Finding success with low-code programming

Low-code programming is growing at an astounding rate, with Forrester predicting a compound annual growth rate of 40% through to 2022, where the total market will be valued at $21.2 billion.

As we saw in the previous article in this series, organisations are experiencing significant benefits from working with low-code platforms; they're running more efficiently and are more agile, which is an essential pathway to competitive advantage in the modern, dynamic business world.

Why low-code programming, though? The benefits of adopting this approach are varied and broad. Below are just some of the key areas where leveraging low-code programming environments have delivered results organisations:

Speed to market – Low-code programming allows for the rapid development and release of the first iteration of an app, as code doesn't need to be developed from scratch. Low-code business development has enabled companies to react quickly with critical business apps being created and deployed in record time. The time to market, and further iterations beyond that, can be deployed in days, rather than months. 

Cost – Because low-code programming is fast to market, it's also highly cost effective, requiring fewer development resources for a shorter period of time.

Efficiencies – Low-code development allows development and IT teams to run lean in terms of team sizes and efficiently in the use of development resources, with fewer staff required to work on each application.

Build apps and build them better – Low-code development opens the opportunity for organisations to build and deploy their own applications where previously that wasn't possible. Additionally, it's possible to get stakeholders and future users of the app involved quickly. It's easy to build prototypes and demos with low-code, show them to the users, and implement feedback at the earliest stages possible.

Automate processes – Low-code development platforms connect systems and virtually any data source quickly. This offers many efficiencies in the development process, including automation, which helps to minimise the impact of human error and improves governance, risk, and compliance.

Portals – The management of applications and the development process is made much easier through the use of portals, which allow developers to connect and integrate virtually any application or data source into the one portal.

Empower staff – Low-code development platforms are loved by staff too, as they enable employees to focus on creativity and delivery of new apps.

Encourage innovation – Because it's more efficient and rapid to deploy applications created through low-code development, organisations can better encourage a culture of innovation and act on the ideas of more employees.

Consistent methodology – The consistency of working with low-code development means that results can be replicated more easily across multiple development projects.

Responsive apps – Low-code platforms produce applications that are highly optimised and therefore responsive in design across virtually any device.

Connect to external users and suppliers – Because low-code development utilises leading standards in coding and practice, it's much easier to connect those applications to the applications that suppliers and other external users make use of.

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For more information on these benefits to low-code development, and how they might apply to your own business, schedule a call here.

Low-code development success in action

For a clear example of the benefits of low-code development in action, consider Meals on Wheels South Australia (MOW). MOW provides a vital service to Australia's underprivileged, particularly at this time where social distancing is mandatory and many -- especially Australia's elderly and disabled who are in need of access to simple necessities such as meals.

MOW's South Australian operation was facing its own challenges common to many organisations, including struggling with manual, paper-based processes and managing multiple Excel files. Unfortunately, as the number of drivers increased, this system was not scalable and prone to human error. MOW acknowledged that this process needed improvement to better handle the organisation's approach for driver reimbursement. Previously, it used an ad-hoc process dealing with critical information and, in addition to the risk of error, this did not facilitate a timely expense reimbursement outcome. The data collected was siloed and not utilised for management reporting or feeding in the overall operational systems and reports. From a compliance and risk perspective, improvements were also required. 

MOW adopted a low-code development platform, Intrexx, to rapidly move the organisation to a secure solution that automated much of the data gathering from volunteers, stored it securely, and then produced reports to head office to provide a more reliable and comprehensive overview of operations. A critical benefit to this solution was that MOW South Australia was able to rapidly and seamlessly make the transition, meaning there was minimal disruption to the organisation's running of its critical daily service.

Learn more about the success Meals on Wheels South Australia found through low-code development: Schedule a call here.

Are there risks with low-code development?

As the success of Meals on Wheels in South Australia shows, low-code development, when managed by a visionary IT leadership team, can rapidly modernise the organisation's use of technology.

However, as with everything to do with IT, CIOs need to be strategic in the way they utilise low-code development, and not just jump on board on the idea alone. CIOs need to ask themselves -- and be able to answer -- questions about whether low-code development is the right strategic fit for the business. Questions such as:

1)      What is missing by moving to low-code development?

When building code from scratch, complete control lies with the developers, and one of the consequences of low-code development is that, in some ways, the environment becomes determined by the platform.

CIOs need to understand what the current development environment looks like, how testing and integrations are currently handled, and the effect that shifting to a low-code environment would have on those processes. Platforms such as Intrexx are robust and fully-featured development environments, but the CIO still needs to understand the change management that will be required.

2)      What's the biggest long-term potential of low-code?

The speed to market and accessibility of low-code to organisations makes for an easy entry point, but CIOs also need to be aware of the medium and long term goals of the organisation, and how those low-code applications fit in. For example, many CIOs are looking at hybrid environments, where some applications are designated to scale strategically, while other applications are tactical, and the development criteria across those designations need to be handled differently.

3)      Where are the biggest opportunities for low-code in the organisation?

One of the great advantages of low-code development is that it is highly tailored towards responding to rapidly changing needs. This means that low-code development is a good pathway to artificial intelligence and data analytics applications, as well as modernising old systems in a working environment. 

There's also a big opportunity for "citizen developers" to work on low-code systems to rapidly prototype or create applications for limited (low user number) applications within the company. This would allow for a more creative, flexible environment without tying up "serious" coder resources. Or organisations could leverage low-code development to create samples to then pass on to the codes to recreate within custom applications.

CIOs -- and organisations -- that are able to understand and articulate the value that low-code development delivers to the organisation will be the ones that can establish their organisations as efficient, innovative and disruptive. With applications forming the core function of business environments now, low-code development offers organisations of all sizes the opportunity to establish a long-term technical vision.

If you would like to learn more about what a low-code development platform can do for your business and hear about other Australian examples of the solution in practice: Schedule a call here.