The top 5 benefits of low-code is a tricky topic. Today, more than 300 vendors and platforms offer various flavors of low-code. However, the majority of these low-code tools are really no-code tools that benefit individuals or small groups who are trying to solve a specific business problem.
So, in the process of stack-ranking the benefits of low-code, the first thing I did was weed out the software vendors who don’t deliver enterprise applications. Even then, because an enterprise low-code development platform is applicable to nearly any use case the enterprise can throw at it, it was still hard to pick the five best benefits. In fact, one large analyst firm evaluates low-code platform providers against more than 190 criteria to determine which platforms offer the widest range of low-code capabilities and benefits.
But, after some review and thought, I came up with this list.
Of all the benefits of low-code development, the ability to accelerate the delivery of new software and applications is the most important. In a recent blog post, Why You Need To Know About Low-Code, Even If You’re Not Responsible for Software Delivery, John Rymer of Forrester wrote that low-code offers the potential to “make software development as much as 10 times faster than traditional methods.” Here are some of the capabilities that explain why developing apps with low-code is so much faster:
- Drag-and-drop functionality, pre-built user interfaces, and models for business processes, logic, and data models enable the rapid development of full-stack, cross-platform apps.
- Easy-to implement APIs and connectors integrate with third-party tools that developers already use, so no time is lost due to a learning curve.
- One-click application delivery automatically tracks all changes and handles database scripts and deployment processes, eliminating many time-consuming deployment and operations processes.
Business agility enables enterprises to adapt and respond to market changes and new opportunities using innovative, digital solutions that solve business problems. Low-code helps enterprises pivot to new digital initiatives caused by abrupt market changes and new consumer and customer needs. For example, you can deliver cloud applications that integrate with some legacy systems, so you are better able to meet the changing needs of customers. You can deliver applications across more platforms so your customers can interact with your business however they wish. Low-code also enables you to take advantage of technology generally associated with agility, such as microservices and containers.
Imagine trying to do all this with traditional coding—how agile could IT or the business really be?
3. Multiexperience Made Easy
Previously I mentioned that low-code delivers what you need to enable customers to interact with your business—their way. Independent research analyst firm Gartner calls this “multiexperience,” and it is a really critical benefit of low-code. With low-code, you start by delivering brilliant omnichannel customer experiences that rival those of the leaders without the big budgets and expensive development teams. But then it gets better.
Mulitexperience development offers pre-built templates, automated refactoring, and easy chatbots and and more so that you can ensure that all the ways that customers touch your business are consistent, Customers can transition between different forms of engagement and interaction without having to relearn or duplicate steps. Low-code speeds up the process and removes the complexity of providing an optimal experience to every customer or user every time.
4. Innovation for All
In the Speed of Change report published last year, when asked about the degree of difficulty in hiring full-stack developers, the majority of the IT leaders evaluated it as “difficult or very difficult.” The reason for that is that most organizations still struggle to hire the skilled and specialized developers they need to pursue their digital transformation goals. Lack of financial resources and cultural attractiveness of Google’s and Amazon’s are the main culprits.
The speed and development simplicity of low-code enables junior developers and tech enthusiasts without a strong background to build apps as if they were full-stack developers. Just as importantly, it empowers skilled developers to work more efficiently, so they can focus on more complex, less mundane aspects of programming. This way, companies of any size are able to maximize their existing resources and deliver the solutions their business requires to stay competitive.
5. The End of Shadow IT
Low-code also dispenses with shadow IT, a term that describes when unsanctioned business users build apps to use in their daily work but without the knowledge and approval of the IT department. With its focus on innovation for all, low-code offers ways to bring stealth development out of the shadows. Business users who are developing simple apps with low-code can follow best practices and avoid common pitfalls during application development.
Low-Code Isn’t Enough: How to Get Even More Benefits With a Modern Application Platform
The top 5 benefits of low-code covered in this post are delivered by purpose-built applications that include a low-code framework, tools for multiexperience development, and some automation, integration, and impact reporting capabilities. The problem with these purpose-built application platforms is that, inevitably, a time comes when the solutions built with them need to evolve in a direction the platform does not support or a less experienced developer injects a problem into an architecture portfolio. At that point, all the benefits become moot as development grinds to a halt.
To avoid the low-code breaking point, you need a modern application platform. This type of platform goes beyond offering low-code as a substitute for custom application development and delivers everything you need to develop serious enterprise applications that differentiate your business.
Like low-code, a modern application platform offers visual development of all layers of an application, including user interfaces for any device, integration, data models, business logic, and workflow, and it also enables the extension of an application with custom code. However, it also:
- Unleashes the creative potential of teams of business and IT users with whole-team cross-functional collaboration that capitalizes on developer knowledge and business expertise
- Automates repetitive, mundane tasks and guides junior developers through full-stack development with AI-assisted development
- Includes built-in automated governance from a central console so IT teams can identify and fix trouble spots in infrastructure, environments, applications, IT users, and security.
- Future-proofs applications with an AI-powered change engine and a state of the art runtime that makes it easy to evolve applications as technology evolves.
Dig Deeper and Go Beyond the Top 5 Benefits of Low-Code
This blog post is just a short summary of the most notable benefits of low-code. In our eBook, Make Your Business More Agile and Efficient With Low-Code, you can get more details. To experience the benefits of a modern application platform and see the difference, try the OutSystems Free Edition.
Looking to accelerate the digital transformation of your organization? Then join us on November 16 for our annual conference NextStep, designed for IT leaders who want to deliver innovation as fast as the business demands.