How low code is addressing government delivery challenges 

The UK government faces significant IT delivery challenges, from cost overrun to legacy issues and a lack of digital skills. However, implementing low-code technology could help departments run "more effectively and efficiently", Alex Case, industry principal at low-code platform provider Pegasystems, tells Government Transformation Magazine. 

Case is a former Senior Civil Servant at 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office who helped facilitate Brexit delivery. He has also led large scale digital transformation programmes for the UK and Canada as a management consultant. Alex Case photo for Barrister (1)-1

Low-code software allows non-professional coders to build applications with minimal training by using drag and drop components instead of complicated coding language. These pre-developed building blocks of code offer a much simpler and cost effective alternative to IT innovation, Case explains.

This has clear implications for government, where most large scale IT projects end up being significantly delayed and over budget.  By building IT systems using low-code, Case says organisations avoid the bottlenecks of waiting for the capacity to be ready to deliver. He adds that there’s a lower risk of failure and a lower risk of the product not doing what it is intended for. 

“Low-code can revolutionise the way government delivers its technology solution because it enables the business user to be in the driving seat and to actually build what they want, rather than what the IT staff thinks they want.”

In addition, low-code takes a “bite size” approach to digital innovation as opposed to the “big bang all at once” style delivery that government departments typically carry out, Case explains.

This step by step approach, where one or two user journeys are addressed and implemented at a time, is more likely to deliver real value for the citizen over time, Case adds. “Oftentimes, government takes years building a new service or product, but by the time it gets rolled out, it's either out of date or not doing what we wanted it to do.”

Where a lack of digital skills among non-specialist senior civil servants has at times prevented government from being able to deliver on their digital transformation agenda, Case says low-code can help to bridge that gap in knowledge.

In the context of a tech skills shortage, Case adds: “low code can minimise or reduce the need for as many fully qualified coders and hard to find IT resources.”

A growing number of use cases

According to Case, Pega’s low-code platform is being used by a growing number of  government departments to streamline customer services and digitise inefficient back-office processes. 

Pega’s low-code solutions are being deployed to reduce fraud and error rates at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and the UK Home Office used Pega to build a large-scale platform for the EU settlement scheme. The platform was set-up from scratch in a period of about eight weeks and has processed over 4 million applications. 

Across the pond, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) uses Pega as its grant self-service portal, which has automated the complex processes of the grants management lifecycle across many disparate organisations. It has allowed the USDA to consolidate a six-to-eight-month payment process down to just three business days.

New call-to-action

Also Read