Australian businesses have rapidly responded to changes created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
From adjusting workforces, carefully balancing supply chains and forecasting customer demand. There has been an enormous amount of adaptation, innovation and resilience required to keep things going.
Much of this change has been underpinned by rapid software development and as demand for software continues to rise, alongside a permanent shift towards a hybrid way of work, businesses face increased pressure to convert new ideas into services at pace.
According to research by Infrastructure Australia, 9-out-of-10 businesses have adopted some kind of new technology to help digitisation projects. However, the development rush, against a backdrop of closed borders, low levels of graduates with the right skills, and limited access to up-skilling in digital literacy has meant demand for technology talent has now been stretched.
The Australian Computer Society believes the demand for technology workers is now growing at a rate more than three times greater than the rest of the Australian workforce!
To keep pace, businesses need a workforce that is highly adaptable, through life-long learning, to take advantage of new capabilities such as no or low-code development. These enhanced capabilities enable people with no coding skills to build apps, saving businesses time and resources. Essentially, it is a “drag and drop” approach to building applications using prewritten building blocks of code.
Whilst many organisations may have trialed low-code initiatives in the past, its importance has sky-rocketed since the onset of the pandemic as businesses are forced to rethink their operations and look at new ways of engaging with their customers.
Analysts at IDC reported the worldwide growth rate for low-code developers is roughly 3.2 times that of the general developer population. It is also predicted that approximately 500 million apps and services will be created by “low-coders” in the next four years. That’s more than the previous 40 years combined.
With clicks, not code, this technology is redefining what it means to be a developer. The accessibility of these tools is empowering non-technical employees to learn and provide instant solutions for their company and customers.
At Salesforce, we've seen a 37 per cent increase in registrations to low-code focused courses on our free online learning platform, Trailhead, since the onset of the pandemic. We now have over 2.2 million learners gaining technical, business, partner, and soft skills.
Employers are increasingly looking for digital skills and according to Salesforce research, 72 per cent of Australian managers say their organisation has plans in place to fill their digital skills gap. This demand is matched by the workforce’s enthusiasm to up-skill. RMIT research found over half of the participants in their study would choose additional training over free lunches at work, and one in five would choose training over a pay increase of $50 per week.
In fact, for many Australian companies the biggest challenge may not be convincing employees to engage, but rather adapting current professional learning environments to meet demand.
The low-code learning environment is very different to the more formally structured traditional developer route. Learning tends to be more continuous, and ‘just in time’ rather than a block of set learning which emphasises technical skills.
Fortunately, in many ways, given the rising availability of low-code learning opportunities, development in this area is faster and more accessible than traditional methods of professional development. What’s more, learning can be done from anywhere, in a way that fits within an employee’s current work structure.
Investing in a training approach that prioritises continuous development will ultimately help businesses develop new apps and services, as well as better skilled employees.
Driving more meaningful work
Similarly, low-code technology will increasingly be a key driver in creating more nimble workforces, reimagining and redefining job descriptions and career paths, and enabling citizen developers.
Provider Assist, a leader in the aged care industry looked to low-code when building its app, MyVitals. The power of clicks, drag and drop workflows and and the ‘no code’ functionality enabled the team to build an app that is enabling aged care facilities to access the funding they are entitled to, ultimately driving positive outcomes for aged care residents.
From an employee perspective, the platform proved accessible to those without tech backgrounds to be able to understand the platform enough to communicate their needs and feedback to the development team. This ensured the tech developer team wasn’t isolated behind closed doors - and was able to work with, and across other departments. This process, and eliminating the need to build app infrastructure, meant the development team was able to align and integrate their app across Provider Assist’s other Salesforce platforms with speed and agility.
Just as no-code and low-code tools are opening workforce reskilling opportunities, they are also helping create more meaningful work for employees and equipping people with programming skills which tomorrow will be just as important as the ability to read and write today.
Building resilient businesses
As the way and speed at which we do business continues to accelerate, many companies are realising that traditional development methods must be reconsidered. To introduce new ways of serving customers, they’re going to need fast and flexible digital solutions. To ease the burden from stretched IT teams, low-code can and will enable rapid app development.
These tools also grant organisations greater agility to adapt to changing customer needs. By expanding the pool of employees who can build apps, they’re removing traditional reliance on designated developers who, in turn, will be freed up to focus on more complex projects. At a time when budgets have to stretch further, with low-code businesses can scale with confidence and without sacrificing quality.
The rise of low-code amongst Australian organisations offers a real chance to redefine employee skillsets, approaches to institutional learning and ultimately build stronger businesses.