6 questions to ask when evaluating low-code platforms
Organizations that have implemented a low-code development platform report higher revenue growth than their counterparts.
It should be no surprise to anyone that enabling workforces with digital solutions became immediately, critically important in the aftermath of COVID-19. Specifically, secure, high-performing digital solutions deployable to vast, newly remote workforces.
Solutions that provide not only timely service — but also positive, differentiating user experiences for employees, partners and those we serve is critical as the world ‘virtually’ navigates this next normal.
In fact, “The top strategic business priority in the post-pandemic environment is digital transformation,” according to a recent Frost & Sullivan whitepaper analysis of its survey of business and IT decision-makers conducted in July 2020. The whitepaper also stated that “ … the organizations that are most satisfied with the effectiveness of their business applications have implemented a low-code development platform. Even more revealing, such organizations report higher revenue growth than their counterparts.”
Organizations are increasingly and rapidly realizing the value of low-code platforms
Inherent in top low-code development platforms, powerful development building blocks and visual design tools — like drop-down menus, checkboxes and radio buttons — enable the rapid creation, launch, use and change of powerful business applications. This is significant. It means that:
- Non-technical developers can create software without having to write code
- Advanced developers can leverage pre-built building blocks for mundane coding tasks, while focusing on more sophisticated functionality
- Your organization can easily compete in today’s digital marketplace
This also means your organization can reduce risk while replacing legacy, proprietary or unsupported applications with modern solutions that meet immediate and future technology needs.
But not all low-code platforms are alike. Options in today’s marketplace include platforms containing general development tools, platforms built for content management, process automation, integration and extended enterprise search and proprietary tools that are built to specialize functionality within specific business systems.
“Organizations expect to see the greatest benefit when low-code development capabilities are built into a content management/process automation platform,” according to the Frost & Sullivan whitepaper. Organizations currently leveraging robust content services platforms are indeed seeing this. “We realized immediately the power the Hyland platform has,” said Sean Lemon, national project manager at Universal Forest Products, “in that we could build just about any database application we needed while replacing old applications that were going to sunset.
How do you get started with low-code application development? Answer these six questions
To understand where your organization can realize benefits, and which type of low-code capabilities will offer the most value, start with answering these six questions:
1. What capabilities exist today with your current platforms or are available by upgrading to the latest versions? In the content services platform space, transformational low-code capabilities are emerging at a rapid pace, built to meet today’s security, mobility and user-experience needs. Bonus question: What low-code capabilities are available with the technology you already have in place that you aren’t using?
2. What do your line-of-business users have to say about their needs and wants, especially in this ‘next normal’? Line-of-business stakeholders should be key participants in the low-code platform decision-making process. They are closest to specific business process needs and have intimate knowledge of what users expect and what roadblocks or challenges currently exist. They also have a pulse on evolving regulatory and market-driven requirements.
3. What business processes can you fix with a low-code platform instead of a multitude of limited purpose/functionality applications? In today’s evolving digital landscape, it is no longer viable to have IT teams take on the heavy lifting of not only maintaining secure environments of hundreds of systems, but also delivering the solutions your employees need at the pace required in today’s digital-first, mobile-first and highly remote marketplace. Instead, look for opportunities to address business challenges with a low-code development platform that offers other extensible capabilities, such as reporting and analytics, customer communications management, collaboration and automated content retention capabilities.
4. Does the low-code platform integrate with your core systems? Key to evolving business processes, along with evolving requirements and event- or market-driven disruption, is having seamless integrations with critical systems whose data and content you use across the enterprise. Low-code platforms should offer integration capabilities that do not rely on custom code. Look for platforms that have integration accelerators and proven integration capabilities that promote secure automation and collaboration — with high performance for reduced transaction times, and a complete view of information for employees, customers, partners and leadership.
5. How will you measure success after deployment? It’s important to benchmark the current environment, including performance, challenges and user experience. This is key to have a clear understanding of how low-code-enabled process improvements have added value to the business, as well as to help identify other areas where low-code applications can deliver quick wins.
6. Will this low-code platform work with your cloud strategy? Today’s IT departments are being asked to do more with less — more security, more availability, more disaster recovery, all with less budgetary allotment. The cloud is ideally suited to assist in these initiatives. For example:
- 76% of respondents state that security is a top app development goal, and since “security is often embedded in the app rather than bolted on to the endpoints” it is critical to ensure your low-code platform has ongoing security as a top capability, according to the Frost & Sullivan whitepaper.
- Additionally, “55% of respondents indicated that their organization currently uses technology to manage enterprise content in the cloud and another 28% plan to do so in the next 12–18 months” according to the IDC technology spotlight, ‘Digital Transformation: Removing Adoption Barriers to Cloud Content Services’.
Low-code platforms empower you to rapidly respond to business needs for better end-user experiences and transformative outcomes
Digital transformation – using data, cloud and new technologies to improve or reinvent business operations – enables applications to not only offer services and critical collaboration, but also turns organizational content into business insights. And many organizations are leveraging low-code platforms to keep up with today’s digital pace; 60% of those surveyed by Frost & Sullivan responded that their organization currently uses at least one low-code development platform, while an additional 15% plan to use a low-code platform within the next two years. With highly configurable apps created with low-code platforms, organizations can deliver solutions in an agile way — at a pace that aligns with the shifting demands and needs of users, immediately and into the future.