Innovate with Low-Code

To be competitive today, it’s not enough for businesses to be efficient; they also need to innovate according to their own unique vision. They need to offer dynamic products and services that can respond to the distinct demands and requirements of their users. However, building a new product or service is a time and resource intensive undertaking. This is even more pronounced when developing solutions that don't fit nicely into pre-established product delivery pipelines. Manual tasks, inflexible processes and complicated business rules all get in the way of offering unconventional or game-changing product lines.

Innovation, by definition, requires some coloring outside the lines. And this is where low-code can make all the difference, by helping businesses automate their processes and integrate more flexible delivery models.

Innovation for differentiation

In the sometimes conservative and highly regulated world of finance, innovation can be hard to come by. But institutions with an eye towards digital transformation are increasingly differentiating themselves in a highly competitive market. Let’s take a look at SEB Investor Services, one of the leading providers of asset servicing to institutional investors in the Nordic region, to see how low-code drives innovation.

SEB saw an opportunity to offer its clients services outside the traditional securities most banks provide, namely shares, bonds, derivatives, and funds. They wanted to add alternative assets–wind and solar, private equity, venture capital holdings–to their portfolio, so as to better serve the diverse needs of their clients. In the past, SEB offered relatively few alternative assets due to the manual labor and high degree of operational difficulty required to provide the service. They needed to find a way to automate the handling of these assets, without having to bring in a full team of developers to create and maintain the service.

That’s when the SEB team identified low-code as the perfect solution to quickly and efficiently move forward with their plan. Using the Appian platform, they were able to reconfigure and automate complex business rules, as well as the unique workflows and data structures associated with alternative assets. In an interview given to PostTrade 360°, SEB Product Manager Frederik Söderlund described the process of using low code to realize the project:

The big projects cost big money – with large project groups, consultants and testing. But when you start from a blank sheet today, using new technology based on blocks that you assemble in lego style, with pre-defined integrations and self-testing capabilities…it gets so much easier.
Fredrik Söderlund, Product manager for portfolio solutions at SEB Investor Services/LCFI

In addition to automating the handling of alternative assets, SEB was also able to employ AI-powered IDP (Intelligent Document Processing) to help extract and interpret investment data. This holistic approach enabled them to not only increase the number of alternative assets available to their clients, but to maximize value from returns on those investments. By partnering with Appian, SEB was able to take one of finance’s least standardized processes and unlock new, value-added product offerings from it.

Disruptive innovation

Disruption shouldn’t be a business goal in and of itself. But innovation often has the side effect of disrupting those arenas that are no longer providing an optimal experience. Since the advent of ridesharing companies, the commonly held belief was that congestion and pollution would decrease as more single drivers opted for these services. However, a study conducted by Researchers from the University of Kentucky and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority found that transportation network companies (TNC’S) were actually the largest contributor to increased congestion in cities like San Francisco.

Enterprise Holdings, Inc, manager of the largest and most diverse privately-owned fleet of vehicles in the world, identified an opportunity to innovate within the ridesharing industry. The plan was to target a traditionally underserved market of vanpool commuters, namely people traveling to work in groups of more than 3 or 4. The goal was to provide these commuters with a lower-cost, more environmentally friendly commuting option.

However, existing systems within the company could not accommodate a new business with a radically different operating model and workflow. Building a custom application using traditional methods would have taken years, causing Enterprise to miss their window of opportunity. Using Appian, Enterprise was able to realize this vision and create Commute, the company’s vanpooling service, in just 4 months.

Commute programs are organized by an employer and typically consist of 4 to 15 coworkers traveling together. Commuters coordinate a central meeting location, board a late-model, low-mileage van or SUV from the company’s fleet, and take turns driving to and from work. This gives commuters time to read, relax, catch up on some work, or even stream their favorite shows with WIFI enabled vans.

We adopted Appian's platform for Enterprise Rideshare because it combines the best of business process management, social business, mobile access and cloud deployment. The result is a truly modern business management platform that supports our objective of providing commuters with a smarter, better way to get to work.
Ryan Johnson, Assistant Vice President of Enterprise Holdings

Commute not only helps workers reduce the financial burden of commuting, but also lets them arrive at work less stressed, leading to higher productivity. After partnering with Appian, Commute has scaled to operate more than 11,000 vanpools in 45 states. It removes more than 40,000 vehicles off the road every day and eliminates an estimated 900 million commuter miles annually. To top it all off, the program also reduces more than 695 millions pounds of carbon emissions annually.

We’ve seen how low-code can be a driver for innovation, whether in more historically conservative fields such as finance, or in burgeoning industries such as ridesharing. Low-code enables businesses to work more quickly, efficiently, and cost effective. Dynamic business conditions and evolving user demands will always put pressure on businesses to innovate. With low-code integrated into their digital strategy, imaginative organizations can respond quickly and decisively, while continuing to push the envelope on their personal strategic vision.