Development

Low-code is a new reality for business

Diana Jacobson
March 14, 2022

What is Low-Code?

Low-Code is an approach in which you can become a developer of an enterprise application with basic programming skills. The market of Low-Code platforms provides tools for a variety of tasks - from website designers to complex automation systems. They are all united by a common concept: a significant part of the work, up to 80-90%, can be done without writing a single line of code in the graphical interface.

Writing code at the same time does not require advanced programming skills and is used to solve point problems — calculations, dynamics, integrations.

In the field of corporate software, the term Low-Code confidently replaces the usual BPM, CRM, ECM and others. And this is not just a buzzword, but, indeed, the concept of an approach to the development of enterprise applications, which many software developers have adopted in their new and existing products.

The process of developing corporate applications from the inside has a lot in common in different systems and differs mainly in the vendor's approach to UI/UX. The development process can be divided into several blocks:

  • Configuring the data structure. Almost all developers of Low-Code platforms provide No-Code tools that allow you to create your own objects and fill them with the necessary variables.
  • Display settings. To do this, platforms provide graphic designers with varying degrees of flexibility. Many allow you to embed your html code for more flexibility.
  • Configuring routing. The greatest variety of approaches, perhaps, is here. Low-Code platforms provide the ability to create event handlers and clicks, provide simplified editors of processes and business rules and full-fledged designers of business processes in which you can configure complex logic, as in familiar BPM systems.
  • Scripting. The block is also very rich in implementation options. As a rule, the code has to be used already at later stages of enterprise application development, for writing integrations, calculations, automatic updates and data changes.

Programmers of Low-Code platforms achieve this result thanks to a well-thought-out architecture of corporate applications. The analyst does not have to think about the front-end and back-end, database structure and other technical aspects that require special knowledge. Vendors use built-in onboarding mechanisms, academies and reference materials to show the analyst an approach to development in graphic designers. And then it's a small matter — try it once and scale your experience to solve a variety of tasks.

Low-Code platforms also take over the commissioning: in most cases, it is enough to watch a preview of the solution or check in debug mode, and then publish with one button. This not only reduces the cost of implementation and deployment, but also for changes and refinement. A significant contribution to such opportunities was made by the spread of SaaS and vendor support of the entire infrastructure.

Ready-made and template solutions are another powerful tool that allows you to reduce the time to implement business needs, and, as a result, reduce costs. Templates are easily modified to suit business features and can potentially speed up development even by 4 or more times

What is on the market and what tasks can be solved

The Low-Code concept is applicable to a very wide range of software, from site designers to BPM, RPA and ERP systems. Businesses of any size and field of activity can find a system for their current and potential needs. There are opportunities for scaling and not only in terms of platform functionality: many vendors offer both cloud solutions, fully supporting the infrastructure, and "boxed" versions installed at the customer's facilities.

Some systems even implement a No-Code approach, that is, they allow you to create corporate applications without using code at all. But this ease of setup does not mean small opportunities at all. Firstly, because they have a well-thought-out logic of operation and the structure of the system, visual designers of interfaces and automation, configurable with the mouse. Secondly, because even the most dedicated to the idea of No-Code vendors somehow provide opportunities to expand platforms with code, such as writing integrations, plugins, modules and scripts "on the spot".

Many experienced players offering entire product lines allow solving the tasks of automating business processes, working with clients, document management, robotics and more, all in the Low-Code paradigm. You can choose a platform for automating specifically internal document flow, for example, and integrate it into the existing stack of organization technologies. Or give preference to one platform for most tasks. This is perhaps one of the main advantages of Low-Code systems - by providing one concept and several mechanisms and constructors inside the system, they allow you to create solutions whose limit is only the imagination of the author.

Future

Low-Code gave rise to a very valuable idea: automation can be faster, cheaper and still of the same quality as before. Vendors are developing the functionality of their systems in such a way that scripting is used less and less, and analysts can cover an increasing amount of business needs with their own hands.

I emphasize that business automation with Low-Code has become much faster and cheaper, but not yet fast and cheap. Using the accumulated experience, vendors leave the possibility of deep development under the strict requirements of the customer, which still needs to involve developers with experience.

Nevertheless, over the past few years, Low-Code platforms have gained popularity, vendors are offering more and more convenient and multifunctional solutions, and this growth will only continue in the next few years.

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