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Why low-code development matters

What is low-code development?

For modern businesses, the ability to pivot and adapt to a rapidly shifting world of work has become essential. How your company responds to these changes—and how quickly you respond—can make or break your long-term success. As it becomes more of a necessity, your company needs to rapidly embrace digital transformation to meet customers’ growing demands and keep up with the competition.

Your business can implement this change in many ways, and using low-code development is an increasingly popular approach for businesses to adapt to constantly changing conditions.

What’s the appeal? With a low-code development platform, companies can quickly create and deliver business applications without having to rely solely on traditional programming. This not only saves time and makes companies more efficient and productive, but it also allows you to focus on the apps that require the most attention, like customer experience apps and apps that automate important business processes.

Simply put, low-code development is a smart way to cope with the pressures of high development demand and developer shortages. It’s a method of software and application development that allows more people to contribute to app development using drag-and-drop functionality and visual guidance—with very little or no coding experience or knowledge.

The appeal of this approach is that almost anyone can develop an app. Employees in your organisation who don’t have extensive technical or programming expertise can quickly and efficiently build applications on low-code platforms.

With more people being able to create applications using this simplified application development method, you free up your professional developers and IT teams to devote their time to creating more complex, business-critical apps. And when these developers use low-code platforms, it helps them work faster because they don’t have to write code line by line.

There is another development tool that uses a visual interface: a no-code application platform. No-code platforms are used to create simple apps without much extensibility or customisation.

Low-code development platforms

Low-code development platforms have many benefits for your business, such as providing tools to boost organisational agility and empowering employees to quickly build professional-grade apps that solve business challenges.

Low-code development platforms can help your business in many ways:

  • Save time by allowing more people in your company to contribute to app development rather than waiting for traditional development teams to do it.
  • Boost productivity by freeing up your experienced developers’ schedules so they can focus on building apps that require coding, and ultimately, helping teams work more efficiently.
  • Reduce costs by allowing your business to use existing staff as low-code app developers rather than hiring new professional developers. This allows your professional developers to create more apps in less time.
  • Become more flexible by using low-code platforms to easily change apps without having to spend a lot of time writing code.

Low-code application development does come with challenges, however. While low-code development doesn’t require a lot of manual coding, your IT teams aren’t completely off the hook—they still must make themselves available to guide both low-code makers and code-first developers on their journey to collaborative low-code development.

When you enable low-code development it can be hard for your company to see what your employees are building, which can create security and governance issues. With on-premises low-code platforms, it’s often difficult for IT to have any visibility into development projects. However, that issue can be solved by moving to the cloud platform, which allows you to set and manage security and governance of low-code development.

What can businesses build with low-code app development platforms?

Here are just a few practical use cases about what you can create with a low-code platform:

  • Customer experience apps. With the rise of digital transformation, today’s customers expect easy-to-use, well-functioning mobile apps. Low-code development allows you to modernise existing apps and significantly speed up new application development.
  • Line-of-business apps. When apps are outdated, can no longer support current processes, and aren’t providing an ideal user experience, a low-code platform can help migrate these apps and simplify process automation.
  • Automation and efficiency apps. These apps give you the tools you need to automate tasks and reduce your dependence on manual, paper-based processes.

Key considerations for choosing the right low-code platform

Before embarking on your first low-code development project, it’s important to pause and take time to think about platform options. Here are some key questions to keep in mind:

  • Is the platform secure enough to use for B2B or B2C projects?
  • Does it offer built-in low-code security features for apps?
  • Is the low-code platform scalable? If you need to add more users later, is that easy to do?
  • Does the platform have strong governance tools available for IT to setup and control?
  • Does it allow you to create apps for different types of devices?

Drive low-code innovation with Power Apps

Expand app development across your organisation with Microsoft Power Apps—a low-code development platform that accelerates professional developers and enables more people to create robust business applications for web and mobile.

Frequently asked questions

What is low-code development?

Low-code development is a method of creating software applications with less coding than traditional code-first development. Low-code platforms use visual tools, drag-and-drop functionality, and automation to create apps. Low-code development is typically faster and easier than traditional development, and people with basic coding experience—not just professional developers—can use low-code tools to create apps.

What is an example of low-code development?

Examples of low-code development include apps that are designed for customers, specific lines of business, or automation and efficiency. Customer experience apps allow customers to take simple actions, like tracking a purchase or accessing event information. Line-of-business apps might replace outdated apps that no longer support current processes or lack a good user experience; examples include apps that help manage expenses, budgeting, onboarding, and IT tickets. Repetitive business processes, like entering customer data into a tool, can be automated or made more efficient using low-code workflows. Low-code API integration can also be used to combine two or more platforms or systems into one, which is a convenient way to connect data sets for advanced forecasting, planning, and insight-gathering.

What are the main benefits of low-code platforms?

The main benefits of low-code platforms include speed and cost savings. Low-code platforms can be used to quickly design and build apps, workflows, or processes with simple functionality. They’re a great way to get through development backlogs faster and empower business users with basic coding experience to create apps that serve their needs. Low-code platforms can also be used by professional developers to speed up development timelines, which reduces development costs overall.

Will low-code development replace coding?

No, low-code development will not replace traditional coding. Both professional developers and business users with some coding experience can use low-code platforms to build simple apps, workflows, and processes. In some cases a combination of low-code and code-first development will do the job and some complex or fully customised projects are best served with traditional coding. Professional developers can consider low-code platforms a time-saving tool but not a full replacement for their skills.

What is low-code API?

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are used to facilitate the exchange of data between two or more applications by defining how data should be delivered to or extracted from each. The main benefit of an API is that it can connect previously separated data sets, which makes it possible to develop seamless, complex systems. It can be challenging to create and maintain APIs that connect different business systems, in part because developers with the technical ability to build APIs may not fully understand the current and future business needs behind the request. Low-code API integration makes it possible for the business users themselves to create APIs so nothing gets lost in communication with a professional developer. Low-code API integration tools can house many APIs at once, simplifying management, maintenance, and updates for less downtime and negative impact on users.

What’s the difference between no-code and low-code development?

Low-code and no-code development share some similarities, including their key purpose. Both were created as an alternative to traditional application development, and they both make it easier for your business to enable more people to build new apps.

There are some key differentiators, though. With low-code platforms, developers need at least a basic understanding of programming, while no-code platforms take a drag-and-drop approach and don’t require any coding knowledge. No-code development is ideal for building simpler apps, and its extensibility and customisation capabilities can be limited. Low-code development, on the other hand, tends to allow developers to create more sophisticated apps.