This year, low-code apps have proven to be business-ready
The rapid rise and adoption of low-code application platforms is one of the most significant business technology developments since the BYOD movement.
Just as BYOD has opened up new opportunities for productivity and cost reduction, the low-code movement promises to reshape employees’ relationships with their IT departments. In fact, the proliferation of technology will mean that “BYOD” will become not “bring your own device” but “be your own developer”.
However, not all IT departments have adopted low-code technology; indeed, for many, low code has always been banned. Across the industry, there is a pervasive myth that low-code applications created by non-technical employees or citizen developers cannot meet enterprise-grade governance and compliance standards.
Not only is this view wrong, it is also incredibly damaging to the long-term innovation and productivity potential of organizations that embrace it. Low-code app platforms are powerful because they allow citizen developers to quickly build apps that solve the organizational challenges they face every day. It is powerful precisely because it enables a whole new group of creators to come up with critical software solutions.
In this article, I’ll tackle this myth head-on and explain why, given the developments in low code over the past year, more teams should start re-evaluating their outdated views on the low code movement.
Low-code application platforms accelerate digital transformation
If digital transformation wasn’t high on your strategic priority list until 2021, the past 12 months have certainly changed that.
Almost overnight, organizations were forced to move their operations entirely online. Many struggled with this transition, especially when it came to critical analog processes that had no digital equivalents. Organizational agility, which is still an essential component of a successful business, suddenly became existential.
This is, of course, exactly why low-code app platforms are important right now. When citizen developers can create visual, modular, and modeled workflows to streamline mundane processes, they can unlock new ways to get things done faster. In addition, because these citizen developers are closest to the departmental problems they solve, their solutions allow IT teams to focus on more strategic and priority projects.
Consider what this means for IT teams. So instead of spending their time focusing on relatively simple but time-consuming tasks, they can devote their time to more complex projects that were previously out of reach. The overall innovation output of an organization is therefore shifting upwards.
Low-code use cases continue to develop in this new era of work
While new technologies quickly gain attention through the effusive proclamations of early adopters, their long-term longevity is determined by the use cases developed by users in the field. New use cases for low-code application platforms are popping up every day and, encouragingly, we’re seeing a great diversity of them across teams, companies and industries.
And organizations have been able to more successfully deploy citizen development programs that drive new use cases by implementing trainings, automated code reviews, established checkpoints, and more. path.
Here are some of the most exciting citizen development programs I’ve seen:
- A university hospital called on a small team of citizen developers to develop two low-code applications used to prioritize and schedule the immunizations of 14,000 health workers.
- At a large insurance company, the low-code allowed citizen developers to create a worker reassignment portal that allowed 4,500 employees to find new projects to work on, saving them COVID-19 time off.
- Another company used low-code to digitize its paper signing process, helping to ensure business continuity at a time when a large portion of staff had to work remotely.
- Two citizen developers from a US-based university took advantage of low code to create a single self-service tool, allowing students to manage everything from parking their vehicles to identifying the location of washers and campus dryers.
These are just a few of the most compelling ways we’ve seen citizen developers unlock value through low-code app platforms. And note the importance here: many of these solutions were developed quickly, in an era when speed couldn’t have been more important.
Low-code development guardrails have never been easier to implement
Since the inception of low-code application platforms, IT departments have rightly been concerned about the potential risks of giving untrained developers unhindered access to critical systems. Fortunately, modern low-code application platforms have been designed with these concerns in mind.
Today, most have a robust set of security and compliance features that empower citizen developers without putting their organizations at risk. The result: low-code applications that deliver enterprise-level scalability, performance, resiliency, privacy, security, and compliance.
- Platform level security – Low-code application platforms enable IT departments to establish safe and secure environments for citizen developers. Likewise, the built-in tools support virus scanning, HTML disinfection, logging, auditing, and enhanced security mechanisms such as two-factor authentication and virtual private networks.
- Access controls for application developers – Modern low-code application platforms make it easy to properly provision and de-provision developer accounts and offer pre-built application components and integrations.
- Security and privacy compliance – Low-code platforms comply with various existing global and regional security standards and privacy mandates emerging around the world.
These safeguards not only reduce risk by defining what citizen developers can and cannot do, they also give citizen developers the alignment and independence they need to do their best job.
A new era for low-code application platforms
I think we will see 2021 as a turning point for citizen development and low-code platforms. Last year, Gartner found that 50% of medium and large businesses said they plan to adopt low-code app platforms by 2023.
Considering everything I have written here, I have no doubt that this percentage will exceed 50%. Indeed, as we continue to see the benefits of technology manifest, low-code will become more and more obvious.