Using the Power of Low Code to Minimize Risk in the Enterprise
February 27, 2023

Anthony Abdulla

In 2023, organizations are gearing up to expect the unexpected, and they're doing so by investing in the areas that will help minimize the effects of the unexpected — particularly when it comes to risk. A business' ability to pivot quickly and adapt seamlessly will separate industry leaders from the laggards — and many are gaining an edge on the competition by adopting low-code solutions to increase operational efficiency and innovate faster.

Gartner projects the worldwide market for low-code development technologies will total $26.9 billion in 2023, an increase of 19.6% from 2022, but at what cost does this potentially come? As more organizations adopt low code and enable citizen developers with tools to innovate and contribute, risk will also rise. Low code can be a great driver of efficiency and collaboration, but if left unchecked, organizations may be doing some serious clean-up, completely negating the intended positive impact of the technology.

So, how do you make sure your low code doesn't go rogue? Here are a few factors to keep in mind as you go along your low-code journey:

1. Understanding the benefits of low code

Enterprises are managing sophisticated, complex, and highly governed processes, which typically require labor-intensive, repetitive, or manual work to ensure business continuity. At the same time, enterprises are also expected to innovate to meet changing customer and industry needs. Throw in a shortage of developer talent and overwhelmed IT departments, as well as external factors like an impending recession and a pandemic, and needless to say, it becomes a struggle to get it all done.

In comes the promise and the power of low code, which helps reduce the amount of hard coding required to make tech updates while enabling more users of all skill levels to create and automate workflows, rules, and app components by using a common visual language. While traditional coding requires developers to spend significant time building applications from scratch, low code enables organizations to work faster and more efficiently. And in today's day and age, when time is of the essence and changes — big or small — need to be made as close to real-time as possible, low-code development makes this seem feasible.

When low-code technology is adopted and managed correctly, development work can be appropriately shared across teams beyond IT, with governed reusable components, to help relieve pressure on experienced developers. Citizen developers can handle common business-related tasks, freeing up experienced developers to tackle bigger challenges. Because of how quickly users of all skill levels can build with low code, enterprises have the chance to create an innovative, agile work environment that can help a business pivot quickly when needed. Successful low code implementation and maintenance means your solutions will last. You'll gain transparency to all work being done and be ready to easily adapt and evolve as the future demands.

2. Opening up software development to more people increases risk

Low code is the great enabler for developing and deploying business applications quicker and easier, and it's great to have a development environment that taps into peoples' unique skill sets and experiences. By democratizing the development process, you can come up with some great, innovative ideas across a business. However, if left unchecked, low code will cause the opposite of what it's intended for.

When implementing low code without the proper capabilities or a real strategy behind it, enterprises may experience a running list of troubling side effects — siloed projects that don't benefit the business or employees, rogue applications that result in a lack of control, noncompliance, and disconnected data. And while it may all seem harmless enough at first, this can seriously cost businesses both in time and money — resulting in anything from severe application downtime that frustrates customers, to costly fees from regulatory violations, as well as time and money required to go back and fix what's broken.

Enterprises need to be mindful of their low-code implementation, who gets to use it, and in what capacity. This will help ensure the technology follows through with the intent it's designed for to take your business into the future. The hype of low code is extremely enticing, and it's understandable that many organizations were/are quick to adopt the technology without a full understanding of how to build a sustainable, resilient, low-code strategy. But understanding the potential perils is just as important as understanding the benefits, and once you have the full picture, you can build a strategy around your low code that can put your organization miles ahead of the competition.

3. With great power comes great responsibility

Here's where governance comes in: effective governance can help a business define and apply the guardrails that help keep applications — both current and those in development — compliant with internal policies and external regulations. With low code, you can actually pre-program these guardrails into templates that citizen developers can use when building an application. This way, developers are free to build reusable templates without worrying about creating something that simply can't be use or something that could be used in the wrong way.

Additionally, governance can also help maintain a level of quality for development. Low code allows for repeatable processes and workflows, so apps that are built in this environment have a similar look and feel regardless of the audience. This means end users — whether they're an employee or a customer — get consistent, quality experiences. As more and more companies look to put an emphasis on employee as well as customer experiences, low code will be a great tool in doing so.

This concept of governance means you can't just "set it and forget it" — there needs to be active involvement and collaboration from stakeholders to prevent low-code-gone-rogue. Without governance, users will build what they think is right, not necessarily what's right for the business. Standardized guardrails will protect organizations from costly future mistakes — including integration, UX design, workflow layouts, templates, business rules, and more. Ultimately, these guardrails help ensure quality builds and that once an app goes live, it does what it's supposed to and won't break down the line, becoming a major headache for IT teams, customers, and the greater business. It also means that apps can be built or modified faster and with more confidence whenever new business needs arise.

The future of enterprise IT will demand a low-code approach that minimizes risk, which can certainly be done in today's world of low-code development — it just requires a proper and continuous strategy behind the implementation. Proper governance will be critical for keeping low-code growth in check and ensuring it has the impact it's designed for: faster development and higher quality applications that keep both employees and customers happy for the overall benefit of the business.

Anthony Abdulla is Senior Director of Product Marketing, Intelligent Automation, at Pega
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