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How to use low-code app development to eliminate mountains of paper and become an app factory

Written by Andreas Sulejewski, CEO and Co-Founder of Neptune Software

The need to create sustainable practices in the workplace can no longer be ignored. In fact, research undertaken by HP recently revealed that 48% of the UK workforce agree that “ignoring sustainability in the workplace is as bad as ignoring diversity and inclusion.”

When it comes to reducing the environmental impact of our offices, there are now much better ways to keep track of documents and file paperwork than the traditional method of pen to paper and paper to filing cabinet. According to research by a UK recycling bin retailer, paper and card account for 1/5 of all waste produced in the UK, amounting to 9.9 million tonnes each year, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

Neptune Software’s UK and Ireland country managing director, Vincent Kruse, recently commented on how businesses in the UK can become more sustainable through policy, design and community, but there are also physical ways that UK office workers can cut down on paper consumption whilst bolstering their skillsets and doing good work.

Low-code applications have long been available to make life easier for employees and to digitise processes more quickly. By utilising them, UK businesses could not only address their environmental impact, but also become better, more efficient businesses in the process.

What digital processes could look like

If the traditional office worker paper guzzlers were digital, consumption would be significantly reduced:

  • Documents could be filled out and signed digitally.
  • Data could be stored in cloud storage, enabling location-independent work, which also provides security in states of emergency. Smartphones and tablets can also be used to access stored data in emergencies, which also provides increased convenience.
  • Invoices and copies are sent digitally via e-mail.

But what exactly might such digital processes look like?

It certainly makes sense to take a closer look at digital invoice management. This means using a program that automatically recognises invoices attached to an e-mail and sorts them into user-defined folders. The individual invoices are automatically checked for their core statements, i.e. amount, date, sender, etc. The important data is then highlighted next to the document and can be easily viewed by the user. This makes it easier to keep track of the documents.

From digital tools to digital processes – low-code, the “LEGO” for IT & business

There are already some programmes that allow users to fill out and sign documents digitally. However, errors often occur because they are not adapted to the individual documents.

To prevent such errors, low-code app development platforms make it easier for users to independently select which fields within the document need to be filled in. In this way, they can create their own input mask without any prior knowledge of programming.

The special thing about low-code solutions is that they can be used by those outside the realm of programmers and IT experts. Vendors provide “application building blocks” so that users can build an interface according to their own needs. This is similar to LEGO building blocks: although there are pre-formed building blocks, the assembled results can be completely different.

In this way, users can set their own priorities and the system remains flexible. The initial configuration is done from the desktop, but documents can still be edited by customers from their smartphones and tablets.

For the key user (the person who performs the configuration), there are monitoring tools to view the status of the documents. These key users can also send out orders, i.e. requests to complete the documents. The completed data is not only stored on servers, but also on the end devices themselves, so that the data can be viewed online and offline.

How low-code simplifies the digitisation of offices

Once a low-code format has been established, it does not have to be compiled again by the key user for every use or every document. Of course, this option still exists, but by allowing customisation, low-code vendors provide a generic tool that can be used by a wide variety of departments, regardless of experience level. Thus, not only the tool becomes digital, but the entire process. Low-code has the potential to transform companies and institutions obscured by mountains of paper into sustainable, productive app factories.

About Neptune Software

Neptune Software is a rapid application development platform vendor with more than 660 enterprise customers and over 3.5 million licensed end users globally. Their mission: empower IT departments to drive business results.

Neptune Software’s leading low-code, SAP-centric, enterprise app development platform – Neptune DXP – digitises and optimises business processes and user interfaces – at scale and with ease. The platform gives IT professionals the right tools to build the apps they need.

Neptune DXP provides a fast, cost-effective, and future-proof way to industrialise the development of custom applications, turning your IT organisation into an app factory, saving time and money on development, integration, and operations.

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