The dynamic digital landscape is forcing businesses to tap into the application development market. With the rising demand, application developers in many IT enterprises are swamped with work that it becomes challenging for a single development team to cope with the ever-changing business requirements. As a result, the backlog keeps piling up and the global tech talent shortage adds to the problem. This is where the low-code application development platforms come to the rescue.
Gone are the days when application development used to be a time-intensive task. With the advent of low code development platforms, businesses can get the applications developed in a quick turnaround time without investing a huge amount of money, employing a pool of seasoned app developers, and waiting for a couple of weeks to several months.
A report by Gartner also predicted that 65% of application development will be on low-code platforms by 2024. Another report states that the low-code development platform market size is expected to grow with a CAGR of 31.6% during the period 2021-2028.
To build applications with low-code platforms, it is not required to employ integrated development environments (IDEs), modern programming languages and frameworks, and package repositories. In fact, without having a technical background, users can build MVPs or functional and feature-rich applications through low code platforms that offer an easily navigable GUI with drag-and-drop functionality and minimal logic. In other words, the graphical user interface (GUI) of a low-code platform is component-based having pre-defined modules and templates. Instead of writing extensive lines of codes in a series of brackets, simply plug in the modules to develop business applications.
Key Benefits of Low-Code Application Development
1. Expedite Development and Deployment
According to a report by Forester, applications can be developed ten times faster with low code development platforms than using traditional app development methods. With low barriers to entry, low-code platforms enable building both MVPs and full-fledged applications in a quick turnaround time using the drag-and-drop functionality. Lastly, rapid application development (RAD) leads to faster deployment, which in turn, improves the bottom line.
2. Better Customer Experience
With low-code platforms, users can test applications before deployment and pivot if necessary. Also, iteration is possible from an early stage, which helps in developing a bespoke application that meets customers’ expectations. After all, in the end, what matters most is delivering an improved customer experience.
3. Increased Productivity
Low-code platforms eliminate the back-and-forth process in application development by bringing all the project stakeholders at one place and facilitating real-time collaboration, which in turn, improves workforce productivity and project delivery.
4. Improved Business Agility
Low-code platforms improve business agility by enabling developers to build and deploy applications in a quick turnaround time. Most of the low-code platforms automate everything from development to testing facilitating rapid application development (RAD). This saves a significant amount of time as developers can build applications in a couple of hours. The extra time saved via low code automation platforms can be invested in the projects and critical tasks that support the bottom line.
When building consumer-facing apps, low-code platforms are helpful in reducing time-to-market and driving ROI. Whereas, using low-code platforms to develop applications for internal use can provide an advantage of agile application development with lesser number of iterations.
Cons of Low-Code App Development
1. Limited Customization
Since low-code applications are built using ready-made templates, complete customization of the business application is not possible. Also, customization options vary profoundly in many low-code platforms. For instance, some platforms offer limited customization options, while others don’t provide access to the underlying source code. Before choosing any platform, always make sure to check their customization limits.
2. No Technical Knowledge Myth
Most of the low-code platforms proudly boast that one doesn’t need to have a technical background to develop business applications. However, this is far from reality. Not having basic technical knowledge, one may struggle to use the low-code platforms for app development, customization, and delivery. Furthermore, understanding basic low-code development requirements itself takes a good amount of time to learn and adapt to.
3. Vendor Lock-in
When developing applications using low-code platforms, it is a challenge to migrate to a different platform. The reason being is that some low-code platform owners don’t provide access to the source code, so users will be locked-in with the vendor. While others won’t allow to edit the applications outside of the platform. Therefore, it becomes imperative to read all the vendors’ policies meticulously before purchasing a license for their tool.
Low-Code Platforms to Consider for Business
Microsoft Power Apps is one of the coveted rapid application development (RAD) platforms that allow users to create enterprise-grade custom applications without much effort. It comes with a drag-and-drop feature and ready-made templates that accelerate the app development process. Furthermore, Microsoft Power Apps named as a leader in Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ 2021 for low-code app platforms.
- Free trial available
- Customized branding
- Pre-defined templates for quick app development
- Reduce app development costs by up to 74%
- Easy integration with Dynamics 365, Office 365, and Power BI
Salesforce is an undisputed leader in the CRM vertical but it is also making strong strides in low-code app development. This component-based framework simplifies the app development process for users who don’t have sound programming knowledge. With Salesforce, users can save a significant amount of the time in application development. It also allows users to combine popular tools such as Heroku, App Builder, SalesforceDX, and Lightning Flow to accelerate the app development process.
- Built-in AI
- Reusable components
- 24×7 customer support
- Drag & drop function to build apps faster
- Easy integration of analytics, prediction analysis, etc.
OutSystems is on a mission to transform the way software and applications are built. With this rapid app development (RAD) platform, users can build web applications, mobile apps, and enterprise-grade apps at an unmatched pace. Some of the leading brands that bank on OutSystems include KPMG, Bosch, Schneider Electric, Volkswagen, AXA, Santander, Humana, and many more.
- Full-stack visual development
- Real-time monitoring
- Single-click deployment
- Scalable architecture
- Full DevOps automation
- In-app feedback
- Native support for agile development
Monday.com is another strong contender that proudly boasts – if you can dream it, you can create it. With this low-code platform, users can design and develop enterprise-grade business apps on the fly. It comes with pre-made building blocks or one can create their own for rapid application development and deployment.
- Digitize workflows and processes
- Deliver an enhanced customer experience
- Improve employee engagement and productivity
Use Cases of Low-Code Development
1. Enhance B2E Process
With low-code platforms, it becomes simpler to streamline employee self-service processes. Besides this, users can keep a tab on timesheet, equipment, and resource management
2. Improve Customer Experiences
Let customers interact and transact seamlessly with businesses using low-code applications, which in turn, improves revenue, retention, and satisfaction.
3. Streamline Workflow
Low-code platforms can be leveraged by both employees and HR professionals to improve their work efficiency. Using low-code platforms, HR can streamline processes like resource management, employee onboarding, etc.
4. Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) Development
Low-code platforms facilitate the quick development of minimum viable products (MVPs). While writing little to no-code during the product development, users can also leverage emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), etc., and create a future-ready product.
5. IoT-Driven Smart Apps
IoT application development is picking up the pace since it plays a critical role in improving operational efficiency and customer engagement. Since low-code platforms seamlessly integrate with the Internet of Things (IoT), it becomes simpler to engineer a mobile or web application that turns data into meaningful insights for customers.
Today, there is no scarcity of low-code development platforms in the market. Each platform has its own pros and cons and choosing the best one that meets the respective business requirements can be a tough row to hoe. This is where certified tech partners come into action since they have rich hands-on experience and expertise in a slew of low-code platforms and can help businesses in selecting the right one that helps them expedite prototyping or application development. Moreover, hiring an expert from a certified partner facilitates low-code app customization tailored to unique requirements.