Point of View

Modernize and transform your business with low-code/no-code development

August 19, 2020

Low-Code/ No-Code (LCNC) services are rapid visual application development services that enable developers to easily and quickly create new applications that meet business needs. LCNC is transforming traditional application development methods, and its speed and agility are gaining momentum among service providers and enterprises alike. We have seen examples of a 50% reduction in developer work, and significant simplification of processes and operations in a number of weeks. Not surprisingly, LCNC development is a rare gem seeing growth in the current COVID environmentWhile tech-savvy business users can access draganddrop component functionalitto create applications relatively easily, successful LCNC development requires IT support and additional expertise that IT services providers can offer. It is important to note that LCNC software and related services are an approach to application development, not a functional category of software.  

Use the right LCNC platform for your needs 

There are several different LCNC platformssome are better known than others. The list of established platform providers includes Microsoft, Salesforce, and ServiceNow, all of which use LCNC to expand their offerings to support customers’ business processes. Specialist LCNC platform providers include Appian, MendixOutsystems, and Pega, each of which brings a different skill set to the table. Enterprises are taking two main approaches to adopting LCNC services: 

  1. Technology-led: An enterprise has invested in an LCNC platform and then asks a service provider to use it to meet specific business needs. Adapting an existing platform is a sensible approach if the enterprise uses Microsoft O365, for example, and would like to explore LCNC development capabilities on the Microsoft platform.  
  2. Services-Led: An enterprise engages in an advisory engagement with a service provider to identify business problems. The service provider suggests the bestfit LCNC platform to meet business needs. 

In both cases, we see enterprises using more than one LCNC platform. While this may be a CIOs nightmare, it is important to use the right toolIts also worth highlighting that another big advantage of using LCNC platforms is their API integration capability. We expect a multipleLCNCplatform approach to continue, although you should try to standardize on a very small number of main platforms.  

Know that you need IT support 

LCNC platform providers, much like SaaS providers in general, have done a good job of promoting the simplicity of developing on their platforms, especially for citizen or business developers with little to no coding experience. For example there are pre-built templates and automation built into the LCNC platforms. However, if business developers were to create applications in isolation from their IT departments with no regard for enterprise governance requirements or enterprise-wide process strategy, they may create the same application environment complexity that enterprises have been trying to shun in the past decade. Any meaningful business solution will likely require something more complicated and, therefore, at least some level of coding expertise.  

Use LCNC to deliver enterprise transformation 

Generally speaking, there are two main categories of LCNC development solution examples: 

  1. Net new applications that improve a specific process. Examples include automating a process or creating an intuitive user interface (UI). Most examples of LCNC development fall here. Its worth noting that while using LCNC for RPA (robotic process automation) and AI (artificial intelligence) is an important part of the market, as we highlighted here, it is only one example of the capabilities of LCNC development. Examples of net new application development include automating contact centers and improving HR planning and forecasting. Recent examples include the ability to quickly develop applications to help enterprises manage their employees during the COVID pandemic. For example, the Salesforce AppExchange website, which presents a collection of available proprietary assets for customers, currently highlights COVID-relevant applications on its front page. 
  2. Complete modernization of your enterprise application environment. LCNC enables you to integrate with your legacy systems. Most enterprises do not realize this, but as awareness increases, we expect the LCNC development market to explode. Examples include IBMPega services practice, which aims to assist clients in achieving true transformations. 

Get advice from a service provider to maximize your investment in LCNC 

Service providers have been steadily ramping up their LCNC services capabilities and proprietary solution investments in the past few years to meet the increasing enterprise demand. Service providers can help you to achieve your desired business results in a long-term sustainable model. Examples of the value they can deliver include: 

  • Providing Design Thinking sessions to help you identify business requirements and the best platform for creating the solution. 
  • Positioning LCNC development in the context of a wider transformation initiative, such as enterprise-wide HR transformation. 
  • Ensuring that your business and IT teams work together to create applications that align with enterprise imperatives; these include important integrations with other applications and security. 
  • Providing additional technical skills as required. 
  • Offering proprietary technologies, such as industry sector templates and development platforms, to help maximize your LCNC development investments. 
  • Managing ongoing support services for your enterprise, including how to implement regular LCNC releases and updates. 

The Bottom Line: LCNC is a fast-growing approach that could deliver real transformation 

You need to consider LCNC development; it is the new way to quickly and effectively meet business needs—it’s automation for application development. Use it to automate processes, create intuitive user interfaces, develop mobile-enabled modern applications in 2 to 6 weeks, and support your digital transformation efforts. Get expert advice from service providers for best practices and discuss legacy modernization possibilities.  

LCNC is still an evolving market, and LCNC platform providers continue to develop their capabilities. Wexpect new entrants to continue to emerge. HFS has spoken with several leading service providers to understand their take on this market. Over the next few months, we will publish individual service provider profiles to highlight their capabilities, investments, and vision for this space. 

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