For years, we have known software development to be an elaborate and complex process. But the introduction of low-code/no-code development is changing software development into a simpler process with less turnaround time.
Low-code/no-code platforms have made quality and faster deliverability possible in the software development industry. Let us understand what is low-code/no-code development, why it is gaining steam and how it is transforming the software space.
Low-code/no-code platforms are revolutionizing the software industry by shortening the learning curve and making software development more quick, simple, accessible, and effortless.
A low-code/no-code (LCNC) platform refers to a cloud-based visual integrated development environment that allows the citizen developers (non-technical users) to create software solutions quickly. A set of pre-built components helps both the business owners and software developers develop mobile and web applications with the utmost ease.
With low-code development, several capabilities such as visual models, business process maps, automatic code generation, and drag and drop functionalities can be used in building apps faster with a pre-built user interface.
Most importantly, with this approach, apps can be deployed at once across all devices. It makes it convenient to use a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows components and third-party application program interfaces (APIs) to be hooked together and tested.
Why Is The Concept Of Low-Code On The Rise?
As per a recent Forrester report, the low-code market is all set to reach an annual growth rate of 40%, with spending forecasted to hit a whopping $21.2 billion by 2022.
One of the most prominent reasons for the rise of the low-code model is faster deliverability and greater innovation. In a rapidly evolving world, where digital innovation plays a critical role in business growth, speed and innovation can be complete game-changers for businesses.
Some of the key reasons for the popularity of this model include –
- Low-code makes IT teams much more productive by speeding up the overall development process to build applications.
- The robust agility of low-code platforms translates to easily adaptable processes and faster deployable solutions.
- With low-code development, apps, features, and processes can be created and modified by non-technical users, reducing the pressure on developers
- Using the LCNC approach, developers can build applications much faster as it relieves them of the need to write code line by line.
The LCNC approach does not require application creators to know much about machine code, traditional programming languages, or any kind of development work that’s required to build the platform’s configurable components.
Evolution of Low-Code/No-Code Platforms
Although the concept of low-code/no-code development was born in 2014 when the phrase was first devised, its roots go back to the 1990s.
Low-code/no-code platforms trace their origin back to earlier Rapid Application Development (RAD) tools such as Lotus Notes, Microsoft Access, and Excel that put few of the development-like capabilities into the hands of business users with a non-technical background.
But unlike the earlier RAD tools, which needed the users to have a thorough understanding of both development environments and business apps to build capabilities, low-code and no-code options are much smoother with their drag-and-drop features.
LCNC platforms have grown at an exponential rate since their inception due to the increased turnaround time required for development projects and the reduced number of skilled software developers available.
The components that low-code/no-code application development platforms typically consist of are as follows –
- Interface Designer
- Workflow Designer
- Common Database
Difference Between Low-code And No-code Development Platforms
In general, no-code platforms are specialized or distinct types of low-code cloud platforms in which the required visual components address various industry-specific functions and no coding knowledge is necessary. While the low-code platforms may require some assistance from in-house developers to make few changes to the back-end code in order to make the new app compatible with other business software.
While the no-code platforms are used to create apps and point solutions to handle simpler functions, low-code platforms can also be used to handle the creation of apps that are part of a company’s core systems or run critical processes.
Irrespective of the platform it was built with (no code or low code), business applications are primarily designed to solve the ongoing issues faced by both large and small organizations. LCNC approach offers an agile way to work and equip development teams to excel in a mobile and data-driven landscape.
Low-code and no-code platforms can also help enhance customer satisfaction and initiate a digital transformation across an organization due to several powerful features they offer, including real-time reporting dashboards to expose trends and manage projects.
Advantages of Low-Code/No-Code Platforms
In today’s business environment, enterprises are constantly trying to reduce the turnaround time on their demands. The low-code/no-code phenomena offer multiple benefits to organizations. Some of these are discussed below –
- Lower Barrier To Entry, Deployment Time and Cost
LCNC platforms offer better problem-solving capabilities to non-IT professionals, allowing them to easily and quickly create business apps (both web and mobile) that help them do their day to day jobs. The approach lowers the barrier to entry, time to deployment, and cost. This is simply because there is no need for expert coders for full development.
Another advantage of low-code/no-code platforms is the speed of the development and delivery of applications that they offer. This is especially important in today’s digital age, where organizations need to work fast to meet customer demands.
- Speed Up Development Cycles
Low-code/no-code app development helps in both speeding up the development cycles as well as lowering the barrier to entry for innovation. Non-technical staff with no coding experience can now easily build and create digital products. The best part of the platform is that it allows the creation of well-functioning products and visually appealing designs in a matter of a few minutes instead of taking weeks at a time.
- Reduces Maintenance Burden
Low-code development reduces the burden of software maintenance by abstracting multiple tedious tasks from day-to-day development. With standardized, pretested, and ready-made components, there are much lesser integration issues to deal with as compared to the traditional method. It allows developers to cut down on the maintenance time and focus on more innovative tasks that drive greater business value.
- Enhances Customer Experience
The low-code/ no-code platform automates multiple operations that are crucial to customer experience. The agility in app development and strong business process features, helps in building much better apps, thus improving the overall customer experience.
- Integration of Legacy Systems
Apart from increasing agility in app development, low-code platforms are also available for the integration of legacy mainframe systems. There are multiple benefits that legacy integration brings, including faster development, ability to adapt to new requirements quickly, and more resilient solutions.
- Enhanced Productivity Across Teams
Low-code/no-code platforms help bridge the gap between IT and business teams, allowing them to solve real issues that impact the company. Using the LCNC approach, business teams can create their own applications without having to wait for developers. It eliminates the need for complex code that increases access to more team members leading to enhanced productivity.
- Strong Built-In Governance
The low-code platforms help automate the governance capabilities that are administered and monitored by the professional IT teams in organizations. What this means is that while the users can develop apps as per the organizational requirements, they cannot be deployed without the final approval of the IT department.
Who Can Use Low-Code/No-Code Apps?
The highlight of any LCNC app usage is its versatility. They can help individual professionals as well as businesses of all sizes and trades. What remains common among all is the kind of robust digital capabilities they can bring.
Here is the list of who all can benefit from Low Code No Code development services to create mobile, web and business applications as best suited to address the gaps in their day to day business processes –
- Big Enterprises
For large enterprises, the main consideration for or against app creation is the time involved, as it requires the input and approval of multiple stakeholders.
Enterprises can benefit from low-code and no-code apps as they can be created, maintained and updated by almost every member of the team within a large organization. Without needing any input and supervision from the IT, these apps help speed up internal processes and bring great efficiency in overall operations.
- Small Businesses
Small companies find it difficult to hire a developer in-house or outsource from a third-party largely due to financial constraints. With low-code/no-code apps, small business owners can enjoy the benefit and value of apps for better customer engagement without a huge investment.
Individual professionals, including freelancers and consultants, can also benefit from the low-code/no-code creation of apps. Apart from using low-code development for optimizing their operations in diverse ways, individual professionals also benefit from low-code development due to the lesser amount of effort and investment needed.
Using No-code Apps To Their Advantage – Industries & Use Cases
Primarily, LCNC platforms are used to develop apps aimed at operational efficiencies. For example, apps required for computerizing manual and paper-based processes. Further, they can also be used to modernize legacy systems to help organizations advance their digital transformations or support newer innovative technologies such as AI and IoT in the organizational setup.
Here are some of the industries in which the impact of no-code apps can be seen to bring speed and efficiency in the processes.
The transportation industry is already going through a digital transformation owing to the rapid use of no-code apps. Among the functionalities of the no-code apps that many logistic businesses are already using include inventory management, barcode scanning of goods, and delivery notifications.
Additionally, with the help of customized apps, logistics companies can also seamlessly manage supply chain accounting.
- Insurance and Finance
The insurance and finance sector is rapidly adopting no-code apps due to factors such as low cost of app creation, deployment, and maintenance along with secure and bi-directional handling of data. For the finance sector, specifically, low-code apps help financial experts to create data-driven apps without having development knowledge.
When it comes to the retail sector, inventory management is one of the main tasks businesses need to take care of. No-code apps are helping the industry to completely innovate the inventory management process by eliminating the hassle of hours of sorting, counting, and reporting.
Most of the retail businesses create inventory apps on the basis of data spreadsheets, which have QR codes and barcodes as well. It allows them to set up systems specifically tailored to their operational needs. Low-code apps can provide retail businesses with many additional features such as expiry date notifications and automated restocking reports to drive a smooth sales process.
There are a number of manufacturing processes where no-code apps are already in use. Examples of these are the custom-made apps based on order management, quality assurance, ERP or Excel data, and invoice creation to help manufacturing businesses handle multiple business operations in an optimized way.
- Sales and Marketing Teams
Developing an app from the start for a sales or marketing team could be a cumbersome task. With a low-code or no-code app platform, marketing and sales staff can easily create tools/apps that automate their day to day tasks.
- HR Administration
Companies looking for scalable, feasible, and affordable HR automation can definitely benefit from no-code apps. There are multiple processes, including employee onboarding and performance reviews, which can be optimized with user-friendly and easily created apps. These can then be used to meet the exact needs and processes of the HR teams.
- Accounting and Finance
No-code apps can be of great help to the accounting and finance teams. There are multiple uses of these apps in this area, including profit and expense analysis, accounts receivable collection, payroll and invoice reporting, and automatic reporting, among others.
Kinds Of Applications That Can Be Built Using LCNC
Typically, you can create any application using low-code development. These applications can be broadly classified into 3 groups namely –
a. Portals and Web Applications
Using a low-code platform, you can easily build a customer-facing web application that helps you bridge the gap between your back and front office, especially when the app needs to be used publicly.
b. Back Office Applications
LCNC platform allows you to improve your organization’s internal operations by building a back-office app that uses a back-office module only. Further, it also provides functionality to administer your business data for internal use.
c. Mobile Applications
You can build a mobile application and customize the front-end, especially for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
With no software installation needed, the application is completely web-based, giving you full access to all elements of the web browser.
Choosing The Right Low-Code/No-Code Platform
While choosing the right LCNC platform, the primary requirement is thorough research. Here are some of the important points on what needs to be prioritized to select your choice of low-code platform –
- Ascertain requirements representing the key areas and functions of your organization
- Communicate your exact requirements to the platform keeping in mind your organization’s specific objectives
- Determine various features of the platform that you need to have
- Make a list of the potential vendors based on how efficiently and effectively they can address your customized requirements and individual challenges
- Pick an LCNC platform offering the best overall value to your organization
The rise of low-code/no-code development platforms is a result of various benefits like reduced inefficiencies, maintenance of solid IT governance, decreased overhead costs, and the empowerment of business managers.
While low-code/no-code development platforms might not possess the answers to every kind of development challenges, they sure are proving how several stages in software development can be simplified and shortened. With low-code development services, your company can innovate and respond to rapidly-changing business surroundings at a faster pace.
Read more: Trends in Enterprise Software Development