How Video Games Are Paving The Way For The Next Generation Of Enterprise Software

Katherine is the Founder and CEO of Creatio, a software company providing a leading low-code platform for process management & CRM.

One of the most pressing challenges for organizations is how to keep up with change. Businesses need to move faster than ever, and technologies are enabling accelerated growth. The marketplace has shifted to empower non-technical people to deploy applications without learning to code. No-code platforms enable enterprises to accelerate and transform at the speed of light while helping tech teams increase capacity and elevate business-IT collaboration. 

What does this shift mean for the next generation of enterprise software developers and consumers? Believe it or not, we’ve been training a new generation of enterprise software developers for years. As early as elementary school, students are using tools like MIT’s Scratch to build projects using drag-and-drop blocks of code. The engineers who will enter the workforce in the next 10 to 15 years are currently in school, where some of the most popular pastimes are sandbox video games like Minecraft and Roblox. These games, however, are no longer just for the technologically inclined. They empower students to understand the fundamentals of software development and bring their ideas to life.

Minecraft, first released nearly 12 years ago, is played by 126 million users every month. According to one survey conducted in Australia, more than half of all children between the ages of six and 12 actively play Minecraft. Minecraft and Roblox could be considered cultural phenomena by this point, and they’ve taken over the world by allowing users to build their own tools, solutions and environments, cobbling together an experience unique to their individual preferences.

According to a FunTech blog post, “Minecraft: Education Edition offers a far more visual and less wordy way of learning to code as a beginner by using visual block coding. This involves individual blocks of pre-written code that can be dragged and dropped into the script, just like a puzzle piece.” Sound familiar?

This upcoming generation of citizen developers are already experts, borderline professionals, in games that mimic the future of business solutions. Already knowledgeable in the foundations of low-code and no-code technology, tomorrow’s young professionals will be able to easily transfer these skills of composability into new roles with enterprise software development.

Background

Traditionally, enterprises have considered one of two options to automate workflows. One is using out-of-the-box solutions, which gives the advantage of fast time-to-value but lacks the agility. Another option is custom development, which is extremely flexible and tailored specifically to business needs but takes too many resources. These methods are being disrupted today with the rise of low-code and no-code software platforms. They pass the ownership of process automation to business users, promising that soon we will reach a point where it will no longer make sense for organizations to go for any of the traditional approaches.

According to a number of predictions, by 2030, most, if not all, enterprise software development will be composable, dramatically lowering barriers to entry for companies that previously had to purchase software that was hard to customize or spend years and countless resources trying to build something from scratch in house.

Here’s what we believe the future of software — and the people in charge of building it — will look like.

Next-Generation Enterprise Software

By the time the current generation of students enters the workforce, they will be well-equipped to utilize low-code and no-code platforms. The push to include computer science in core secondary curriculum is higher than ever. Students around the globe who are playing — and making — video games are armoring themselves with the technical skills needed at the enterprise level regardless of their interest in software development as a career.

Video games — whether they are related to constructing new worlds or not — give players the opportunity to practice solving difficult problems in a low-risk environment. Furthermore, they provide instant and immediate feedback, so players can adjust their strategy as they go. These are two skills that are critical in software development. Video games pique students’ interest in programming and build technical skills simultaneously.

Low-code/no-code solutions are closing the gap on a lack of qualified talent and have given rise to a new breed of citizen developers. No longer operating as shadow IT, citizen developers operate with the full knowledge, support and sanction of the IT department. Skilled IT experts must still oversee governance, security and compliance and build those guardrails into any no-code development process, but increasingly, business users are empowered to build and make changes to software applications.

As low-code and no-code solutions continue to take over the market, enterprise tech stacks will be increasingly composable where users can combine “blocks” of software, with no advanced training in software development or coding required. As student gamers earn their degrees and join corporations, they will maximize the potential of low-code/no-code platforms and build on its capabilities for the generation behind them.

The New Pace Of Progress

What stands between the current software development model and our no-code future? As we wait for the no-code experts to enter the workforce, we encourage enterprise employees to explore what it means to be a citizen developer.

Walmart is helping facilitate this by using gamification in its training process. The game it created gave employees the opportunity to play out various in-store scenarios without consequence. Walmart found that the game bolstered employee confidence and that employees continued to play even after they’d finished their training. Gamification software is also popular with language learning tools like Duolingo. With over 40 million monthly users as of 2020, the trivia-style game makes learning a second language easy.

Could we challenge our teams to take after their children and spend an hour or two on Minecraft learning the fundamentals of software development? More engaging than an online training session, it could help non-technical professionals embrace the low-code/no-code technology that is on the horizon. We are confidently marching to the future where the modular solutions, assembled by the expert Minecraft generation of citizen developers will completely dominate the world of enterprise software and change the way people think about software deployment at a scale.


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