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5 signs that you need a low-code development platform

EducationSummary: Do your development projects drag on for months? Are business users bypassing the IT department for third-party, cloud solutions? Or, is your aging software holding you back from modern technology? Learn how a low-code development platform will help solve these problems.

I’ve noticed a fair amount of confusion surrounding the idea of low-code development platforms. Some think they’re nothing more than code generators. Others associate them with IDEs. Still others believe that low-code development platforms are similar to a fourth-generation programming language (4GL).

In reality, these are all misconceptions.

Contrary to what some might believe, a low-code development platform is far more than a simple code generator or IDE. It is software on which companies build their entire application strategy.

Yes, low-code platforms do improve development speed, but they also solve many strategic tech problems facing businesses today. For example, while it’s not comprehensive by any means, I’ve compiled a list of common problems that low-code development platforms solve. You know you need a low-code platform when…

1. Development projects drag on for months

According to a Forrester study, development speed plays a crucial role in your company’s future competitiveness. “The software you deploy, and especially the custom software you create, will increasingly be part of your competitive edge,” explains the study. “Companies that are able to innovate quickly with software will out-compete traditional market leaders.”

It’s true–as software plays a larger role in the business, development speed and agility become critical. The problem is, many enterprise development projects still drag on for months, or even years. How can these companies improve their development speed without bringing in a team of new developers or outsourcing their projects?

How a low-code development platform helps
Low-code development platforms automate much of the web (and mobile web) application development process, reducing lengthy development projects to weeks or days. How? They improve development speed in a couple of ways:

1. They eliminate coding: A development platform provides a point-and-click interface, which lets your developers create applications quickly, without writing a single line of code.

2. They reduce testing: Good development tools employ a template-driven build process, which automates many of the time-consuming development tasks. This lets you start every development project with secure, pre-tested templates–eliminating all of the program logic testing normally required when building new applications.

2. End users still go through the IT department for reports

As businesses generate more data than ever before, reporting becomes ever more important. However, many companies still don’t provide their end users with the tools to create their own reports. Rather, all reporting goes through the IT department–resulting in wasted time, delayed decision making, and Shadow IT.

How a low-code development platform helps
A low-code development platform lets end users create and run their own reports and Business Intelligence (BI) applications. It lets users access their data and build any number of reporting types instantly without using the IT department’s valuable time.

3. Business departments are bypassing IT for third-party solutions

In the past, the IT department controlled technology because it was scarce, and difficult for businesses users to obtain and use. Those days are gone. With the rise of consumer software and devices, end users now have alternatives. If IT departments do not meet the user’s needs, end users can bypass IT altogether, opting for one of the readily available Software as a Service (SaaS) options.

How a low-code development platform helps
A low-code development platform gives businesses a company-wide application development and management platform. It lets the IT department control the data, rights, and user access. At the same time, it gives end users a simple, point-and-click interface to create all of the applications they need, like reporting, BI, data retrieval, process work flows, mobile apps, and custom apps in general.

In short, it gives each side what they need: Business users create the applications they need without bypassing the IT department, while IT ultimately controls data and user access.

4. Your company is facing a skills gap

Web application development requires an ever-evolving and ever-increasing skillset. These days, application developers must not only understand web development, but also understand security, web architecture, cloud integration, mobile web development, and more.

The problem: Many companies are currently facing a skills gap. They can’t afford to bring in developers with up-to-date skills in modern areas, especially when they’re still stuck supporting outdated systems and applications.

How a low-code development platform helps
A low-code development platform helps you bridge the skills gap in a unique way: It brings modern skills to your existing staff. The development platform handles the important aspects of web application development, like architecture, security, scalability, portability, and modern capabilities. It lets users build well-architected, secure, cloud-ready, and mobile-ready web applications without any knowledge of modern web application development.

This helps in a couple of important ways.

First, it means you don’t need to constantly train developers. With the constant evolution of development standards and programming paradigms, developers could feasibly spend half of their time learning new skills. A development platform brings modern skills to these developers, letting them instead focus on solving business problems.

Secondly, there’s no need to teach new employees about the business: Bringing in new employees with modern skills (temporarily) solves the skills gap, but creates a new issue: These new employees must now learn the business. Getting a new employee up and running often takes months. On the other hand, bringing modern skills to employees who already understand the business completely eliminates the issue.

5. You’re tied to inflexible, outdated systems

In the struggle to deliver modern solutions quickly, outdated enterprise systems handcuff many businesses. These outdated systems make delivering modern features a slow—if not impossible—process. Businesses that are tied to legacy applications and systems need a way to advance technologically while still maintaining their current applications.

How a low-code development platform helps
A good development platform lets you build web applications over your existing enterprise software, without altering the existing system at all. Rather, it integrates open standards and new features with the technology the business already uses.

In short, a development platform makes existing software better, without physically altering the underlying system. It lets companies who are tied to outdated systems keep their current applications, and remain current with modern technology at the same time.

If you’re dealing with any of these problems, a low-code development platform can help. If you’d like to learn more about how a development platform can solve these issues, let us know. Just fill out this Short Form and let us know what’s on your plate, and we’ll show you how a development platform (like m-Power) can help.