Business applications without coding — the benefits of low-code platforms

Rohan Mathew

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We live in the day and age of dynamic development of technology, where more and more companies decide to take advantage of innovative solutions to facilitate and speed up their daily work, while improving its quality. Entire business divisions, functions and individual employees increasingly need and want to use IT tools that improve or even enable them to carry out their tasks in an effective and efficient manner. This leads to the growing popularity of highly innovative IT systems, which enable building business applications without code — this in turn enables companies to quickly and easily deliver tools for the age of digital transformation, without having to be dependent on specific development teams and without giving up the advantages of solutions tailored to current needs. There is a reason why low-code platforms are enjoying ever-growing popularity and why they are considered to be one of the most future-oriented and dynamically-growing areas of enterprise IT solutions.

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What makes low-code technology and developing business applications without code so great?

Building business applications without coding can be achieved using low-to-no-code technologies, thanks to which it is possible to develop and deploy IT solutions for the enterprise without any programming skills and without knowing programming languages. Unlike no-code tools, which do not offer any opportunities to use any code elements or snippets, and which are designed for building very simple applications for handling basic scenarios, low-code platforms are far more advanced. Thanks to the possibility of using code where it is more technologically or economically justified, they enable effective and efficient deployment of comprehensive and fully-fledged enterprise applications, which are able to handle even very complex business processes and advanced integrations with other systems. In other words, you can use low-code platforms to develop enterprise-grade business applications, addressing the needs of large companies and corporations in every way that matters, including optimising core processes.

Using low-code technology, as well as business process digitalisation and automation offers an enormous potential and new opportunities to facilitate and improve enterprise operations, regardless of the sector and business profile. With more and more companies stating that they were able to achieve a number of measurable and tangible benefits in a short time span, while improving their performance and successfully bring about digital transformation, this trend is currently on the rise.

Before the popularity of low-to-no-code platforms started to grow and before they became widely available, designing and developing enterprise applications required employing experts, including software developers, who were both expensive and scarce on the market. They developed ready-made solutions, which were then tested and implemented into the company’s ecosystem, which required considerable time and financial outlays. What is more, such a commitment usually made the company dependent on the services of specific development in a long-term perspective. What is more, this approach to deploying enterprise IT solutions often leads to the situation, where before the application is implemented in a production environment, the scope of requirements changes, which – in some edge cases – may make the selected solution unfit for its intended purpose and require a rollback to the initial production stages. In some cases, it may also turn out that it is not possible to implement the necessary changes without major modifications and changes concerning initial assumptions, which is both time-consuming and costly. Personal changes in the development team, as well as limited availability of developers with relevant skills and qualifications may also prove to be problematic.

The scarcity of software developers in the labour market, particularly apparent in the last decade, forced the IT industry to seek other, alternative solutions.  Low-code platforms, whose beginnings date back to the 1990s, turned out to be a very good solution to this problem.   Low-code and no-code platforms provide an intuitive and easy-to-use interface, allowing users without software development expertise to build and configure fully-fledged and functional enterprise applications using a visual designer tool. This enables the company to quickly build and deploy business applications that are in line with the enterprise standards, while keeping coding requirements to a bare minimum.

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What are the features of modern and innovative low-code platforms?

Low-code platforms can be used to quickly and conveniently build and deploy business applications using drag & drop method in the so-called Designers using wizards, which do not require any prior knowledge of programming languages or coding skills. Implementing such an innovative and highly-functional solution enables the company to stop relying on services provided by specific development teams, while introducing the so-called Citizen Assisted Development paradigm, according to which all applications are created in the process of synergistic cooperation between their end users and IT specialists, thus ensuring that all business applications are tailored to the current needs of the company, while ensuring that best IT practices, as well as business circumstances and links to the existing IT ecosystem of the company are all taken into consideration.

Low-code platforms are based on ready-made modules, and applications can be built from pre-fabricated elements – which is why they are often referred to as building blocks. The components included with the platform are created and developed based on users’ needs and the ways they are using the available tools. Building new business applications with low-code platforms is therefore easier, faster and less demanding in terms of development skills, which translates directly into time and money savings, as well as shorter time-to-business.

One of the key advantages of building enterprise applications without coding is that business stakeholders can be directly involved in the development process – which is important, since they are their end-users or they manage the digitalised and automated processes, which means that they know it inside-out. The stakeholder group may include employees with coding skills as well as people who have never had any contact with programming languages. What matters in this context, however, is their awareness of the business context and the needs of their teams, which should be met by business applications. This awareness translates into compliance with the applicable procedures and business innovation of the developed solutions, allowing the teams to deploy applications that meet all the relevant needs of the company as a whole or a specific project. On the other hand, IT experts who work hand-in-hand with business representatives take care of technical issues, manage IT standards, ensure security and interoperational character of the developed applications, making sure that they mesh well with other elements of the company’s IT ecosystem. Thus, all the stakeholders bring their competencies, knowledge and experience to the table, ensuring efficiency and synergy in projects concerning developing business applications without coding.

Modern, innovative low-code platforms and their features

The best enterprise-grade low-code IT solutions available on the market enable comprehensive digitalisation and automation of business processes, as well as development (within unified environment) of tailor-made, highly-standardised business applications that handle virtually all business scenarios. Despite their extensive feature sets, low-code platforms are very easy-to-use and intuitive due to the fact that building fully-fledged business applications does not require any prior knowledge of programming languages or employing software developers specialised in certain technologies.

High-end low-code platforms enable delivery of dedicated business applications that can handle up to 90% of all business scenarios, and the best of them take advantage of truly innovative technologies, which include workflow engine, no-to-low-code application development, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), optical character recognition (OCR), digital signature and many others. Also worthy of note is the high flexibility of some of these solutions – an aspect that ensures not only quick development process, but also nearly instantaneous deployment of changes. One of the most interesting examples of such a solution is the WEBCON BPS low-code platform, which – thanks to the use of bespoke InstantChange™ technology – enables both easy and fast development of new business applications without coding, as well as modifying and adapting them to changing needs with immediate effect. Thanks to such solutions, low-code platforms are able to meet the requirements of the most dynamically growing companies that aspire to the position of market or industry leaders.