Forrester has been publishing reports focusing on Low-Code Development Platforms For AD&D Professionals, for many years. From the new Q1 2019 report...
Self-learning software improves ease of use and productivity
The ease of use of business software is often far from satisfactory, even in the largest and most popular software packages. Modern applications should actually automatically adjust themselves to meet the requirements of the user. This is possible with a low-code development platform, provided that it offers self-learning tools to analyze the use of the software, and can automatically generate and personalize the user environments on the basis of this analysis.
Victor Klaren, co-founder and CVO at Thinkwise
The popularity of low-code development platforms has increased enormously in recent years. And there is a very good reason for this. An increasing number of companies see the benefits provided by the flexibility and speed of development of these platforms, whereby their business software can adapt far more quickly to meet the requirements of the business. Insufficiently recognized aspects of low-code software however are their ease of use and the user experience. An application can be technically perfect, but the job satisfaction is quickly ruined if the user is confronted with an unclear workflow or dozens of unnecessary options. The good news is that the analytical possibilities and flexibility provided by low-code software can also be deployed to automatically improve both the applications and the ease of use.
Analyze the use
If you want to develop self-learning software, then the first requirement is that you record the use and subsequently use the development platform to analyze this data. What do users exactly do in the application? Which screens do they use the most and, in particular, how do they use them? Are there many frequently occurring ambiguities in the workflow? The insights that result from this analysis can subsequently be automatically transferred to the functional model, which forms the basis of the application. Suppose, for example, that 20 percent of the users within a group work in a certain manner, then the self-learning development platform can automatically optimize the software for the entire group for that method of working. General modifications in user interfaces or workflows can be carried out in the general application model, and individual modifications in the presentation or layout can be applied via a personal model. It is also possible to provide users with proposals for modifications, which they can subsequently accept or reject.
Self-learning user interfaces
The manner in which low-code software can automatically adapt itself themselves to meet user requirements is quite revolutionary. In fact, this turns the old model of expensive and time-consuming software implementations completely upside down. It is no longer necessary to set up all the user interfaces in a software packages in advance, which then makes every new modification virtually impossible. The model-driven approach of low-code software ensures that the resulting applications can be continuously modified without any problems. This is important because companies themselves are also changing faster than ever, both in their business and their working methods. Add to this self-learning analyses and automated optimization, and you have business software that as time passes is increasingly attuned to the requirements of the users, and thereby of the organization.
There are natural boundaries governing the extent to which applications have to adapt to the user. For example, it could become apparent from the analysis of the development platform that the software is not the problem, but that the users need additional training. If some users are less productive than their colleagues, this could be because they are not aware of a specific useful function. A good instruction could then point this out to them and improve their productivity.
Measuring performance, both of users as well as software in general, is an extremely useful means to manage a company. It provides better insight into the productivity, the KPIs of employees, and it opens up new opportunities for improvement by dynamically adapting the software. As an organization with a low-code development platform you can even decide to model less refined applications. This leads to less discussion during the design phase and the refinement subsequently occurs automatically on the shop floor on the basis of the self-learning analysis. This can significantly reduce the development time, because the software does not need to be developed with so much detail. The desired functional details can be automatically added to the software over time on the basis of its use in practice. In other words: you achieve a faster time-to-market and software that continuously becomes better attuned to the business process and the users. And the best thing is: the software continues to do this as the company further develops.