Low-code is the process of developing applications, application extensions and web portals quickly and incrementally via a user friendly point and click interface. Templates and drag and drop tools make things even faster, so even non-technical users can build low-code applications.
User interfaces can be generated automatically, freeing up resources to concentrate on building the actual application. Low-code also provides users of the application with the ability to configure, reconfigure and adapt solutions to exact requirements.
The term ‘low-code’ was first coined by analysis firm Forrester Research in its 2014 report New Development Platforms Emerge For Customer-Facing Applications, and, following up its initial findings, its 2016 report The Forrester Wave: Low-Code Development Platforms, Q2 2016
With access to everything required to build, manage and deploy applications in one place, even small to medium businesses can meet the demands of an increasingly complex and dynamic business world.
Why use low-code platforms?
The demand for next generation business applications is growing at an exceptional rate as many businesses are starting to realise their potential. A simple, intuitive application can help organisations manage business processes more efficiently, offer customers something unique and/or help solve a problem. Organisations and employees now expect their applications to be:
- 100% unique to their business process
All organisations operate differently. These differences can be due to unique processes, working locations, legal requirements or the commercial make-up of the organisation e.g. company groups.
- Quick to develop and deploy Organisations need to react quickly new opportunities or problematic issues and therefore waiting for an application to be designed from scratch can be frustrating as well as time-consuming. Low-code development removes time and financial constraints, enabling organisations / employees to develop and roll out applications in days rather than months.
- Cloud-based Even the smallest business is now making transactions 24/7 and, as a result, organisations are looking for systems that are cloud-based and readily accessible. The growth in remote working has also stimulated organisations to look hard at the nature and capabilities of systems and the views individuals have access to.
- Easily adaptable Business circumstances change. New product lines or services are made available, company acquisitions or new markets all require processes to change or be modified to trade successfully. As a result, organisations are looking for applications that can be rapidly adapted and rolled out to users.
In light of these demands, utilising a low-code software development platform makes perfect sense, as they provide businesses with access to everything needed to build, manage and deploy applications in one place. Subsequently, this enables businesses to shorten the development and rollout of new systems, add-ons and applications, which means that they can get to market quicker with the product or solve a business problem or requirement that is having a detrimental effect on the business.
The adoption of this ‘agile’ approach and use of low-code development platforms is empowering businesses to build applications fast, without relying on deep technical skills, expensive IT resources or long development projects. This agile software development approach is replacing the old waterfall development cycles with a more incremental approach, which enables businesses to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. It also provides the freedom to collaborate more with customers and end users to identify and then address the actual pain points and processes that are required.
Businesses can create applications that also satisfy their exact requirements, whether this is for data analysis and report management, or delivering a completely new product to market. One application can be built for multiple platforms / databases (Amazon, IBM, private cloud) and is a cheap way of creating a cloud proposition.
Rather than developing apps from scratch, low-code software enables organisations and/or employees to accelerate enterprise application development for specific tasks and processes by using existing code, templates, or pre-built elements, forms and objects. Users can easily build complex process models, map database objects to user workflows, and customise UI design, as well as tweak and customise their design and processes as and when required.
Low-code platforms usually feature an intelligent, yet simple UI so that anyone can create an application no matter their technical skill level. However, the best platforms also provide additional dev and customisation tools, the ability to integrate other services, as well as the ability to add compliance and security for the more tech-savvy users.
What applications are being built with low-code platforms?
There are generally three types of applications that most organisations develop within a low-code app development environment:
Back office (database) applications
The majority of low-code apps are created to improve internal operations and processes. This can range from small mundane tasks to full blown CRM systems. A simple application can act as the go-to resource for managing a particular business function and has the ability to pull in data from numerous sources ranging from eCommerce and Relational databases to social data and BI / reporting tools.
Common types of applications include:
- Asset management
- Service desk
- CRM solutions
- Product informtaion management
- Expense management solutions
- Inventory management
- HR (Time off requests, recruitment tracking etc.)
- Service management
- Project management
- Time management apps
With many organisations relying on remote workforces and the proliferation of smart mobile devices, there is huge demand for targeted low-code mobile apps that can provide instant access to relevant information as well as the ability to input essential data.
Portals / web applications
Web portals or web applications can provide employees, customers and suppliers with a single access point to information. A web portal can be used to provide the user with personalised information such as employee training, safety manuals or a customer profile. A web portal can also be used to enhance the collaboration of information and improve the way employees, customers and suppliers interact with a business, as well as bridge the gap between front and back office.
Discover Applications Platform – a powerful low-code platform
Low-code rapid application development has shaken up the way businesses think about purchasing business software. The option to not only build an application that fits 100% of requirements rapidly, but has the ability to modify and adapt equally as quick, is a refreshing alternative to the traditional procurement of business systems.
Applications Platform makes the entire process of developing, deploying and managing applications simple. User interfaces can be generated automatically freeing up resources to concentrate on building the actual application.
To learn more about Applications Platform and the opportunities it could provide your organisation, please contact us via +44 (0)330 99 800 50 or email firstname.lastname@example.org