Why Low-Code and DevOps Make a Perfect Pair

Author: Michelle Gardner, Director, Content Marketing, Appian

Low-code and DevOps are both growing in popularity—and for good reason. They both help IT teams deliver better results, faster.

  • DevOps is a set of principles and practices used to meet common objectives of software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). DevOps has caused a cultural shift by fostering collaboration between these traditionally separate groups. Cross-functional DevOps teams work on solving internal development problems and eliminating bottlenecks to the rapid, frequent, and reliable delivery of high-quality software.
  • Low-code refers to a set of development tools, environments, and platforms for building software that requires minimal coding. Low-code platforms instead use visual interfaces (drawing tools, wizards, model- and template-driven design, etc.) with automatic code generation. Low-code is being adopted both by developers (for work acceleration) and business experts (for skill enablement).

As good as DevOps and low-code are on their own, they’re even better when combined. Why? In part, because the two share complementary goals: DevOps is about optimizing the software engineering process so you can deliver applications to users faster, compressing time to value. Low-code is about building software faster so it enters DevOps pipelines sooner. It’s also about giving organizations the choice of mobilizing a wider portion of their workforce in developing, testing, and updating software applications and tools—accelerating pace and potentially off-loading some routine tasks from DevOps teams.

They also both have a growing presence across enterprises. DevOps principles and methods have been adopted by 74% of enterprises, according to research reported in a 2021 ZDNet article.1 Meanwhile, Gartner® forecasts 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.”2

By 2025, 70% of new applications developed by enterprises will use low-code or no-code technologies, up from less than 25% in 2020.

Wherever you are with DevOps and low-code, you can combine their strengths. Maybe your organization has a dedicated DevOps team, or maybe a senior engineer has taken on DevOps responsibilities. You might have engineers and business analysts already using low-code methods, or you might be researching and evaluating low-code platforms. In any case, leveraging the combined strengths of DevOps and low-code will help you streamline development.

Addressing development bottlenecks with low-code and DevOps.

As much as DevOps improves software engineering processes on its own, it can still make even more of an impact. There are two bottlenecks to smooth-running pipelines that can be cleared by coupling enterprise low-code with DevOps: the coding bottleneck and the testing bottleneck.

1. Eliminate the coding bottleneck.

Effective DevOps relies partly on an efficient stream of high-quality code entering continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. Low-code platforms help by enabling the following:

  • IT developers accelerate the code stream using, for example, prebuilt connectors that eliminate data silos, act on data wherever it resides without need for migration. Developers gain speed from reusable objects, such as workflows, business rules, integrations, and APIs. With a best-in-class platform, they can rapidly deliver automation solutions that combine classic business process management and case management with cutting-edge capabilities such as machine learning, process mining, AI-based intelligent document processing, and robotic process automation.
  • Business experts contribute to the code stream by working with the same powerful capabilities as developers, but instead using visual tools (for example, drawing processes instead of coding them), templates, user interface frameworks, and guided design flows. Low-code platforms also support strong collaboration, complementing the agile practice of breaking work down into sprint-length tasks performed in parallel by different teams. Any contributor can readily see how an in-progress application’s functions are mapped out without having to decipher lines of code.
  • Developers and collaborators deliver secure applications with minimal effort. Enterprise-grade low-code platforms enable “software, safer, sooner” by baking security into development tools and automating the delivery of secure software—including native rendering on mobile devices—without slowing the process down. At each step in the development cycle, objects and the application are automatically tested for security issues so they can be addressed as soon as they are identified.

2. Eliminate the testing bottleneck.

DevOps’ success at increasing the pace of software development, along with added demand for speed coming from accelerated digital transformation, can create a pile-up of work for quality testing. Low-code platforms help by:

  • Supporting the shift-left trend in software testing aimed at finding and fixing code defects earlier in the development process when they’re exponentially less complex and less expensive to address.
  • Putting more hands on deck by enabling business experts, such as product owners and customer support, to play a role in authoring/updating tests and evaluating results.
  • Expanding the focus of testing beyond code validation to a wider range of software functionality. With business experts involved in testing, it becomes feasible to assess more aspects of user experience and confirm business value earlier on.

With the rising popularity of enterprise-grade low-code platforms, we no longer need to keep developers and business experts in separate boxes. More accessible, collaborative development tools fueled by DevOps and low-code help these teams join forces to make greater operational impacts faster.

Get the 25+ best practices for combining the strengths of low-code and DevOps.

ZDNet, “DevOps adoption almost doubles in five years, Covid crisis accelerated adoption,” February, 2021.

“Gartner Risks and Opportunity Index: Low-Code Platforms,” Fabrizio Biscotti, Paul Vincent, Jason Wong, Laurie Wurster (June 2021) GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Date: August 30, 2022

Michelle Gardner

Director, Content Marketing, Appian

Michelle Gardner is a contributing editor of lowcode.com. She has written about enterprise technology for companies including Appian, OpenText, and Logi Analytics. 

Low-Code Guide

Low-Code development is the way to build apps more quickly by reducing the need to code.