The Future of Agile Business: Low-Code Application Development
COVID-19 has proven that every business must be adept at responding to change. When the pandemic hit, companies were forced to pivot rapidly. Long-standing business processes were obliterated. Employees were displaced, separated from enterprise systems, enterprise data, and from each other. Businesses that could rapidly adjust survived, even thrived, while those that could not faced severe consequences.
From financial services and insurance to healthcare, life sciences, construction, retail, telecommunications, public sector, and more, no industry has proven itself immune. Further, as organizations across markets struggled to respond to COVID’s effects, most found they had not yet achieved much digital transformation success, despite years of talk. As of 2020, they all had to find new ways to operate. And they looked for new technologies to help.
The popularity of low-code development surged in 2020 because low-code platforms are platforms for change. Low-code’s agile nature is now making it a must-have for enterprises and organizations looking to drive change quickly and easily. Low-code can improve the efficiency, productivity, and agility of nearly all organizational functions, be it sales and marketing, R&D, front-line customer service, or back-office finance, accounting, and HR.
What exactly is low-code? It’s a new way to create enterprise software applications. Instead of using complex coding, you draw the application with boxes and arrows, like a flowchart. Low-code has two key components. The first is that it’s fast. It allows you to create apps by drawing a workflow diagram. So it’s quick to build, and quick to change. It supercharges agile development processes. The second is that it’s unified. Low-code enables you to include any worker (people, bots, AI, and business rules) or any resource (data and system) into a single workflow. It brings all enterprise assets to bear.
According to a 2021 Forrester report, the low-code market will hit an annual growth rate of 40%, with spending forecasted to hit $21.2 billion by 2022.
One organization that is leading the way in enterprise grade low-code application development is Appian. The Appian Low-Code Automation platform is delivered with the Appian Low-Code Promise: When you create low-code applications with Appian, you should expect to build your apps 10x faster, reduce your maintenance costs by 50%, and gain superior functionality as compared to traditional development.
Turning your idea into a business app is straightforward and quicker than anything you’ve encountered before. It’s a visual and intuitive process — you make a drag-and-drop flowchart of your work tasks, which gets transformed into a secure, reliable and bug-free app. There is often AI assistance (many apps follow tried-and-tested workflows; perfect training grounds for AIs to learn) and minimal hand-coding or zero coding options. It’s a minimal upfront investment in setup, training and deployment.
In the Forrester report, companies said it took between one week and one month to train users in low-code use. Forrester noted an average of 94% reduction in time needed to develop applications and a 50% reduction in the time to release the apps. In fact, your first project can be up and running in as little as eight weeks.
The beauty of low-code is that it unifies all your resources – people, technologies and data – in a single workflow. The apps created by the users are seamlessly integrated into the whole enterprise architecture, so they are all coordinated and aligned with your business goals and high standards. This eliminates shadow IT and gives you orchestrated synergy that benefits the organization.
When you can see the big picture, you can direct the robotic process automation (RPA) to the areas where it would result in the best outcomes instead of applying it to the wrong use cases, something that often happens when you’ve got tunnel vision and disconnected resources.
With better workflow automation, you can improve your employees’ efficiency and provide more value to your customers. You can reduce your legacy application portfolio, thereby reducing license costs and recouping space in on-premise storage. You can declutter and streamline legacy systems into integrated workflows. According to Forrester, the simplification and automation of an organization’s application portfolio reduced costs by an average of 50%.
At Tech Wire Asia, we’ve been considering several vendors of low-code and no-code technologies as part of a series of “citizen developer” reviews. These are platforms that empower those not directly associated with DevOps to be able to bring their specific knowledge and expertise to the app-development & deployment table.
The low-code environment from Appian caught our attention initially because of its unlimited bots capability. Although fees may vary based on a per-user or per-application basis and any required level of support, users of Appian can create an unlimited number of automating robots.
There are four low-code options to suit you and your specific objectives:
- Low-code for business (citizen) developers: Often called “no-code”, this is for users who need to solve immediate challenges within departments but don’t need to involve the IT department or professional developers.
- Low-code development platforms for AD&D (professional developers): These are typically for professional developers who need to build and deploy various applications.
- Digital process automation (DPA) platforms for wide deployment: These are for both citizen and professional developers to quickly automate moderately complex workflows and processes.
- Software for DPA platforms for deep deployment: These are for professional developers to quickly automate highly complex processes. They often have strong low-code development capabilities.
The Appian Low-Code Automation Platform supports high-code options as well, where it’s open to further expansion and creativity by allowing you to add extensions to support additional UI components, and add new logic and process patterns. It’s scalable and allows for sustainable application development: you have the flexibility and tools to respond to changes, and you can handle complex and critical challenges rapidly.
Low-code automation’s drag-and-drop simplicity and its enterprise-wide centralized data access makes for more productive workflows and allows front liners to respond to clients’ needs more quickly. Forrester estimated that a composite organization experiences a net present value (NPV) of $10.68 million after low-code deployment at this scale.
Appian allows users to develop more applications quickly and at a lower cost. It reduces manual work with process automation and generates more intelligent applications to improve enterprise efficiency and create better customer experience.
Low-code application development will continue to rise in this era of rapid change and will represent an opportunity for organizations to completely change how they deliver applications. To learn more about how Appian can drive change through your organization, get in touch with a representative from Appian today.
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