Businesses in the 21st century have come increasingly to rely on computers and the online digital infrastructure to get work done. Computers have made it possible for companies to do more work, with fewer people, at a faster rate. However, this often comes at the cost of reliance on highly skilled software developers to achieve the goals a company has. While this usually comes in the form of merely purchasing the required software for company computers, in some cases, custom, bespoke software is required.
Having enterprise software developed specifically for a business’ needs is an order of magnitude higher in cost and labor than buying “off the shelf” software. For many companies, however, this is a necessity, as generic B2B solutions don’t always address their distinct needs.
This is where low code development platforms provide a new alternative, but what are low code development platforms, and how do they work?
With normal software development, programming from the “ground up” requires expertise in specific programming languages, such as C++, Python, and Java. Programming languages, as the name implies, are huge, complex computer code that instructs a computer on what it should do in a given situation. A programmer, depending on the area of expertise, can do anything from creating realistic 3D worlds in a video game to coordinating numerous simultaneous operations on the Internet.
Typically, creating powerful software requires a team of programmers to work together to ensure different functions work smoothly in harmony. There’s a rigorous process of “bug fixing” to eliminate errors, as quality assurance to polish a product for maximum performance and user-friendliness.
As the name suggests, low code development platforms are created by software developers that “package” the functionality into a more uncomplicated collection of tools. This allows people without intricate programming experience to create their own software or apps. By doing this, businesses enjoy these benefits.
Save Money & Time
Instead of paying a third party software development contractor to create custom software for a business’s needs, the company can do it in-house. This dramatically lowers expenditures by not outsourcing this work, and the savings can be diverted into other aspects of the business.
This is also faster, as now the development is being done in-house. Progress reports with an outsourced contractor in Asia, for example, means more time spent in coordination. Meetings must be adjusted to time-zone differences, and staff needs to be consulted on different aspects of the software, which must then be presented and agreed upon with the contractor. There is a constant push-pull aspect of the business relationship with waiting on responses that are eliminated when the work is done in-house.
Drag & Drop Interface
The reason the low code development platforms are so easy to use is because of the various graphical user interfaces (GUI) that different platforms employ. Rather than typing in long, complex strings of code, users can learn simple icons or symbols representing the functionality they want, and “drag and drop” them into place.
For example, a company mays be creating a particular financial transaction vending app for participation at a public event. Staff can pick the “drag” icon representing a financial input and “drop” it into place. Then drag and drop the online transaction connection icon next to it. This creates the ability to conduct online sales, with no knowledge of online infrastructure, or encrypting private financial data for secure transactions.
One of the significant benefits of using a low code development platform is that now you can precisely the kind of software or app you need, designed specifically for your business. It’s much easier to incorporate a feature that your staff need to do their job more efficiently when critical people on that staff are the ones that are building the software.
The result of this is software that works the way your people need it to. This eliminates the “wish list” tendency that many people have with off-the-shelf B2B solutions. Where once your staff felt a piece of software was fine, but missing a feature that would have sped up their workflow, now you can build that feature in and get those efficiency and performance gains.
Because a low code development platform is something that people can use quickly and with little extensive training, this makes it possible to be very responsive to both staff and customer/client needs. If the team changes their workflow, for example, and needs changes made to their existing software to accommodate this, they can do it themselves, test it, debug it and deploy it on their own. This process may take hours—or even minutes—depending on the nature of the change.
This also carries over to unique events. Participating in an exhibition or convention, for example, may require a new custom app to handle transactions with potential customers and clients. A low code development platform allows staff to quickly build the app needed in time for the event without requiring an extensive outsource search, interview, and awarding of a contract before work can even begin.
Better IT Governance
A final benefit that comes from using the low code solution is that this can help standardize and secure the IT usage in a company, which is always suitable for security reasons. In some instances, employees, finding generic B2B solutions insufficient to complete the tasks at hand, may use other software to get the job done. This can range from different types of communication software to invoicing or even financial transaction software to handle sales.
Creating the software that meets employee needs means there’s less need to rely on outside, third party solutions. Everyone using the same agreed-upon software is more centralized, more efficient, and perhaps most vital of all, more secure. This provides more visibility and oversight and makes for a safer IT infrastructure.
Low code development platforms are sturdy, versatile, and robust. There will always be a place in the business world for working with a team of software development experts for bespoke software. However, low code development platforms offer an alternative for smaller tasks or goals that need to be completed quickly.