Emerging technology superpower: change and build applications at the speed of business
The ultimate digital skill is the ability to change. And for both technology and business professionals, the growing ability to quickly adapt or build applications on the fly to meet any situation is a superpower that’s not only going to increase the agility of organizations, but pave the way to more interesting careers enriched with lifelong learning. That’s the word from Don Schuerman, CTO of Pegasystems. In a recent discussion with Shelly Kramer, founding partner and senior analyst at Futurum Research, he points to the need for flexibility in technology development and management.
“Change to me is a digital skill,” says Schuerman. “It’s a skill that an organization needs to grow. It’s a skill that organizations need to train into their people — that fluidity, comfort with iteration. I think one of the positive things that’s come out of the last year is I’ve seen a lot of organizations learn what agile truly means. When you put the pressure of urgency behind things, traditional project approaches go out the window, and you then just start trying things and iterating. You roll out an app in five days because you don’t have a choice but to roll it out in five days. And. by the way, if there’s stuff that we missed, we’ll get it the next time. Or we may learn we never really even needed it that much to begin with.”
In addition to a tech savvy workforce, there is a portion of the workforce that needs reskilling and upskilling, and low-code is a way to bring people into the changing dynamics of today’s enterprises. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to take people who are smart, who understand the company, who understand the customers, who understand the goals, and add this capability to their job skill sets,” says Kramer. “I’ve had a chance to talk with some of those people, and you see their eyes light up about how their job function has changed, and they feel like they’re able to contribute. You hear them say things like, ‘I never thought I could write code before, and here I am building automations.’ That’s a game changer, it’s a life changer.”
For the most part, employees want to be involved in digital transformation, Kramer continues, citing research conducted among workforces. “They just didn’t know how, and they weren’t being asked they weren’t being tapped. They feel like they could bring solutions and they could bring the real world understanding of what’s needed, how to get there, how to best serve customers, and how to best fine-tune their own processes or jobs.”
Opening up technology capabilities to the workforce helps IT professionals as well, as they often have too little time and too few resources to address every problem or opportunity that comes up. “You’re bringing the users the stakeholders directly into the conversation,” says Schuerman. “These are the people who actually know the systems they’re using today. They know where the pain points are. They know where the process is broken. They know where they have to do all kinds of manual effort in order to fulfill a customer need. Now you empower them with the tools to fix that to make it better. You’re empowering the people on the ground who actually know where the problems are to go solve them themselves.”
It’s both a personal and an organizational learning process as well, helping to “break through that fear of moving fast and failing early,” Schuerman says. Low-code makes this possible, he adds. “The career paths of the future will be far more fluid. You will be a frontline business operations person, and then maybe you’ll grab some low-code skills and maybe for a while you’ll drive a low-code agile team that’s deploying an app, and then you’ll be responsible for driving the continuing ongoing nature of that app. Then maybe you’ll pick up some process improvement skills. You’ll be constantly learning new things, and your role will be constantly evolving, as both the needs of the company and what the technology enables changes. That’s the world that we’re going to be living in.”