The future of highly responsive government depends on faster app development
By Subrato Bandhu
The Covid-19 crisis has widened the gap in digital transformation execution between private and public sector organisations. Despite much progress, public sector organisations have been slow in keeping up with the pace of innovation, and the current health and economic crises have dramatically exacerbated this challenging situation for many government agencies. The need to respond to public interests has become paramount, and agencies require fast, efficient ways to make this happen.
While government departments are asked to respond quickly by creating apps for specific situations (for example, Aarogya Setu app for contact tracing or COWIN app for vaccination), most often, these apps face scrutiny around scalability or data security. This is because the challenge of developing scalable apps quickly to meet the demands of a huge population is extremely tough.
In the current times, low code platforms can help government organisations address some of the above mentioned challenges. Let us look at how low code platforms can help in these times of distress. Vaccine slot availability is a huge issue for many citizens today. A couple of private players have quickly used low code app platforms to develop apps on their websites that alerts citizens whenever there is a vaccination slot open in their area. Even in the case of collating requests from citizens from social media platforms, certain smaller companies have used low code platforms to create apps that aggregate information and provide appropriate leads to citizens needing vital resources such as bed availability, oxygen cylinder availability, etc.
In the current times, many new systems will need to be built from scratch—a task suited for low code platforms. Apps can be created by internal government staff, with minimal knowledge of coding, and quick deployment. If government departments analyse applications across various government systems, then they can rapidly improve their legacy systems and create portals or apps that help in self-service. This can be done across different systems.
Globally, government departments that have upgraded their self-service offerings by providing online portals, have succeeded in eliminating thousands of annual paper notices, with huge reduction in number of emails and reduced turnaround time for responding to citizen requests. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced governments, world over, to step on the accelerator with respect to digital initiatives. India too should look at replicating such models. This is perhaps the best time for all government agencies to critically evaluate their internal systems and processes and look at ways to improve access to e-governance services.
Low code platforms, such as OutSystems, automatically apply a huge number of risk, scalability and security measures that include application protection, continuity and availability, data protection and infrastructure protection. Low-code systems are one of the perfect non-disruptive ways for government agencies to embrace the full power of automation and set their organisations on the growth path of digital transformation. India is a nation of scale and speed. Every large-scale successful public initiative—be it Aadhaar, GST or the vaccination programme—is a story of scale that has never been attempted in any part of the world.
This makes it imperative for government agencies in India to consider low code platforms that can give them the impetus to create apps on the fly, depending on dynamically changing requirements. This is the time to discover, imagine and experiment. The future of India depends on the decisive steps that government agencies take today!
The writer is regional VP India, OutSystems, an enterprise software company