Five reasons to embrace low-code automation

There will always be a place for ‘The IT Guy’ (or gal) in the modern workplace. You know who we’re talking about – the colleagues who the rest of us rush to whenever we have a tech idea or issue that needs to be developed, deployed or overcome. They are the computer wizards who first emerged several decades ago to help guide mere mortals when it comes to the technology that has become such a crucial part of 21st century business. They are, to put it bluntly, invaluable.
Probe blog | Five reasons to embrace low-code automation

That said, the past decade has seen a growing push for a simpler way of programming and a business environment less reliant on sometimes scarce and often expensive IT specialists when it comes to software development. The trend began with forward-thinking developers who started to build tools that would allow the masses to develop, collaborate and deploy applications not only faster but without as much reliance on traditional hand-coding.

At the risk of putting themselves out of work, they wanted to pave the way for ‘Citizen Developers’ with no prior coding experience to create their own business processes and applications without relying on support from IT. By 2014, they had done such a good job that global market research Forrester had christened the tools that were allowing this to happen – ‘low-code’ platforms.

What is Low-Code Automation?

Low-code automation platforms allows people with basic coding knowledge to build applications, workflows and processes in less than a few minutes. Rather than relying on IT specialists and complex code to automate business processes, it uses a more visual approach by providing pre-designed templates and user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. By negating the need to write extensive lines of code, organisations can automate and digitise their business operations with more ease and less expense.

The appetite for such technology is evident in research and consulting firm Gartner’s prediction that low-code application building will account for more than 65% of all app development functions by 2024, with about 66% of big companies set to use a minimum of four low-code development tools.

Low-Code Automation Benefits

To appreciate why your business should consider low-code automation platforms, consider the benefits the technology is bringing to those who have already joined the revolution.

  • Low barriers to entry - In the ‘old days’, the ability of companies to deploy applications was constrained by budgets and access to expert coders, not to mention the burden of lengthy deployment times. Low-code automation has significantly changed the game by reducing such barriers to entry, with a minimal amount of coding training required to deliver quality results. As Sentry Technology Solutions’ John Ohlwiler told Forbes: “(You) could use experts in a field with some coding training. For example, doctors and nurses could help code and deploy a workflow instead of a programmer with no medical background, (thus) solving the problem the app or workflow is addressing more completely.”

  • Speed - Surely one of the greatest benefits of low-code development is the opportunity to roll out new software and applications with greater speed. Forrester Principal Analyst John Rymer wrote in 2018 that low-code platforms offer the potential to “make software development as much as 10 times faster than traditional methods” and emerging technologies have only increased that capacity in the years since. Reasons for such speed include drag-and-drop functionality and pre-built user interfaces that enable rapid development and one-click application delivery that tracks all changes and eliminates many time-consuming deployment and operations processes.

  • Enhanced productivity - We have already touched on the concept of ‘Citizen Developers’, those users with little to no prior coding experience who are now able to create their own processes without relying on significant support from IT. Along with making automation accessible to workers of all skill levels, low-code platforms are allowing IT experts to increasingly focus on projects befitting their skills sets as end-users are able to navigate requests and problems without continually rushing to them for support and assistance. The rise of citizen developers is evidenced by a Gartner report that found 61% of organisations have or plan to launch active citizen development initiatives.

  • Improved agility - There is constant pressure for businesses to respond to customer needs, let alone keep up with regulatory and market changes, and low-code automation tools ease the burden. A simpler approach to building and amending processes means organisations can adapt and change processes without the headaches that come with changing complex code. This was especially witnessed during the global coronavirus pandemic, with TechRepublic highlighting that low-code tools had “been instrumental in helping businesses respond quickly to COVID-19 by allowing them to build new enterprise applications and automate work quickly”.

  • Financial gains - If there is one certainty in the business world, it is that money talks and so it is with the low-code automation revolution. The cost savings on offer are numerous, with no need to outlay cash on initial training and being able to avoid the financial burden of spending big on skilled developers who are not only in short supply but demand high salaries. Then there are the flow-on savings that come with delivering applications faster to market and achieve more in less time. The return on investment can be significant.

At a time when it has never been more important for businesses to think outside the square and secure any competitive advantage, low-code automation platforms are a simple and cost-effective option. There is a reason many of the world’s top companies are rethinking the way they approach IT, with the ability to build multiple apps in less time than traditional coding would allow also proving a winner for organisations on the rise. While some tech innovations come and go, there is no doubt low-code automation is here to stay.

Low-code automation is just one way companies are tackling the dilemma of growing critical areas of their business in a financially responsible manner. Learn how one automotive brand used automation to simplify their processes and improve their customer experience.