With the growing focus on digital transformation, application development is becoming central to business enterprises looking to adapt themselves to the post-pandemic world. While a digital revolution has been here for a long time, the COVID-19 pandemic has made organizations realize the importance of easy-to-develop business applications that can ease their business workflow.
Traditionally, we’ve always recognized app development as a process that requires a comprehensive knowledge of high-level coding. Building a new application code is both time and cost-intensive.
Low-code/no-code development is being touted as the next level of application development. Is it just another industry “buzzword” or here to stay? Let us explore further.
What are low-code/no-code applications?
When compared to “traditional” app development techniques, low-(or no-) code app development simply provides an intuitive visual tool where app developers can create an entire application with simple drag-and-drop operations.
As the name suggests, no-code platforms don’t require any application coding and can be used by non-programming professionals. That means business enterprises can create varied apps without any coding specialists. Low-code platforms, on the other hand, require some coding knowledge, but not as much as traditional application development platforms.
Do low-code platforms differ from no-code platforms? Amit Zavery of Google Cloud believes so, but adds “people often use the terms interchangeably.”
Common Challenges with Digital Transformation
For successful digital transformation, organizations continue to face challenges like selecting the right technology tools and programming expertise that can achieve the best results.
The 2019 Forrester report reveals that more than 50% of digital transformation efforts have failed. Moreover, a McKinsey study revealed that 70% of digital transformations failed due to resistance to change from employees.
What could be the challenges faced by organizations that hinder their digital transformation? A few of them include:
- Inadequate time bandwidth for experienced IT developers who are unable to devote time for internal application development.
- Lack of skilled workforce and budget also can pose a bottleneck in digital transformation initiatives. This is a key challenge for 77% of companies adopting the path towards digital transformation.
- Lack of basic app development skills among non-technical business users.
How can the low-code/no-code development model can help in overcoming these challenges? Let us check that out next.
How can low-code/no-code development help?
The low-code/no-code approach supports the development of a wide variety of cost-efficient applications that can be deployed faster to production. This is suitable for small enterprises that have limited budgets for app development.
One such example of a low-code/no-code system is Robotic Process Automation (or RPA) that allows end-users to design their automatic workflow, which can be used in backend administrative processes. Other applications include chatbots (or virtual assistants) and function-centric tools like an HR app for new employees or an in-house customer service application.
Market Trends and Opportunities
The surge in remote development work owing to the pandemic is expected to boost low-code/no-code adoption across the world. According to Gartner, the worldwide low-code development technologies market is projected to reach around $13.8 billion in 2021, registering an increase of 22.6% from 2020. The same report concludes that low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity by 2024.
Among the industry players, Microsoft has been promoting the use of its low-code platform like PowerApps. According to this Forrester report, “Microsoft’s ‘free’ and good-enough products will be adopted both in straightforward and sophisticated use cases and serve as catalysts for further growth and consolidation in the low-code market.”
What are the benefits and drawbacks of low-code/no-code development? Let us discuss them next.
Benefits of low-code/no-code development approach
Let us start with the business benefits of adopting this approach:
- No requirement of specific skill sets: Unlike traditional application development, low-code/no-code platforms do not feature a wide stack of tools and functions. With a smaller set of tools, these platforms can help in developing applications without much hassle. As mentioned earlier, application development using the no-code/low-code approach is much easier for non-technical staff (like HR or customer support) who do not possess specific app development skills.
- Reduced cost: For smaller businesses, hiring experienced software developers can be expensive. Low-code/no-code solutions have enabled enterprises to reduce costs associated with employee hiring and retention. A Forrester Research survey reported that 70% of enterprises think of low-code platforms as more affordable than traditional software development.
- Improved customer experience: A customer-centric experience is crucial to the business success of any organization. Low-code/no-code platforms automate multiple operations and help in developing fast and responsive apps. Enterprises can easily adapt to changing customer and market demands with shorter release cycles of their products, thus keeping their business ahead of the competition. A flexible and agile approach towards app development can improve the overall customer experience.
- Aids in digital transformation: A 2019 report found that business enterprises spent over $2 trillion in IT budgets, with 40% of their investments going into digital transformation initiatives. With more digitalization, this is set to further increase over the next decade. The shortage of skilled workers and technical skills is hampering the path of digital transformation. Low-code/no-code app development is playing its part in speeding up digital transformation through faster innovation and adaptability.
- Faster time-to-market: Enabled by low-code/no-code platforms, an application that would otherwise take months to come to the market can now be launched in just a few weeks. In a critical market situation, companies no longer have to rely on product engineers or developers to fix any app-related problem. All team members can actively participate in application design, with little to no coding skills, thereby drastically reducing the time-to-market.
As explained through these five points, low- or no-code platforms can be used to create new software capabilities and accelerate the overall digital transformation initiatives of an organization.
Drawbacks of low/no-code
Despite its many benefits, low-code/no-code development has a few drawbacks or limitations, as listed below:
- Security loopholes: Security practices like single sign-on and two-factor authentication have become the “de-facto” norm in organizations looking to safeguard their user base. Enterprises look at application platforms to eliminate security loopholes. Low-code or no-code platforms do not address these security concerns. Adding to that, these development platforms make it difficult for enterprises to manage what their employees are building. On-premises low-code platforms can pose visibility problems for enterprises. Jason Wong of Gartner, says, “If you install a rapid application development tool on a desktop and build apps, IT doesn’t have any visibility.”
- Bad UI experience: Customization forms the crux of how enterprise apps differentiate themselves from competitors and deliver an improved customer experience. Low-code/no-code application development does not allow customization. These platforms are designed for faster development but do not guarantee uniqueness as there are fixed templates and UI components that do not necessarily provide a “different” user experience.
The significant rise in the adoption of low- or no-code application development platforms is attributed to the 2020 global pandemic. In the post-pandemic world, the low/no-code approach can help enterprises respond better to changing customer expectations through a faster app release cycle.,
Want to know more about the technology that can help you in digital transformation? The team at Sagacity has powered multiple customers in their quest for digital transformation. You too can make significant strides by partnering with us. Contact us with your queries now.