Problem Solving: Where to Start, When to Scale

Low-code’s speed is one of its defining characteristics. In environments where a single solution makes a big difference, low-code empowers you to deliver and deploy that solution in weeks instead of months. Test projects, often championed by a lone, passionate stakeholder, tackle these limited issues and offer dramatic proof of low-code's power. However, fixing isolated operational problems only scratches the surface of low-code’s potential within an organization. Scaling and improving operational efficiency across a business are key components to a true transformational strategy. Let’s take a look at how some organizations are targeting their unique business problems with low-code.

Start with a target Problem

The University of South Florida (USF) had a problem with its paper-based registration system. It was too slow and felt inadequate to meet the demands of its tech-savvy students. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) at USF identified this problem and set out to implement a more streamlined registration process.

As part of this registration overhaul, USF needed to digitize the pen and paper processes it used for course registration, approvals, and tracking. Enter low-code. Using Appian, USF rapidly created an app that now enables students to register, add, and drop courses all from their smartphones. With just a few clicks, students can submit course requests, receive registration notifications, and change advisors without worrying about long delays, or faulty record keeping.

With Appian, we are able to blend enterprise innovations such as agile delivery and mobile enablement to make the student experience at USF as easy as possible.
Sidney Fernandes, System Vice President/CIO, University of South Florida

Furthermore, students are now able to get through the registration process in just a couple of days, as opposed to the roughly two weeks required before the overhaul. The success of the initial project, digitizing the university's registration process, demonstrated the power of low-code and continues to spur production of similar projects across the university. USF is now fully committed to low-code.

Scale across the business

As we’ve seen, low-code provides a quick and effective way of fixing isolated operational problems. However, scaling a solution is critical to addressing more entrenched, systemic issues. This is especially the case with legacy business systems, where tasks are often disconnected from data (both internal and external), and error-prone manual processes run rampant. The tangible costs of keeping these systems in place is significant, and can be directly measured in lost time and increased labor costs. But the hidden costs are even more crucial, as they have a direct impact on the experiences of both customers and employees.

The problem with replacing legacy systems is that a business will usually try to implement a single, distinct solution per problem–whether that’s using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to free staff from tedious tasks, or leveraging machine learning as part of their overall analytics strategy. However, without these systems communicating with each other, they often end up just creating more complexity. Low-code integrates with existing software to connect these workflows from end-to-end, while also helping share data across the business.

Ryder System Inc., the transportation and supply management company based out of Miami, sought to overhaul their infrastructure in this way by migrating their processes to a mobile, digital platform. Prior to Appian, all customer-related documentation was being managed at on-site rental counters via paper contracts, email, mail, and fax. Data wasn’t being efficiently shared across the company, which made addressing equipment breakdowns a slow, uneven process. Using Appian, Ryder created a mobile application to digitize paper-driven rental processes. The application included features such as 'yard check' (verifying the location, condition and mileage of vehicles), vehicle check-out and check-in, and signature collection. Mobile tablets provided a fast, portable, and user-friendly experience.

After deploying these applications, Ryder was able to cut its rental transaction times in half. Individual transactions went from around 20 minutes to just under 10 minutes, supporting Ryder’s goal of getting customers in and out of a location in under 20 minutes. All together, the effort led to 10x increase in Customer Satisfaction Index responses, and 10% increase in satisfaction scores.

Whether you’re trying to address a specific problem, or looking to overhaul your systems infrastructure, low-code can help you facilitate and implement meaningful changes to your business. You’ll not only achieve greater efficiency across day-to-day operations, but streamline crucial touch points with customers, and be able to orchestrate a wide range of end-to-end solutions.