How to Leverage Low-Code Tools to Modernize Services to State and Local Residents

How to Leverage Low-Code Tools to Modernize Services to State and Local Residents

When Maryland State Library (MSL) needs to fine-tune its grant-management system to meet changing needs, it doesn’t turn to highly trained application developers or follow a time-consuming, costly process. Instead, the agency’s nontechnical employees can simply reconfigure the system themselves.

How? By taking advantage of a low-code solution.

Low-code application builders equip average business users to create and update interfaces, forms and workflows. The streamlined, drag-and-drop approach allows a growing number of government agencies to quickly and cost-effectively digitize and optimize internal operations and external services.

Are low-code tools right for your agency? Recognizing where they’re most effective and understanding best practices for their use can help you get the most from low-code.

No Coding Experience? No Worries

Many governments are taking steps to modernize and automate processes, especially those that serve local residents. The goal is to speed up workflows, reduce costs and improve user experiences.

Many of these processes involve straightforward tasks like completing forms, applying for permits or requesting funds. For these repetitive workflows, low-code tools can accelerate rollouts and quickly transform resident experiences.

Low-code tools, along with their “no-code” counterparts, empower nontechnical line-of-business (LOB) users to create forms and workflows without involving professional application developers. Users just drag and drop preconfigured software elements into a flowchart. As they do, the tool builds a functional application.

Truly no-code solutions aren’t often a good fit for agencies, which have to meet unique compliance requirements or support agency-specific business rules. But low-code tools can empower LOB employees to quickly modernize and continually fine-tune workflows. The low-code components are already validated as reliable and secure, and integrations with popular technology platforms are built in. If necessary, professional developers can add custom capabilities or integrations.

Best Practices for Going Low-code

Following low-code best practices can minimize your need for customizations and maximize effectiveness. Start by identifying the processes or services you want to modernize, and what you want to achieve by modernizing them. Is it a single workflow or a set of interconnected workflows? Do you hope to reduce costs, enable faster processing or improve ease of use? Do you have a goal for return on investment (ROI)?

Next, determine the best low-code solution to achieve those objectives. Does the tool work with the systems you need to integrate with? Does it allow you to measure performance? Does it scale to meet your transaction volumes?

Then, make sure you train your employees to use the low-code platform. Low-code tools are intuitive, but you won’t benefit from them if your teams don’t understand how they can help. Also make sure IT staff understand how low-code can free them from routine tasks to focus on more strategic activities. Pro developers can use low-code for standardized portions of complex processes, speeding up their projects and giving them more time to innovate.

Finally, minimize customizing low-code applications whenever possible. The less you customize, the more advantage you gain from low-code.

From Low-code to Hyperautomation

Low-code isn’t the solution to every process – especially one that’s complex or interconnects with many other processes. But low-code can still be part of the solution. That’s the goal of an emerging approach that builds on low-code concepts: hyperautomation.

A term recently coined by Gartner, hyperautomation orchestrates multiple technologies, tools and platforms, including low-code, event-driven software, business process management (BPM), robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning (ML) and other artificial intelligence (AI). Prebuilt integrations and a single software license let you use a single toolkit to handle all these digitizations.

Let’s say your state wanted to modernize its Medicaid processes. That could involve complex, interconnected workflows like eligibility reviews, claims processing, customer service, benefits delivery and integration with other programs. Low-code might modernize some of these workflows, but it’s not sophisticated enough to digitize and integrate all of them.

Hyperautomation can help. Low-code might modernize the application-submission workflow. ML might automate eligibility decisions. RPA could send feedback based on ML analysis and power a customer-service chatbot. Event-driven software could change an application state from “ineligible” to “eligible.” AI could detect fraud. And all these capabilities could be built with a single set of tools.

Low-code Approach, Real-World Results

Numerous agencies are already using low-code to optimize resident services such as workflows for licensing, permitting and grant management. That’s how MSL is benefiting from low-code.

MSL supports 24 public library systems across Maryland, distributing millions of dollars in federal grants to help libraries promote learning and economic development in their communities. Th agency needed to transform its manual, email-based grant-approval process to a faster and easier digitized experience for both library staff and grant recipients.

MSL partnered with Voyatek on a unified grant-management system that offers a cloud-hosted, low-code solution. Local libraries can submit and track applications through a simple-to-use web portal. Library staff can accept applications, collect digital signatures, update applicants and issue approvals. Low-code capabilities enable the agency’s LOB users to configure and manage the approval process to streamline workflows and adapt to changing needs.

The future of state and local government processes is digitized and modernized. Increasingly, agencies are achieving that modernization through easy-to-use, secure and reliable low-code tools.