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Operations Agility in Business – The New Age of Tech


Organizations are dynamic with a changing operational environment.  Keeping software or IT platforms in-sync and constantly updated is a challenge. From RAD (Rapid Application Development) tools in the “90s” software development has come a long way. Software development methodologies have changed from being long-winded waterfall to biweekly agile sprints. With new processes like DevOps, the mean time between software releases has never been this fast. 

The gap in technology capabilities across companies has widened over the years, with companies like Google and Facebook able to make feature releases in days. While agility in managing IT platforms and their releases also depends on factors like skill of technology team, product management process, delivery processes, test automation proficiency, etc., this article discuses other tools that could speed up things.

In the past, the solutions applied to make IT platforms agile (deliver new features to the business quickly) involved using tools like rules-engines, BPM products and software design patterns like inversion of control (IoC). The drawbacks observed include theagility or adaptability didn’t translate well in practice, timeliness to meet business demands wasn’t fast enough and business/operations team still had a lot of dependence on IT teams.

With new processes like DevOps, the mean time between software releases has never been this fast.

- Senthil Radhakrishnan, CEO at HopOn

A new set of software tools have come up that are challenging the strong dependence of business/operations on IT. Some of them are explained below.

At one-end there are extreme no-code tools like Shopify which enables one to setup a complete e-commerce website without technical help. The entire process is point and click and a non-technical person can go about the process of setting up a new web site, listing products, defining payment flows, etc. A business user can launch an e-commerce website independently. There are similar tools for businesses like restaurants.

Next there are no-code tools like “Webflows”, “Bubble” and “Zapier” which enables a person to create business flows or websites without writing software code. These tools are visual and helps one build the functionality with configuration and drag/drop actions. The tools also manage code deployment making things simple. The tools can integrate with existing applications using APIs and external events like emails.  With less dependency on the IT team and ability to make releases in short cycles it cuts time to automate processes. An example of this use-case: A new division can quickly setup a system to track incoming email customer requests that requires triggering events in one or more internal systems for onward processing.

Learn more: How to derive data insights in hybrid cloud model and drive innovation

Then there are Robotic Process Automation tools (RPA) which is different from no-code tools. RPA can fill the gap in operations automation, something which a human would do.  RPA can work on existing application screensand office tools like Email and MS Excel to complete activities.

Training the software robot requires some basic technical skills, but the testing and release process is easy and quick. With RPA small task workflows can be automated in hours as opposed to days or weeks to add these features to a tech platform. There are newer versions of these tools called Intelligent RPA that can self-learn monitoring the work of the human. An example of the RPA use-case: KYC process to validate customer credentials on an external website as soon as a new client is signed up or onboarded. The client status in the system can be updated by the RPA bot once the KYC process is completed.

We are living in the age of ‘Instant Gratification’ - which means experience fulfilment without delay or deferment. Many companies like Uber, Netflix, Food delivery, etc. have disrupted the speed and comfort in the way we get our services. The distinct lines between business and technology teams seem to be blurring. The companies that adapt well in these changing times will reap the benefits.

Learn more: How to master multi-cloud data complexities