Few weeks back at a college re-union of sorts, I met an old friend, Prashant, who is now a General Manager at a large 100-year-old brick and mortar company. While we had kept in touch occasionally, it was during that evening we could catch-up on a variety of topics including the good old college days, friends, families, and profession. One topic is of special relevance here – his perspective as a head of a business function on the Enterprise Application his company uses. He asked me – “Why do you IT guys take so long to implement even something small that our business needs?”
Sounds familiar? Read on to understand my response to him. I convinced him that things are not the same with IT anymore. Because Low-code Application Development is here.
The Era of High-Code
Prashant is not alone. All business leaders often struggle with the lack of agility in their enterprise application development. I’d summarize the key challenges with traditional IT Solution development as:
- Long time to execute major IT initiatives, often not satisfying the urgent needs of business
- Large number of disjointed processes and systems as opposed to a unified, seamless solution for business problems
- Lack of agility to make quick changes to existing solutions
- Old-fashion and non-intuitive user experience, not optimized for mobile devices
- Monolithic and complex application that are difficult to upgrade and maintain
While all these challenges look very different, the root cause of all of them boils down to one common issue – these applications belong to the old era of High-Code. Each application is hand-coded with lots of programming lines, written in different languages and for different platforms, wired together with complex integrations.
Prashant’s company needs a Low-code Application Development strategy to enable rapid application delivery with minimal coding, setup, training and rollout.
What is Low-code Application Development?
Low-code application development is a way to build modular business apps quickly, by reducing the need for hand-coding. Today’s Low-code application development platforms use visual tools, powered by drag-and-drop interface designers, process modelers, out-of-the-box integrations with cloud services, simple packaging, distribution, and single-click deployments. All with a “Mobile First” approach, modernizing the user experience. Apps built using Low-code Application Development platforms have rich user experience, delivered in a significantly shorter time and with lesser resources.
Prashant almost did not believe this was possible until I explained how Low-code platforms exactly work. A Low-code platform can significantly cut down coding and application development time with the following features and capabilities.
The 10 Tenets of Low-code Application Development Platforms
- Visual Modeling of Processes
Business Processes definition is at the core of any innovation. Low-code platforms provide highly intuitive and collaborative process discovery tools that create visual models. These models are far easier to understand and comprehend for all stakeholders.
- Drag-and-drop tools for User Interface Design
Low-code platforms allow simple drag-and-drop of user interface elements to quickly assemble a modern and mobile-friendly rich user interface. Complex validations are achieved with declarative configurations without any need for coding.
- Visual Data Modeling
Gone are the days of writing complex DDL queries to define the data model of the application. Low-code tools help to visually define a data model that generates code to define RDBMS tables as wells as create, update, delete, and read data from them.
- Out of the box and simple integrations
Standards driven integrations with support for many services and systems simplifies the development. Out of the box support for REST based APIs, Webhooks, and O-Auth make Low-code platforms far more open for integrations.
- Business Rules for business users
Business rules are not hard-wired in code in Low-code platforms. The rules are modelled using business-friendly tools and do not need IT’s intervention to make business-driven changes.
- Mobile First, out-of-the-box
All modern Low-code platforms enable multi-device user experience out-of-the-box. Developers only focus on what their end users need. The underlying complexity of rendering a responsive and native user experience across all form factors and mobile platforms is completely handled by the Low-code platform.
- Enterprise class security
All low-code platforms provide superior enterprise class security through integrations with LDAP, modern encryption, and a robust authorization framework.
- Built for Agile
Accelerate time to market by building and launching innovative business apps quickly and then enhance them over time through continuous feedback. The ability to make quick changes inherently makes Low-code Application Development agile.
- Powered by Cloud
Large upfront licensing costs, hardware cost, and IT staff to maintain everything have made the traditional approach of application development very expensive. All Low-code platforms are available on the cloud, avoiding the high upfront costs and significantly reducing the ongoing application development, maintenance and enhancement costs.
- Powered by Community
No application development platform will ever have all the features that every customer would love to have. That is why communities exist. All major Low-code platforms have a strong and active community of developers who contribute to platform extensions, re-usable components, frameworks, and best practices to the community, often free or at a very nominal price.
With these capabilities under its belt, a Low-code platform empowers rapid innovation and provides IT with the much-needed ability to keep pace with business needs. Organizations that leverage Low-code can quickly build, launch, and deploy powerful apps within weeks by removing barriers between business and IT.
At Princeton Blue, we have helped many of our clients with their Low-code Application Development journeys with business-critical innovation delivered within weeks. Get in touch with us if you wish to accelerate innovation within your organization with Low-code.
As with Prashant, he got really excited with the potential he saw in Low-code application development. He felt he could finally accelerate the pace of technology innovation to keep up with the speed of business. By the time we finished our conversation, the bar was open. We both agreed that it was “Time to get high on Low-code”!