Low-code application development platforms (LCAPs) are gaining more and more traction in businesses that want to take advantage of the flexibility, speed, and relatively low cost that low-code offers. Analyst firm Gartner® states that "By 2025, 70% of new applications developed by enterprises will use low-code or no-code technologies, up from less than 25% in 2020."1 If you’re new to low-code and want to find out more about the capabilities driving its impressive growth in the application development market, have a look at our two-part series, “What Is Low-Code?,” where we provide both a beginner’s guide and a deeper dive into what goes into building low-code applications.
If you’re already familiar with low-code, you may want to know more about what it can do for your business. When deciding whether a new technology will be a good fit, it’s best to look beyond features and functions, as these don’t necessarily equate to value.
What are some of the benefits of low-code application development?
Beyond the basics—that low-code is much faster and easier than traditional development—you’ll find there’s a lot more to low-code that makes it a valuable addition to a developer’s tool kit. Here are just some of the advantages low-code has over traditional development:
- Speed: According to analyst firm Forrester, with low-code you can accelerate your application development speed by up to 10x compared to traditional high-code methods. Developers will still have the option to code when customizations are required, but since much of a low-code application’s functionality is created using drag-and-drop capabilities, total development time is reduced significantly.
- Flexibility and efficiency: When modeling your processes and building interfaces, the graphical drag-and-drop workspace of low-code technology makes it easy to both adjust your workflow steps and actions and adapt the user experience as you build. You’ll gain a better understanding of your processes and will likely discover more opportunities to use decision rules, automation, and other time- and money-saving technologies. LCAPs also include templates for various user interface needs, such as forms, dashboards, and reports. These can all be viewed and updated as the application is being built, so developers can ensure they’re addressing the needs of their business stakeholders.
- Reusability: The various elements provided and created within a low-code platform— such as process model components and connectors, decision rules, interfaces, constants, and data types—are all reusable. The more apps developers build on the platform, the more they’ll be able to leverage these reusable elements for other workflows and use cases.
- New life for legacy systems: In addition to bringing much-needed agility to app development, low-code can also breathe new life into legacy systems with integrations that extend and augment the capabilities of these systems, allowing them to work more seamlessly with newer technologies. Low-code can also surface data residing in legacy systems so it can be used more easily in dashboards and in combination with data in other systems—all without having to do any data migration.
- Security: The best low-code platforms have all the necessary security certifications in place, as well as a proven track record with large-scale initiatives. Platform providers ensure that their code is created to the highest security standards with verification and testing being carried out both in-house and with external security experts. Even after all the underlying code is created within a low-code platform, regular penetration testing, source code review, and security assessments are conducted to keep the platform operating as securely as possible.
- Scalability: Initially, low-code development was focused on smaller, departmental, less critical capabilities. But today’s low-code is enterprise-grade. With its modular build and design structure, additional functionality, users, and permissions can easily be added to existing applications. Low-code’s modular components can also be reused in other applications whenever there’s a need for a particular functionality. Sophisticated low-code platforms provide seamless integrations to other enterprise applications and data sources, thereby extending the power and efficiency of existing landscapes.
- Fewer errors: Less coding means fewer potential errors. Standard components in a low-code platform contain much of the code for the needed functionality, so developers spend less time chasing bugs. Most LCAPs also have built-in, automated testing and quality assurance, which can dramatically reduce IT’s tech debt burden.
- Easier maintenance: Updating applications built with traditional coding methods can be problematic—there’s always a chance that updates will cause something to break elsewhere in the program. Breakages and workarounds can be major causes of tech debt. Low-code’s modular workflow builder and platform-driven updates relieve IT of much of this tedious work and help keep tech debt to a minimum.
- Build once, deploy everywhere: Applications built on enterprise-grade LCAPs require no additional work for standing up apps on a variety of platforms, operating systems, and channels, including mobile devices of all types. The low-code platforms that offer “build once, deploy everywhere” capabilities can bring tremendous value to developers by helping reduce the time spent customizing applications for deployments.
- Collaboration: While your business stakeholders are the process experts and have deep knowledge of the needs and issues the application must address, it’s up to IT to translate these requirements into the build and design of the application. Because of the visual, graphical way applications are created, low-code provides far greater opportunity for collaboration between developers and business stakeholders. Business stakeholders don’t need any specialized knowledge of developer languages to understand and be involved in the creation of process models, interfaces, and other aspects of an application that will impact how users carry out their work. The iterative nature of low-code allows for quick and easy adaptation as the application moves through all phases of build and design.
While these are all potential benefits of low-code, it’s best to do your homework on how a low-code platform will benefit your specific business before choosing a vendor. Be sure the vendor can clearly articulate the value their LCAP delivers in terms of your business needs. Your partnership with your vendor will be key to realizing the full benefits of low-code.
Posted: February 18, 2021