Low-Code/No-Code is Here to Stay

The adoption of low-code/no-code has accelerated by five years in only six months.

Ruum Team

Annamaria Arapi-Beno

October 15, 2020

7 min

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In a very short time, the global pandemic has forced every business to reinvent the way they manage people and processes from the ground up. Low-Code/No-Code (LCNC) solutions are now center-stage as they put the power for rapid transformation in the hands of the end user. We interviewed Stefan, the Head of Product at Ruum, to get his perspective on how this trend went from evolutionary to revolutionary.

Stefan, we just released our biggest feature set ever at Ruum a few days back. What are you most excited about?

I’m excited that we are now truly realizing the vision of no-code process building for use cases in every line of business, in every industry. The early indications from our Beta are proving this out: Our customers have built almost three hundred processes across organizational functions in just a couple of weeks.

It proves the idea of the „long tail“ – those processes that are outside of core software systems. Think of activities that are currently managed in Excel or in emails or in makeshift, manual solutions. Ruum’s newest feature release will allow businesses to stop copy-pasting and to easily digitize and automate those processes while increasing efficiency and transparency.  

And I'm even more excited to see where that goes next, to hear more customers‘ feedback as we expand to a wider base and to see which additional processes they will build and set live without writing code.

This release took some heavy lifting from the team – it was like sprinting a marathon. Why was it so important to speed up the delivery?

We started to explore this direction and go down this path about a year ago. Then, the pandemic hit and suddenly process transformation was top of mind for everyone.

It wasn't just about transforming old processes to adjust to the new reality, it was about coming up with new processes in a matter of days: To onboard employees remotely, to do procurement remotely and from home, to work from home in every sense of the word – and to manage and minimize who must go into the office and when. There were so many fixes that companies had to come up with, ad hoc and overnight, that really pushed LCNC into the mainstream. There was no time for an IT project. We needed solutions immediately. Otherwise people couldn't work – full stop.

That’s why a giant wave of IT departments all over the world suddenly started looking for the best solutions to solve the long tail process problems.

When we talk about low-code/no-code, many times we speak about the citizen developer. Who do we have to picture when we talk about this person?

There are many definitions for the „citizen developer“ out there, because there are many people within a company that can perform this role. Ultimately, a citizen developer is somebody who builds an application or builds a process in a low-code/ no-code solution and sets it live. This person is a builder. She's not necessarily your typical computer science graduate who works in IT and knows how to write code.

We can now enable more people than ever before to build relevant digital solutions. They can just go ahead and do it without depending on IT resources.

How does no-code capability change the relationship between business and IT?

Instead of being a backlog-driven organization when it comes to supporting business needs, IT is transformed into a coaching and enablement function, where it is a partner for the business to build their own solutions. IT can then focus on its core values of security, the governance of data, making sure that the data is compliant from reliable data sources and that it delivers accurate financial statements.

The challenge the market is now facing is how to walk this line: On the one hand, enabling as many people as possible to digitize and automate, and on the other hand, making sure the data stays compliant and resilient and reliable. It’s going to be interesting to see how these low-code/ no-code solutions will serve and balance both business and technical needs.

And what's Ruum’s answer to this? How did our team approach this?

For us, the most important thing is that the business objects and the business data stays in the source system. If you have a process that, for example, has the customer business object as a data source, then this data will come from CRM and will be written back to CRM at the end of this process. Both the “read” and the “write” access is done through principle propagation.

The main idea is that the builder’s „user rights“ stay the same. If you're logged into Ruum and you have the right to see customer data in your company’s CRM, those rights are also then used to update the data from Ruum in the CRM. If you're someone who doesn't have access to the CRM, you will also not be able to either read or write the data in Ruum. That way we make sure that the single source of truth stays with the CRM.

On top of that, we enable what's called side by side extensions. If we stick to the CRM example: a sales process is slightly different in every country of the world. For example, the market in China is different than in the USA, therefore the sales team needs additional data that is not stored in the global CRM at the moment. The sales departments in these countries can add the additional fields in Ruum and they will live side by side next to the CRM object.

There are so many low-code/no-code solutions popping up right now in the market. Why should customers choose SAP and Ruum?

The fact that there are so many solutions popping up everywhere shows how important this market has become. There are companies that have been doing this for over 10 years. It's going to be one of those so-called overnight successes that has actually been 10 years in the making and is now ready to disrupt a bigger part of the market.

The reason why customers choose SAP and why Ruum offers interesting value for customers is the governance topic. So many of the third-party solutions don't have a good answer yet on how to enable as many people as possible on these platforms without losing the governance aspect of data. SAP already provides the most business-critical business tools to most of the companies around the world, and Ruum leverages that.

Building on the resilience you get from SAP with the flexibility of low-code/no-code from Ruum is a clear advantage for our customers and their IT departments, versus using a third party no-code solution and then having to set up manual governance controls between all systems.

Would you say that low-code/no-code is for any type of enterprise?

When you look at the participants in our beta program and all the use cases they are applying, today there really isn’t a strong distinction between one type of enterprise or the other.

Every line of business, every industry, and every company size has processes that need to be extended, modified, adjusted, adopted or built in variations. Our beta program proves that they all can and will benefit from low-code/no-code.

Our partners are also becoming enablers for our customers, setting up local support centres of excellence or automation centres of excellence to help them with this transition from the old world of IT towards this new world of IT. Everyone will benefit from the improved time to value creation in the end.

Where are we in this journey and what can we expect in the next couple of years? How do you think this will shape up?

According to McKinsey, adoption of LCNC is accelerated by five years since the beginning of 2020. Which means that the pace went from standard in terms of enterprise IT evolution to very fast.  At the moment, low-code/no-code are still products that people buy individually. I believe that low-code/no-code will soon move away from being a product to becoming a philosophy that every solution has to support out of the box.

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