Low-code/no-code (LCNC) platforms are big news, igniting an explosion of user-generated innovation that’s having a profound impact on how enterprises create value from technology. Forrester research estimates that in 2021 alone, LCNC platforms will account for 75% of app development, up from 33% last year. And this trend is set to grow: 60% of current LCNC users expect their weekly usage of the platform to increase—some by 30% or more. 

The message is clear. We’ve entered the age of the “citizen developer”—empowering end-users, whatever their level of expertise, to create powerful software applications with a minimum of hand coding. Using LCNC development platforms, people with little or no coding background can quickly and easily create enterprise web and mobile applications. It’s a profound change, enabling enterprises to reduce pressure on existing development teams—and crowdsource innovation from their employees, on demand and at scale, for the first time ever.  

The benefits of LCNC development  

Today, a massive explosion of new use cases is underway in organizations worldwide—presenting them with the potential to unlock substantial value. The benefits on offer include higher speed, greater agility, lower costs, better governance, and expanded scaling capacity. 

In our everyday work with clients, we see how pioneering enterprises are equipping their businesses to respond rapidly and much more efficiently to new opportunities and volatile business environments, with secure digital workflows utilizing LCNC platforms. That’s not all. By democratizing technology, automating manual processes, quickly creating new ones, and seamlessly integrating them with existing data and applications, they’re dramatically accelerating the pace of their post-pandemic digital transformations.  

Recent Accenture research shows that 73% of C-level executives see LCNC as a way of driving new customer-facing applications, 55% as creating new process flows that complement packaged products, and 50% as a source of new business rules and process controls. 

Accenture can help deliver all three of these benefits through the Accenture ServiceNow Business Group. Launched last year, this brings together ServiceNow’s LCNC platform and Accenture services to create consumer-grade experiences for employees—enabling citizen developers to lead the LCNC charge in their organizations.  

Getting LCNC governance right 

But organizations can’t simply implement an LCNC platform and leave their people to get on with it. Uncontrolled democratization of that type would be a recipe for sprawl and security risks, as people followed their own agendas without any overarching control or direction.  

That’s why putting power into employees’ hands demands careful management.  

Without close oversight, there’s a real risk of disparate platforms and siloed behaviors. So LCNC programs should be implemented and expanded within robust governance guardrails. That way, enterprises have the best of both worlds: the almost limitless power of cloud, with all the control they want. 

Key governance considerations for these programs include leadership, demand and intake management, portfolio management, and citizen developer management. Decision-making and direction-setting processes need to be put in place. Good communications are essential, with close links established between business strategy objectives and the platform roadmap. 

At the same time, the platform itself needs to be reviewed for technical complexity to confirm it fits within the scope of citizen developer activities and expectations. And it’s essential to set up and maintain an inventory of developer applications so these can be reused when needed elsewhere in the enterprise. 

These programs are continuously evolving and, as such, require continuous upskilling, with full support provided for training needs. This falls within the scope of broader organizational change and Agile enablement. And it’s something the Accenture ServiceNow Business Group is increasingly busy with as companies progress their wider transformation journeys. 

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73%

of C-level executives see LCNC as a way of driving new customer-facing applications

55%

of C-level executives see LCNC as a way of creating new process flows that complement packaged products


50%

of C-level executives see LCNC as a source of new business rules and process controls

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The fast track to consumer-grade LCNC experiences 

The Accenture ServiceNow Business Group is in the forefront of LCNC’s rise. We’re helping enterprises in all industries to build on their rock-solid workflow platforms and data with low-code application development tools. Using these, both experienced app development teams and citizen developers can play a full part in enabling agile and responsive business operations. 

It’s a win-win that we’re helping more and more organizations to achieve. Those going down the LCNC route ask us to assist them in setting up centers of excellence that embed governance processes across the enterprise, providing a solid foundation for LCNC application development. In parallel we help them train core teams of developers and build competence on the platform. These are important first steps, paving the way to expansion and formalization of LCNC capabilities outside the IT organization. 

Mapping out the path ahead  

What’s next for LCNC? Accenture's own research shows that 60% of LCNC users expect their usage of the platforms to increase. What’s clear is that LCNC will likely continue to offer companies a powerful new way to handle fast-growing demands for innovation across the enterprise—all enabled and underpinned by robust governance and security. The opportunity is there. To get a head start in the LCNC race, companies need to start doing the groundwork now.

Take a look here to find out more about how the Accenture ServiceNow Business Group is bringing transformative innovation and business value to companies worldwide and why we were named the 2021 ServiceNow Global Creator Workflow Partner of the YearIf you’d like to talk about your own journey, please reach out. I’d love to hear from you. 

The opinions, statements, and assessments in this report are solely those of the individual author(s) and do not constitute legal advice, nor do they necessarily reflect the views of Accenture, its subsidiaries, or affiliates. Copyright © 2021 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture, ServiceNow, and its logos are trademarks of Accenture. 

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Launched last year, the Accenture ServiceNow Business Group merges ServiceNow’s LCNC platform and Accenture services—enabling citizen developers to navigate LCNC in their organizations. 

 

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David Kanter

Lead – ServiceNow Business Group, Global

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