Low-code development platforms are emerging as a key strategy to accelerate app delivery to support digital business transformation.
The modern enterprise is all about speed. Increasingly, low code is the path to achieving that speed.
Why? As McKinsey states, visit a future-ready organization, and you’ll observe that speed is both a preoccupation and a cultural bias. You’ll even hear it in the company lexicon, in expressions such as “increasing the clock speed,” “metabolic rate,” or “a bias for action.[i] And, this is not without reason. Your customers demand operational responsiveness, and your shareholders expect strategic agility from you.
The fundamental need for speed has become even more evident during the pandemic. Many businesses had to pull back (or even shut down) owing to their inability to adapt to the abrupt disruption caused by the pandemic. Operations that could be deemed inefficient became dysfunctional overnight as workers got locked into their homes and processes broke amidst the imposition of remote and distributed work.[ii].
Strategic agility determines business leadership
Hence, one thing has become clear. In all your efforts toward digital transformation, speed is a key determinant of your success. As the year bygone has demonstrated, organizations that quickly changed their processes and applications to enable remote work have attained a sustainable competitive edge.
It is not straightforward, however. According to McKinsey, while the COVID-19 crisis has made speed a priority for many organizations, it has also reinforced how difficult speed is to harness. Once organizations galvanize identity, they need to optimize for speed. Operating models need to be fast, nimble, and frictionless to create ways of working that foster agility and simplicity.[iii].
This need for faster-operating models goes beyond cash-flow generating business operations. You need strategic agility, i.e., the ability to change your processes quickly and launch your products and services faster.
This requires an approach that goes beyond digitalization and operational automation. That’s where low code comes in.
Low code for strategic agility
Low code, simply stated, equips you with the ability to develop your business applications faster without the notoriously long-drawn digital transformation programs. Low-code platforms employ visual, declarative techniques instead of programming to build applications, accelerating the pace of pro developers and allowing business experts to lead or participate in solution delivery.[iv]
Admittedly, the concept of low code is not entirely new. Even prior to Y2K (the famous century-turner year 2000), we have had fourth-generation programming languages (4GLs), computer-assisted software engineering (CASE) tools, and the first generation of rapid application development (RAD) tools.
The visual and modeling-driven environments to develop processes and applications are not new either. Business process management (BPM) and enterprise content management (ECM) systems have used this strategy to enable rapid application development for more than two decades now.
What has changed is the availability of these platforms as the mainstream “go-to” for rapid development of simple as well as complex mission-critical business applications. The trends also confirm the increasing popularity of low code platforms for the same reason. According to Gartner Research, by 2024, low code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity.[v].
How do low code platforms enable agility?
There’s more. According to John Rhymer at Forrester Research, low-code development platforms are emerging as a key strategy to accelerate app delivery to support digital business transformation. And they have the potential to make software development as much as ten times faster than traditional methods.[vi]
Having said that, not all low code platforms are the same. They range from no-code platforms that support simpler business applications to full-fledged process automation platforms that can enable the rapid development of even complex mission-critical applications.
A fully functional low code process automation platform combines various capabilities to enable strategic agility. It can:
- Speed up pro-grade development through modular, modeling-driven, and abstraction-oriented development
- Support a variety of business and technological needs, such as workflows, content management, straight-through transactions, mobile apps, collaboration, customer self-service, business rules, and so on
- Enable, even catalyze, change with traceability, thereby ensuring long term sustainability of business applications
- Rationalize application portfolio by avoiding the introduction of multiple point-solutions in the mix with its own ability to develop applications quickly
- Prevent shadow IT through central governance, visibility, and guardrails, without hindering innovation
- Enable agile, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), and adherence to quality standards and architectural requirements
So, technology leaders like you, responsible for delivering such applications, understand the criticality of time-to-market and how a robust low code platform could boost your organization’s strategic spend.
[i] Organizing for the future: Nine keys to becoming a future-ready company, McKinsey & Company
[ii] COVID-19 Remote Work Just Broke Your Processes: Here’s What To Do About It, Forrester Research
[iii] Organizing for the future: Nine keys to becoming a future-ready company, McKinsey & Company
[iv] Now Tech: Rapid App Delivery, Q1 2019, Forrester Research
[v] Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms, August 2019, Gartner Research
[vi] Why You Need To Know About Low-Code, Even If You’re Not Responsible For Software Delivery