How to Boost Your IT Teams and Legacy Systems with Low-Code Tech
November 30, 2021

Kinjal Vora

It is projected that the low-code industry will be valued at approximately $45.5 billion by 2025. That is massive.

As businesses seek ways to capitalize on the benefits of digital transformation, low-code tools provide a compelling solution for application development.

Low-code tech is an efficient approach to empower a new line of "citizen developers," boost developer productivity, and scale up more rapidly.

So, What Does Low-Code Mean?

A low-code framework is a development platform that uses a visual development interface to allow non-technical people to create apps by dragging and dropping software components and easily integrating systems using ready connectors. Digital solutions can be built in a fraction of time with little to zero lines of code.

How Is Low-Code Shaping Up the Software Industry?

The future of web development looks forward to low-code. Low-code app platforms (LCAP) are expected to be the industry's most significant component through 2022. This is an increase of almost 30% from 2020 to $5.8 billion in 2021. According to Gartner, by 2024, low-code application development will account for over 65% of app development activity.

Software apps are being created to serve those without a technical coding background, such as citizen developers/integrators.

■ Nearly 60% of all bespoke apps are now developed outside of the IT department.

■ 30% of them are created by workers with little or no technical development abilities.

This is to help organizations reduce the technical backlog, decrease costs and improve agility.

Benefits Of Low-Code

Companies that use low-code are producing applications in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the resources, but low-code is about much more than simply speed!

Accelerating Digital Transformation
Today's always-on, 24/7 economy calls upon businesses to be nimble enough to add new features and services to fulfill demand at speed.

Low-code is literally helping teams from 0 to 1 at lightning speed and creates impeccable quality apps. Low-code developers can create apps in three months or less, compared to six months or even years to develop applications using traditional development. How? Three main ingredients:

1. Speed: Baked-in security, ready-made components and integrations that significantly speed up app development. By taking away much of the boilerplate stuff, most low-code app development projects are delivered with little to no coding required in short time frames.

2. Scale: Tools built using low-code technology are highly customizable and scalable — go from serving 10 users to 10000 in no time. 

3. Skill Gap Reduction: So even if the citizen developers or business teams working with the platform do not fully understand they can still drive it — low-code has a very low entry barrier (much less steep learning curve).

Lowering Expenses
Traditional software development requires "stages" that are time- and money-consuming. At times, there is even a sense of crystal ball prediction: trying to make sense of costs that have not yet shown themselves.

Low code means fewer surprises, using regular inspections of the software and frequent tests for value. It is less likely a low code development will be subject to "after the fact" evaluation of value. It is easier to do prototyping using low code platforms. Taking a "how about this" approach will bring valuable code to the market far quicker.

Low code app development places employees who have an inherent knowledge of the business and processes at the forefront of new application development. This speeds up delivery. Of course, taking the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach also speeds up delivery. Releasing bite-sized chunks of functionality and value to the end-user and customer saves time and money.

According to a recent Forrester Research report, 70% of firms find low-code platforms cheaper than traditional development platforms, and 80% say these platforms can achieve needs within budget.
Customization is the best way to extract the maximum value from existing systems. Low-code technology helps integrate core systems and capitalize on existing business software, or legacy systems — databases, processes and so on. Low-code also acts as the middle ground so users can capitalize on their previous legacy investments such as ERPs, or CRMs or custom coded processes and databases.

Improving Productivity and Agility
Business agility enables teams to adapt and respond to market changes and new opportunities. 
Low code empowers development teams to adopt an agile mindset. The merger of many traditional steps into composite, enriched steps under Low-code, ultimately leads to a much shorter cycle and faster delivery, which directly results in "Higher Agility" in market change response.
Teams can build functional prototypes of possible solutions and test them instantly to receive instant feedback and then iterate upon the apps. By creating one best-in-class app, teams can easily tweak the app to fit various end-user needs and create truly personalized app experiences.

Enhancing the Customer Experience
Both customer-facing and employee-facing tools are being built using low code tech. Here we throw light upon how employee-facing tools are helping teams deliver a better customer experience.

Say you head the customer success department. To resolve a customer order refund ticket, your CSR needs to look through various touchpoints to gather the customer details, order details, delivery/shipping partner details and so on. This delays the customer problem resolution time, hence impacting your customer satisfaction scores. Had the information been available to teams in real-time on a single screen, they would be better placed to resolve customer issues faster. Such a tool can be readied using low-code, connecting the disparate data sources to create a unified admin tool to manage order refunds. Teams can process refund payments, return pickups and so on within minutes.

Most businesses today are using low-code to create internal tools and apps bringing data and insights together to rapidly improve customer experience. These tools in turn will help the employees deliver resolution faster to clients.

Features like real-time updates, improved data collection, better tracking, and targeted user feedback are some features helping improve the CX.

Reducing Risk And Improving Governance
Low-code platforms come with risk and security controls baked in. CISO and CIO teams can vet the platform and set up the right parameters and permissions for various user groups. Enterprises are establishing what some call a ‘digital factory' where they appoint a team of citizen developers that work alongside the IT teams to roll digital solutions at speed.

Most business makers aren't application builders by trade, so IT can provide best practices around application development to reduce risk and increase speed.

A clear, concise, business-value-aligned governance framework helps ensure that the low-code platform you adopt will generate a heavenly amount of ROI and keep your company happy.

So, if the citizen developers are building simple forms for websites to exhaustive ERPs or CRMs, the IT teams can ensure policies and governance compliance and security of the processes.

Low-Code Development and the Future

Low-code has expanded enormously and will continue to do so. The pandemic and its aftermath increased the demand for low-code apps as organizations navigate the transition to a new streamlined normal for consumers and staff.

Low-code is helping businesses to create new digital solutions far faster than their competitors.

Kinjal Vora is CMO at DronaHQ
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