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2023 The Future is Here: How AI, Low-Code, and Web Apps Will Transform Your Business

Female fleet manager works on web app

TLDR – Artificial Intelligence (AI) ChatGPT, Low-Code, Web Apps

In this blog, I want to explore how in 2023, the marriage of AI, low-code and business Web Apps will forever transform how organisations interact with: business data, stakeholders, business applications and application development.

ChatGPT – What is all the noise about?

“ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionise the way businesses operate by offering advanced natural language processing capabilities and a more intuitive way of interacting with technology.” – Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor at MIT Sloan School of Management. 

Unless you’ve lived in a cave since November 2022, you will have heard about ChatGPT (Chat). And you may have already had a play with it and wondered, “how is this going to change my job”, or, “will I still have a job in 2024.” Or you’ve decided, “what’s the big deal”, here we go again in another hype cycle like the internet, smartphones, bitcoin, and social media… yeah, don’t worry too much. It’s probably nothing.

If you haven’t done the homework, ChatGPT is not yet another annoying chat application that pops notifications on your mobile.  

ChatGPT is one of a batch of new AI generative tools that uses a state-of-the-art language generation model. ChatGPT uses deep learning algorithms and training data to generate human-like text responses to input prompts. 

Developed by Open AI, ChatGPT can understand and respond to human language. Importantly for businesses of all shapes and sizes, this technology enables software tools to handle various business tasks, such as automating repetitive jobs, customer support, information gathering, automated documentation, software coding and data analysis with outcome prediction. And yes, you can talk with it or get it to complete your assignments. 

While some of these are “clever party tricks”, you should try if for yourself. 

Suppose you use Microsoft Excel in your daily work, and you use macros to automate tasks. Then you will appreciate the time saving when you can write a macro that will perform a job in a spreadsheet by typing a plain English prompt in ChatGPT like:

Write a macro for Microsoft Excel that will remove every row with duplicate content in column B.

Sub RemoveDuplicates()
    Columns("B:B").Select
    ActiveSheet.Range("$A$1:$B$1000").RemoveDuplicates Columns:=2, Header:=xlYes
End Sub
Taken directly from ChatGPT

The code generated in the response will work when added to your spreadsheet, and the response from ChatGPT includes the instructions to use it and comments within the VBA code. If the response doesn’t work, ask again and improve your prompt. There are thousands of guides on the internet.

What if you don’t use Excel and instead use Google sheets? No worries, ask ChatGPT how you would do this in Google sheets. The response will be using filters. 

Organisations adopting AI tools for natural language processing tasks like this and other more complex tasks can expect a significant productivity and efficiency boost starting in 2023. These tools automate and streamline language-based data processes like text, speech, and sentiment analysis. By relying on these tools, organisations will reduce manual data processing efforts, minimise human error, and increase the speed and accuracy of their information processing activities.

For example, once trained and given the organisation’s relevant data, a generative AI-powered chatbot can handle routine customer queries, freeing the call centre to focus on more complex and value-added tasks. 

Here are other “less gimmicky” ways a large language model AI like ChatGPT will transform your work in 2023.  

Natural language interface: ChatGPT can be integrated into business applications to provide a natural language interface for users to interact with a business platform. They will improve user experience and make the solution more accessible to a broader range of users. 

Predictive automation: ChatGPT and other conversational language models can analyse large amounts of data and predict the most likely outcomes of specific actions, such as the next steps in a workflow. 

Automate repetitive tasks: Organisations can automate certain parts of the business process, reducing the amount of manual effort required and improving efficiency. 

Automated documentation: ChatGPT can generate accurate and comprehensive documentation for business applications, helping developers and users better understand the application’s structure and functionality. 

The first point, “natural language interface”, is the most transformational and potentially disruptive change for business applications. People in technology love to say, “this is a game changer”, or “this is a revolution”, or even “this time, it’s different”, regarding the influence of AI on business applications. I am confident that using AI to interact with business data will be the most profound change to business software in a generation. 

Paired with the troves of proprietary data backing business solutions such as Web Apps like Formbird FLEET, (FIMS) – AI generative text tools will provide fleet managers with a new intuitive tool to understand their data better. 

“Chats” ability to generate visualisations such as charts and graphs will make it possible to quickly and easily uncover hidden insights within the organisation’s data. This ability to present information clearly and concisely will let organisations make informed decisions based on an encyclopedic understanding of historical and live data.

Imagine a fleet manager wanting to determine why the fuel bill has ballooned this month. Instead of poring over reports comparing last month to this month. The answer could be just a single-sentence prompt away. 

List the top 10 vehicles whose fuel consumption has increased from the previous month.  

The large language model AI will already have the answer because it “knows” the fleet data since it was “taught it” and can now “spit out” the answer. An AI will give the fleet manager the necessary explanations and set the next task in motion. Why has the fuel bill ballooned this month?    

Low-Code – Everything old is new again – build it fast and don’t break things. 

The next frontier in business software

“Low-code development platforms will revolutionise the way businesses build and deploy applications, empowering organisations to quickly bring their ideas to life and stay ahead in an ever-evolving digital landscape.” – Gartner Research.

Low-code platforms, like Formbird, are user-friendly platforms that allow anyone, regardless of their coding skills, to create and customise Web Apps. Formbird uses pre-built templates, making it easy for users to create and customise business software without coding knowledge.

Low-code is not new. Lotus Notes, released in 1989, provided organisations with a way to build and manage custom applications, such as email, calendars, and databases, without requiring extensive programming knowledge. 

Low-code platforms like Formbird are the third generation of the low-code revolution. They allow developers and organisations to develop business software faster and more efficiently, reducing development time and costs. Because low-code platforms are accessible to a broader range of people, they allow for greater collaboration and innovation within the development process. 

Low-code platforms allow for greater flexibility, scalability and adaptability, enabling organisations to quickly and easily adjust their applications to changing business needs. 

The real power of a low-code platform is its synergy with the rapid development methodology. The ability to quickly deploy business applications, test them in real-world scenarios and make necessary improvements rapidly, realising the potential of continual improvement throughout the development process.  

This “Lean” or “Agile” approach leads to business applications built with a deeper understanding of the business requirements. It eliminates the risk of failed implementations due to small but critical translation errors that can occur during the initial data modelling of the application’s scope when using traditional development methodologies. By adopting a low-code and rapid development methodology, organisations can bid farewell to the long, slow software implementation era and embrace effective, faster, and more efficient business application development.

Business applications built on low-code development platforms are the missing link between data and action. They let organisations quickly adapt their business applications to unlock the full potential of their data, allowing employees to become active participants in driving continual improvement within the organisation and empowering people to work strategically to achieve the business’s goals. 

Low-code development platforms might have been with us for a while; they look like they’re here to stay. Low-code will stand out as a landmark in 2023’s business landscape, driving positive change and improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of all organisations ready to start their journey.

Bringing together AI and Low-Code Development 

A large language model like ChatGPT can accelerate business application development in low-code development platforms by providing advanced natural language processing capabilities. 

Similar to the example above about the Excel macro. ChatGPT can learn to write code for any low-code development platform by training it on the specifics of the platform. Once the AI has learned the patterns and syntax needed to generate code for the platform. A large language model like ChatGPT could automate aspects of the development process, such as developing boilerplate code or filling in missing pieces of code, allowing for more intuitive and efficient communication between developers and the low-code platform, and enabling faster and more accurate development. Additionally, AI will provide valuable insights and recommendations to developers, helping them make more informed decisions about designing and implementing their applications. Overall, AI has the potential to significantly streamline and improve the low-code development process, further fulfilling the low-code promise of making coding more straightforward, quicker and more accessible to a broader range of skill levels, organisations and businesses.

Web Apps in 2023, the advantage becomes clear.

mechanic_inspects-ute

Web Apps avoid the code bloat, custom workarounds and continuous updates associated with cross-platform apps. – Mark Hosking, CEO, Formbird

  • “The Web Apps standard is a major step forward in the development of web applications, providing new capabilities and features that were previously not possible. With the ability to access local files and other resources, web applications can provide a more seamless and integrated experience for users.” – Jeff Jaffe, CEO of the W3C

Once regarded as the inferior alternative to native apps, Web Apps (also known as the Web Application API standard) will grow in 2023 as inherent inefficiencies of cross-platform app development and maintenance challenges have become more apparent. The hype surrounding native business apps has diminished profoundly in the last two years. 

The W3C Web Apps standard is a set of specifications and guidelines that provide a standardised way of creating and deploying web applications. Maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international community that develops and promotes web technologies. The Web Apps standard aims to ensure that web applications are interoperable across different browsers, platforms and devices and to provide a consistent user experience.

Build once deploy anywhere.

The Web Apps standard covers a range of technologies, including the HTML and CSS markup languages used for creating the structure and style of business applications and the JavaScript scripting language for adding interactivity and dynamic content to business apps. 

The standard also includes APIs for accessing device features such as the camera, accelerometer and geolocation, and for working with data such as storing information locally on the device, a capability used by Formbird’s offline functionality. 

The standards also ensure that web applications have a consistent user experience, which leads to better user adoption and satisfaction. Overall, the W3C Web Apps standards will play a crucial role in shaping the future of business apps and help organisations create better, more accessible, and more useful web applications.

Collaboration – the Web App Advantage

By providing a common platform accessible from any location with (or without) an internet connection, Web Apps foster collaboration across any organisation with dispersed work sites, allowing teams to work together on the same project regardless of their physical location, enabling remote collaboration and reducing communication barriers. Ensuring all users have access to the same data, features, and functionalities promotes productivity and continual improvement across the team.

2023 and beyond take homes – Business Application Development Trends. 

The convergence of AI, low-code and Web Apps will create new, more advanced, accessible applications. Low-code platforms incorporating AI technology will likely allow for faster and more efficient app development, and the integration of AI into web applications will enhance the user experience and improve the overall functionality of the apps. This convergence will also automate specific tasks and processes within web apps, making them more streamlined and efficient.

Through 2023 and beyond, combining AI, low-code development, and the Web Apps standard will revolutionise how organisations approach business information. AI gives organisations unprecedented access to their data. The ability to interrogate the organisation’s business data via a simple text interface will transform how people approach and understand their data. The transition from complex, counter-intuitive menu diving to a prompt-based interface will profoundly affect how we work for decades. Businesses that embrace this technology will have a competitive advantage in their field.

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