by Pete Khanna

Is enterprise software preventing us from hitting business goals?

Mar 16, 2017
Enterprise ApplicationsSoftware Development

The notion may seem counterintuitive, but new data suggests that this is, indeed, a reality. And as you would expect, today's executives are not happy about it

Business man sprinting across finish line red tape speed
Credit: Thinkstock

Is software getting in the way of our own business success? The notion may seem counterintuitive, but new data suggests that this is, indeed, a reality. And as you would expect, today’s executives are not happy about it. 

A new survey released from my company, TrackVia, of 500 business and IT executives found that company leaders are frustrated with the limitations of their current software and its ability to prevent them from operating efficiently. 

In fact, 82 percent report having to change their operations or processes to match the way their software works, and 76 percent have replaced software programs because they needed updates or customizations that their vendor couldn’t execute or the software itself couldn’t accommodate.

Worse, they feel their systems ultimately undermine the overall success of their respective businesses, with two out of the three executives stating they feel that limitations of their software programs have negatively affected their company’s growth.

As demonstrated by these findings, it’s clear that software today is not meeting the needs of modern organizations. Instead, executives are finding themselves left with systems, which they report as lacking the speed, agility and mobility that they need to succeed.

When current enterprise software options seem to be failing companies, is there anywhere they can look to ease their discontent?

The good news is that I’m not here to tell you a story filled with doom and gloom. I’m here to tell you that there’s light at the end of this tunnel, and for many, it is already taking the form of what industry analysts refer to as, “low-code application platforms.” These technologies accelerate the time it takes to build, configure, integrate and deploy fully customizable and adaptable web and mobile applications by replacing time-consuming programming with drag-and-drop functionality and other visual, intuitive tools.

You might be thinking, “Okay, sounds nifty, but how exactly do these new, low-code platforms remedy the software problems plaguing today’s companies?” Good question; let me explain.

Let’s look at where executives state they desperately need improvement in their current legacy software, and how low-code technology is uniquely addressing these issues. The survey results identify executives’ top three challenges (and ironically, their top priorities) with enterprise software as the following.

Customization. A quintessential element found across all low-code technologies is the ability to easily and quickly customize web and mobile applications, so that they are tailored to support the exact nature of a company’s operational needs. But what if your operations constantly evolve — can these technologies keep up? Yes, in fact, they allow for vastly more adaptability and versatility than traditional software, allowing users to rapidly configure their applications to match their unique needs both today and in the future. Some platforms even enable users to make adjustments to their apps with point-and-click ease and without the need for any coding. 

Integration and scalability. Most critical business processes don’t live on an island, so why should your technologies? Low-code application platforms make connecting your operational apps to your larger technological ecosystem an easy possibility. Most low-code platforms provide a variety of straightforward and flexible ways to integrate applications into internal systems of record or other software.

Additionally, you work hard to grow your company, so your technology should never get in the way of these efforts. Rather, shouldn’t it automatically and easily scale alongside your expanded operations and users? Low-code platforms provide unlimited scalability as a company’s operations and applications demand.

Mobility. The world has forever gone mobile; just look down at the smartphone in your hand where you may be reading this article or simply locate your nearest millennial colleague, who belongs to a generation with a reputation for being glued to their phones. As a result, companies are striving to support anytime, anywhere work, and low-code platforms provide an easy and fast path to enabling enterprise mobility. Having a single, integrated platform for all of your web and mobile applications means that the real-time changes and iterations you make to your apps can instantly be deployed across all of your end user devices — often with just clicks and no coding.

Some platforms also offer native mobile capabilities, which tap into the hardware of a smartphone device, and thus deliver advanced capabilities, such as offline mode, barcode/QR code scanning, photo attachments, geo-location tagging, signature capture, and the like. The result? Every employee, regardless of physical location, not only can be set up for productive work, but can also always remain connected and coordinated with others every step of the way.

Forrester expects 68 percent revenue growth in the low-code market and forecasts that by 2019 the overall market size will reach $10.3 billion. With one out of three executives surveyed currently using a low-code platform, an increasing number of executives serve as proof that this new breed of technology is a viable solution for overcoming the challenges they face with current software options.

Furthermore, the data indicates that nearly half of non-users are currently interested in pursuing a low-code platform — citing their confidence in its ability to address a variety of their challenges, including faster implementation, updates and maintenance, increased productivity in IT, easier customization of enterprise applications, and simpler integration and compatibility with other software and applications.

Easing the frustration that exists in today’s C-suite is a step in the right direction. More than that, the fact that these platforms are beginning to help executives gain the adaptability, speed and mobility they needed to compete, grow and succeed in their respective markets is the true testament to their power to change how companies leverage technology — turning what were once problems into opportunities that can translate to their company’s bottom line.