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Devs: Keep calm and automate on

Presented by Slack


The next big digital transformation is here; it’s time we lean into low code and automation to make work more efficient and productive for the developers who are on the front lines of digital transformation.


We hear it all the time these days: The burnout is real, and it’s a critical factor in today’s resignation trend. Over the last two years, the rapid transition to remote solutions has IT teams across the world scrambling to keep up. Overworked and under pressure, devs and IT have been at the forefront of this transition, hurriedly devising the apps and tools that we have all needed to thrive in the digital-first world. The push towards digital transformation and the new ways of working are dramatically affecting developers, who often bear the brunt of work and pressure to maintain business continuity while creating the tools that businesses rely on for innovation.

Now, it’s time to reap the benefits.

Enter the next era of low code and automation.

Employee experience is the new imperative … And IT is leading the charge (and risking burnout)

In the midst of global economic shakeup and the labor phenomenon that we’re calling ‘the great resignation,’ organizations of every size are searching for “the key” to the hybrid work environment. Without exception, this means finding new ways to approach employee engagement and nurture project coordination.

But for devs, whose jobs are all project coordination, the hybrid shift has brought significantly more work. Whether it’s coding a new app to manage remote onboarding (Greenhouse has saved me more time than you could imagine), or finding a way to reclaim lost cultural moments (Donut is the GOAT), it’s the devs who have led our brave charge into the new digital unknown.

Automation apps like the ones I mentioned above are becoming easier to find (The Slack app directory is 2,500+ strong). But when it comes to IT, the most time-consuming projects are the ones that need to be built to address specific challenges or events. Whether it’s tracking pull requests and build notifications or automating PTO requests, our IT professionals have had no choice but to forge the tools that we needed to maintain growth in the digital-first world.

Developer burnout threatens innovation — and more importantly, happiness

IT is one of those things where if you do your job well, your success is so well executed as to be invisible. On the flip side, your mistakes, however minor, can earn you the wrath of entire departments if their favorite tool stops working for even a few minutes.

The conversation about IT burnout has been ongoing. Before the pandemic, our best developer experience initiatives included employee climbing gyms, in-house baristas, or iTunes gift cards handed out like candy.

The age of iconic perks is over. It’s time for companies to take the same value that they once placed in the physical workspace and transfer it to the digital one. It’s time to make it easier for people to do their jobs. And while we’re at it, why not also make these jobs more enjoyable?

It’s time to empower the entire team to build, nurture, and remix the ecosystems they need

For all of the progress we’ve been making, oftentimes we’re still finding ourselves doing things the old way. We’re using software that’s packaged and designed to do a specific job very well. In the new world, software will be remixable by default, and we’re just at the beginning of the journey to building tools through this remixable model, empowering everyone to create business outcomes by remixing software for the way they work.

IT teams need platforms that can coordinate every tool, communication, or event over the course of a developer’s day. Currently, it’s hard for developers to build on top of enterprise platforms, which offer limited flexibility and customization. On top of that, we’re stuck working in silos. With low-code UX, we can make the process of devising, testing, and launching in-house apps faster than ever before.

At Slack, for example, we’ve made a great run at helping people build the software they need to be successful in their jobs. But, like other platforms, the original Slack Platform was built during a time when middleware applications reigned supreme. These were days when software was still coming shrink-wrapped, and specific processes required specific, high-dollar products. The result was that all of our communication was running through these big, disparate silos, preventing developers — and all employees — from meeting our true potential.

Instead, software should be remixable by default. Users should be able to re-mix, re-use, and repurpose their software to give teams exactly what they need, all within one platform for getting work done. Even more, they should be encouraged and assisted in sharing their solutions. What works for one person or team might work for others, and may have a positive impact on the way others collaborate and get work done. With our own Slack Community, we’re building an ecosystem that does just that — offering tools and resources where people can help each other solve problems and improve work for the better.

Imagine being able to go from ideation, to testing, to roll out, in just as many commands. Imagine having all the building blocks at your fingertips to design functional and scalable solutions, without having to worry one bit about governance, compliance, or security.

Now imagine what it would be like if every person in your company were empowered in these ways. By taking low code ‘even lower,’ we can make it possible for those without a technical background to contribute to the digital-first movement in a lasting and significant way.

Meanwhile, the IT innovators can stop worrying about the future of work, and start actually building for it.

Stay tuned for more about low code and the future of work

In the next installment, I’ll be going further in-depth about what’s new in the low-code space, what role it’ll play in the future of work, and how builders and admins can be empowered to self-serve their own future with the tools they need to succeed.

Dig deeper: In the meantime, be sure to check out Slack Frontiers 2021, which is kicking off today. There you can hear more from the Slack community on how we’re working to transform the way people work together in a digital HQ and help them thrive in a digital-first world.

Steve Wood is SVP Product Management at Slack.


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