Low-Code Development: Benefits, Myths, and Real-World Examples

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

Digital transformation has seen businesses embrace low-code app development platforms. In fact, this shift has been nothing short of revolutionary!

The popularity of low code app development can be attributed to the fact that it serves the needs of agile businesses that demand a way to rapidly innovate and accelerate time to market.

While conventional development cycles can be highly complex and take months (or even years) to complete, modern low-code development platforms simplify the whole enterprise software development process and enable deployment within just a few days (or a week).

Low-Code Development Empowers Citizen Developers

The best part about low-code development platforms is the fact that you don’t need to hire software engineers to get the job done. Instead, you can rely on non-technical “citizen developers” (who can be just about anyone within the organization) to build enterprise applications.

This is possible because low-code development platforms replace traditional programming with “drag and drop style” visual application builders. As a result, you can say that low-code application development is the perfect solution to the global shortage of top tech talent.

Low-Code Development Is Highly Cost-Effective

As you don’t need to hire a team of technology professionals, and as the development cycle is short, this approach drastically slashes the costs associated with the software development cycle. What’s more, it can be continuously improved while serving the needs of the business.

This approach also provides an opportunity for businesses to turn their existing team of developers into highly skilled full-stack developers. This is because all you need is a single visual IDE to develop highly responsive enterprise native apps and hybrid apps. In the long term, all this has a positive impact on your bottom line and helps retain your digital talent.

Common Misconceptions That Don't Seem to Go Away

A common misconception I hear every now and then is that low-code software development platforms lack sophistication and scalability. However, anyone who has any experience with a leading low-code development platform will tell you that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The roots of this belief can be traced back to decades-old low-code development applications like Microsoft Access, PowerBuilder, and Visual Basic.

These weren’t sophisticated and had a bad reputation because they weren’t scalable. However, modern low-code development platforms have successfully resolved these age-old problems.

Today, low-code platforms are being used to build large, highly scalable, mission-critical enterprise applications, so let’s put this myth to bed once and for all.

For example, Bendigo Bank, one of Australia’s largest retail banks transformed their customer experiences by releasing 23 tier-one enterprise applications. As these were all built using the low-code application development platform Appian, they were able to roll out more than one app every month.

Everyone now and then, you will hear business leaders shoot down the idea of low-code development because of security fears. However, there’s nothing to fear because security is a priority for cloud solutions vendors who provide low-code development platforms.

For example, vendors who operate in a highly competitive market know that the need for security is paramount across industries. So they can’t risk even a single data breach as it can spell the end of the business.

As a result, these types of Software-as-a-Service products have a whole host of security features built into it (and they are more often than not, better than what your in-house security team can come up with).

Having said that, it’s still important to engage low-code development providers to understand the steps they have to take to ensure security before making a commitment. This is because while security can make or break a low-code development service provider, the same rules probably apply to your business as well.

Most low-code development solutions also come with pre-certified cloud security credentials. So be on the lookout for things like FedRAMP and PCI compliance.

Where Low-Code Development Works and Where It Doesn’t

Low-code application development is fantastic, but it isn’t suitable for everyone. They are best suited for enterprises that lack homogeneous solutions that successfully solve problems.

It’s also perfect for non-technical business users who want to develop their own applications based on normal business use cases. For example, sales teams are ideal candidates to develop the software-driven management of the sales invoices. This is because they possess deep knowledge about the whole process and understand the problems associated with it.

With a low-code platform, sales teams can quickly develop invoice applications and connect it with the customer relationship management system (without writing a single line of code). This is because invoice applications aren’t sophisticated and don’t require much effort to create.

This is precisely what Flowserve Corporation did, and they were able to leverage low-code application development to transformed their Aftermarket Services business and cut invoice dispute times in half.

Low-code application development is also ideal for complex and mission-critical operations like Employee, Health, and Safety (EHS). EHS processes aren’t universal so every business will have very different procedures and paperwork.

However, changes happen rapidly within HR departments, and they can’t afford to wait for months for IT to get around to it. So in this scenario, low-code platforms will provide an opportunity for HR staff to build and update their EHS mobile app.

However, when enterprises have open-ended processes that are difficult to define, low-code software development will be the wrong approach. I mean think about it, building an application when you’re uncertain of the goals and can’t predefine the planning process, things can get complicated pretty quickly.

For example, if you’re hosting a meeting from time to time, it can be challenging to predefine and plan this process because it’s usually a collaborative event that often evolves organically with input provided by all stakeholders.

So when processes aren’t “well defined,” the rigid structure of low-code solutions just won’t work. Applications for these types of enterprise functions demand creative problem-solving that’s better suited for a team of experienced software engineers.

Going forward, low-code app development will evolve and grow as more businesses strive to deliver more enterprise applications quickly to better meet businesses needs and digital transformation challenges. However, it’s never going to replace conventional software development.

Instead, low-code development will help enterprises overcome the skills shortage, improve collaboration, cut costs, and rapidly deliver better outcomes.

Which approach is right for your business? Low-code or traditional software-development? Reach out to Digi117 to talk to one of our experts!