These days, even the most risk averse federal agency knows fully well that hey need to embrace digital government. From the example set by the U.S. Digital Service to agencies who have already crossed over into the realm of digital government, the awareness of the need to adopt new technology is palpable.
So, what’s holding some agencies back?
In part, the different rates of adoption of digital services has to do with the different risk appetites of agencies as they balance out mission-driven needs with realities of data, device, and network security. But, according to Clay Richardson, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, one of the key obstacles that holds organizations back from rolling out digital services is the shortage of developers. During a recent webinar he noted that by 2020, which is only 4 years away, there will be a shortage of 500,000 developers in the United States and nowhere will this shortage be more keenly felt than in the federal government.
But what if there was a way to put non-technical people in charge of business application development?
Before terrifying scenes of broken code and defunct applications take hold, empowering non technical coders to fast track business application development is an idea that is gaining traction according to Richardson and his fellow panelists, Stephen Shaffer, CIO of Dallas Fort Worth Airport, and Malcom Ross, Vice President of Product at Appian.
In fact, Shaffer has instituted just this type of revolution at Dallas Fort Worth Airport and with tremendous success. He, and fellow digital innovators, including the IT team at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, have upended the application development cycle by using low code platforms which “enable rapid delivery of business applications with a minimum of hand coding, [and] minimal upfront investment and training.” To give an idea of just how much low code platforms can reduce the application development cycle, Richardson shared that the Department of Health and Human Services completed a low code document compliance module to support the Affordable Care Act in a total of 5 person months, in comparison to the original estimate of 100 person months using traditional coding and development tools.
Beyond being able to reduce the time from development to delivery, what other benefits can low code delivery to complex organizations like government agencies?
For Malcolm Ross, Vice President of Product at Appian, the other great benefit he sees for those who embrace low code is the opportunity for IT employees to focus on the mission. He explained that with traditional coding platforms “80 percent of your team’s time is spent on maintenance – tedious tasks like upgrading from Java 7 to Java 8, for example – and only 20 percent of your team’s time is spent on innovation and finding ways to drive mission success.” With low code’s ease of use and drag and drop functionality this division of labor is brought back into balance, if not flipped altogether enabling federal agency’s to cross over the divide into the era of digital government.
These insights are just the tip of the iceberg. Why not checkout the webinar, or download the slides to get the whole story? Need just a bit more information before you dive in? You can get a primer on low code for government agencies here.