of your current tech stack, connecting data and systems and extending the technology and software developments your company has already made to maximize their impact. Functional business applications built with low-code address the transformation of systems, processes, and workflows at all levels by democratizing software development – allowing people even without technical backgrounds to innovate within their areas of expertise. Better yet, low-code platforms are built with iteration in mind, so as your business scales or if the world suddenly changes (dare we say another global crisis), the software that supports your workflows can grow and adapt alongside you.
The Harvard Business Review Analytics Services research did more than just take a pulse of business leader’s sentiments in this era of uncertainty. To go a step further, respondents’ organizations were categorized as transformation leaders, followers, or laggards. The former is defined by those who rated their digital transformation efforts as “very effective” in the period before and following the COVID-19 outbreak and comprised of 27% of all people surveyed.
Of this group of leaders, almost three quarters (73%) capitalize on low-code development, which is 20% and 33% higher than followers and laggards, respectively. This indicates that low code was an essential contributor to many organizations’ digital transformation success. But the correlation doesn’t end there – 70% of leaders say that their organizations have increased agility associated with operations and business workflows. This apparent connection between low-code, digital transformation success, and reaching operational agility goals is becoming increasingly hard to ignore.