Exploring the business case for low-code development
In our last article, we looked at the ways that businesses across the Asia-Pacific region were using low-code application development in their drive down the digital transformation road. Of particular interest was the emergence of “citizen developers,” by which we meant line-of-business employees and managers who are starting to develop apps and services that serve their needs specifically. Not only does that obviously improve the efficiency of business processes, but it also makes customer experiences more immersive and relevant.
In this article, we will further make the case for GUI-centric application development and explore the business cases for using no-code or low-code environments to empower companies across the region to think bigger and chart their own digital paths.
The latest technologies
Innovation in the areas of new technology — like AR/VR, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and IIoT — is a powerful way to develop significant differentiation from competitors. But breaking into these new areas is not particularly easy, nor is it fast if businesses rely on “traditional” development methodology.
The proven effectiveness of a “fail fast and fail often” attitude, however, can be leveraged with the very latest in low-code development platforms. Rather than having to wait the months or years involved in traditional development cycles, companies can now roll out new apps and services in record time and be the first to market in new areas. Furthermore, for existing clients and partners, more immersive and attractive services and applications mean better customer experiences — and that aids customer retention and repeat business.
Developers, developers, developers
It’s worth pointing out that this article does not intend to portray “traditional” development processes as irrelevant — quite the contrary – but it is usually slow. There is, indubitably, very much a place for traditional development in the low-code approach. Developers can customise what they build in low-code with code they write in the traditional way. The truth is that developers right across the APAC region use low-code solutions as an integral part of their daily toolkit, leveraging the advantages of the environment to improve their workrate, and therefore aid the business.
It’s proven that in the APAC region and Japan, companies’ development teams are finding that low-code tools also help the DevOps function:
* Spend less time on security concerns. Low-code solutions have data security baked in, with potential weaknesses like APIs between legacy and new apps created from the standpoint of “security first.”
* Involve line-of-business users and managers. There’s a significant saving made immediately as requirement analysis exercises are massively shortened. Why? Because the end-users and those people commissioning and imagining the new, innovative business solutions are involved throughout, in partnership with developers. And that also means that user uptake of new apps for internal use in the enterprise is assured, too.
* Spend less time on debugging and QA. With many of the more repetitious elements of application development taken care of “under the hood” in low-code environments, there are fewer areas that are subject to human error (errors in code). That drives up the quality of the service or app, and lowers its development costs. Development iterations are more frequent, maintaining continuous end-user engagement.
Innovation comes from speed
The “fail fast, fail often” mindset is one that has been proven to win new customers and improve the business (see below), helping develop business brand perception across the region and the wider world. Slow application development processes mean that the inspiration for an idea will dwindle over time, and when finally launched, the marketplace, the technology, and the customer may well have moved on.
With more developer time spent on the app’s effectiveness and possibilities and less on requirements analysis, security, and debugging, low-code helps development teams adopt a more strategic role in the business. They produce the goods quicker and exploit new technology ahead of the business’s competitors.
Those leading the way
German industrial giant Schneider Electric’s operation in the APAC region has been transformed by the company’s development of what it terms a “low-code digital factory,” that has produced more than 50 new apps in its first 20 months — and as the low-code methodology spreads across this global player’s business functions, this exceptional speed of production appears set to improve even further.
The rapid prototyping of new applications saved the company over 650 person-days in the first year of its adoption of the OutSystems low-code platform, too. Services are being rolled out faster and more cheaply, with positive effects on its customers and many partners in the region.
FWD Insurance — operating in a market segment that regards data privacy and adherence to governance as paramount— has been able to develop a much more agile approach in its DevOps procedures after using low-code. Digital services are coming online faster, and the company can react quickly to customer feedback, ensuring that the user experience on mobile and desktop is one of an immersive and exciting B2C conversation.
Learn how your company too can re-energize its application development in innovative new ways, with line-of-business involvement, faster app iterations and development cycles — and all at lower cost — by getting in touch with the OutSystems team, today. The “better business” outcomes of this exciting new technology are spreading quickly across the Asia Pacific; it’s time to get on board.
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