Usually, at the heart of digital transformation plans lies the desire to enable the organization to be more agile and be able to innovate easily. Businesses are looking for ways to reduce the time involved in developing software and optimize the processes around software maintenance. They want to be able to transform operations, achieve dramatic improvements in efficiency, and launch new products and services faster.
But conventional approaches to developing software can take a lot of time and can require arranging for expensive and specialized tools and resources. At the same time, maintaining the status quo can result in increasing complexity and high technical debt. That’s where low-code, or no-code, software development makes a difference by providing enterprises with an easier way to develop quality software along with a much more efficient and simple maintenance and deployment model. Forrester explains low-code software development as a platform enabling “rapid delivery of business applications with a minimum of hand-coding and minimal upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment.”
Low-code development allows developers and even non-developers, to build applications quickly on an on-going basis, with the development tools being offered almost as-a-service available in the cloud, with ready integrations to various data sources and other applications available out of the box. Low-code development tools come with integrated tools for the entire application lifecycle management. It is a much-needed alternative in today’s competitive business environment where software development needs are growing exponentially. Low-code development automates the lengthy hand-coding process, allowing developers to focus their attention on the significant elements in the projects.
Benefits of Low-Code Development
Low-code development platforms allow developers to start almost instantly and create functional prototypes without having to code from scratch. Pre-made and reusable templates can be used to create new applications in a matter of hours or days, drastically reducing the time needed for testing and launch. Developers can move through the stages of ideating, prototyping, testing, releasing, and refining much faster as compared to traditional software development methods.
Reduced Technical Debt
When IT is overloaded with innumerable projects to support the business there develops a backlog that can seem never-ending. When even non-technical employees can easily create the software as per their requirements, the IT team gets a breather. Low-code software development allows enterprises to reduce waste, streamline and shorten development, and fast-forward the deployment process thus eliminating technical debt.
Low-code software development allows IT heads to achieve what they have always dreamed of – do more with less. They can build high-quality enterprise-grade software in a matter of days as compared to months in the traditional approach to development. Low-code offers enterprises a cheaper and easier way to build business processes and workflows while customizing it to their particular needs.
By using low-code software development tools developers can focus on introducing new and unique features and functionalities into their software, without having to spend too much time on the underlying services/functionality basics. It is also easier for them to manage the user interface, data model, business rules, and definitions, which means that developers with even a little experience can easily build software, reducing the dependency on hiring expensive skilled talent. Low-code tools also eliminate the need for the development team to constantly update the frameworks, infrastructure, and other underlying technology.
Support for Innovation
Combined with user-centric techniques like design thinking, low-code software development allows developers to test an idea by launching a minimum viable product (MVP) in the market before the launch and gather customer feedback and market performance data without spending too much time and effort. Enterprises can thus translate ideas to action much faster and innovate on a wider scale.
Rules for Low-Code Software Development
Turn ideas into software and deliver customer value through automation.
Work on a shared visual language to support idea sharing and knowledge exchange between business teams and developers.
Apply Agile methodology to the entire software development lifecycle with and eliminate bottlenecks, support iterative delivery, and achieve the shortest time-to-value.
Embrace the Cloud
Cloud technology helps build at scale and allows enterprises to build what customers want faster.
Multiple developers should be able to synchronize and work on an application at the same time.
Development tools need to be affordable and nimble so innovators everywhere can experiment, explore, and create.
Governance and Control
Clearly-defined and stringent governance and control processes are essential.
Key Low-Code Software Development Platforms
Low-code software development platforms make it easier for even non-developers to build powerful software thanks to existing templates, pre-built forms, elements, and objects. They offer elements that don’t require coding allowing developers to use them as ready-made blocks. Any low-code software development platform or tool should be simple to use but also powerful and with several customization options.
There are various types of low-code development tools, with some being the classic development and business process management platforms that require an IT specialist, while others being low-code development platforms that support employees with basic IT knowledge to build apps, design business processes, and connect data sources.
Unlike traditional software development, low-code software development platforms use the declarative approach, which means that the user will inputs what the software will do, and require some level of hardcore coding towards the software’s core functionality.
Microsoft Power Platform
As of today, the Microsoft Power Platform is leading the foray in low-code software development platforms. It has a distinct focus on business process management and helps businesses analyze their data, create tailor-made solutions, and automate their processes. The Power Platform is easy to use and works fast, and allows each team member involved in the development to create custom software to meet the latest requirements. It comes with enterprise-grade security and reporting, and can be linked to Office 365, Dynamics 365, Azure, etc.
Quick Base ranks among some of the most popular low-code software development platforms owing to the wide range of capabilities it offers for meeting diverse business needs. Quick Base helps automate processes faster and also connects them with other work platforms. By democratizing the development process, it takes the load off the IT team and boosts overall efficiency.
Mendix supports the creation of a variety of software products ranging from enterprise-grade to simple tools, with AI-assisted development. It helps developers create visual model full-stack applications, with low-code/ no-code options or custom code extensions.
OutSystems is designed especially for large organizations that need heavy-duty enterprise apps. It has full-stack visual development and one-click deployment to meet the business process management needs of large enterprises. It also provides automatic refactoring of dependencies, as well as the creation and modification of reusable services and applications. It integrates with external enterprise systems, databases, and custom apps and has enterprise-grade security.
Appian is another low-code software development platform that enables BPM digitalization. Businesses looking to optimize their customer journeys, build intelligent contact centers, enhance operational performance or governance, risk and compliance, like to work with Appian. Appian also offers robotic process automation and AI improvement of software applications.
Low-code development is so much more than just an approach for business users to build apps. Even traditional developers in IT departments today use the low-code approach to build apps and collaborate with business users. Having said this, while offering a lot of benefits, low-code software development cannot entirely replace conventional application development methods, because there are several areas where full control of the technology stack will benefit the organization. The key benefit of low-code software development is helping organizations begin and run their digital transformation better and faster, replacing monolithic applications with more “modular” software that can be templatized and reused/recycled for faster development. Low-code software development allows IT teams to focus on more complex problems while also maintaining oversight and governance while addressing their worries of developer shortage.
Contact us if you would like to learn more about low-code software development and managing sensitive data, performance, security configurations, and scale.