Is low-code software development a potential answer to perennial public sector challenges? | Unit4
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Is low-code software development a potential answer to perennial public sector challenges?

from  July 26, 2022 | 4 min read

With an increasingly bleak financial outlook ahead for citizens and the public sector alike in the UK, organizations must make increasingly careful choices about their investments.

Particularly their investments in the technology they need to best serve struggling citizens.

An article in a recent Times report on technology in the public sector suggests that adopting low-code software development platforms can help square the circle. Especially in departments with limited technical skills at the workforce level, and in which digital transformation is still seen as part of the future rather than part of the present.

The case for low code

Axel Case, public sector industry principal at Pegasystems and former senior UK civil servant, says it better than we ever could:

The government continues to face huge delivery challenges, from coronavirus, Brexit, the war in Ukraine or the cost-of-living crisis, including dealing with backlogs, driving levelling up, getting the health service back on track, transforming social care and dealing with the safety of tall buildings. These need government operations to run effectively and efficiently and for the least amount of cost possible.

In complex environments, technology is an essential component of driving delivery. Especially when organizations face mounting cost pressures and a shortage of skilled talent.

But as we know from decades of experience working with public sector organizations, “just buy better technology” isn’t a helpful answer. Bespoke implementations require a great deal of time and requirements scoping, a period of adjustment, and often (thanks to procurement requirements) extensive integration with other solutions. Likewise, customizing your existing tech for new purposes is fraught with risks – creating new training requirements, often leading to lengthy periods of downtime, and increasing operational complexity even further.

Low code development helps to eliminate all of these problems as you equip your people with the tools they need to do their jobs faster and more efficiently. Instead of requiring manual reprogramming or the buy in of a new solution, low code platforms use drag and drop interfaces to build new applications that can be scoped, prototyped, and deployed without anyone involved having to write a single line of code.

The ability to build the tools they need as soon as they define the need without outside programming assistance empowers technological “super users” to create their own solutions to problems. Accelerating innovation, boosting technological adoption, and helping facilitate digital transformation from the bottom up – all while reducing costs.

Low code use cases

The possibilities presented by allowing an organization to get what it needs from its technology directly – rather than having to rely on programmers to provide what they think the organization wants – are immense. Low code can potentially be used across government departments to do everything from streamline clunky customer experience processes to digitizing complex and inefficient back office processes, to modernizing debt collection and reducing fraud.

Low code solutions are already being used to achieve some of these objectives – from local authorities using apps in their low code platforms to quickly adapt to increasing demand from residents and local businesses, to helping tackle fraud issues and errors at the Department for Work and Pensions, to supporting the Ministry of Defence in recruiting essential skills in a fast changing environment.

Where should public sector organizations focus investment?

With low code solutions, the answer lies less in where the money is spent than in how the money is spent. The article highlights AI and Machine Learning innovation as one of the most promising avenues of investment. The ability to use AI powered low code solutions to set up automation flows for resource-intensive bureaucratic processes not only saves people’s valuable time, it also improves accuracy, reduces waste, and allows everyone to focus on higher value strategic tasks like identifying further areas for improvement.

Investment in this kind of “in-house” process optimization can also create further savings by enabling public sector organizations to get a handle on consulting costs. Helping to reduce the need for consultant support on a variety of day-to-day tasks, and boosting confidence in consultant recommendations when there expertise is necessary to deliver for the public.

How can Unit4 help you?

Unit4 have been creating public sector technology solutions for over 40 years. We’re the preferred supplier of ERP solutions to local government, and combine a people and project centric software design methodology with state of the art cloud platforms to create tools that help your people minimize administrative bloat, deliver better services, and create more innovative approaches to their work.

Our next-generation cloud smart ERP solution – ERPx – is built with modularity and customizability in mind. It makes low-code app development capabilities powered and enabled by AI and Machine Learning a core part of how its users can design and build their workflows. Helping your people to create their own tech solutions as and when they need them, and to iteratively design ever better tools now and in the future.

To learn more about what we can do – and what we’re already doing – for public sector organizations like yours, visit our dedicated public sector resource pages here or click here to book a demo.

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