When it comes to web development, the turnaround time of the project from the idea to the final product is always a challenge. Businesses and their audience need a fast and reliable solution to cater to the ever-evolving needs of the customers.
Moving away from month-long coding sprints, developers and business owners are now relying on low-code and no-code development platforms. These platforms significantly reduce the time it takes for a business to deliver products and services.
Gartner has predicted that the “The worldwide low-code development technologies market is projected to total $13.8 billion in 2021, an increase of 22.6% from 2020”. There are numerous different organisations offering low-code solutions. Here are some of them.
Using minimal hand coding, low-code platforms serve a crucial set of needs which require a faster and agile solution for web development. In its essence, a low-code solution is one which has pre-built page templates, visual page builder, smart components, and other features to develop web pages and applications. No-code solutions are similar in nature but go a bit further by entirely eliminating coding from the development process.
The necessity for low-code builders
With the onset of the pandemic, businesses were forced to deliver quick and performant solutions. This required the usage of solutions which require very little or no coding and one which allowed solutions to be deployed fast.
Businesses in such a scenario were finding it difficult to scale their operations since the existing realm of web development was not as fast and agile. The COVID 19 pandemic came as a catalyst and required the web development process to speed up. This is when the need for low-code builders were recognised.
Low-code solutions are essentially the tools for developers and designers to get things done quickly. Making the development process easy enough for even the designers to take part in, low-code solutions free up the developer’s time allowing them to focus on innovating.
9 ways in which low-code is delivering real value to businesses
Faster go-to market: Low-code development results in a faster go-to market because without the need for coding, the time it takes for a new web project to complete gets significantly reduced. This enables businesses to launch products and services faster, or to respond to the changing demands of the customers.
How fast low-code solutions can make the software development process, you may ask? Well, as per John Rymer of Forrester, low-code web development has the potential to “make software development as much as 10 times faster than traditional methods.”
Reduction in development cost: G2, a leading web development marketplace stated that “the average company avoided hiring two IT developers using low-code tools. This reaped about $4.4 million in increased business value over three years from the applications designed.” Because low-code development takes the burden of development off of the developers, they can dedicate their time to more pressing concerns for the business.
Improved customer experience: Low-code development solutions offer the necessary tools that businesses need to elevate the digital experience of their customers. With rich visual libraries and standardisation in place, businesses now have the ability to deliver consistent and unique digital experience directly contributing to an improved customer experience.
Better agility: If the pandemic has taught businesses anything, it is that agility is one survival-factor for organisations across the globe. Businesses need a solution using which, the digital experiences can be tailored around the real-time needs of the customers. Low-code development is one such technology which allows organisations of all sizes to adapt to the ever-changing customer landscape delivering faster, better, and elevated digital experiences.
Ready-made web pages for you to tweak and use: Low-code development softwares have pre-built page templates which you can use with just a click. Allowing further customization and development, these pre-built pages can be used to create unique brand voices across all channels.
Development landscape which is visual and interactive: Low-code tools often have drag-and-drop visual page builders which can be used to create web pages and applications with utmost ease. Letting the designer/developer handpick the desired components low-code tools ease up the task of creating web pages and this dramatically reduces the turnaround time.
Roles and permissions for a multi-experience creation: With low-code builders, has come a new age where most of the workforce can turn into a developer. This raises the issue of authentication and permissions. This is taken care of by the roles and permissions low-code builders let you assign so that you can have full control over the digital experience you’re providing.
Design system for consistency: Low-code builders use a design system which in turn helps companies deliver consistency in their digital offerings. Low-code solutions assist you in creating a master design system which further gets implemented across all channels and pages.
Accessible from the start Low-code tools often have accessibility features embedded in them which lets you create accessible web pages which comply with such regulations.
But even low-code development has its challenges and drawbacks, let's discuss those in the next section.
Few issues concerning low-code application platforms
Limitations of flexibility: Since low-code platforms are pre-made software packages meant to create other digital products, it is limited by the number of options it can provide. There will always be some organisations so specific and into their niche that their requirements will not be fulfilled through a low-code development platform. The visual component library is also, in some cases, limited by the number of options they provide which in terms limits the level to which the digital product can be customised.
Security issues: One of the problems with a low-code solution is that of security. Without much administrative control and a central console, the development project can be accessed by anyone from most departments.
This gives rise to a different kind of shadow IT, apart from the one that we already know. In question, is the governance mechanism of low-code solutions which allows the staff to build below or under the knowledge of the organisation's IT department.
Vendor lock-in: The more you build on a low-code platform, the more difficult it will be for you to move away from the platform, if and when you need to. This gives rise to the problem of locking-in with the vendor. Eventually your digital properties will be invested in the low-code platform to the point where custom coding on top of the low-code builder will be the only viable choice.
Where should you use a low-code builder
- Low-code platforms can be used to build self-service customer or employee facing applications for the web or mobile.
- Such platforms can also be used to create an entire suite of employee-facing applications.
- Low-code solutions are also the perfect one to use when scaling becomes a challenge due to the long time it takes to develop a digital product.
IT teams across the world are facing the incredible challenge of keeping up with the ever-evolving demands of the consumers. Low-code solutions are one sure way to tackle the problem of speed, but they should be used with caution and with strict protocols in place.