While digital transformation has long been a strategic objective for businesses, the pandemic has only accelerated the process. And one of the first and most immediate digital channels that businesses are rolling out to ensure engagement and business continuity is mobile applications.

However, one of the biggest roadblocks for most organizations is that tech teams don’t have enough bandwidth to create new applications with a rigorous development process. Additionally, building these applications via a traditional development approach is both time- and cost-intensive. 

This is where low-code platforms come into the picture.

These platforms take the app development process out of the hands of a central IT team and give business stakeholders the tools to collaborate, design, and develop new applications. But more importantly, they help build robust, scalable, and secure applications without the long timelines seen with traditional development.

Low-code simplifies full-stack app development

Unlike traditional methods, low-code platforms simplify the app development process for both developers and non-tech stakeholders. The right low-code platform can take over the end-to-end application development lifecycle with minimum overhead for IT teams. Here’s how:

Visual modeling

Low-code platforms offer visual modeling to create functionalities and user interfaces for new apps. Drag and drop from a range of prebuilt elements on the platform and combine them to create different parts of your app—forms, dashboards, analytics, and more—without having to write a single line of code. Visual models also provide a better outlook on how the app will appear for end users.

Out-of-the-box development prerequisites

Apart from the visual modeling interface, these platforms also offer ready-to-use code snippets, form and report templates, and built-in connectors that speed up development. With these in place, users can jump right into building the application without having to spend time on typical processes like creating frameworks, modeling data, and developing user interfaces. Finally, these platforms also offer sandbox features to test out any new additions/improvements to existing applications, without disrupting the live application.

Build once, launch on multiple devices

With traditional development, applications need to be re-coded to make them work seamlessly on different operating systems. However, with low-code platforms, applications created once are available as native applications for web, Android, or iOS, without having to change a single line of code.

Some low-code platforms go a step further and offer additional features like:

    • Mobile SDKs to build new modules to attach to existing enterprise apps, or manage application UIs for different devices

    • Progressive web applications (PWAs), which allow users to run an application on their web browser without downloading it, with no impact on the quality of user experience

Third-party integrations and APIs

One of the key ways in which low-code platforms reduce development time is by simplifying third-party integrations. You can choose from prebuilt integrations with popular enterprise systems—ERPs, CRMs, payment gateways, and more—making it easy to pull data from these sources into any applications you build.

These platforms also allow you to connect to almost any other application or solution used within your organization by making API calls. But unlike traditional development, the process of setting up these connections are simplified into a series of clicks and forms, to keep things fast and efficient.

Centralized application control

Even as they democratize the application development process, low-code platforms ensure centralized control and governance. You can streamline application user management by defining role-based access to different parts of the application development process. You also get visibility into individual actions, with features like an audit trail that track the series of changes made on the application by any stakeholder. 

Security

One of the most crucial requirements, especially for businesses dealing with sensitive data, is building them on a secure platform. With low-code platforms, this becomes easy because:

    • All required security framework certifications are already in place at a platform level

    • The platform itself makes a lot of the decisions around application configuration, following security best practices

    • Features like built-in authentication and data encryption help in ensuring data security

Faster time to market and getting productive with low-code

While the simplified deployment of applications is a major factor in choosing low-code platforms, another key gain is the speed and agility it brings into the development process. From prebuilt templates and integrations to visual modeling and built-in security practices, low-code platforms automate a lot of the time-intensive work that developers have to do in a traditional app development process. With these out of the way, teams can now concentrate and collaborate on conceptualizing new applications and quickly creating them for internal and customer use. 

This quick pace of development is a significant advantage because businesses can:

Roll out minimum viable products for testing

Businesses can build minimum viable products to test product-market fit or user responses. New feature development or iterations as per consumer requirements can be done without costly revisions or complex coding. This gives them a competitive edge by securing the first-mover advantage while also making continuous improvements to their applications.

Enabling cost-effective digital transformation

For businesses revamping their tech stack by developing multiple custom applications, the development process becomes much easier on low-code platforms. The applications are developed faster, support multiple iterations, and are cost-effective—making it a crucial element for any digital transformation strategy.

Whether the motive is an enterprise-wide digital transformation or boosting revenue for a particular line of business, organizations can leverage low-code platforms to launch multiple applications without it being a burden on development teams. In a post-pandemic market, as consumers move away from all manner of physical interactions, businesses will need to adopt more digital tools and channels for streamlining processes—and a low-code development platform is the best bet when it comes to gaining and maintaining the momentum necessary to keep up with changing market needs.

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