Most entrepreneurs understand how important it is to constantly be innovating and building new products. But doing that the traditional way can be incredibly time and resource intensive. Even if you have the investment and funding needed for a team of developers, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll get new applications out at the speed you need to remain competitive.
It also doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the best possible applications for your wants and needs. After all, with traditional app development, you’re relying only on developers to understand input from various teams within the organization and turn them into a viable product. If your business is still in its early phases and people are still getting used to working with each other, that’s not always a given.
With low-code platforms, employees are better equipped to execute their day-to-day tasks while also solving their own specialized difficulties and driving extra value from their current tool set without putting the organization or its security at risk. Fortunately, thanks to the rise of low-code platforms, this is increasingly feasible.
Understanding low code
Low-code platforms can be used by civilians and professional developers. Basic low-code platforms allow business users with little coding experience to build their own apps to suit their business needs. The potential benefits of this might be obvious but in case they aren’t, here’s a short breakdown of the benefits of using low-code platforms.
For the average startup developer team, it can eliminate a lot of heavy lifting. Since low-code platforms provide standard components such as forms, report templates, and ready-to-use code snippets, they immediately eliminate many of the repetitive tasks that make up the bulk of application development. The most progressive low-code development platforms have a full heap of capacities expected for making enterprise applications. Additionally, they can help eliminate errors, further taking time out of the development process. When utilized properly, they can help organizations build applications months faster than they would otherwise be able to.
Professional developers can also use low-code platforms that support developer-centric features, such as a full-fledged developer environment to hard code features to write functions that extend beyond low-code capabilities. Low-code platforms with additional capabilities allow users to build and scale complex business applications, too. This allows speedier delivery of custom solutions and better synergy between the business and the IT teams. With those benefits, it should hardly be surprising that, according to Statista, low-code development platforms will be worth US$65 billion by 2027.
Enabling and empowering
Knowing what the potential low-code platforms offer is one thing, but using them to enable and empower people across the organization to build applications is another thing. In order to get to the ideal position with low-code platforms, you should start with knowing what to look for in a low-code platform.
As well as the visual modelling and drag-and-drop interfaces which make low-code platforms easier to use, the platform should be secure. It should offer features to make your apps safer. No matter how appealing an app is, users are unlikely to embrace it if they feel unsafe using it. Having built-in security is even more important if sensitive data is involved at any step in the process. The last thing any business wants is to risk using a tool which potentially opens up a gateway to hackers.
Low-code platforms should additionally allow for multi-device deployment (meaning that an app only has to be created once for it to be accessible on any device) and facilitate scalability. More specifically, any applications created by an organization should allow it to add more users as the organization grows. This is especially critical for startup organizations, which have the chance to grow silo free and foster a habit of cross-organizational collaboration from the start.
It’s in this kind of environment that people feel free to experiment and try things, regardless of whether or not they have any development experience. Most low-code platforms provide end-to-end application lifecycle management as well, so application quality is never compromised.
For startups especially, quick turnarounds can only be a good thing. At the very least, it means the startup will achieve its goals quicker than it would otherwise have done. It might also accelerate the kind of serendipitous developments that allow startups to pivot and achieve bigger and better things than if they’d stayed on their original paths.
The history of startups is littered with these developments. Flickr and Slack, for example, both started out as internal tools for a massively multiplayer online game. If multiple people across the organization are building tools that have the potential to be useful internally, there’s a much better chance that one of them will be useful for other people too.
A trusted companion to traditional development
Ultimately, every organization should want its employees to be as empowered as possible. The best way to ensure that is to get it right from the start. Low-code platforms can be an incredibly powerful way of ensuring this is the case. While it will not replace traditional development, it can be a trusted companion; helping to reduce the load on professional developers and improving the efficiency of custom apps. As such, it can be a differentiator for businesses wanting to stand out in a competitive environment.
Nizam is the President MEA, Zoho Corporation