Businesses will begin to place a greater emphasis on low code app development in 2022, but employees still need educating on the benefits that this can bring to themselves and to their organisation, according to new research from ServiceNow.
The survey of over 1,500 respondents from the UK and Ireland finds that two-thirds (67%) would prefer their employer to create or build an app for them, primarily because they feel their organisation could then incorporate their colleagues’ thoughts into the development too (46%). In addition, almost a third (29%) believe that creating an app sounds complicated, and a similar amount (28%) do not feel they have the creativity to build their own app. But over half (53%) of employees would be willing to build their own apps or digital capabilities if they had the means to do so with minimal coding knowledge.
“Many employees feel that the concept of low code inhibits collaboration, when in reality, it’s the opposite,” comments Jordi Ferrer, VP & GM of UK & Ireland, ServiceNow. “These concerns indicate a lack of awareness on the benefits that low code can bring to businesses. By adopting a collaborative environment, supported by the right tools, businesses can accommodate varying skill levels and allow employees to work together to quickly deliver the best possible result. Less-experienced builders can leverage functionality built by professional developers, which can result in a faster, more-agile development process whilst using their own business skills more effectively.”
A third (33%) would prefer to take the responsibility of building a work-related app themselves, as some do not feel their employer would create the app they would need (27%). Many employees feel that low code capabilities would enable them to be more efficient at work (39%), that they could build something relevant to their role (38%), and that it would make their job simpler and easier (36%). In addition, some state that with low code app development, they could turn dull tasks into something enjoyable (30%) and would have the tools to better assist colleagues (30%).
“People going into employment today know they will need to learn the software, products and tools at their new company to do their jobs effectively,” says Dr Ellen Pangelly, Head of Products, Imperial College London. “However, we’re seeing a growing trend for employers seeking some existing tech skills in their candidates, like app development. This isn’t solely focused on roles within the science and technology sectors. Regardless of the course you study, or role you go into, technology is a fundamental part of our day-to-day lives.
“The real value of this comes in the impact on the organisation itself – the more people that have these necessary tech skills, the more variety businesses will have in terms of people. Software is such a fundamental necessity in our lives nowadays, and we should all have at least a basic understanding. This is where low code app development can help to address root causes and support the employees and workplaces of the near future.”
Less office working, more apps
As a result of increased home working, employees use more apps than previously to meet their remote and hybrid needs (41%). Almost two-thirds (64%) currently feel satisfied with the applications and tools they use at work for IT, because they fulfil the required purpose (54%), are easy to use (46%) and allow for greater efficiency at work (46%).
However, a third (33%) believe that IT is the area of the business most in need of new apps to improve internal processes. Many feel that their current tools add more time to their tasks (46%), do not fulfil the purpose they need them for (36%), and are difficult to use (29%). Some also state that they feel their current apps are unnecessary, but that they are expected to use them by senior management (27%).
When asked how they might use low code development capabilities to make changes to existing apps, over a third (37%) said they would try and integrate them together. Many would also try to augment existing tools to make their capabilities more specific to their needs (32%).
“Employees in the UK and Ireland are using more apps than ever before to aid remote and hybrid working,” added Ferrer. “However, many do not feel that these apps meet their current needs and can in some cases hinder rather than help them. By applying domain and business knowledge as well as other skills to solve problems using low code development platforms, employees can reduce admin tasks, and deliver real value to their role and their organisation.”
The rise of citizen development?
As well as using low code to improve their working lives, employees are showing demand for apps that could enhance their personal lives too. Four-tenths (40%) would want to create an app that keeps their personal admin and financial needs up to date, while under a third (30%) want a tool that helps them deal with work/life balance.
Other popular apps that employees would find useful to create include:
- A personal health and fitness app, such as a food diary or exercise log (29%)
- An app to organise celebrations and events (25%)
- An app to organise travel (25%)
- An app to help arrange social life (21%)
“It’s inevitable that low code will see increased use in business, but further down the line, we could also see this filter into personal lives too,” said Ferrer. “People will always have pain points that need fixing, and with citizen development capabilities, individuals could take matters into their own hands by creating their own apps. This provides a strategic opportunity for businesses to seize. By harnessing the power of low code, organisations can help solve productivity issues for consumers and employees alike, combatting problems in a matter of days, not months.”
The survey was commissioned by ServiceNow and carried out by Censuswide in November 2021. The sample consisted of 1,505 full-time employees from the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
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