By making software development less burdensome on resources, low-code contributes to the acceleration of digital transformation and business-wide innovation.
It is often said that every company is a software company. Computers play a key role in almost everything we do. They are becoming embedded in everything from the cars we drive to the homes and cities we live in.
For organizations, computers and software have become critical for handling everything from customer relationship management to supply chain management. At virtually every customer touchpoint, there are digital interactions that leave a trail of data, from which they can unlock valuable insights, provided they have the right software solutions.
Digital transformation is the driving force behind these innovations. It is the process we use to create new business processes and customer and employee experiences or improve existing ones. It is the reimagining of business in the digital age, and software naturally plays a central role in that process. This is why the pressure is constantly growing on organizations to ease the burden of software development and, in turn, accelerate digital transformation.
Organizations that fail to embrace digital transformation face a very real and growing risk of losing their competitive positions and becoming irrelevant in today’s fast-changing world. One of the main causes of such failure is the difficulty in overcoming the inherent complexities of software development and the lengthy project lifecycles that come with it.
To overcome the challenges, organizations must be able to develop and integrate new tools and capabilities quickly, scale their applications in the cloud, automate routine workflows, and continuously modernize customer experiences.
To accomplish these tasks, software teams need a way to quickly deliver applications and iteratively improve them based on user feedback. Traditional software development is wholly unable to keep up with the need for speed and scale, which is why organizations need low-code software development to accelerate digital transformation.
Here are some reasons why low-code matters in digital transformation:
#1. Streamline business processes
While customer experience is justifiably the top priority in any digital transformation strategy, a low-code approach to software development can also enhance internal business processes. These, in turn, have an indirect impact on customer experience as well. The need to transform operating models to boost revenues is constantly growing, and low-code development helps make that happen by aligning industry best practices with application creation.
In some ways, low-code is an automation solution in that it simplifies a wide range of complex processes by abstracting software development away from the underlying code. Intuitive drag-and-drop elements make it easier than ever to build apps to handle a broad variety of routine business workflows, from customer relationship management to payment processing. Built-in security features and industry best practices also make it easier to modernize and streamline business processes without adding risk. Finally, by leveraging low-code to unify and integrate all data, businesses can streamline governance at scale.
#2. Accelerate visual development
The clearest advantage of low-code software development is speed. These platforms reduce project turnaround times by up to 90%. With most, if not all, of the underlying infrastructure in place already, citizen developers, business technologists and professional developers alike can benefit from simple drag-and-drop functionality to create frontend applications as and when they need them.
Since low-code is far less demanding in terms of software development skills and experience, almost anyone with moderate technical knowledge can use these platforms. For example, the customer support team might want to build something like a chatbot or self-service ticketing function and integrate it with the company website. Instead of having to refer the project to the IT team or outsource it, low-code solutions give them the chance to create the solution by themselves. These point-and-click workflow designers greatly accelerate visual development to create full-fledged applications at the pace today’s digital transformation initiatives demand.
#3. Simplify software maintenance
Another goal of low-code software development is to ease application lifecycle management. The aim is to create flexible and cost-effective apps that are easily adaptable and significantly less complex in terms of their maintenance requirements. Most low-code platforms allow users to deploy and update their applications in just a few clicks, without having to refer to software engineering teams.
Software maintenance routines, such as patching and monitoring, can comprise up to 75% of the total cost of ownership. As developers often lament ‘old systems never die’. Instead, they become systems that need to be maintained, all the while becoming less useful and relevant in today’s constantly evolving business environment. Fortunately, low-code solutions can ease that burden by making it easy to implement change requests and add new functionalities in a matter of hours rather than weeks or months.
#4. Democratize software development
Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions about digital transformation is that it’s the sole responsibility of the IT department and a technical challenge that only they need to worry about. However, the reality is that digital transformation is everyone’s business. Software plays a vital role in the daily routines of all knowledge workers and many more besides, which is why everyone needs to be involved in the process of innovation.
Low-code democratizes not only software development itself, but problem-solving processes as well. By making software development more accessible, teams and employees outside the IT department have the opportunity to explore new challenges and find new solutions. This is, in a nutshell, how modern corporate culture works – the process of removing hierarchal barriers and information siloes to facilitate innovation and job mobility. In the era of rapid change, the democratization of software development is both a prerequisite and key advantage of digital transformation.
#5. Scale and adapt to demand
Project backlogs are a recurring problem in the world of software development, and they are the single biggest cause of technical debt. Sometimes, it takes so long to develop a particular software solution that it is already obsolete by the time it goes into production. If that happens, the organization can quickly lose its competitive edge to companies that are more agile and forward-thinking.
By greatly decreasing development times, low-code gives organizations the means to adapt faster, but that isn’t all. Most low-code development platforms are cloud-based, with many delivered in the form of a fully managed software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. This makes any apps developed with the platform ready for instant deployment in today’s highly scalable and adaptable cloud environments, where they can be accessed from any devices connected to the internet.
#6. Simplify data integration
It is now widely known that overreliance on legacy software stunts business growth and results in information siloes, whereby it becomes impossible for teams to collaborate effectively. This so-called silo mentality remains a major problem in larger enterprises and established firms, which often face a constant struggle to modernize. For example, they might choose a modern, scalable solution to address a specific business challenge, but one that lacks interoperability with their monolithic, in-house software, thus greatly limiting its business value.
Low-code helps break down these information siloes by simplifying data integration thanks to enabling the rapid creation of customized applications and workflows. With the added support of application programming interface (API) connectors, organizations can seamlessly connect their databases and applications with legacy applications to create complete end-to-end software solutions. This makes it possible to effectively add new functionality to existing systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP).
#7. Facilitate continuous improvement
Digital transformation is not a destination, but a journey without an end. In this respect, the term is almost interchangeable with the concept of continuous improvement, whereby organizations adopt flexible systems and processes that they can improve iteratively when the need arises. This cycle helps adapt and streamline workflows, reduce waste, and deliver a consistent value stream to customers, employees, and the business overall.
Low-code plays an increasingly important role in the continuous development and integration of mission-critical software products, such as intelligent business automation solutions. Low-code platforms use a model-driven approach that allows citizen and professional developers alike to create visual workflows and turn them into fully functional software applications.
With the faster implementation of new processes and greatly reduced development lifecycles, low-code helps organizations stay squarely at the forefront of innovation. That is ultimately what digital transformation is all about.
Planet Crust is the creator and driving force behind Corteza, a 100% open-source low-code software development platform that lets you import data from any source and use intuitive drag-and-drop tools to create custom applications for your unique business needs. Get started for free today.