Transforming businesses with low-code platforms
By Mark Weaser November 7, 2017
- Developers can bypass the infrastructure and re-implementation of patterns
- Ensures the latest resources and technology is speedily available within the organisation
WE ARE living in an age where our lives are integrated with digital applications. A Nielsen study revealed that consumers spend more than 85% of their time on their smartphones using mobile applications.
Mobile is now a significant driver of software solutions and applications. To cope with the growing demand for mobile applications in this age of digital transformation, companies hire more developers to develop newer applications.
However, that is not the most efficient solution. According to technology consulting firm Gartner, by the end of 2017, the global demand for enterprise mobile applications will be five times that of the available development capacity, leading to a greater demand for developers.
This would subsequently result in it becoming more difficult and expensive to hire developers due to limited talent supply and growing demand.
An increased need for business agility with updated and faster solutions, as well as a shortage of developers has in turn put the pressure on IT teams within organisations. Given the current scenario, a viable solution would be to leverage low-code application development platforms to develop mobile applications.
Low-code platforms are tools used to design and develop applications quickly and with little hand coding, enabling skilled developers to increase productivity and meet the demands for applications within the organisation quickly and with more reliability.
With low-code, developers are able to bypass the infrastructure and re-implementation of patterns that can bog them down and go straight to the unique 10% of an application.
Low-code platforms can also empower business users with no deep technical knowledge or coding expertise to build applications speedily.
The virtues of low-code platforms
Greater stakeholder engagement and satisfaction
Low-code platforms develop and update applications rapidly. This allows developers to share fully operational features with stakeholders quickly. Maintaining a short, dynamic iteration cycle supports active engagement. Additionally, there is also a clear, continuous sense of progress and responsiveness.
Lower risk and higher return on investment
With a low-code platform, all the security, multi-platform support and data assimilation functions have already been developed and can be tailor made to suit the specific needs of businesses. This allows developers to concentrate on remedying business problems. Not having to attend to prosaic, error-prone technical requirements reduces the risk of catastrophic failure.
Elimination of the IT skills gap
The intuitive, visual editors in low-code platforms do a lot to democratise application development. Business users do not need to be skilled application developers, have deep technical knowledge of programming languages or technical skills to use low-code platforms. Low-code platforms empower them to build applications and not rely on stretched IT departments.
Scalable governance of multiple applications
IT backlogs push business leaders to often outsource work to external vendors. This fixes problems in the interim, but also creates long-term problems. Multiple IT teams and projects can become challenging to manage. By reducing lead times and maintaining consistent infrastructure, low-code platforms can improve transparency, security and compliance.
Building once and deploying everywhere
Low-code platforms are a blessing for developers used to traditional application development approaches. They empower businesses to build applications for multiple platforms such as iOS and Android simultaneously. Applications can also be built quickly as there is no need to tediously hand-code them.
Full lifecycle maintenance
Application development does not result in a successful launch. There will be updates, feature improvements, and bug patches to take into consideration. With a low-code platform, you can roll out complex updates and deliver new features very quickly. This does not affect other projects in the application development pipeline.
Innovation and impact
Hand-coding an application is tedious and time-consuming. With low-code platforms, those problems are rendered obsolete. Developers can build innovative functions or customise features conveniently. In addition to its direct benefits, this shift tends to keep top performers more engaged and enthusiastic, which can help businesses keep teams stable and satisfied, and also retain skilled talent in a challenging economy.
The future of low-code platforms
In the past, mobile application development was a silo function within IT. As technology matured, workforces became more mobile and there was a need for business applications to become mobile as well.
This led to increased pressure on IT teams to also build applications for multiple mobile devices across different operating systems.
Companies have realised that in order to stay ahead and meet the growing demand of mobile applications, they can no longer adopt a native-only approach to mobility.
Instead, companies are experimenting with a variety of other options, such as low-code.
Today, low-code platforms are growing in popularity as a solution for enterprises to provide for their enterprise application development needs.
Low-code platforms enable IT teams to work more efficiently, ensuring the latest resources and technology is speedily available within the organisation to enable the capitalisation of new opportunities and to cope with the pace of external and internal changes.
Companies around the region, such as IT service corporation Atos in Australia, image-processing equipment provider Ricoh in Singapore and business conglomerate Transnational Diversified Group in Philippines have incorporated low-code platforms into their digital transformation efforts.
With research firm IDC, predicting that digital transformation in APAC is set to hit US$16.5 billion by 2020, the future is bright for low-code platform vendors, and enterprises that supercharge their digital transformation by adopting such technology.
Mark Weaser is the vice president for APAC at OutSystems.