1How One University Uses Low-Code Development to Speed Up Its Processes
No- and low-code software development is rapidly gaining traction because it enables non-IT employees to quickly build and tune specialized applications. IT staffs love the freedom this brings. This slide show is an example of how this works: Serving nearly 48,000 students every year, the University of South Florida System is a high-impact, global research system dedicated to student success. The number of applications that USF IT was supporting was growing fast, and having to maintain all those applications was hindering the ability to deliver new applications. USF IT was already using Agile principles to manage projects but needed a low-code platform that could partner with this culture to appease innovation-hungry customers. Here’s how Appian’s Archivum platform did the job.
2Archivum Project: An Overview
To deliver transformative experiences for the university’s students, faculty and staff, USF IT used Appian’s low-code platform to create Archivum—a program of change management across the USF system. In its first 17 months, Archivum, which is Latin for “a collection of records,” has transformed eight major business functions; brought about cost reductions and operational efficiency gains that are projected to save $2.3 million over three years; reduced process cycle times from two weeks to two days; and eliminated paper forms, replaced by anytime/anywhere mobile access to data and processes.
3How Archivum Changed the Landscape at USF
Archivum has changed the way the university views IT and technology. Before, IT was seen mostly as a provider of services; now it is seen as a partner in seeking solutions to problems. The Archivum team works with internal departments at USF to identify systems or processes that can be improved to eliminate waste and enhance performance and the end-user digital experience.
4Solution Example No. 1: Student/Advisor Relationship Management
In the past, this was handled through paper check sheets—a multistep, time-consuming process. Students had to pick up a blank check sheet in one office, go elsewhere to set up a meeting with their advisor, come back for that meeting to fill it out the check sheet, print it, sign it, make multiple copies and then deliver them to different offices. The same had to be done for periodic meetings to maintain or change the program of study. Now it is all done through a mobile app (or via the same app on a desktop computer).
5Solution Example No. 2: Archivum Insights
Deployed in a mere 12 weeks, Archivum Insights, a student case management solution, manages all aspects of a student’s journey with the goal to ensure success and on-time graduation. Using predictive analytics, it can identify students deemed “at-risk” due to academic, financial or social reasons. All student-support personnel—academic advisors, career counselors, financial advisors, residential life coordinators and even college librarians—use this single solution to get a full picture of the student, identify problem areas and enact a remediation plan.
6Solution Example No. 3: Student/Faculty Travel
Before making travel purchases, students and faculty complete a travel request that includes anticipated expenses. Through integration with PeopleSoft, Appian automatically budget-checks the request to ensure there are sufficient funds for the trip. During the trip, the traveler can upload receipts into Appian and associate them with their trip on their mobile device. Once back home, the traveler enters actual expenses and uploads receipts, and the system creates an expense report that corresponds to the initial travel request. The system then routes the report for approval and reimbursement.
7Solution Example No. 4: Faculty Tenure and Promotion
The tenure and promotion solution captures and manages the entire journey from the moment a candidate is identified for one of four possible reviews (tenure, promotion, tenure and promotion, or mid-tenure) to when final results are entered. Candidates, their liaisons and/or deans all work in the same application, increasing transparency for all involved and ensuring that data is accurately viewed right up to the point of final recommendation from the provost.
8Solution Example No. 5: Rotation Lottery
The lottery process that decides the career path of fourth-year medical students used to take up to three months to complete. The new solution automates what were manual, paper-based processes and unifies all relevant data into a 360-degree view. As a result, the rotation lottery is now completed in 20 minutes—and with 90 percent accuracy in matching to a student’s first preferences.
9Economics of Low-Code: Low-Code Skills Workshops
USF understands first-hand that low-code technologies are changing the IT landscape and presenting new IT job opportunities. To help its students capitalize on those opportunities, USF has developed a skills training and job placement program that prepares students for careers in the world of low-code application development. The program, called “Low-Code Skills Workshop,” is offered to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as USF employees, at no cost.
10Low-Code Workshops Already Leading to Jobs
The workshops provide two weeks of immersion in the technical aspects of low-code platforms and the Agile methodology of low-code development. Training is provided by Appian’s Professional Services and Training organization with the participation of the USF IT staff. In the second week of the course, students split into small teams to build new IT applications on the platform. USF IT itself has already hired six workshop participants for full-time jobs. The university is currently moving forward with plans to make the program a credit-earning course.