Moving from low-code hype to successful implementation

Before jumping at a solution, banks and credit unions should set a long-term strategy, and then establish the right teams and tools.

As financial institution leaders look ahead to the next phase of digital transformation, low code should be a critical part of the process as an enabler to meet ongoing initiatives. It provides an opportunity to empower all users – even those outside of IT – to drive significant change.

Low-code applications are now at the top of the hype cycle, with many financial services vendors retroactively labeling their offerings as low code to attract financial institutions needing a quick fix.

But before jumping at a solution, it’s critical that banks and credit unions set a long-term strategy, and then establish the right teams, tools and mindset needed to make low code a success. These four tips will help financial institutions achieve ongoing digital transformation.

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Identify specific outcomes

The proliferation of too many low code tools inside a single organization is a barrier to efficiency and scale. Quick fixes don’t help solve long term problems, and many financial institutions that implement these technologies will find themselves needing to reevaluate their solutions once the next major challenge comes along.

Instead of trying to apply low code to everything in isolated parts of the business, like many organizations did with AI, better outcomes will be driven by more purposeful enterprise-wide investments that can be centrally managed using reusable components that can scale over time.

Before rebuilding from the bottom up, focus on a specific challenge in a single department or functional organization. Involve stakeholders from the beginning through workshops and brainstorming sessions. By starting small, teams can find success and then radiate the value without creating unnecessary risk to other areas of the business.

Don’t consider it a “tech only” team resource

Low code can be leveraged by coders and non-coders alike so that business and IT teams can better collaborate in a common language, as well as focus on broader operational change management and enablement.

Outline roles and responsibilities for each team member and to establish responsibility and oversight. From there, you can identify who has the appropriate knowledge and skills to kickstart projects and take on leadership positions to ensure others are brought into the fold effectively.

When done right, a low-code approach can enable business and IT functions to collaborate at a higher level and ensure everyone is speaking the same language and innovating as one, regardless of coding expertise.

Build one inclusive environment

One unified environment allows for better communication between stakeholders and developers, as well as better oversight from the enterprise IT team keeping everyone in compliance and on track.

Most platforms can’t take on the breadth of challenges necessary for true transformation. For example, one could offer a simple authoring environment that’s best for apps in small departments, but lack the features and tools required to scale to more meaningful enterprise deployments.

Digital transformation will always be a tradeoff between business value and implementation complexity, so look for a collaborative, flexible and scalable platform that builds along the full spectrum of use cases, skill sets and ecosystem requirements.

Expanding access while remaining compliant

IT users can use role-based access to ensure the right people have access to the right tools to prevent people from creating apps that run afoul from best practices and to keep apps updated to meet business needs.

Users need a creative space to build out ideas and learn at their own pace in the format that works best for them. At the same time, guidance and assistance is needed on everything from design, data architecture, naming conventions, testing, governance/access controls, and security and policy compliance.

With the right balance of flexibility and support, users will be empowered to create solutions that truly have an impact on their teams while meeting business priorities.

Once equipped with the right platforms and training, bringing an idea from concept to delivery will be more seamless than with traditional coding. But transitioning a one-time victory into continuous transformation requires a framework for reuse and scale.

Being able to grow market share through digital engagement with customers is going to be a major differentiator globally within the next few years. Financial institutions will have to pivot from expensive transformation programs built around complex packaged channel solutions to more agile, value-driven customer experience outcomes that start small and scale rapidly.

Jonathan Tanner is senior director, financial institutions, at Pegasystems.