Low-Code and digital innovation

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In the digital economy, your Low-Code is your competitive advantage

Digital Transformation | Low-code | Modernization
In the digital economy, your Low-Code is your competitive advantage

In 2021, Jeff Lawson, former Product Manager at Amazon and founder of Twilio, wrote, "In the Digital Economy, Your Software Is Your Competitive Advantage", explaining how 15 years earlier (in 2006) Jeff Bezos had declared that Amazon wasn't a retail company but a software company. The reason behind this statement and Lawson's article title can be found in the concept of competitive advantage, relating it to the economic era we're experiencing. 

Bezos understood that he was in the midst of the digital economy (a term coined in 1995), and the elements of this economy (information technology, digital platforms, and e-commerce) are all made possible thanks to one tool: software. Therefore, Amazon's founder addressed the root of market competition and transformed his company into a software company to become one of the largest and most famous in the world. 

But the founder of Twilio goes even further. To have a competitive advantage, your software must be yours, and it must be done well. He cites the example of Domino's, which in 2010 created a software department and offered applications to customers to enhance their experience, resulting in the company's stock price soaring to $400 in 2012 from an initial $32. Similarly, ING heavily invested in software development in 2013, fostering developer creativity, and leading to the adoption of a new banking system in 2018. Other examples abound in the insurance sector, such as Target, U-Haul, and Allianz. 

The two main factors of competitive advantage are cost advantage and differentiation advantage. Jeff Lawson knew that software could help in terms of cost savings (we all know today about the operational advantages of digitization), but the main advantage is in terms of differentiation: well-designed and executed software is what leads customers to pay a premium price because it offers features not found in other systems. 

Those who want to have a competitive advantage in the digital economy must focus on software to differentiate and better meet market needs. 


Differentiation and Speed

In his article, Lawson advises companies to adopt a "software mindset," consisting of four principles, including "Become obsessed with speed" because companies cannot afford to take months from idea to production when startups worldwide are releasing new applications every day. However, developers' time is limited (like everyone else's), as is their number (thus the lack of developers), and as the number of managed applications increases, so does the backlog of updating, maintenance, and consequently technical debt or automation debt

The multiplied development productivity of a Low-Code platform like WebRatio Platform meets the contemporary need for speed and differentiation because Low-Code is the best choice in the search for the balance between innovation, speed, and development quality compared to pre-packaged, no-code, or high-code solutions. 

The ability to integrate and extend platform functionalities, using external elements or personally created code parts, allows for the creation of those differentiating characteristics that give a competitive advantage. 


"We initially feared that a graphical modeling environment, which necessarily has a finite number of 'bricks' to use, would have reduced expressive potential compared to normal code writing, limiting development and its alternative potential, coupled with doubts about performance. We were proven wrong."  


On the other hand, the automatic production of repetitive code significantly speeds up developers' activities, also bringing a cost advantage. 


"We have always sought to adopt frameworks and tools that allow us to focus on problems and their solutions, avoiding wasting time and resources on 'peripheral' code. WebRatio Platform thus seemed to us immediately a winning solution." 


The Autonomous Economy, Low-Code, and Mastery of Tools

Today, the digital economy has evolved into the Autonomous Economy, also called the "second economy" which is invisible, intangible, autonomous, and connected compared to the first economy. The current technological example is generative artificial intelligence, but automatic code production in Low-Code platforms is no less important because it supports pro-developers' programming, "hiding" the complexity of the technologies it comprises and making many development processes automatic. 

If in the digital economy, the competitive advantage comes from software, in the autonomous economy, the advantage is mastery of the tools that create automation. It's no coincidence that there is a proliferation of Prompt Design courses to learn how to generate the desired response from language models. Just as it's no coincidence that a consulting company like KPMG indicates that by 2025, Low-Code will be the preferred development method for developers. Because the moment for Low-Code is now, and those who don't use it may incur a competitive disadvantage. 


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April 16, 2024 / WebRatio

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