How many innovative apps do you think could not make their way to the market because the developers lacked the financial resources or technical skills to create them?
Coding is a lengthy, expensive, and tiring process. You scrape the surface of software development, and the technical stages it requires to build a modern, secure, and reliable app are overwhelming at the best of times. Such are the challenges of building a state-of-the-art software product that 61% of business stakeholders report that they implement less than 50% of their proposed IT solutions.
However, things are getting easier now. Thanks to the low-code platforms for bringing a glaring alternative of app development to us. Maybe in a few years, we will nostalgically muse on the old days and recall how hard it was to find a professional coder for the simplest software development.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for software developers is estimated to grow by 22% between 2020 and 2030. But there might not be enough professionals for every organization to meet its development needs with adequate talent.
So how can you stay on edge and make your products and processes more agile? This is where the benefits of low code development come into the picture. Curious to know what these terms mean, how they will shape the future of software development – largely for business leaders with little coding knowledge? We shall answer and touch upon some important aspects of low-code platforms in this article.
Table of Contents
- What is Low-Code?
- Low-Code Development – The Process
- Market Stats of Low-Code Development
- Features of a Low-Code Platform
- Low-Code vs. No-Code
- Low-Code Platforms and Tools
- What Can You Create with Low-Code Platforms?
- Top 5 In-Demand Low-Code Platforms
- Selecting the Best Low-Code Platform
- Benefits of Low-Code of Development
- Limitations of Low-Code Platforms
- Future of Low-Code Development
- Should You Build a Low-Code App?
What is Low-Code?
Low-code is an intuitive approach in software development where you would need little to no coding for building an app. Instead of writing endless lines of codes with complex programming languages, you can simply ‘draw’ an app by employing drag-and-drop functionalities and logic-driven graphical interfaces.
So even if you don’t have any advanced knowledge of development or coding, you can use these innovative techniques to create software according to your need, be it mobile or business apps. A low-code platform is a quick and convenient alternative to the traditional software development process and is becoming increasingly popular among professional and non-professional developers.
Low-code platforms offer you the unique opportunity to easily build apps so that you can simplify processes, meet the growing market demands, and fulfill your business objectives.
Global low-code development market is expected to generate $187 billion by 2030. Click To Tweet
Above all, it’s important to remember that such progressive platforms are not the revolution but the smooth, logical evolution of technology. Starting with machine code to Java, assembler, C/C++, and so on, developers have constantly been searching for a more effective abstraction that can accelerate the development process. In this respect, low-code development might be a big step towards facilitating automation and digital transformation in your organization.
How Does the Low-Code Development Process Work?
Ask any developer, and you’ll get one steady answer – coding isn’t an easy task. Yes, coding comes naturally to some gifted developers, but they’re thin on the ground. Practically, it takes quite a long time for developers to hone their knowledge and things to consider while building efficient software from scratch.
This is why senior developers are a valuable asset for your organization – and this is why the demand for skilled developers is increasing across all industries.
We can help you develop graphically rich applications with low code platforms
Hence, a low-code platform empowers you to create apps via visual configuration and user interfaces within a programming environment. You don’t have to learn the traditional hand-coded computer programming and rely on skilled developers to build apps.
Developers can now incorporate some basic elements into apps and workflows. These building blocks eliminate the need for codes behind orders and actions, allowing you to develop business apps or interfaces without manually requiring you to code them.
The Current Market Stats of Low-Code Development
Despite different cost management strategies during the Covid-19 pandemic, the growth in remote development will continue to fuel the adoption of low-code platforms. While low-code app development is not a new trend, the conjunction of hyper-automation, digital disruptions, and the upsurge of composable business have resulted in an influx of booming demands and tools.
Anyhow, here I present some striking figures and facts that speak volumes of the advancements and benefits of low-code development.
- The worldwide low-code development market is going to cross the mark of $13.8 billion by 2021, with a 22.6% rise from last year.
- By 2024, 65% of app development activities will belong to low-code app development.
- 75% of big organizations will use at least four low-code development tools for both IT app development and citizen development initiatives.
- With a 31% CAGR, the global low-code development market will generate $187 billion by 2030.
9 Key Features of a Low-Code Platform
So, low-code platforms are here to make software development more user-friendly, agile, and scalable. But how do these platforms have the potential to simplify what is typically a complicated process to such a great extent?
I’ve sketched out an overview of the exciting features of low-code platforms that prove to be the cornerstone of this software development approach.
1. Out-of-the-Box (OOTB) Functionality
OOTB is a stand-out functionality of low-code development that eliminates the need to create core components of an app from the very beginning. From sales process or service management to data storage, such modules provide the essential functionalities of app development.
2. Visual Development Tools
The low-code platforms include some efficient built-in components that would present information in an understandable format to you, irrespective of your level of tech knowledge. From non-technical enterprises to expert developers, everyone can speed up the software development process with visual modeling tools and templates.
3. Drag-and-Drop Interfaces
This is a notable feature of low-code platforms that speed up the overall development processes. Such functionalities enable you to drag and drop multiple components instead of developing them all on your own. Hence, both professional developers and citizen developers can easily build apps with the benefits of low-code platforms.
Scalability is something you can’t overlook in low-code as well as traditional software. With low-code development, apps can easily adapt to the increasing business goals and changing trends in the software industry. Your low-code apps should manage the growing number of users, be it only 50 or 50 thousand.
Besides being functional and user-friendly, low-code platforms must be a secured solution to app development. Therefore, ensure you’re following the needed protocols for the security of the app and the platforms as a whole.
The OOTB functionality of the low-code platforms also comes with the advantage of scalability. It allows you to repeatedly use pre-configured components and modules with certain common functions for different apps. You can use them wherever applicable, making app development way faster. With scalability, the essence of your low-code app will be lost.
7. Cross-Platform Accessibility
‘Build once, deploy everywhere’. One of the substantial benefits of low-code development is its multi-device compatibility. You can use these platforms on any device that runs on the prime operating systems. Keeping in mind the number of mobile devices that are growing each day, you should create an efficient low-code app that holds cross-platform functionality standards.
8. Lifestyle Management
Lifecycle management simplifies and streamlines various software development life cycle stages, from coding to testing and debugging. You can access all the data and information of the development process and go back to an older phase if needed. Needless to say, this feature helps in improved performance and operation of the software.
9. Monitoring and Reporting
You can monitor the workflows and processes of your low-code app and track efficiency at every phase of development. This is particularly helpful for app analytics and performance. Additionally, low-code platforms allow comparative monitoring with which you can monitor the performance of your app vis-a-vis other apps in the market.
Low-Code vs. No-Code: What’s the Difference?
Low-code and no-code – throughout my app development experience, I’ve seen multiple clients using these two terms interchangeably, although these two platforms are not the same at all.
Low-code is for developers. Such systems require some technical knowledge but empower skilled developers to work quicker. For developers, the more efficient the tools and methods to boost the development process, the better.
In contrast, no-code platforms target everyone, especially non-technical business owners, as these systems don’t require coding skills at all. While developing a low-code app, you don’t have to manually write code to provide a user-friendly interface and engaging interface. It’s completely coding-free, and your enterprise users are most likely to like the user interface if it’s more intuitive.
Another area of contrast is the trade-off. Since you can use the low-code platform for a wide array of technical solutions, it needs some coding. Coding is also a crucial part of the development process as the developer gets the capability they need. But no-code platforms eliminate all technical information. They are exceptionally simple and even cheaper to use, although they’re only available for specific cases.
While both these platforms are mapped out to foster agility, the scope of their power is what singles them out. Depending on your digitization goals in the long run, you should choose between these two approaches.
Low-Code Platforms and Tools
Talking about the benefits of low-code development, it’s important that we synonymously shed some light on the platforms and tools that facilitate the whole coding process and make it a lot easier for users.
So, under the low-code umbrella, there are various correlated categories. The most vital area among them all is the platforms and tools that aim at sophisticated users. Such useful tools help business users and professional developers with a scope of ample customization. And by good fortune, low-code apps effectively follow the traditional development, test, and deploy process.
You now have the opportunity to seamlessly create data schemas and models to enhance the app quality, User Interface, and performance with these tools. How incredible that must be!
What Can You Create with the Low-Code Platform?
Sure, low-code platforms are exceptionally useful for software development. But you can reap their benefits in a lot more ways. Throughout these years, Radixweb developers have been helping businesses leverage the power of low-code development and create an ecosystem that allows them to use such apps efficiently.
Let me show you nine key use-cases of low-code development that might suit you the best.
1. Core Systems
A core system with modern technologies is amazingly helpful in a handful of factors – your business can scale quickly as it grows, adapt to the changing market conditions, and cater to the latest preferences of your customers and employees.
Now, you don’t have to invest in commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products and eventually spend some extra cash for customization. Nor do you have to write codes for updating or revamping the current legacy systems in-house. Even a few years back, I’ve seen multiple businesses struggling with these two time and resource-consuming options.
Fortunately, the benefits of low-code development comes with an agile metrics to perfectly execute the app development lifecycle. You can deliver efficient low-code apps that are cloud-native and multi-cloud portable. Their latest microservice architecture is greatly flexible, highly scalable, and completely secure. All these aspects will help you build a perfect app in record time and save your project from failure.
2. Web-Based Customer Portal
In case you didn’t know, customer portals can be the perfect digital tool for your business. It delivers a self-service experience to customers as they can perform various routine tasks like exploring services, getting a quote, making payments, etc., without interacting with anyone. So, you can offer a flawless customer experience and discover new revenue streams with a cost-effective web-based portal.
Besides, it’s not easy to develop a successful customer portal no matter what the value is. The traditional development process is costly and time-consuming, while COTS software can’t entirely fulfill your requirements.
Low-code development sorts out these challenges as it empowers developers to create portals with consumer-grade User Interfaces. Develop the UI once and reuse it for various needs and devices at any time.
3. B2C Mobile Apps
Mobile apps have brought us a great opportunity to increase the customer base and optimize business revenue. But what if, as in most cases, you don’t have the resources and talent to build a mobile app? Moreover, the necessity to build different versions for different mobile architectures might be another big hurdle for you.
Low-code platforms can help you in this as they streamline the development of suitable mobile apps with existing employees. And if you use a matured low-code platform, you can leverage the power of React Native for smart Android and iOS apps.
4. IoT-Empowered Progressive Apps
With the advancement of IoT, business solutions have reached a new height in terms of enhanced customer engagement and efficient internal operations. As the benefits of IoT are inevitable, we have been actively discovering ways to bring in the latest IoT-enabled functionalities into mobile apps.
But developing an IoT app is a challenging task. You need to smoothly integrate multiple systems such as sensors, communication methods, cars, and so on from IoT endpoints to store the data. And this data holds little value.
But developers can now easily integrate IoT platforms with low-code. Low-code web or mobile apps can transform the IoT data into functional and context-based insights so that end-users can easily consume it. Additionally, you can seamlessly incorporate your IoT development with third-party services and enterprise systems, like weather or traffic, and deliver more active physical action and information.
5. Monoliths to Microservices
Microservices, if implemented properly, can improve your company’s time-to-market through new functionalities and updates. You can craft these IT components according to your business potentials to boost cross-functional collaboration. Microservices run separately and so, developers can deploy them independently.
But there lies a major concern – breaking down a monolith into microservices is a complicated process, and there’s not an all-around approach to it.
A low-code platform got you covered here! You can logically phase out monoliths using these platforms and speed up the development of transactional microservices apps. So, this is your opportunity to utilize APIs and build low-code-based microservices from monolithic apps.
6. Business Process Management (BPM) Engine
Business process management is one of the primary goals of low-code solutions. Apps of such kind allow you to automate processes and manage them more effectively.
Yes, there are other BPM platforms as well, but they’re complex to use. Low-code BPM is comparatively simple and easy to develop. It’s one of the highly successful low-code apps, and both professional and citizen developers can get their hands on it.
7. New SaaS Apps
The new SaaS app has the potential to fix the common difficulties of customers. Such apps can amplify your core services and products and help you to sell them commercially. Additionally, you can also catch up with the trending market needs and generate new revenue streams.
But when it comes to building a new SaaS app, I know the process can be quite intimidating. With low-code platforms, you can efficiently build, test, and deploy an app at high speed. They consist of a collaborative nature, ensuring you obtain direct feedback from users. Over and above that, low-code SaaS apps help you save costs, offer enhanced speed-to-market, and a productive environment to explore with the latest apps.
8. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM helps in managing your organization’s interaction with present and future customers. And if you integrate low-code into CRM, it will enable you to automate and optimize a broad range of manual tasks. Furthermore, CRM tools based on a low-code platform prove to be useful in several other departments as well, such as sales and marketing campaign management.
9. Budget Request and Compliance App
If your budget approval process is based on paper or spreadsheet, it can be prone to errors, be time-consuming, and lack transparency. Low-code app development empowers business users and developers with collaborative tools, agility, and flexibility to digitize the end-to-end budget requests and approval procedures on an exclusive platform.
So now, your users can access an app from different devices that offer an avant-garde User Experience and quick response. Additionally, you can integrate the ERP systems to assess budget requests against the estimated budget. Therefore, developers can easily manage and update the app with low-code platforms.
Top 5 In-Demand Low-Code Platforms in the Market
Without a doubt, the benefits of low-code platforms have taken the development world by storm. And the current market has swelled accordingly with advanced low-code enterprise apps.
Yes, all of these platforms offer more or less similar services, but you should definitely know the subtle distinctions between them. Trust me, it’ll be worth your time.
So, here’s a rundown on five popular platforms for low-code development that you must consider for building an app.
- Zoho Creator
- Google App Maker
Zoho Creator is one of the leading low-code platforms out there. It offers a broad spectrum of rich features, including form builder and visual development interface. You can also integrate third-party apps on this platform.
This low-code platform’s price starts from $10/month for a user and can reach up to $35 depending on your usage and number of apps. It’s most suitable for SMEs.
This platform is comparatively new in the market. It has effective visual development interfaces and an intuitive UI builder. It performs exceptionally well at building responsive low-code apps. Our developers have come across only one shortcoming – it has fewer resources and templates to offer.
Google App Maker’s cost starts from $10/month and targets G suite business owners who wish to develop apps in a simple and easy way.
Since 1999, Appian has been a market veteran in offering top-notch low-code solutions. From heavy database work, this platform segregates the drag-and-drop functionality so that developers can concentrate on other important tasks.
Although Appian will cost you more than other platforms, ranging from $90 to $180/month, it has been worth our clients’ investment so far. With its matured features, you can easily develop a productive and collaborative mobile app.
Microsoft created this extraordinary low-code platform available in the market with ample integration options and robust features. Although PowerApps is comparatively less simple for not-so-tech-savvy individuals, it comes with world-class low-code solutions.
Surprisingly, it will cost you only $5/month in exchange for advanced UI templates and functionality. It’s no surprise that developers and business owners are flocking to this platform.
Outsystems has emerged as a gamechanger in the worldwide low-code development world. It consists of multiple out-of-the-box features, including process and workflow mapping, visual drag-and-drop features, WYSIWYG editor, an app marketplace to choose pre-configured templates, and so on.
You can get access to source code and deploy anywhere with this high-quality app development platform. Plans range from $5400 to $12, 250/month.
How Should You Select the Best Low-Code Platform?
Choosing a suitable low-code platform for your business is a tricky process. To ensure maximum success, I would recommend you to keep the following things in mind:
- Check out different use cases and evaluate them. Explore the strengths and weaknesses of multiple platforms and pick out what will work the best for your business
- Decide who will develop apps. While low-code platforms will benefit professional developers, no-code platforms are the right choice for citizen developers.
- Do thorough research and choose a platform with rabid fans. Forrester Waves, Gartner, and other analyst websites should cover an efficient low-code platform.
- Estimate pricing, define user requirements, and prioritize integration needs.
- Evaluate app hosting, governance, DevOps roadmap and security options that can meet your project expectations.
What are the Tangible Benefits of Low-Code of Development?
Low-code is an ingenious and ground-breaking approach to software development. It can revolutionize the tech requirements of your organization, that too in a cost-effective way. Some of the concrete advantages of low-code platforms to boost your tech capabilities are:
1. Coding for Everyone
Although not entirely code-free and uncomplicated like no-code, low-code platforms facilitate easy access to anyone in your organization. They standardize programming and let anyone at any level try their hands on creating apps.
Such standardization has been helping businesses relieve the stress of mission-critical app development and manage the ongoing shortage of professional developers.
2. Improved Agility
With low-code solutions, you can build progressive custom apps in just a few days. As I mentioned earlier, with traditional development, it can take months to build a software, whereas the low-code platform helps you save time by discarding the manual coding and testing part.
Hence, you can now easily make your business more adaptive and agile as per the changing needs of customer experience.
3. Time-to-Value for Developers
Low-code development offers you the opportunity to leverage the existing potential of your workforce and deliver apps promptly. The robust features of low-code platforms like development tools, visual interfaces, and reusable elements boost developers’ productivity remarkably.
Moreover, low-code paves the way to faster decision-making as the pre-configured tools allow cross-functional collaboration between various teams. All these together, ultimately result in an unprecedented time-to-value for your app development process.
4. Increased Scalability
The low-code development process allows you to build maintainable solutions. With cloud-native architecture, you can swiftly scale your app in the future. From automating apps to streamlining complex systems, low-code solutions have been helping our clients manage their extensive projects with ease.
Additionally, these platforms can help you enhance customer engagement with conversational and immersive experiences as you can constantly upgrade your app and its services.
5. Advanced Digital Transformation
A successful digital transformation needs you to leave behind the legacy systems and embrace new tech capabilities. Your workforce should look for inventive methods to support that technology. In this regard, the benefit of low-code development is that it speeds up the digitization process as a wider set of audiences now can access cutting-edge technologies.
Besides, low-code apps save a handful of resources for developers so that they can utilize those for high-end projects. As a result, your business can effectively keep pace with the momentum of innovation.
Are There Any Limitations of Low-Code Platforms?
Sure, coding does not come with an all-purpose approach, and low-code development is not without its own drawbacks.
Luckily, these drawbacks are not that grave, and you can easily alleviate them, given you have identified them in advance. Let’s have a look at the underlying hindrances:
1. Not a Complete Substitution
Low-code development might have helped citizen developers to step up their app development game, but that does not mean professional developers are out of the league. The thing is, creating an app and integrating the app with other systems and apps are two completely different tasks. So, regardless of the low-code platform of your choice, you’re still going to need experienced devlopers to perform complex processes.
In the end, if you want to achieve ideal outcomes, your app environment should be a fusion of no-code, low-code, and conventional software development strategies.
2. Lack of Customization Scope
The pre-built modules of low-code platforms are surely very convenient to work with, and they come with one serious challenge – they don’t provide any scope for you to customize your app. Most low-code components are quite generic in nature and serve a common purpose for all.
Therefore, if you want to bring something unique to your app and serve a special purpose through customization, it may be better off to invest in custom app development to meet your specific needs.
3. Restricted Access to Change Platforms
Although low-code solutions make the whole development process a lot more seamless, seamlessness does not come without a cost. Developers often find themselves indebted to platform vendors, and not all platforms work equally.
For example, some platforms will not allow you to edit apps if you don’t use the tools anymore, while others give out complicated codes that you can’t maintain outside of your app.
4. Reliability and Security
If you’re building an app with a low-code platform, you need to rely heavily on third-party apps and services. And as developers don’t have total control over the process, it might bring potential safety concerns to your business.
Enabling less tech-savvy individuals for creating apps definitely opens a new window of opportunities for your organization but at the expense of certain vulnerabilities as Shadow IT. In the same way, integration points put forward probable security and reliability threats.
What Factors Will Determine the Future of Low-Code Development?
In recent years, low-code development has gone through an unprecedented rise and will continue to scale up in the upcoming days. It will spread across different enterprise-level initiatives and extensive business projects involving professional developers and a broader line of business. Eventually, more low-code use cases will emerge, leading to an increased shift of business work to the cloud.
Let me show you the three prominent factors that are most likely to shape the future of low-code development:
1. Increased Adoption of Low-Code Platforms by Enterprises
The pre-built modules and components of low-code platforms are perfectly designed for business and technical users to boost enterprise productivity. As a result, 55-65% of traditional app development will shift to low-code development in the next five years.
Yes, there are many senior developers who prefer manual coding over low-code solutions. But things are changing now, and they have also realized how faster low-code development is and how it reduces the drudgework. Needless to say, such a swift process has created direct value to them.
So just like presentation and spreadsheets, low-code development skills will soon become an integral part of the overall skillset of a business user. It essentially decentralizes ecosystems and tech stacks that not only help in successful app development but manage IT at a significantly reduced cost and time.
2. Big Investors in Low-Code Platforms
Low-code platforms are getting huge investments from the top three public cloud vendors in the market today – Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Along with established low-code vendors like Appian, Zoho Creator, and others, Salesforce Lightning and Microsoft Power Platforms have surfaced as the most popular platforms for businesses.
Sooner or later, enterprise customers will incline towards these large-size low-code solution providers as you can easily integrate the low-code tools of these big vendors into their cloud stacks. With better reusable modules, customizable UI templates, and integration capabilities, public cloud providers are definitely going to step up the low-code game.
Besides, small vendors will continue to grow their competence to move to microservices from monolithic apps, modernize legacy systems, enable real-time monitoring, and implement the serverless architecture.
3. Improved AI Capabilities and Intelligent Governance
Right now, no low-code platform is mature enough to automate intelligence governance for your app. But the good news is that there’s definitely scope for advancement, and developers are always working on it.
With the impending improvements, you can easily automate some processes for your developers, such as testing, app design options, etc. All these will ultimately improve your app performance. Moreover, you’ll get to provide direct AI services to your customers as low-code platforms will democratize AI in the app development process.
There’s indeed a bright future for low-code platforms, and that’s why by 2021, 75% of worldwide development companies will utilize the benefits of low-code.
To Conclude, Should You Build a Low-Code App?
Let’s look back at 2020 and reimagine how the adaptation to advanced technology contributed to the big success of many businesses. When C-suite executives felt the disastrous impact of the pandemic and left their comfort zone, many of them discovered opportunities. And those who embraced the new rules and adapted the digital transformation, managed to stay on edge.
In the future, and even now, low-code development is opening up the software development world to many innovative minds in the world. In the right state of affairs, low-code solutions can be the real game-changer for your business.
It’s time for you to build a low-code app and level up your business in a simple and hassle-free way. Consult with top-rated software development company– Radixweb, to reap the benefits of low-code development I have presented in this article. You’re just one decision away from transforming the future of your business!