What is Low Code? Citizen developers instead of programmers

They want to replace the programmer with what has been baptized as the citizen developer or citizen developer and eliminate all the technological barriers that prevent many companies from digitizing. All this is what Sygris pursues, the company founded by Sevillian Sergio Brihuega Moreno where they develop Low Code solutions for any area of ​​the business.

The proposal is so disruptive that it is convenient to start by clarifying concepts.

It can be defined as an emerging technology that implies a paradigm shift, a new way of doing things, and building the technological solutions that a company needs.

In essence, the mission of a Low Code platform is to develop a base technology or application that allows users to create other necessary applications without resorting to the services of a professional programmer.

To better visualize it, it can be compared to a toolbox that you use tailored to your needs or, as Sergio Brihuega himself says, “just as you use Excel both to make a shopping list and to keep the invoicing of a company or cross customer data. According to advances in functionality, a little more technical knowledge will be required, but you will never have to learn to program because Low Code puts the development capacity in the hands of non-technical people.

2.-Where the need arises

The reason that led Sergio Brihuega to establish the company was the identification of a need. “Low Code is neither more nor less than the technical response to a market need, as always happens”.

Before setting up Sygris, he had the opportunity to be part of the birth of CRedit360, a small software provider startup that, in less than four years, became a resounding success story. He started programming to later went through different departments. He took on product manager duties and ended up managing customer relations. 

This allowed him to get to know the information systems of large multinationals from within and realize that their traditional mechanisms for creating information systems were reaching a saturation point.

Sergio Brihuega explains that, historically, there have always been more digitized departments than others, such as finance or Human Resources. However, as technology advances and the company becomes larger, the need to digitize all areas of the company increases, attending to reasons of efficiency and not making mistakes. With this, the volume of digital information and data grows exponentially and, when this happens, you need to store and manage everything. 

The traditional way of digitizing companies has been to create specific solutions tailored to the needs of each department, often delegating development to external companies. In the end, this leads to technological dependency and asynchrony that hinders agility in the implementation of solutions and joint governance of the organization.

3.-The other gap

Another problem that characterizes large companies is an excessive hierarchy. One of the consequences of this overlapping of layers is that, from the time an order announcing a need is issued, in the highest strata, until it reaches the person who executes it, at the opposite end, the information is distorted as if it were a game. of the cracked phone in question.

The solution offered by Low Code in general and Sygris, in particular, is as simple as shortening the distance between whoever states the need and whoever builds it, thus skipping the long chain of intermediaries. 

“If these two extremes do not work in a coordinated way, probably the result of the work of one will not end up solving the need of the other. I need to remove layers of dialogue because that way I make sure that the message is clearer and that my development is faster, more accurate, and much cheaper because, in the world of software, hours are crucial”, explains the CEO.

4.-Nace el ‘citizen developer’

The problem of saving different layers between the ends of the chain is not solved by Sygris dragging the programmer from the corner and putting him next to the need. To fill this position, he creates a new professional profile: the citizen developer.

What is your mission? “Historically, the programmer has always been very far from the one who has the need. It’s not by chance, it’s because they don’t speak the same language, they don’t understand each other, and they don’t have the same interests either.” 

Starting from the premise set forth by the CEO, the citizen developer would be a professional capable of understanding the language of the business, interpreting the need, and solving it by shaping it with the use of Low Code technology. “We are committed to giving the technical capacity to the next in the chain.”

What should they study? Nothing in particular. It is enough to have some basic concepts of information systems and a certain interest in analytics and numbers within STEM profiles, but you should never learn to program or know programming languages ​​because Low Code allows you to do so in a technology-agnostic way.

Where to get them? It is advisable that it be the same company that is in charge of forming this profile by searching among some of the employees, but it can also be hired outside companies that, like Sygris, form these profiles.

5.-The advantages that make Low Code a technology of the future

Once the main concepts have been clarified, it is also possible to conclude some of the advantages that make this emerging technology one of the ones with the greatest potential for the coming years:

5.1-The disintermediation of programmers

With Low Code platforms such as Sygris, the client can ignore the programmatic part, being able to build their own solutions in an increasingly better and faster way. 

5.2-It always involves building, as with Lego

The difference between acquiring a software suite with a closed package of different applications for your company or acquiring a license for a Low Code platform can be understood by comparing the purchase of a ready-made toy with that of a box of Lego pieces. Both are toys, but with different connotations. The first is rigid, without the capacity for development, and is good for what it is. With Lego pieces, you always build by removing or adding pieces and arranging them depending on what you want to create. The same thing happens with Low Code, there is always room to inject a bit of code and expand the functionalities.

5.3-Versatility, valid for any area

The Low Code is capable of solving the different cases of need for information technology in any area of ​​the company. We are talking about all kinds of applications, from the most basic to much more sophisticated ones.

5.4- Cost efficiency

In IT departments, a large part of the expenses is based on working hours, which are, by the way, increasingly expensive due to the high demand for these professionals. If you are able to spend fewer hours on a technological development project and obtain results aligned to the need more quickly, what you end up with is being more efficient in terms of costs and more agile in terms of time.

5.5-The ideal solution to digitize the entire business fabric

Given the ease of handling a Low Code platform and the reduction in costs, there are many who attribute to this technology the necessary capacity to digitize the entire national business fabric.

The company that wants to lead the change

Now it’s time to talk about Sygris, the company founded in Madrid by Sergio Brihuega Moreno after spending nearly 10 years in the UK finishing his Physics studies and working on the origins of the CRedit360 project.

Sygris founded it in 2008, about to turn 30 years old. He did it alone and with his own resources, a situation that continues to this day. The idea was always to create a Low Code programming language with which anything could be built. He thus intended to respond to the disaffection that he had identified in CRedit360 between the ability to provide service to a company and its needs.

His first client was Telefónica, the result of those contacts that he brought from England. Here he also learned that “Caesar’s wife must not only be, but also appear to be” so his first cares were to pretend that he had a business, when in fact he had only one client and he was the one who was in charge of serving the customer. phone and “whatever it takes”.

The move went well for him because, shortly after, he got La Caixa as a new client, followed by others of a similar level. At that time, Sygris had not yet developed a product acting as a consultant within the world of sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The jump from MVP to MVC

They had to wait until 2014, after 6 years of development, to launch the full platform on the market. The way to not die trying and get the necessary capital to move forward was to develop the platform in parts.

“What we did was develop parts that could already be sold to customers. If the complete product development involved A, B, and C, what we did was first create A with functionalities that some clients could already acquire, and the same with B and C until we managed to close the cycle. That is why we usually say that we do not come out with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), but with a Minimum Marketable Product (MVC)”.

The tool

The CEO himself explains it: “We say that Sygris is the first Low Code programming language because you can do anything without having to worry about the underlying technology. It is also 100% Spanish.

It doesn’t matter how the technology or the programming language evolves because our developments are agnostic to it. The technology that underlies Sygris is transparent to the product you create on top of it. What happens below is our problem and if we incorporate any changes, the client doesn’t even know about it. Sygris does not version, it is a constructor that connects to the technology below, completely transparent”.

An example of bootstrapping

The same year that Sygris is launched on the market with the complete suite of its Low Code platform, they closed agreements with companies of the stature of BBVA, Popular, and Gonvarri. Since then and until now, the company has been growing by 70% year-on-year, which has allowed it to close the year 2021 with a turnover of around 4M euros.

The staff is made up of a team of around 80 people. They are structured into three main departments. One corresponds to the programmers who are in charge of developing the platform and making integrations on-demand for those large accounts with a very particular casuistry. Another second corresponds to the citizen developers, who, relying on Sygris technology, are in charge of making customized projects for companies that do not find tools on the market that solve their problems.

These represent the main sources of income of the company that comes from the payment of licenses and the cost of hours of its professionals and custom development.

The third leg of the company handles more of the business side, marketing, and customer service.

In addition to becoming a bootstrapping role model, the company was also recognized with the Best Place to Work award in 2020.

The projection: triple-digit growth in 2023

Sergio Brihuega confesses that the expectations for the new year are that the company will have three-digit growth and that his dream is “to make Sygris an internationally recognized brand.”  

It’s not bad. With more than 40,000 users who come from its approximately 70 clients of the size of those already referred, revenue from outside Spain is now equivalent to 25%, “but that is changing rapidly,” he clarifies. 

The goal in 2023 is to grow through internationalization, starting with consolidation in Latin America and then addressing the US and British markets. In this line, they are closing agreements with large consulting firms that integrate Sygris technology in projects

His intention is also to begin to lower the ranks of his clients and expand the Sygris offer to SMEs. Once they have mature technology and complete knowledge of the business, it is always easier to adapt it to other smaller clients than the other way around. 

The commitment to sustainability

Another channel through which they hope to grow a lot is with the sustainability package. “We have the reference tool to help companies efficiently manage all their non-financial information. With Sygris they can define and monitor their entire sustainability strategy. Not only from an environmental point of view but also from a social and governance point of view.”

They presume to have a knowledge of sustainability “that no one in Spain has. Our first use case was a sustainability information management system. And now we are an authority on that because we have been developing for companies their needs in terms of sustainability for 15 years”, he assures.

Currently, Sygris is responsible for measuring, for example, Iberdrola’s carbon footprint on a global scale or Bayer’s. This is just one of the packages offered together with Sygris QHSE, to manage and demonstrate compliance in terms of quality, environment, and health and safety of people; o Sygris HR Talent to calculate the salary gap and develop a master of employees and talent management in the company, among many others.