Organizations traditionally have struggled with build-versus-buy decisions when digitizing their internal operations and processes. While the build option offered the benefit of using internal teams or outsourcing to external vendors who could satisfy requirements, the downsides are a long wait, higher costs and the constant change and maintenance applications require. On the other hand, buying solutions off-the-shelf meant that the costs were lower but the businesses would have to change or adapt to already-crafted solutions; not all businesses could adhere to a one-size-fits-all solution.
This challenge often resulted in only the highest-priority and big-budget applications or tools seeing the light of day while others were put on the back burner—even if those back-burnered tools could have improved productivity and user experience.
Enter low-code platforms. The adjacent skill phenomenon enables users with similar fundamental experience but in different niches—think web developers and designers—that, when provided with a drag-and-drop tool can supplement their experience to move up the value chain and become full-stack developers.
In a similar way, low-code platforms enable backend engineers to use drag-and-drop tools to build UI and business logic quickly. This translates into full-stack skills and makes frontend engineers redundant for internal tooling. With low-code and no-code tools, backend engineers can create dashboards, CRUD apps, transactional systems, processes and workflows built on top of existing data sources like databases, connected via APIs, housed in third-party tools etc. These solutions can easily be created and deployed in a matter of hours instead of weeks or months or, worse, back-burnered and doomed to never see the light of day.
How Does Low-Code Accelerate Digital Transformation?
Given that most businesses are struggling to find the right tech talent, they need to explore new approaches to meet the demands associated with digital transformation. Low-code helps by making coding less burdensome and reducing the time and resources spent in building digital solutions. Anyone can develop apps regardless of their technical expertise and, therefore, contribute to the acceleration of digital transformation.
Here’s a look at how low-code solutions are accelerating digital transformation.
Accelerating Visual Development
Low-code platforms can reduce turnaround time for building new apps by 90%—from well over six months to under four weeks.
Developers and non-developers alike can use drag-and-drop functionality to build frontend applications on the fly. A major capability low-code platforms provide is the ability to build functional prototypes of possible solutions and test them quickly. Low-code platforms help unlock innovation by giving low-code platforms to business users who know and understand operational challenges best. Business users can create functional prototypes and iterate toward fully functional applications.
How? Visual drag-and-drop interfaces, ready connections to data sources and APIs, point-and-click workflow designers and baked-in security. By taking away much of the boilerplate, most low-code app development projects are delivered with little to no coding required in a short time.
Along with a catalog of pre-built components and pre-configured modules, component reusability is another advantage of using low-code tools. Using standard UI components such as menu bars, buttons, form sections, etc. allows a user to take advantage of pre-built UI components and merge them into a full-fledged application.
Democratizing App Development
Gartner found that the demand for business-related apps is five times higher than the available IT capacity.
That means the talent gap is one of the biggest hurdles to digital transformation. By turning a large number of semi-technical employees into citizen developers, companies can empower teams to create high-quality digital solutions for everyday operations while still meeting IT security regulations and addressing cybersecurity concerns. Low-code offers an intuitive user interface to design applications, websites, workflows and automation recipes. Some of the more refined low-code platforms also support backend integrations; meaning users can connect their digital solution to multiple data sources and produce unified web portals.
So, in addition to increasing the development resources, citizen developers can also help to accelerate business value. While they create business apps, the more complicated digital issues can be managed by the IT department.
Easy Data Integration
Customization is the best way to extract the maximum value from existing systems.
Tools built using low-code technology are highly customizable and scalable. Low-code platforms enable the rapid creation of purpose-specific applications, which, via API connectors or building middle layers, can be “stitched” together with legacy applications to create end-to-end products. With easy-to-use API and database integrations, this allows teams to integrate with any pre-existing enterprise software such as ERP, CRM, custom applications and databases and extract the richness from their core legacy investments.
Reduced Costs and Scalability
Many enterprises have project backlogs that cost them billions of dollars in opportunities. Because they can’t find the right talent or software to address business opportunities fast enough or give them priority over other tasks. Low-code can help reduce backlogs by helping your development team get more done in less time.
Low-code development turns application elements like pre-built UI components, integrations and custom logic into visual building blocks that are easy to copy and repeat. Ready connections to multiple data sources allow users to easily connect to data from different business functions and scale the application.
A low-code approach simplifies the work required to scale and maintain apps across the entire enterprise or for millions of customers. The developer can build something once and implement it everywhere in minutes. Easy cloud deployment makes it easy to extend the application from one geographic location to another.
Eases Application Life Cycle Management
The main aim is to produce flexible, cost-effective and rapid applications that are adaptive to enhancements and less complex in terms of maintenance. Low-code development accelerates application delivery by enabling users to deploy applications in just a few clicks, without relying on DevOps or engineering teams.
Depending on the platform, all the stages of the application life cycle—development, deployment, monitoring, maintenance, updates—can be performed from a single point in real-time, ensuring security, compliance and version control.
The maintenance phase of software is vital to be able to quickly change what already has been developed to guarantee that the app continues to serve the purpose the business requires. The essence of low-code is that, as the name suggests, there is less code; therefore, there is little code to maintain.
The Future of Low-Code and Digital Transformation
All kinds of organizations across all industries are seeking new ways to meet challenges and increase business performance as a result of digital transformation. Introducing low-code/no-code enables businesses to be bolder and more experimental when executing on their ideas. This is digital innovation in action.
Businesses are already leveraging low-code to get ahead of their competitors by increasing business agility and improving efficiency. This technology is giving IT teams the potential to also get rid of old silos between business departments.
Low-code has been helping enterprises overcome the lack of access to relevant resources to meet their business needs. By speeding time-to-market for digital products, low-code helps businesses respond to market dynamics faster while being more efficient.
Every organization should take advantage of these opportunities and adopt a low-code platform for accelerating productivity and achieving faster results, apps and tools. In the words of Chris Wanstrath, CEO of GitHub, “The future of coding is no coding at all.”