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OP-ED. “When Faced With a Shortage of SAP Skills, Opt For No-Code / Low-Code Apps”

OP-ED. “When Faced With a Shortage of SAP Skills, Opt For No-Code / Low-Code Apps”
“When Faced With a Shortage of SAP Skills, Opt For No-Code / Low-Code Apps” (iStock)

At a time when companies really need to digitize their processes, the shortage of IT talent is creating an obstacle to this vital means of modernisation. Faced with this situation, which is likely to continue for some time, we have to think outside the box and No-Code / Low-Code may be one solution.

By Cyril Vernet, CTO of HRC Software

There has been a shortage of IT skills in France for a number of years. It is a direct consequence of software’s omnipresence in our daily lives. We use software constantly on our smartphones and all companies have begun evolving to digitize their business processes. Today, there is not one production plant or supply chain that can operate without a heap of interconnected software. The talent shortage hitting the IT sector continues to grow. According to market intelligence firm IDC, there was already a shortage of 1.4 million developers in 2021. In 2025, there will be a shortfall of 4 million.

The SAP Ecosystem Is Also a Victim of This Talent Shortage

We hear a lot about the shortage of developers, and a lack of AI and Cybersecurity skills, but this talent shortage is also impacting the world of SAP. At their recent convention, the French-speaking SAP users association (USF) lamented the lack of consultants on the market, at a time when businesses are migrating their aging SAP platforms to S4/HANA. 

Although Schools of Computer Science and software companies like SAP and Microsoft have been increasing the number of courses they offer, the shortage is so great that businesses are drastically behind schedule on their digital transformation. Not only is it becoming extremely difficult to find senior consultants who are specialists in their field, the frequent use of under-skilled professionals, for want of experts, has caused some projects to “hit the wall”. It is time for a new approach and No-Code is an alternative worth considering. 

Going Beyond the Capabilities of Citizen Developers

No-Code first came about as a solution to enable non-programmers to build small applications to meet their immediate needs. This is known as the Citizen Developer approach. What companies found was that this No-Code approach has its limits when it comes to developing complex applications. 

On the one hand, business experts aren’t always very keen on this type of tool and rarely have the time to develop an application, even if the tool is super simple and designed for non-programmers. On the other hand, the applications they really need, have to interact with the information system to go and find data in various interconnected systems, feed into workflows, and prompt actions.

Very often, for more complex applications, No-Code / Low-Code is used to create a quick prototype of the application to validate its pertinence and reliability, before handing development over to a developer who can then build on the early No-Code application.

A Solution to the Shortage of Technical Consultants

Initial experience shows that businesses can use the No-Code / Low-Code approach to expand the capacity of their IS, including SAP, without having to launch complicated development projects that will quickly come up against the problem of long lead times and their associated costs.

SAP provides a robust and reliable system, but putting a No-Code / Low-Code platform above it masks its complexity, enabling applications to be developed quickly with greater agility between business and IT teams.

Many companies have already used these platforms to develop web and mobile applications to meet their mobility needs to cover their Supply Chain, Maintenance, and Procurement processes and enable users to access the IT system from any type of device (PC, smartphone, tablet, PDA, etc.). 

An Alternative to Large-scale, Long, and Costly IT Projects

For a company using SAP, developing a suite of mobile applications to manage its warehouse is an 18 to 24-month project with high consulting and development costs. By using a No-Code / Low-Code platform, the company can significantly reduce its costs and deadlines.

No-Code/ Low-Code provides a pragmatic solution to meet a company’s needs. Most large companies have already added No-Code / Low-Code platforms to their range of internal tools, to help them digitize their business processes.

From an approach designed to offer business users an accessible solution, existing application building blocks, and reusable models, to an approach more geared toward developers’ needs to improve their productivity, make their code more reliable, and pool their developments, these No-Code / Low-Code tools are now an integral part of the IT landscape. 

Talent Shortage Likely to Last

Businesses must bear in mind that the talent shortage will not disappear within the next few years and that a paradigm shift is now required. With this in mind, we need more efficient and user-friendly tools to adapt business processes accordingly. The way companies develop their applications also needs to be redesigned. The No-Code / Low-Code approach is an opportunity to turn these obligations into an advantage.