The App Development Approach Every CTO has on Their Radar: Low-Code
September 16, 2021

Kinjal Vora
DronaHQ

The year 2020 brought along with it a sea worth of challenges — from the organizational impacts of a distributed remote workforce to the acceleration of digital initiatives for business continuity. CIOs also realized opportunities to effectively manage data and analytics and break down data silos in order to streamline decision making and bring the strategic priorities to the forefront.

This year they also face an increasingly overloaded workforce and the demand to keep the digital acceleration going. The most important 2021 priorities include effective data management and analytics, optimizing cybersecurity strategies, meeting digital business priorities, applications, and effective cloud deployments.

Need to Identify New Development Models

These priorities have brought to light how CTOs and CIOs navigate through the challenges of digital transformation with a focus on future-ready technologies and build IT infrastructures that are in-line with rapidly evolving business requirements.

A survey of over 300 CTOs reported that lack of IT talent/skill gap (41%) is the greatest challenge that CTOs face in 2021, followed by COVID-19 impacts (21%) and remote work (13%).

There is an increased demand for cloud transformations, analytics, and application innovation that, by definition, means to build custom applications using existing and emerging technologies to meet specific business requirements. From the organizational effects of a distributed, remote workforce to the acceleration of digital initiatives to support the business. CIOs have realized opportunities to break down silos, streamline decision making and bring their priorities to the forefront.

Software Development Issues and Challenges

If we take a look at most businesses today, IT departments and business units are perpetually out of alignment because IT teams are resource constrained and unable to address core business needs quickly enough.

There is just not enough IT talent in the market to meet the demands. Issues like security and maintenance take up most of the IT department's time leaving less leg room for new system requirements or updation of outdated technologies to take place.

1. Existing systems, devices, and cloud platforms are not integrated.

2. End users are unable to locate the information they need, and if they do it is inaccurate.

3. Legacy systems not keeping up with progressing business needs.

4. On-premise hosting is at odds with remote work policies.

5. A whole lot of insights and opportunities hidden in unmanaged or inaccessible datasets.

6. If the business teams need new systems, they often have to wait months or in most cases, years, to see their needs met.

Low-Code Tools to Let the Business Take Charge of Internal Tools and Operational Tools

In a state where more business logic needs to be encoded into automations and applications, Low-code tools are making this transition possible for the CTOs.

Picture this: if the business team needs new tools, they have to wait months or in most cases years to see their needs met. Low-code platforms are helping change this equation. By empowering the business users to take change into their own hands and to accomplish goals themselves. This in turn does two things:

1. Powers a new line of Non-IT developers to build custom internal tools: A survey of 324 organizations by Information Today found at least 76% already had some portion of applications developed outside of traditional IT departments or service providers. They turn around their required applications in a matter of weeks, and only 17% report turnaround times exceeding three months. So say a customer service professional who realises the need to stitch together something like a Zendesk to a Stripe and a SQL customer database, can easily build secure frontend applications without relying on the IT teams for development.

2. Frees up development resources to prioritize more pressing tasks: IT teams just need to lay out the best practices and governance policies to do away with Shadow IT. 80% of organizations state that citizen developers have given IT departments more breathing room. 71% of organizations that leverage citizen development have sped up application development by at least 50% and 29% of companies have seen a 2X or more jump in delivery time. 90% of developers who use a low-code platform have less than five app requests per month in the backlog.

How Organizations Are Using Low-Code Platforms

The low-code market has caught the CIOs attention today also due to the wide range of internal use-cases and innovation capabilities these tools render. From integrating into the company's existing tech stack to configuring applications that would otherwise take significant time and money to build.

Business teams have a thorough understanding of the intricate internal processes and requirements. So, they are also more likely to be the ones who come up with the innovative solutions.

A lot of HR professionals have been using low-code tools to create apps to resolve changing remote work challenges such as remote attendance tracking, timesheet and task management, reimbursement claims and more.

What would take developers about four months to build with code, low-code is helping get ready in under two weeks. This kind of speed is enriching teams and their capabilities to meet the demand for new, custom tools.

For instance, to build a custom sales lead management tool from scratch can take anywhere from 100 to 500 hours of coding. The same tool can be designed and deployed in production in just under 2 weeks using low-code.

Small size companies often use easily accessible solutions like google sheets to kick off their internal operations. They may be using it for inventory management, applicant tracking, or vendor management. As the intensity of operations over this data progresses, the need to create role-based views, limited edit rights, and data visualization comes up. Low-code tools allow teams to create such client portals and admin panels on top of data storage platforms like Airtable or Google Sheets or MongoDB in just under an hour.

These are promising figures. CTOs are taking some of the things that IT has always been responsible for developing and delivering, and giving it into the hands of the business teams. It is what is allowing the IT teams to focus more on the IT architectural and governance elements or the customer facing elements.

The low-code technology is creating a ripple effect in the organization by unlocking all new digital possibilities in a governed fashion.

According to this report on SaaS trends, the average employee uses 8 apps per day, companies with 501 to 1,000 employees use an average of 151 apps, while enterprises of 1,001+ employees – 203 apps.

With modern workplace challenges there lies an opportunity to accelerate the growth of the organization and help from MSMEs to large enterprises set in a path to solve the challenges with the right tech solution to build highly customized, scalable, and secure apps in-house.

Kinjal Vora is CMO at DronaHQ
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