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Recipe for success
in the low-code market

An interview with Lukasz Wrobel, Senior Vice President and Chief Business Development at WEBCON
WEBCON, the Poland-based provider of business process automation software, has been meeting with increasing success at it enters international markets. The formula consists of a good product, many years of experience, and a unique idea of how to stand out in the low-code technology market, says Łukasz Wróbel, WEBCON’s Senior Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer.

How was 2021 for your company?

Both very good and very demanding. The pandemic forced many organizations to quickly make up for years of delays and neglect in the area of digitization of business processes. That abrupt increase in enterprise digital transformation involvement that started two years ago increased the demand for business process automation software. It’s part of how we’ve experienced year-over-year growth of nearly 40%. It’s part of how we increased our revenue from international operations by nearly 50% over that same period. It’s how we closed out 2021 with several dozen new clients and strategic partners.

Where did such good results come from?

The market for digital solutions rapidly accelerated during the pandemic. Remote work increased radically and facilitating that required a lot of business process management. Let’s face it – it took a global pandemic to force a lot of companies to finally undertake digitalization efforts that should have been under way a long time ago; efforts that kept getting postponed year after year. That burst in demand certainly helped increase sales in multiple key regions.
It is also worth noting that we are the first and only Polish company whose low-code platform was included in the prestigious Forrester Research Digital Process Automation study. It’s a report about vendors to look out for, a kind of global recommendation for organizations. Being present in this listing is important, perhaps even necessary, for organizations planning to acquire foreign customers; it’s a big part of how they can identify companies they might not know today but should get to know tomorrow.
Reports like Forrester’s aren’t only about local in scope. Our inclusion is the result of many months’ work and discussions with analysts going over product design, company strategy, market position, and case studies covering our European and American clients. It even included multiple demonstrations of our technology to prove that promises we make are promises we can keep.

How do you look back at going global? Extending your business beyond Poland is an important step in WEBCON’s strategy, isn’t it?

We made the decision to enter international markets eight years ago, and began with the most natural expansion target: the DACH region. In 2019, just before the pandemic, we opened our office in the United States.

How do foreign markets differ? Not only from Poland, but among each other?

The work we put building a sufficiently strong image to reach the largest organizations in Germany caused us to learn a lot of lessons. Fortunately, we were able to reuse that knowledge years later when we expanded to the USA and began to cooperate with some of its largest partners and customers.
There’s a common belief that it’s difficult for Polish organizations to enter foreign markets because companies want to do business with local entities. Our experience in the United States suggests otherwise; we’ve encountered less of that then we’d expected, and only encountered it all fairly recently. Their market is extremely competitive, but even while taking our first steps over there, we were able to win over several of our competitors’ clients. Having a high-quality product inspires more confidence than you might expect. For example, Pratt & Whitney Canada is the world leader in the production of aircraft engines, and they made a decision to use our platform globally for business process automation projects. We’re able to fight the competition because companies appreciate the maturity of our company – we got a surprising amount credit for that even if it wasn’t on American soil – and our product vision.
It helps that our vision, and product design, differs significantly from those proposed by other manufacturers, so we’re much more than a “me too” product from Europe. For example, we’re not only focused on how to simplify constructing an application – we’re all about optimizing the entire end-to-end delivery process, from collecting requirements to deployment to training to documentation to ongoing maintenance. Our strong focus on lowering the cost of change management and application maintenance means that our clients digitize dozens, or even hundreds, of processes on a single platform. It’s not a tool for one application; it’s a factory for mass producing many business applications. That vision attracts attention from customers and partners alike.

Often, large organizations, especially multinational ones, don’t spend time pointing out who helped them with their digital transformation efforts. WEBCON hasn’t had that problem, has it?

Yes, and it’s indeed rare. Digital transformation efforts are often undertaken to solve problems, and admitting problems in public isn’t always a happy prospect. The fact that our clients are eager to share their stories – and how it was our software that helped them achieve success – is therefore pretty unique. A recurring comment we’ve heard is that we not only met their expectations, but exceeded them. It’s how clients such like Echo Investment, LPP, and Warbud appear with us at industry conferences and report on their business digitalization successes. Interestingly, those stories closer to home are nevertheless warmly received in far away lands; they attract attention from partners, clients, and media outlets. A good story is a good story, no matter the origin or the audience.

Your customer success stories are drawn from quite a few industries. In practice, though, both for product design and sales/marketing purposes, are there any industries on which you focus extra attention?

As one of Forrester Research’s analysts recently said, market leaders must take responsibility for their business processes. That is why our clients so often decide to create the exact solutions they need themselves instead of buying existing off-the-shelf tools. It’s often the primary way for them to be innovative and carry out processes different – usually better – than their competition. Thanks to our platform, they can do it for a fraction of the cost and without the risk of traditional custom development. Every industry can benefit from this approach, and that’s why our clients are organizations represent every sector I can think of: manufacturing, construction, retail, financial, services, higher education, and more.
They often start out by creating applications that address electronic document flow and/or support back office processes, but before long they find themselves building highly specialized industry solutions on it that support processes like scoring, risk assessment, accepting loan applications, opening new showrooms, designing new products, and product quality tests.

Are the perception and use of low-code platforms changing?

Definitely. Until a few years ago, low-code platforms were used mostly to build simple applications. Today, no one asks if they can also be used to create business-critical solutions; serious and ambition usage of low-code platforms has become the norm. The platforms have evolved, creating an environment for delivering applications where process security, scalability, performance, and auditability are critical. It’s why they’re now in such widespread use.
That said, there’s a caveat to that; low-code platforms are often associated with a trend known as Citizen Development, in which non-technical users might conclude that if coding isn’t necessary, they don’t need to be professional developers and can instead create applications for themselves. It’s tempting, and sometimes it works, but more often we see a strategy of making amateurs responsible for innovation results in, well, chaos; things like infrastructure problems, manageability issues, security holes, and performance gaps. WEBCON invested in a way to solve these problems with a new idea: Citizen-Assisted Development. Everyone takes a hand in delivering a solution; IT people remain responsible for development, delivery, and maintenance, but business users (often working with technical people) play a significant role in design and continuous improvement. This approach is the result of a lot of data that shows a large number of IT projects failing not because of technical flows, but rather because of a misunderstanding between IT and business.
It’s more than an idea, it’s how our tools work. Acting on the principle that a picture is worth a thousand words, we help business users draw prototypes and test them out, making plain their requirements and preferences to technical people. Instead of projects starting with exploration and negotiation, we can make them begin with collaboration and communication. A successful project is everybody’s business, collaboration between business and technical camps is how good solutions get delivered, and WEBCON’s platform is particularly, perhaps uniquely, devoted to making that work – and work well.

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WEBCON is the leading European-based provider of a complete Low-code Application Platform for mass delivering business applications. Companies choose WEBCON to dramatically reduce time and cost of app development. The platform allows them to automate and managebusiness processes across the entire organization – using a single, unified platform. Thanks to its unique InstantChange™ technology, WEBON BPS embraces change like no other platform on the market.

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