Often enough, low-code is thought of as a kind of “low-cost” software code. And yet, it is a software development approach that requires little to no coding that makes programming accessible to the masses. 

This is what democratization of technology means. With digital technology-ready tools pervading our lives and the emergence of this new digital culture, having a solution that empowers everyone to take part in this digitalization spree comes as no surprise. Low-code makes that happen.

Low-code – boost to independence 

Low-code is a software development technique designed to simplify software programming using existing technological components or building blocks. With User Experience (UX) and user-friendly graphical interfaces being at the heart of the low-code experience, there is no need to have any extensive programming expertise. However to know which building blocks to use, it is imperative to learn how to combine these blocks.

This does not mean that we are done with programming altogether but it is about rethinking a concept that makes programming intuitive and accessible to a much wider audience. And so, people considered to be non-technical, like sales representatives for instance could dive in and configure or program their own applications to design tools that cater specifically to their business.

The emergence of low-code has brought on a model where each individual user can actually work on a technical project on their own. In that sense, we have shifted the boundaries of feasibility, where such advancements were only possible within an organization.

Thus, low-code is an independence booster but does not replace programming in any way. Low-code in itself is a game-changer in that it has completely reshuffled the cards of project governance and web development. As such, it has proven to be an authentic innovation vehicle in the way organizations operate. 

Low-code, a game-changing advantage for businesses

If low-code represents above all a great boon for individual users, it is also an incredible business agility maker.

According to a Gartner [1] survey of 200 companies, the appeal of low-code was primarily driven by improving productivity, but also by time-to-market, creating enterprise apps and improving UX. 

Having been in use for several years now, we now have enough hindsight with these low-code platforms to appreciate the different types of applications they are used for. What we know for sure is that the buy-in phase is clearly underway. Low-code can be compared to what the Cloud strategy was 10 to 15 years ago. In fact some believe that this is the next logical step to Cloud as most of the low-code platforms operate in “as a Service” mode bringing together the best in what the Cloud and self-learning have to offer.

Another significant advantage is that low-code brings much more flexibility and broadens the scope of possibilities of IT projects in an industry severely hit by labor shortage. Experience has shown that with only a couple of months of training, people in fields such as Finance, Marketing and so on can actually start developing, granted small applications, but real applications nonetheless. Here again, this marks an important turning point in the way IT and technological projects are addressed while alleviating the hiring challenges.

Deploying low-code

How do you achieve low-code success in an organization? It all depends on the organization’s digital maturity.  

The overall goal of having low-code is to empower and train non-technical staff so that they become familiar with the platform and get used to the logic and methodology behind it.

It is also important that customers of the platform understand the new dynamic and perspective low-code has to offer. The actual hardware and tools will tend to become less and less relevant in the future with a much stronger focus on the creation of commercial and customer value rather than the actual solution or way that value is delivered.

Another proven best practice when deploying low-code is creating excellence centers tasked with overseeing the Development and Maintenance activities making for a risk-free environment when employees start testing and using the platform. These centres would provide a sandbox version of the platform, ideal to help employees practice and get used to the platform. Fairly simple, these best practices could lead to developing schemes to process incoming emails, transferring emails or to automate tasks right from the body of the email. This is an incredible playground, that moreover, poses no risk at all to an organization.

Low-code, a metaphor for innovation

Innovation is both a “top-down” and “bottom-up” dynamic. The “top-down” kind of innovation is that incredible game-changing innovation that disrupts a given industry with a new technology or offering. It does not happen that often and this is precisely why it is so unique and priceless. But innovation also works the other way around i.e. “bottom-up.” Low-code is such an example. By opening up a capability-ready platform to the masses, it is in fact literally creating an ecosystem dedicated to innovation. Indeed low-code allows users with no or little technical background or expertise to develop local applications quickly and easily or to develop an application or process using only configuration tools. So low-code is an incredible breeding ground for what is better known as micro innovations. With the massive number of micro innovations developed, there could be a systemic impact on innovation simply by the fact that so many people can now have access to innovation.  This democratization makes everything possible. All pretentiousness aside, it brings innovation to a whole new level.

Article initially published in Economiematin.fr