Generally speaking, Low and No Code platforms allow both developers and laypeople to quickly and easily create applications. The significant differences between it and conventional methods lie in the development basis as Low and No Code solutions use ready-made visual elements that are usually combined using the drag and drop principle. This excludes the need for line and text based editors found in classic development languages. The potential for Low and No Code solutions is vast: The Gartner market research institute predicts that, by 2024, some 75 percent of all major corporations will use at least four different Low Code development tools and that more than 65 percent of all companies will use Low Code as a software development alternative. A Forrester prediction similarly sees the global market for Low Code applications triple from 6.5 billion USD in 2019 to 21 billion in 2022.
Saving effort and costs
Additionally, Low and No Code solutions are significantly faster, more efficient and cheaper than conventional software development as they only require limited development know-how. This aspect is especially noteworthy in the light of the lack of IT specialists. Another argument is their short development time as the requirements of a technical department can be quickly turned into an application by means of a proof of concept or prototype using tested building blocks and functional elements. Standardised access to application development is yet another advantage. In the respective technical department this creates a basis for a set of applications that not only look identical but also offer a uniform user experience and workflow visualisation and promote rapid learning by the user. From an IT perspective it is important to note that Low / No Code support standardised architecture and authorisation, high availability and scalability as well as the life cycle management. Moreover, this approach helps eliminating problematic IT relics in the respective technical departments. Practical experience shows that many companies struggle with self-made stand-alone solutions as these are neither safe, traceable or standardised nor reusable. They also cause high maintenance costs.
Focus on processes and workflows
The larger a company and the more complex its business processes, the less optimally procedures within the individual technical departments are supported by standard solutions. Low / No Code solutions allow authorised users to develop their own applications under the governance of the IT Department – solutions that meet auditing requirements and the need for clear processes traceability. Moreover, Low / No Code can be used in almost all industries and offers a time and cost efficient development kit, especially to companies that experience high digitisation needs. They can be used to digitally map all those processes that are not covered by ERP systems, for instance. Typical applications are core processes such as order processing, quality management, purchasing and invoicing all the way to support processes (holiday planning, travel expense accounting, fleet management, employee onboarding and more). Not least, Low / No Code solutions can be used to create management process applications, for instance for the fields of strategy, planning, controlling and risk management.
The limits of Low / No Code
The previously mentioned Gartner study also claims that all knowledge applications will move towards Low Code by 2024. Although, the technology also has its limits: The approach becomes more limited as complexity rises, for example in the case of technical or scientific calculations. Requirements such as the planning of complex technical projects involve non-standardised patterns, calling for individual development. Tasks in connection with high system integration, perhaps with many interfaces to other environments, require Pro Code methodology. One should preferably consult a specialised, experienced IT service provider when it comes to deciding which development approach is the right one.
The best of both worlds
Depending on the area of application and industry, a classic, Low / No Code or mixed approach might be required. Keep the following in mind: The more standardised the application, the more suitable Low / No Code will be. In turn, specific applications as they are common in the banking industry, for instance, necessitate individual development. Nevertheless, even in such cases, Low Code can be used to develop individual interface linking solutions, among others. DCCS only uses Low Code platforms that allow us to incorporate Pro Code and link up other systems. A similar question is whether to develop in the cloud or use an on-premises approach. The developers of Low / No Code platforms offer solutions for both types (as well as hybrid models). In any case, the trend is towards development engines in the cloud, with possible interfaces to on-premises systems. Both variants naturally have advantages and disadvantages, especially in terms of scalability and costs. The choice of the appropriate hosting depends primarily on the needs of the customer.
Driven by digitalisation
Software modernisation and process digitalisation drive the use of Low Code platforms. The aim is to standardise a company's IT, abandon isolated solutions and invest in standardised platforms to ensure control. Standardised process digitalisation development platforms also allow for cost reduction. When it comes to replacing obsolete applications and modernising software, Low / No Code offer an ideal tool to reach one’s goal quickly and cost-efficiently. Yet the approach is highly valued even in times of crisis, for instance to create digitally supported workflows that can be used jointly (when working from home). This makes it possible, for example, to create document releases quickly and easily. Low / No Code is also ideal for developing mobile applications. Sales staff can use it to replace their printed order forms with a digitalised version, saving time and money. The Corona crisis has shown how well positioned companies are from a digitalisation perspectives. Those who failed to integrate effective solutions allowing their staff to work from home as well as digital workflows and mobile applications into their operations now have a lot of catching up to do.
About the author:
Jürgen Kalcher is a Senior Consultant at DCCS and draws on many years of process digitalisation expertise. The IT Specialist possesses vast consulting competence and experience in the use of Low Code solutions on various platforms. Using his broad knowledge Kalcher supports companies with process analysis and realisation potential.