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Low-code platforms are rapidly gaining market share - and there is no end in sight. For example, the Gartner research firm forecasts growth in the area of platform technologies will reach a total of 13.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. This corresponds to an increase of 23 percent compared to the previous year and even 42 percent compared to 2019. Gartner also predicts that low-code application development will be responsible for 70% of application development activity by 2025 according to their report, “Forecast Analysis: Low-Code Development Technologies.” Why are companies increasingly opting for a low-code tool? We will show you how you can benefit from the use of a low-code platform with ten key advantages.
The benefits of low-code platforms boost enterprise IT
Gartner continues to predict that by 2024, each enterprise will use an average of four different low-code tools. But why so many? First and foremost, low-code describes only the underlying technology, i.e., the graphical development approach, and not the use case of the software in question. While some platforms focus on specific business processes and databases, others are more universal and map a wide variety of workflows on a low-code basis.
Back in 2014, Forrester analyst John Rymer described low-code development as a new way of developing applications while drastically reducing the amount of "hard code":
Since then, the term has become established and gained importance with the increased use of low-code platforms. They are changing the way developers, business users, and decision-makers work together to digitize workflows, applications, and business processes. IT is moving more and more into the center of the company as participation in development processes becomes possible - and understandable - for a larger number of employees.
Ten key benefits of low-code platforms
Once a company has found the right low-code platform for its use case, it can exploit numerous benefits through efficient use and a smart digital strategy. The traditional way of programming, which involves rewriting many lines of code, cannot achieve this potential:
1. simplicity = more engagement
Graphical development tools, tables, or flowcharts support the rapid development of applications - without necessarily having to produce new code. Teams work more agilely, require hardly any training, and can achieve initial successes in a very short time. Thanks to libraries and the drag-and-drop addition of desired elements, even inexperienced business users feel confident modeling the user interface or business logic. IT is demystified to a certain extent and integrated into everyday office life.
2. speed = more digital automation
Another advantage of low-code platforms is that developers don't have to write new code, they assemble elements. This means they save a lot of time building applications. Some platforms advertise 80 percent time savings over ordinary programming methods. As a result, more tasks can be completed in the same amount of time. Ready-to-use applications and processes are created in a matter of days or hours. Efficiency increases, which goes hand in hand with a significant increase in a company's overall level of digitization.
3. resource efficiency = more productivity
IT-savvy employees from business departments are identified and encouraged to create their own applications by the visualization of low-code platforms. These are close to the business case, since the user's know-how flows directly into the application creation. Professional developers can devote themselves to other tasks that require more in-depth knowledge and become even more productive in their work. Many goals can now be achieved with the same number of employees. In times of skills shortage, low-code development is the perfect opportunity for sustainable business growth and employee retention.
4. visualization = more ideas
Low-code platforms form the bridge between ideas from the business department and their practical implementation through a provided technology. Libraries, interfaces, and algorithms provide the foundation for quickly obtaining a graphical representation of the idea. This in turn makes it easier to carry out analyses, discover weaknesses, and work out improvements.
5. reusability = more code
Thanks to the use of low-code platforms, the professional quality of an application can improve significantly - because the professional user is productively involved in the software development. This is made possible, among other things, by elements that have been professionally programmed and can be used again and again via libraries. These templates can also be further adapted and optimized for the specific application. This type of collaboration reduces the effort required for optimization and maintenance. The quality of the end product increases and valuable code is not lost.
6. uniform code quality = more security
Every digitization of business processes or applications impacts the corporate structure. Low-code platforms make it easier to maintain control and traceability over the quality of new applications. Companies are no longer dependent on whether a professional developer adheres to code guidelines and standards or follows a comprehensible logic; the platform takes over these functions to a certain extent. It automatically generates source code according to the same structure, provides checked and reusable elements, and gives developers certain authorizations depending on their competence, including complete documentation! If the application needs to be optimized, requires interfaces to additional systems, or needs to handle more complex dependencies, for example, experienced programmers are involved to produce new code. In problem or maintenance cases, the error can be identified much faster.
7. integration = more power
As a rule, low-code platforms come with integrated connectors or a flexible REST API to connect third-party systems, legacy systems, or isolated applications and enable data exchange across the entire company. On the one hand, this means that these platforms can be easily integrated into the existing IT infrastructure. On the other hand, they extend the performance and reach of the software used. System administrators can rely on the assured code quality of the low-code platform, while business users benefit from new functions and rapid maintenance/updates.
8. flexibility = more scope
Less code means less effort for adjustments, updates, maintenance, and deployment. And that ensures a significant head start which can be crucial, especially in the face of changing market requirements. In many cases, the configuration options of the existing elements are sufficient to gradually integrate new requirements or features. Native programming, however, remains the option of choice for more complex challenges. In addition, low-code platforms often scale at a wide variety of levels, giving companies much more leeway in their business growth.
9. control & governance = more insight
Whether business processes are already fully digitalized or day-to-day business is still paper-based, employees like to create their everyday office life according to their own ideas of comfort - separate from corporate guidelines. Shadow IT, open-source, different programming languages and styles, or confusing development processes can negatively impact control and governance. Low-code platforms offer uniform elements that are built according to a fixed set of rules and comply with the company's requirements and guidelines. This includes complete documentation, consisting of underlying rights and role management and access controls for the use of unauthorized software.
10. cost savings = more project completions
Digitization projects are often decided on the question of costs: budgeting and practice fall so far apart in more than half of the cases that decision-makers are repeatedly afraid to start with a project or software. In particular, the costs of integration efforts, excessively long project durations, employee training, requirements adjustments, and external/internal resources can be beyond the scope. The advantage of low-code platforms is that the benefits one through nine mentioned above add up: Simplicity, Speed, Integration, Resource Efficiency, They all have a positive impact on the enterprise budget. All these advantages reduce the potential for errors and uncalculated costs, giving the company autonomy in process design and implementation timing.
Low-code platforms are the answer to many problems
The requirements for companies to succeed within their business domain have remained the same over the years: Reduce costs, increase efficiency, grow business. However, their urgency has grown exponentially and as technology has expanded, the playing field has changed. Low-code platforms give companies more time, more efficiency, more autonomy to digitize and automate their applications and business processes. As such, they bring with them the toolbox from which decision-makers can draw and continue to build their foundation - despite the tightening market situation. However, the range of low-code platforms is becoming more and more confusing as more and more players are added. Consequently, it is up to each company to check, in a practical way, which solution really fits and actually delivers on the low-code promise in its digital strategy.