Salesforce has moved to make it simpler to automate a business process by adding reusable components to its low-code application development tool in addition to making it possible to turn a spreadsheet into a digital form using a Salesforce Lightning Object Creator tool.
At the same time, the Salesforce AppExchange online store will now make recommendations to install applications based on the profile of an end user. Finally, Salesforce is now making available over a dozen third-party modules for automating business processes built using its low-code tool on Salesforce AppExchange, including modules for running credit checks from Oktana, a video player from Vidyard, and a loan processing module from Accenture.
Hugh Minson, director of product marketing for Salesforce Lightning Platform, says all the additional Salesforce Lightning Platform offerings are designed to enable business users to automate processes on their own with minimal to no assistance from an internal IT department required.
“It can take IT six months or longer to build an application,” says Minson. “We’re trying to democratize development.”
By enabling so-called citizen developers to create applications, Salesforce is also enabling organizations to accelerate digital business process transformation, adds Minson.
Salesforce claims citizen developers are already having an impact on business everywhere. According to a recent IDC report, organizations employing Salesforce Lightning Platform saw a return on investment of 545 percent over five years. IDC also estimates users gained productivity and revenue benefits totaling $8.82 million per organization surveyed, including 63 percent faster lifecycles for application development.
It’s unclear to what degree end users versus IT are driving digital business process transformations. There’s no doubt most internal IT organizations face massive application development backlogs. Rather than wait for IT to have the time to develop an application, many end users are now employing low-code application development tools to create their own applications. End users often wind up with an application that better reflects the process they are trying to automate because they are generally more familiar with how a process should optimally work than an internal IT department.
Minson notes that an ability to digitize existing spreadsheets should go a long way toward accelerating the development of additional processes because so much of the workflow within any organization is wrapped around a spreadsheet. Once those spreadsheets are digitized within the Salesforce platform, it then becomes possible to also apply artificial intelligence in the form of Salesforce Einstein to that data, adds Minson. End users can also leverage Einstein to surface next-based workflow recommendations when constructing a digital process, notes Minson.
Low-code application development tools like never before over the last two years have been empowering end users. The challenge facing organizations now is to figure out how best to harness those tools to not only automate existing processes, but also create new ones that drive truly superior customer experiences.