Research on digital transformations has shown that the success rate for these efforts is low. In that case, is business process automation really worth the investment? What kind of improvements can you expect to see and what is the financial impact?
Forrester Consulting performed two Total Economic Impact studies for the Nintex Workflow platform and Microsoft PowerApps and Flow to answer these questions.
In both studies, Forrester interviewed several customers who had experience in developing with these low-code/no-code platforms to understand the investment and impact made. The interviews were conducted without the attendance of Microsoft or Nintex to ensure clients felt free to share their opinions honestly. Forrester considered the benefits, costs, flexibility, and risks. The financials are risk adjusted to provide a more accurate representation of real-world results.
Prior to using either PowerApps and Flow or Nintex, the customers Forrester interviewed had relied on traditional high code development platforms, resulting in a large backlog of IT projects, many processes remaining manual, relying on paper-based forms, emailed information, conference calls, and Excel files. Due to the difficulty in developing custom code, it was also challenging to make changes to any processes that had been automated. Manual processes resulted in inefficiency, risk of error, and difficulties in visibility, tracking, and reporting.
Many of the clients were experiencing an increased ratio of front line employees or field staff in comparison to the number of knowledge workers, management, and IT support available. Due to this shortage of resources along with budget constraints, many customers reported viewing IT as in inhibitor, rather than an enabler of the business. They were frustrated with inefficient processes and the inability to automate.
Automating processes with Nintex Workflows or Microsoft Flow streamlined processes and enabled business transformation. Shortly after developing processes using these low code/no code platforms, users began to realize time savings, and these savings were compounded as new workflows were added and user adoption increased. Both platforms assisted in creating mobile first solutions that fit the modern workplace and user preferences.
Development time was dramatically reduced. These studies demonstrated the contrast between traditional high code solutions and the drag and drop interface provided by Microsoft PowerApps and Flow or Nintex Forms and Workflows. Organizations reduced development time by 60-70%. Prior to these low code/no code options, organizations simply could not justify the investment to implement new automation solutions, however this reduced effort enabled them to automate more processes and further accelerate their return on investment. Some organizations noted that customization to legacy systems such as ERPs were too costly prior to the implementation of Flow or Nintex, however these platforms created a “wrapper” around their ERP that met their needs for customization at a dramatically reduced cost.
The perception of IT improved as they became more responsive to business needs. Due to the drag and drop interface used by both these platforms, IT was able to quickly deploy solutions to end users and quickly made changes as business processes or integrated systems evolve. The clients interviewed reported being able to create better solutions faster and on a reduced budget.
The ease of data collection allowed for better decision making. Because many of the interviewees’ projects centered on collecting field data and sending it back to corporate, these projects improved the speed, accuracy, and consistency of data collection. Managers better understood what was happening in branch offices, stores, or field locations and are now able to resolve issues or take preventative action faster than ever before.
Employee Satisfaction was increased as processes improved. Interviewees from a variety of roles reported that they felt more efficient, better equipped with the right tools to carry our their duties, and more empowered to make decisions.
While the results of the two studies varied somewhat based on the size of the organizations interviewed, the specifics of their environment, and the nature of their use cases, the outcome was clear: low code/no code solutions are well worth the investment.
One study showed an average ROI of nearly 200% by year three, and the other determined the ROI was over 360%! In both cases the breakeven point for the investment was less than a year, and the studies agreed that the increase in user productivity was at least 15% by year three. One of the studies translated this 15% increase in productivity to over $5,000,000 in savings, depending on the size of the organization, the type of tasks involved, and the number of workflows implemented.
Application development cost and effort was reduced by 60%-70% and ongoing application management and maintenance was reduced by nearly 40%.
It is noteworthy too, that these results were risk adjusted to be more conservative making the findings all the more impressive.
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Amy is a results-focused marketing professional with over eight years’ experience working closely with sales teams to provide effective solutions to customers.
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