As customer experience expectations evolve, more businesses will turn to low-code to enable higher levels of agility. This is according to Mendix, a Siemens business and leader in enterprise application development, in its list of customer experience trends that will drive business success in 2022.
In making its predictions, Mendix visionaries considered the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the post-pandemic technology trends that are already beginning to shape the ways companies operate and interact with customers.
"Thriving companies are using low-code to accelerate their digital transformations and win customers," said Tim Srock, Mendix CEO. "To achieve that, they're doing more than just building applications with low-code. They're designing exciting new customer experiences and optimizing business processes through automation. They're also unleashing the power of data and APIs to fuel innovation."
Customer experience isn't a one-and-done game anymore. Businesses must deliver multi-experiences across channels to intelligently maintain their users' preferences and contexts. Organizations need to understand that those preferences and contexts change and create a means of development to constantly adapt to best meet their users' needs.
"The more touchpoints and devices you support, the more development kits you need to take advantage of model development platforms, augmented reality tools, and IoT sensors," said Nick Ford, Mendix CMO. "The model-based development and out-of-the-box integrations that low-code help developers deliver applications faster and provide better customer experiences."
Today's customers expect applications to adapt to their preferences and contexts. However, the complexity of providing that in real-time or near real-time is challenging because the application must understand the context, such as the person's job role, the device in use, custom functionality, the user's credentials, and the user's surroundings. Analyzing all that data and responding appropriately and in a timely fashion requires AI.
Adapting quickly and appropriately to changing circumstances also requires constant feedback and iteration. The more iterations a company produces, the more feedback it will receive. This feedback data serves as valuable training data for machine learning models that will enable automated hyper-personalization at scale.
"Hyper-personalization will become a competitive differentiator in 2022," Srock said. "As the world becomes increasingly digital, customers will expect experiences that are tailored and can adapt to their needs and desires in the moment. To do that, applications need to take advantage of AI versus executing simple rules."
Many industries are taking advantage of augmented and virtual reality in innovative ways. More manufacturing companies will prototype new products with 3D models and use AR and VR to perform quality assurance checks. Similarly, organizations will create immersive learning experiences, or leverage AR for a safe training alternative to hazardous environments.
"Organizations are no longer constrained by what exists in the physical world. Instead, they can choose between the analog and digital worlds — or marry the two," Ford said. "In 2022, we're going to see more business leaders reimagining how their companies operate, such as retailers offering AR experiences where customers can place 3D renderings of furniture in their homes to see how it fits.
App connectivity requires fast and reliable systems integration. To ensure experiences transition seamlessly as users go back and forth on the customer journey, organizations must create well-integrated backends that promote efficient data sharing.
"To create cohesive experiences across modalities and contexts, businesses will increase their use of out-of-the-box APIs that can easily connect disparate systems and data sources," Srock said. "Developers will appreciate the speed with which they can connect core systems of record together and deliver what customers want, such as recognizing the customer at every point on their journey and providing contextually relevant experiences."
Process optimization is driving competitive advantages. Yet many organizations still struggle with paper-driven processes and email chain approval workflows that slow results and drive employees and customers alike crazy. Worse, data is trapped in application silos which further degrades customer and employee experiences. In 2022, more organizations will seek model-driven and user-centric development tools that make it easier to build apps and automate business processes.
"Every process impacts the customer experience. Global supply chain disruptions are just one example," Ford said. "Empty shelves and late delivery are a symptom of inefficient backend processes when organizations should be able to adapt to a changing market in real time, at scale."
Mobile apps are a staple of the digital economy. Without the right architecture, it's virtually impossible to cater to different contexts, devices, and personas. The choice between a native app or progressive web app (PWA) depends on the nature of the application. In 2022, companies must be able to build both native apps and PWAs so they can deliver the best customer experience for every mobile scenario.
Ford added, "The ubiquity of mobile isn't the only reason you need to support both architectures. Mobile devices are evolving from data-receiving devices to data-providing devices, especially when you consider the professional-quality cameras included in smartphones and alternative reality-enabled applications."
Wearables, sensors, connected, and intelligent environments. Whether on a manufacturing shop floor, in a warehouse, or out on a construction site, multi-experience is changing the way employees work. Businesses need to prepare for the glut of data wearables, for instance, they will generate. They also need to consider the many ways wearable-acquired information can work in tandem with physical environments, such as sensors detecting access credentials which have been stored on a lanyard or smartwatch, or being guided through a building by smart glasses.
"Marrying the physical and virtual worlds is one way to create new customer experiences. There's also the notion of digital twins, which are capable of intelligent and even autonomous operations," Srock said. "Creating a seamless experience between the analog and digital worlds requires the delivery of the right data at the right time so the proper insights can be gleaned and the right actions taken."
As the new year unfolds, Ford added, "Enterprises must be prepared to elevate the digital customer experience. This can be done rapidly with low-code enabled solutions. The pandemic has unleashed a tsunami of digital innovations for end-users — inside the enterprise and external customers beyond — who expect a frictionless, personalized experience. Digital networks that can rapidly and strategically respond to these trends will be competitively positioned to see tangible impacts and earn customer loyalty, bottom-line profits, and precision data to guide business outcomes."
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