3 reasons why you should be interested in Low-Code

Sebastian Grzesik

Cost reduction and optimization of the delivery time of business support software.

1. What is low-code

From a business perspective, low-code is one of the strongest trends in building and delivering tailor-made IT applications. Today, Software Development is undergoing changes that are no longer just a new version of the wordpress framework or an alternative approach to data collection. It is much more than that. Starting from applications that work like Grammarly for Programmers, to solutions that allow non-technical people to build a workflow on their own.

However, one of the biggest challenges of recent years has become building a bridge between the so-called "business" and "IT" - they seem to always go hand in hand (they are mutually dependent on each other), but as in every marriage, we find corners and everyone wants to take them differently - business shortcuts, IT along the axis of the arc.

Low code zainteresowanie w ujeciu czasowym

From definitions of Low-code, the most relevant one I found (webopedia):

Low-code development allows developers to design applications in a visual platform without hand-coding every part of the application. This development often uses a flowchart or drag-and-drop feature for a largely visual design process. Because it doesn’t require the entire application to be manually coded, low-code development takes less time and fewer resources; it also allows non-programmers to design applications.

However, from experience, I can distinguish 3 types of solutions:

a) Applications that are limited to a graphical interface and minimal technical knowledge - no-code, examples include:

  • Zapier
  • Airtable
  • Webflow
  • Microsoft Power Automate

how Zapier helps you automate

b) Platforms that combine a graphical interface and allow, in justified cases, to extend it with a built solution using a selected programming language - low-code:

  • Mendix
  • Oracle APEX
  • Microsoft PowerApps
  • Appian

Power Automate

c) Platforms that are a balance between the first two. Less-code are tools that minimize the amount of development work and maximize the final effect using graphic or quazi graphic interfaces:

  • Outsystems
  • Salesforce Platform
  • Pega Systems

Less-code Outsystems

Does it mean a change for the IT industry - yes. We have reached the critical point, where both due to the lack of a sufficient number of Programmers on the market (and the ever-growing needs) with the constantly growing development costs - we need new solutions. Just as AI in magnetic resonance imaging will not replace a doctor, but will only help him validate his work faster and more effectively, these platforms will democratize the market and allow the wider community to benefit from the benefits of IT solutions.

2. Why is it worth being interested in Low-code?

1. Low-code means lower costs

Many of us have encountered a situation where a great business idea comes to mind, for example related to a new product that can potentially improve sales in the company. For example, we have identified that customers are missing a mobile application connecting them to us. We initially validate the hypothesis with several clients - it turns out that this is "something".

In the next step, we go to the legal, marketing, and finally IT departments :-) Of course, you can create this simple mobile application, but its cost is 300k PLN (because of the resources, because there is a queue of projects, because you have to hire more people or wait for developers). There is also a business case, there is a valuation, there are alternative offers, and we are in the ROI trap. Nobody wants to risk such costs to validate the hypothesis of a potentially new communication and sales channel. We fall into a trap of business risk - and we torment ourselves with the question of whether it is worth it!

Below is a comparison of traditional software development with the Mendix platform (it illustrates a mental shortcut at the level of building, development and maintenance of 1 enterpsires class application):

tradition vs Mendix comparision

The applications we mention are characterized by:

  • low entry threshold, some of them are platforms in the SAAS model (from several to several dozen $ per user)
  • ready cloud / server infrastructure - we are not worried about hosting
  • are a complete product, from idea to production launch (depending on the complexity, we create applications from several hours to several days)

2. Low-code means shorter development time (Time to market)

The traditional approach to application development, whether by a local vendor or by an in-house team, has one common drawback. Even if you manage to organize the described budget, in the next step you should secure the time frame of the project. And suddenly it turns out that the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) will be delivered at the earliest in 3-4 months from signing the contract. We realize that the project will be will be launched effectively in a few months. It is never optimistic if what we create is to provide the company with a competitive advantage and distance us from the competition.

Below is one example of how quickly we can create an application that is not only resoponsive but also has functionalities supporting the company, e.g. for consultants working in the field:


3. Low-code for CTO

In addition to the very obvious benefits, such as savings and greater flexibility, both from the perspective of the needs of business owners (PWA, responsiveness, multi-platform, built-in infrastructure), I can indicate a few that CTO faces on a daily basis:

  • support for builders and innovators in the organization (delivering results, making mistakes and drawing conclusions quickly - in this the CTO can help if it provides them with the right tools)
  • employing domain experts - this is a great opportunity also from the perspective of employment, the use of low-code tools helps to reduce employment costs and build diversity in the team, basing its structure not only on Programmers (the role of an Analyst, UX / CX Specialist or Product Owner can also be included in partial development of the application of these less advanced elements)
  • harmonization of infrastructure, both server and application, SAAS models, despite many disadvantages, have a number of advantages - one of them is the management of applications in a consistent and centralized way (although the infrastructure itself are the most popular cloud services such as AWS, Google Cloud or Azure) - less Dev Ops activity and more Product / Project Development increases the business usefulness of the department

3. Low-code - when to try.

Now. This is definitely the best time to think about implementing these solutions in your organization. According to Deloitte Tech Trends 2021, we have just entered the Core revival phase. It's hard to sum it up more accurately:

  • MAKE A FRESH BUSINESS CASE - use technology to improve your business model. This can create both new opportunities and drastically reduce the costs of the current business (Mateusz writes about it, e.g. from the perspective of savings in accounting and financial departments)
  • TRANSFORM CUSTOM CODE - change the way you build applications, it does not have to mean a change, but the search for new ways and exploration in building new applications can make life easier for any IT department (e.g. building all MVP services using low-code platforms can reduce initial costs by up to 50-70% )
  • REVITALIZE LEGACY - there are no applications that do not have legacy, but there are applications in which reenigineering will allow for more effective management / functioning / maintenance of the website (a good example are ERP systems, where the traditional centralized approach - without data from the environment kills their functionality, the latest ERP systems are supported by data source e.g. from sensors / sensors / microservices, the ERP system is equipped with a set of data from the environment)

Low-code Trends

Interesting links:

Summary

If you want to verify whether there are also areas in your organization that can be optimized thanks to the low-code, you can take advantage of a 30-minute free consultation. During it, our consultant will suggest whether and in what areas it is worth focusing in the first place in order to properly approach digital transformation.