The Low-code/No-code Revolution

We are in the midst of a revolution in the world of web development

The world of web development requires individuals to have a high level of skill and know-how to implement solutions across several coding languages. Understanding the likes of HTML, JavaScript, PHP, or any other language requires a web developer to have a good level of understanding to design and deploy solutions that make business processes more manageable.

As the industry has developed, experts have become aware of the need to democratise these skill sets, allowing a broader range of people access to the tools that will enable them to implement low-code or no-code solutions. Brit are on board with this concept. We want to empower our internal teams to be able to solve problems themselves, rather than waiting for someone else to fix it for them, giving them more ownership of their working processes. Read on to discover how this revolution is taking place today.


What is low-code/no-code?

Low-code or no-code platforms allow users to develop applications using a graphical interface to drag and drop components to rapidly develop solutions, when compared to traditional programming efforts.

These platforms are often web-based and with some level of API connectivity where users can create and test applications with minimal knowledge of formal programming languages. One of the most well-known low-code platforms is Microsoft’s Power Platform.

You can almost think of it like flat-pack furniture. While you don’t need to have completed an apprenticeship in cabinet making to put together a basic unit from a high-street retailer, you do need to think it through, work carefully, and have, to some extent, a level of competency in DIY.


Empowering employees with these concepts

Low-code doesn’t mean low skilled. People within businesses who create these solutions need to be able to think it through and have competency in the area.

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By employing the concepts of low-code and no-code, business users with little to no previous coding experience can be tasked with creating applications using the IT technology that has already been approved by the business (MS Power Platform, for example).

The idea is to empower people to develop business-wide solutions without requiring them to be trained in traditional web development languages and frees up the time of internal IT departments by using low or no-code resources.

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Employees who can help themselves and their teams improve without the need for external support are an essential pillar of continuous improvement.

The business benefits of empowering staff with low-code/no-code platforms could include lower costs, faster response time, reduced risk or improved control, plus, possibly most importantly, happier and more fulfilled employees.

Real-world examples at Brit

We’re embracing the concept low/no code to help our teams make simple efficiencies in their work processes.

The idea is to encourage automation solutions, but we put the very people it benefits in the driver’s seat. This has led to greater efficiencies being achieved in previously manual tasks where team members would need to juggle day-to-day information between different platforms.

For example, the Process Management and Underwriting teams at Brit collaborated to create a highly useful workflow management tool based off of a shared email inbox. One Underwriting team had a high volume of emails and referrals coming into a single email inbox, which made their existing process increasingly difficult to manage.

The low-code/no-code solution, created through the Power Automate platform, was defined by the team who were responsible for managing the inbox. The automated referral email process now follows these key steps.

Step 1

Internal emails / internal responses to Brokers cc’ing the inbox are now automatically filtered into a separate folder away from referrals

Step 2

Referral emails automatically trigger a “task” to be created with all the relevant details and a due date

Step 3

Following the creation of a new task, Power Automate reads the referral email to pull out key phrases and checks the email domain to ensure it is assigned to the right person

Step 4

If the requirement isn’t clear, it leaves the task as ‘Unassigned’ to be checked by the team

The new solution ensures no email is overlooked or responded to outside of the agreed SLA. It also allows for reporting capability, so the team can see how many referral emails they’re handling along with various other measures.

By supporting the team to develop a solution with low-code/no-code processes, it’s fit for purpose from the outset and meets the needs of those who identified the initial problem. The utilisation of Power Automate, along with other tools has allowed for the democratisations of coding skills within the wider Brit underwriting team.


Potential challenges on the horizon

Some technology leaders look at the rise of low-code platforms and think back in horror to the proliferation of user-built MS Access databases of the late 90s and early 00s. Over the years, these databases became critical to businesses functionality, but they were developed by people without the long-term skills to support them. When these databases fail, there’s no one who has the understanding to quickly fix them, which has huge implications for business continuity.

Some of these still exist to this day as critical EUC’s (end-user computing) applications in organisations but haven’t been built with the expressed guidelines of internal IT departments.

The use of MS Access databases is still held in a degree of infamy due to the problems created by well-meaning employees building their own tools that are unsupported and uncontrolled by the businesses they were working for.


Using lessons of the past to inform low-code/no-code’s future

Creators of the low-code platforms have learned from the heady days of MS Access and are providing system administrators with built-in capability to see exactly what the staff using low-code/no-code within the business are up to. The commonly used MS Power platform comes ready with an ‘Admin centre’ where different environments and apps can be seen, and workflows can be managed. The visibility this provides to administrators is impressive, giving relevant IT departments and stakeholders the capability to see how other members of the business are creating low-code/no-code apps.

Staff who are empowered with these skills need to be scattered throughout an existing organisation, making optimisations and liaising with the IT team and other staff members their developments are designed to benefit.

This communication between those who have a greater depth of development experience is vital, whilst low-code platforms have intuitive GUI’s (Graphical User Interfaces), there is a learning curve that any new user must overcome. Low-code/no-code developers need the support of other team members with a greater knowledge of development platforms to help them regularly build their own skillset and ensure they’re continually supported as these solutions are rolled out.


The impact for brokers

In terms of Brit, the revolution we’ve discussed today is making insurance fit for the future. Here, initiatives like Future at Lloyd’s will help to reduce errors and unnecessary admin tasks. The value of embracing these solutions at every level allows the Lloyd’s market to continue, keeping costs and efficiencies optimal for whatever might be on the road ahead.

For the organisation that finds this balance, giving their employees the tools to enhance their roles further with low-code/no-code solutions, a wealth of benefits lies in store.

If you would like to find out more about how low-code/no-code platforms allow creativity to flourish at Brit, visit our Innovation page.