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Has the ‘need for speed’ ever been more profound than in today’s increasingly complex business environment? Businesses in every sector are pursuing the fastest and most-efficient response to the pressing need for modern work environments, digital capabilities and new business models. For a fast-growing number of organizations racing to accelerate innovation and enhance competitiveness in today’s new reality, low code is the answer.

The pressure to adopt game-changing digital solutions is forcing businesses to speed up the pace of innovation amid ever-evolving challenges involving customers, employees, suppliers and partners. Low-code programming platforms, as many are discovering, emphasize simplicity and ease of use, bringing solutions from across the automation spectrum together under one fully configurable umbrella. With its remarkable drag-and-drop simplicity, low-code is helping businesses accelerate enterprise modernization, agility and efficiency in the race to thrive and survive in the new normal.

At KPMG, we see low-code as the future of application development and automation. Low-code platforms can dramatically speed creation of sophisticated enterprise-class applications that incorporate complex business logic, automate workflow, integrate with existing information systems, and enable a slick user experience.


Low-code is poised for rapid growth

Analysts agree that low-code adoption is clearly on the rise. Gartner Research predicts that the global market for low-code development technologies will hit US$13.8 billion this year — up about 23 percent from 2020 — and that the market could be worth US$46.6 billion by 2023. Gartner also predicts that low-code will be responsible for more than 65 percent of application-development activity by 2024. And according to Forrester research, 100 percent of enterprises that have implemented a low-code development platform report satisfactory ROI.

Meanwhile, KPMG research indicates that since the pandemic’s 2020 outbreak, the number of executives naming low-code development platforms as their most important automation investment has nearly tripled.

Businesses are realizing that implementing one automation technology is a short-term measure — it’s platforms that can be the key to seamless, end-to-end automation. Low-code technology is essentially being embraced as a major enabler of true digital transformation and we view low-code platforms as the strategic ‘tool bench’ from which enterprises can increasingly drive large scale transformation.

To illustrate low-code’s game-changing advantages, consider the recent client case that saw KPMG in Canada collaborate with a health-sector company that supports hundreds of long-term-care facilities. The organization needed to implement automation and other emerging technologies to improve its scheduling and staffing amid the pandemic’s ongoing impact. Before the crisis, more than 50 employees required 2 weeks to develop 2-week schedules for the client’s diverse operations. Turning to low-code, KPMG experts created a technology solution that helped the company schedule 8,000 employee shifts in a remarkable timeframe of just 20 minutes.


The ‘unifying fabric’ of today’s digital enterprise

We view low-code as the ‘unifying fabric’ of the digital enterprise and leading organizations are already looking ahead to a connected future in which low-code platforms — powered by the adoption and convergence of emerging technologies — can unify front-, middle- and back-office functions.

In the front office, low-code helps enable harmonious multichannel user experiences across applications, plus faster time-to-market for new product and service offerings. In the middle office, low-code can improve the integration and automation of processes across the enterprise, adding a critical unifying ‘orchestration’ layer across diverse applications and bringing a digital user experience to legacy systems. In the back office, meanwhile, low-code can modernize legacy systems, automate routine or disconnected manual tasks, and reduce dependency on traditional, costly and lengthy custom-development projects.

A KPMG firm’s work with a major global bank, for example, saw the bank complete a deep automation deployment using low-code to orchestrate complex processes across front-, middle- and back-offices. Low-code technology allowed us to modernize 70 percent of the bank’s core applications, as part of process automation and functionality enhancement, in less than half the time typically required without low-code.

The agile and flexible enterprise architecture enabled by low-code and automation has significantly enhanced the bank’s operating model and streamlined operations. The bank can now innovate at speed and launch new digital channels and solutions to improve the experience for customers and partners — in some channels, digital adoption increased by 80 percent.

Low-code may be the most important technology investment your organization makes over the next few years. With the ability to deliver a graphical, drag-and-drop user interface and prebuilt functions — allowing for quick development of applications that automate workflows, integrate with other systems and fill gaps in off-the-shelf software systems — low-code platforms are the single most-versatile technology available to resolve pain points and orchestrate capabilities across an organization’s digital infrastructure.

The excerpt was taken from the KPMG Thought Leadership entitled Low-code platforms deliver high rewards.