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The Low-code Brothers: Two Dudes On a Mission to Save the World from Digital Doom

Blog: Appian Insight

The Low-Code BrothersThere’s a scene in the cult classic flick The Blues Brothers (circa 1980) where Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues—two hard boiled blues rockers—are about to drop the hammer on an epic mission to put their band back together and save their old orphanage from financial doom:

Elwood: It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.

Jake: Hit it!

The plot line behind that riff put a permanent crease in pop culture. But it also inspired our bodacious meme of two badass nerds on a mission to get us on the good foot of low-code automation and save the world from technical debt. If you’re not hip to The Blues Brothers concept, it’s a vintage Saturday Night Live parody of a soul band fronted by comedians Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi.

As for technical debt, research shows that 40% of development time is wasted on technical debt. Not to mention that 50% of new application development requests end in failure, according to a recent study by IDG. And if none of that freaks you out, digital disruption is always just a heartbeat away and has a way of showing up whether we’re ready for it or not.

None of this is even slightly copacetic. The deck is stacked against traditional application development. But the Low-code Brothers remind us that not all is dark and gloomy. They symbolize the powerful juju of the modern low-code automation platform for the CIO who wants to solve the technical debt problem and inject Agile development processes into her IT organization. Case in point: Aviva, a multinational insurance company with 33 million customers across 16 countries. Using a low-code platform, this London-based company was able to combine tons of data from 22 different systems to build a single customer view for more efficient call center performance.

Bottom line? Customer service response times improved by a mind-blowing 9x and operating costs plummeted by a remarkable 40%.

The Amazing Mojo of Low-code Automation

Back to the Low-code Brothers meme. It represents the mojo of low-code automation which frees us from technical debt and revolutionizes our ability to orchestrate how people, bots and artificial intelligence all work together to accelerate digital transformation. And, yet, many IT organizations tend to get stuck in a project backlog which forces them to cut corners just to survive the pressure cooker of digital transformation. Low-code automation is the opposite of that. It inoculates us against debilitating backlogs by empowering developers and non-tech execs alike to build enterprise-class applications 10 to 20x faster than writing code.

So, why is low-code so fast? In a word: simplicity.

“If I could boil Appian (low-code automation platform) down into one word,” says Appian Founder and CEO Matt Calkins, “it’d be simplicity.” But all companies must accelerate IT delivery without sacrificing quality or accumulating more technical debt,” says Calkins. It’s worth noting that Appian was the first low-code vendor to go public.

Sure, you could compromise and buy off-the-shelf software but then integration becomes an issue. Silos of data and process start to build up and you’ve suddenly created a bigger problem than you had before. Alternatively, you could play it safe and build your own custom applications the old school way.

But this has equal challenges when it comes to keeping up with demand for unique software. Finally, you could add more developers but talent is scarce and expensive. Much better to take a low-code approach.

Orchestrating Workers, Bots, AI and More

That’s right. The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC)—the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization—built their first low-code application on Appian in just six weeks. Incredibly, Chicago-based OCC went on to build and deploy nine critical risk management applications on Appian in 18 months. Today, they can build an application in a day.

“This is how you get the most out of low-code,” says Appian CEO Matt Calkins. “This is the kind of speed we like to see. And the kind of transformation that we aspire to. This is what we’re working for, what we want to give to our customers.”

Speaking of speed, Gartner reported that the robotic process automation (RPA) market grew 63% in 2018 making it the fastest growing segment of enterprise software. The problem is that many companies have implemented bots from multiple vendors. Software robots are often deployed in silos without effective human oversight. So, security-and-governance-minded CIOs are naturally cautious about scaling up their RPA use cases.

In contrast, the best low-code automation platforms:

Yes, technical debt is still a hard nut to crack but the promise of  low-code automation has raised expectations so high, they may never come down again.

The Bluesmobile as a Low-code Automation Platform

Flash cut to another memorable scene in The Blues Brothers movie—the one where Elwood introduces Jake to the Bluesmobile (a fantastical, decommissioned police car). Re-imagine the scene with The Low-Code Brothers as our protagonists and replace the Bluesmobile with the Appian Low-code Automation Platform instead:

Dev: What’s this?

Ops: What?

Dev: This platform. Where’s the platform we used to have?

Ops: I traded it for an Appian Low-code Automation Platform

Dev: Why?

Ops: It’s got low-code under the hood, visual design. It’s got unified data, fast integrations. It’s got solutions for workflow, AI and RPA. And you can run apps on it without writing code. Whad-daya say, is this our new platform or what?

Want the straight scoop on the Appian Low-code Automation Platform and how it can help you overcome technical debt? Sign up here to request future access to a limited beta program. To get the lowdown on low-code development, these must-read whitepapers are definitely on point:



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