Low-code application platforms

Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAPs): Should you adopt?

Low-Code Application Platforms are a self-serve suite of products which enables community/ citizen users (non-technical business users) to develop, deploy and execute capabilities which can accelerate projects in the areas of user experience, business process management, application development, and so on.

An enterprise LCAP supports enterprise-class applications. It enables seamless creation of business user applications while also enabling high performance, security, scalability, and high availability. What’s more, they can seamlessly connect with enterprise systems and applications through an API and can access both on-premises and cloud services.

However, there are a few myths about LCAPs that hinder its adoption.

Low-code platforms are only for the non-technical business users

Low-code platforms, due to its ease and self-serve capabilities, makes the technical teams such as product development and engineering believe that it is not a reliable framework for building critical enterprise applications. They believe that the speed, scalability, integration, security, and collaboration that an enterprise application warrants cannot be provided by a low-code application. This is unlikely to be true.

Low-code platforms empower users with visual modelling tools that enable to seamlessly represent logic and build applications with limited or no need of having to write code. This enables the business users, functional experts, and technical members to collaborate, contribute and align on the development process. The result is a faster turn around and faster ‘go-to-market’.

Low-code development does not work well for critical enterprise applications

There is a common misconception that low code can be used only for small scale development projects wherein integration, data exchange etc. is limited. However, statistics show that a lot of enterprise grade applications which are complex and talk to various other applications in the company have been built using low-code platforms. The users of low code platforms have not expressed any issues with respect to using low code platforms for enterprise-wide applications that interacted with one or more departmental systems within the organization.

Low-code development can only be used for the initial design/UX phase

Low-code platforms (LCAPs) provide an end-to-end avenue to support the entire process of developing an application. This includes designing the application, development, deployment as well as customizations and support. In addition, the low code platforms also enable social collaboration, seamless deployment of applications, tools for security and governance etc. It also enables organizations to adopt a cloud first approach and deploy applications on any cloud. The applications created on LCAPs are, thus, modernized, and seamless.

Low code will create applications that would lack quality and are not secure

There is a school of thought within organizations that firmly believe that low-code platforms will lead to creation of applications that will not sit right in the overall application landscape as they would not fall under the ambit of governance, security, and quality checks.

However, low-code platforms are built to encourage breaking of silos and creating seamless collaboration. If the IT and the business users can collaborate over low-code platforms, it can enable business users to create applications that are functionally relevant faster. With IT bringing in the governance and quality mandates, the applications can enable complete transparency and enhance adoption of DevOps and agile methodologies of software development and management.

Low-Code Platforms hinder customization and hence, cannot be used to build complex applications

While low-code application platforms enable business users to create the desired applications with minimum code, it still empowers the software development team with reusable code extensions to enable them to build on the initial functionality and create new features and functions in the application.

By using the client and server-side APIs, engineers can also ensure that applications built on low-code platforms can connect with internal systems and external services. It can enable these systems to leverage the power of new-age technologies such as machine learning. It enables to build fluid applications that can seamlessly integrate with other core systems and it benefits from a library of reusable components for enhancing user experience.

It would be wise for organizations to give it a try before believing in such myths as above. A highly recommended approach should be to start with small projects and applications and build the confidence – both on the LCAP as well as with the internal stakeholders in business and IT. Once the initial inertia is overcome, the adoption can be fast and smooth. A Low-code platform that is widely adopted across to organization can enable realization of benefits including reduced stress on IT teams and resources, faster ‘go-to-market’ capabilities, seamless customer engagement and modernization of the application landscape.

By Preethi Menon, VP and Head – Practices, Clover Infotech

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