If you’re reading this, then you already know low-code is a truly transformational technology – the best way to automate processes and ramp-up application
development. It’s no surprise that Gartner estimates 65% of all application development will be done on low-code by 2024.
But now comes the tricky part – convincing the rest of your organisation to invest in it.
This goes beyond highlighting the benefits. You need to build a watertight business case that resonates with all of your key stakeholders – a solid argument that’s grounded in reason and tailored to your business.
This guide is all about building this argument.
Sating your stakeholders
It’s based on a simple fact – low-code is the best way to dramatically improve customer experience (CX) while boosting efficiency and speed, improving flexibility and, most importantly right now, cutting cost.
On this page, we’ll explain why this is the case. We’ll also provide advice on selling software to stakeholders and fostering support within the business. Then in part three, we’ll cover the fundamentals of taking the plunge and building your first app.
This isn’t an exhaustive guide, but it should provide the grounding you need to start fruitful conversations with people who can champion your cause and bring low-code into your business.
Let’s dive in.
We believe that improving the customer experience starts with improving the employee experience. Most customer-facing teams are held back by limited point solutions and manual
processes. They may know how to improve CX but they can’t act on this knowledge and drive meaningful change.
Remove this friction and you unlock a new well spring of productivity, which in turn dramatically improves the customer experience. This is one of low-code’s superpowers – it helps your people help your customers.
Find out what makes great CX.
Low-code, high value
If you’re going to convince senior stakeholders to invest in low-code you’ll need to demonstrate its strategic value. The good news is that low-code can help you achieve several major strategic goals.
It’s essentially an app development engine which means it can be applied to dozens upon dozens of use cases – from improving IT security to streamlining expense management and everything in between.
This guide focuses on just one goal – dramatically improving CX. Why did we choose this particular application? Because it’s at the top of the c-suite’s agenda – 80% of organisations are now competing based on CX according to Gartner – and remains a difficult nut to crack.
CX challenges fall into three broad categories
Traditional CX tools can help address some of these issues but more often than not they exacerbate problems. Low-code, on the other hand, can accelerate change, remove complexity and reduce costs.
You need the ability to innovate and adapt to changing customer demands and market disruption, fast.
A lot of businesses strive to deliver a great customer experience, but this assumes that “great CX” is a fixed goal. The reality is different. The definition of a great customer experience is changing all the time as standards rise, technology improves and businesses develop new ways to impress their buyers.
So the goal isn’t really delivering a specific experience, it’s achieving flexibility. That way you can keep evolving and improving.
For most businesses, achieving this flexibility demands big changes to the way they work. The Excel-based processes that most organisations rely on are too disconnected, unreliable and inflexible. It’s easy to make errors, hard to identify failings and even harder to fix them. They’re also out of step with a world where digital interactions are 2.5 times more important than face-to-face interactions.
To solve all of these problems, you’ll need to automate and digitise your CX processes. In other words, you need to instigate a change programme.
The problem with traditional change programs is that they’re slow, disruptive and expensive. They demand you hire expensive consultants, rip and replace software and abandon tried-and-tested methodologies. All of this creates problems, and more often than not, these programs sail past deadlines and blow their budgets. It’s not uncommon for them to fail altogether.
Low-code lets you instigate a form of change that’s more palatable for everyone in your business. Instead of forcing change on employees from the top down, you empower the people who understand your customers to implement and manage change themselves. Customer-facing teams partner with IT to build apps that can automate processes.
The end goal is the same – building flexibility into the customer-facing teams – but you achieve it one process at a time.
This is a far more practical and focused way to change your business. There’s no need to rip and replace software or swap out staff. Improvements are made organically and, as so many people can change processes, you see results, fast.
You need to martial an evergrowing ecosystem of CX-related platforms and apps, each of which need to be integrated into your IT architecture.
Technology can be the cause of, and solution to, a lot of CX-related problems. There’s no doubt that the right IT platform can trigger a wave of positive change but most organisations are juggling a suite of customer experience related solutions that are yet to deliver on their potential. And the ones that do work, tend to sit in splendid isolation disconnected from the rest of the tech stack.
The last thing anyone wants is another big, heavy, expensive system that’s difficult to integrate, support and maintain. It doesn’t matter how powerful it can be.
The good news is that low-code isn’t another IT monolith. It’s a lightweight, easy-to-use solution that complements all of your existing platforms. In fact, it let’s you get more from your existing investments by joining systems together and ferrying data between them.
For example, let’s say you need an app that allows customers to book appointments with consultants. Build this with low-code and you can pull information from Excel sheets, your CRM and financial systems to create a better customer experience powered by up-to-date, relevant data.
And you can keep improving applications as your business evolves. So if you need to integrate a new data source, tweak a workflow or add a new step to a process, you can. Similarly, you can connect to powerful business intelligence or AI systems that let you do a lot more with data without investing in new skills or expensive software. It’s very difficult and expensive to achieve this degree of flexibility with point solutions.
You don’t want to spend more money on CX. In fact, you want to reduce costs, either by scaling back or taking a smarter approach to spending.
Another perceived issue with CX initiatives is cost. Making big changes usually comes with a big price tag and this puts a lot of executives off.
These costs take three forms – new technology, new hires and time investment – and low-code can help you reduce all three.
New technology, technology costs
A low-code-powered transformation initiative is a low-cost option when compared to typical digital transformation programs which involve eye-watering CAPEX investments on new infrastructure. In fact, low-code has simple subscription billing that can be absorbed into OPEX budgets.
New hires, hiring costs
There’s no need to hire new talent when you’re using low-code. In fact, it should help you maximise the productivity of your
existing hires. As citizen developers can tackle 80% of development work, you can redeploy IT talent to more pressing, strategic tasks.
This is the big one. Building new apps and automation processes takes time but low-code development is typically around 10x more efficient than traditional development. It’s the fastest way to automate processes and build new apps.
Low-code enables you to tackle the three barriers that stop most businesses from transforming their CX effectively:
Change – It allows you to accelerate innovation (by slashing app development time) and allows for continuous process improvement. This gives you the flexibility to adapt to shifting customer demands and market disruption.
Complexity – It ties your ecosystem of customer-facing platforms together so that new apps are powered by relevant and accurate data.
Costs – It allows you to reduce costs by negating the need for expensive developer talent. The flexibility of the platform means it can be applied to dozens of use cases so there’s no
need to invest in new point solutions.
Read our blog on fast tracking CX with low-code.
We hope we’ve convinced you that low-code is a smart solution for any business tackling a CX transformation initiative. But to get stakeholders on board, you’ll probably have to dig a little deeper
and tailor your pitch based on their concerns and priorities.
In our experience there are four types of stakeholder you’ll need to convince
- CX and change tranformation
- Enterprise Architects
Let’s look at each of them in turn…
CIOs and CTOs
Building the case for CIOs and CTOs
The CIO role is often defined as balancing innovation and business as usual. While this is reductive, there’s some truth to the cliché. IT leaders are constantly trying to push the business forward without disrupting what works or incurring new costs. That’s why selling low-code to this audience should be easy – it allows you to do more with less.
The heart of your pitch needs to be built around citizen developers. Convince IT chiefs to transform smart, customer-minded people into developers and they can unlock some serious benefits.
For example, they can:
- Ramp-up app production without adding to IT’s burden
- Clear the application backlog
- Ease the maintenance and optimisation burden
- Redeploy high-value IT resources to bigger, more important projects
- Reduce the cost of IT – as you no longer have to hire expensive developer talent
Of course the typical CIO is likely to scoff at the idea of turning the average Joe into a superstar developer but it isn’t as hard as it seems. Give us three days and we can turn a beginner with minimal experience into a competent developer who can build apps themselves.
CIOs needn’t worry about standards either. Although citizen developers drive the build process, IT remains in control of security,
compliance and governance. And IT can write custom code in instances where sophisticated functionality is required.
One final point to mention, low-code lends itself to rapid “plan, build, test” cycles as it consolidates building and testing tools in one platform. So not only is it easy to get apps off the ground, they can be optimised in a matter of hours or days. It means that you can enhance products and services as and when demands change. This is critical to establishing a flexible and repeatable process for CX innovation.
CFO and CEOs
The case for CFO and CEOs
Both CEOs and CFOs make decisions based on a simple equation – value vs cost. If the former outweighs the latter, they’ll rubber stamp an investment. This is great news if you’re pitching low-code as the ROI is huge.
Let’s look at cost first.
Low-code software tends to be priced competitively and transparently. The total cost of ownership is low as there’s limited training required to get people up and running. There’s also no real need for consultancy, and support requirements are minimal.
The value, on the other hand, is huge. As we’ve mentioned, low-code has a thousand use cases, meaning it can be used to solve problems that would otherwise demand a new point solution. Consider all the budget that will be saved here – there’s the cost of the point solutions themselves but also associated hardware, support costs and training to consider. And that’s before you factor in the time investment involved in finding and implementing a new solution. Low-code also allows you to reduce the cost of development as it negates the need for testing software.
The entire development lifecycle – build, test, deploy – is supported within one platform. As well as wiping out costs, low-code also allows you to get more from your existing investments. You can integrate legacy solutions into a joined-up architecture, effectively breathing new life into old technology. And as you can redistribute the development burden, you can maximise the productivity of IT without adding to their workload.
The other point to consider here is risk – or rather the lack of it. Traditional software development is risky as it calls for expensive developer talent, almost always runs over time and often the apps themselves fail to meet the business expectations and need rebuilds. All of this risk evaporates with low-code.
Ultimately, if your CX drive succeeds you’ll earn loyalty and create brand evangelists. This will have an incalculable impact on revenue. But if you ignore CX, you open yourself up to a huge amount of risk in the form of complaints, returns and reputational damage.
CX Designers and Change Architects
The case for CX Designers and Change Architects
If you’re hungry for change, change itself is rarely enough. You want to see results, fast. Low-code lets you skip right to the point. You can get started quickly, drive change from the ground up (by empowering citizen developers) and start seeing results in a matter of weeks.
Of course, change leaders don’t just want to see one big change, they want to keep honing and improving processes as the business environment around them changes. This is where the flexibility of low-code comes into play. Apps can be optimised in a matter of days. And as your apps change, so do your processes.
If your change leader is particularly focused on CX, then it’s worth considering that any application built by citizen developers is likely to be more customer-friendly than a developer built equivalent.
Citizen developers are closer to the customer and understand their needs. In other words, they have the firsthand knowledge and experience needed to design smarter, more natural processes that translate into more satisfying, streamlined customer journeys.
The case for Enterprise Architects
A lot of the arguments that work on CIOs can be applied to Enterprise Architects, but here are a few other things to consider.
Most Enterprise Architects are focused on bringing IT and the business closer together and low-code can help them do this. Allow customer-facing teams to collaborate with developers and you lay the foundations of a symbiotic relationship between the two departments. This can help reduce friction, dramatically improve efficiency and leads to better apps (that truly meet customer needs). It also means the business and IT are aligned in their efforts to achieve critical business goals.
Low-code also goes some way to remedying a major headache for enterprise architects – creating a joined-up IT architecture. Although low-code is software in its own right, it can act as a wrapper that binds existing platforms together and consolidates data from different sources to power apps.
A case in point –
Hampshire Trust Bank
Before they invested in low-code, HTB’s developers had to wait 3-4 hours for the Test Team to evaluate their code. Now, thanks to our low-code platform, they operate ‘Continuous Testing Integration’. Every release is packaged and tested automatically and results are generated within 30 minutes. That means developers get half a day back to tackle fixes and the whole development cycle accelerates.Read our HTB case study
Low-code is SaaS which means pricing should be straightforward, but some vendors muddy the waters with overly complex pricing models and opaque web copy. We’ve taken a different tack. We offer three models and each is simple and transparent so you don’t suffer any unexpected shocks down the road.
Learn more about our pricing.
One other point that’s relevant to both CIOs and Enterprise Architects – the drag-and-drop nature of low-code means you don’t always have to build apps from scratch. Designs can be ported between builds and some providers (like us) offer app stores that include pre-existing applications and widgets built by existing customers. This lets you jump start the development process and, in some cases, you may not even have to build anything at all.
You simply select the apps you need and away you go.
Learn more about our AppShare.
Once you’ve convinced stakeholders that low-code is a good idea, the next step is proving its value.
This four-step process will help you get started.
And this is just the start.
Choose the right project
The first step is choosing the right project. Look for a tricky CX-related problem that none of your existing solutions can tackle. For example, you may want to automate your time-consuming and manual onboarding process or tie a customer portal to one of your backend databases. Focus on low-effort, high-value projects that don’t demand a huge amount of resources and yield sizable results that senior managers care about.
The next step is determining KPIs. Some of these may be specific to the project itself but it’s worth considering more general indicators like hours spent developing, cost per application, time to market, or a tangible cost saving like moving customers to a self-service model. Low-code makes such an impact on these metrics that they’re bound to impress stakeholders.
Get stuck in
Once you have a goal in mind, it’s time to put the software to the test. One of the best things about low-code is that you can trial it without running a time-consuming proof-of-concept.
Our Low-code LaunchPad gives you full access to our software, training and accelerators so you can start building apps right away. In other words, you can start making meaningful progress towards a real business goal, while at the same time assessing whether low-code is the right fit for your business. It’s a far more efficient and cost-effective way to stress-test software.
Once the results of your first app start flooding in, you’ll need to get the good news out to stakeholders and start garnering support. There are numerous ways you can do this. You can request a spot in your internal newsletter, ask to speak at a regular company briefing or simply post the news on whatever internal collaboration software your business uses.
Whatever channel you choose, make sure your key stakeholders are tuned in. There’s no point posting your results on Microsoft Teams, if your CFO only ever uses email. And don’t understate the results – if they’re as impressive as you hoped and hit all the KPIs you identified, make sure everyone knows about it.
It’s worth reiterating your long-term aims when you share the results of your first low-code effort. This will demonstrate intent and focus, while indicating the potential low-code offers to achieve more ambitious goals. Show how this initial success can be the start of something much bigger.
Have an action plan
Once you have the attention of key stakeholders, you’ll need to explain how you’re going to achieve your vision. A big part of this is demonstrating your commitment.
Any sort of change program can be difficult and you’ll need to prove that you’re willing to drive this initiative and bring people on board. One important consideration is roles and responsibilities. Who will do what within your program? And who needs to make the call on final decisions? It may be worth establishing a RACI decision-making matrix to establish a clear chain of command.
If you’re customer-obsessed, we’re the provider for you.
You can’t sell low-code to your stakeholders without proving its value. Choose a low-cost, high-value project, track metrics the c-suite cares about and broadcast your success stories on channels you know key stakeholders use.
And don’t forget to tie this project to your long-term strategic objectives.
For more on effective project planning our interview with Esther Gunn-Stewart covers everything from scoping your project, to managing stakeholder expectations and measuring results.
Take a look.
Where we fit in
Our low-code software, Liberty Create, is specifically designed to bring citizen developers and IT teams together to solve tricky process issues that undermine customer experience. It’s the product of 20 years’ experience working in customer service and allows you to:
- Build, test and optimise apps
- Automate and digitise critical CX processes
- Integrate and connect apps with legacy and core systems
- Access a pre-existing library of apps, widgets, templates etc
- Join a community of like minded users willing to share advice, tips and recommendations
Why Create is different
So why does Liberty Create deserve a spot in your architecture? Well it’s the only low-code platform purpose built for people who want to improve
their customer experience. It’s the sum total of over two decades of experience serving contact centre and customer experience leaders.
It’s also the only low-code system to bring customer-facing staff together with developers and IT teams. It allows for collaborative development – where customer experts do most of the building and IT makes sure apps are secure, compliant and high-quality.
Go forth and pitch
But with Liberty Create, many of these issues melt away. It’s intuitive, it’s cost-effective, it delivers measurable value almost immediately and it doesn’t just integrate with your existing systems — it maximises their potential.
You just need to convince your stakeholders to give it a try.
We hope this guide helps you do that, but if you need any more help, please get in touch.