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9 Min Read

Five strategies for successful low-code application development

May 1, 2022 / Manju Naglapur

Short on time? Read the key takeaways:

  • Low-code/no-code application development has become popular due to the fast-changing needs of businesses.
  • The rise of low-code is due to the dispersed modern workforce and the need for easy access to information and resources.
  • Low-code platforms allow for rapid application development with less hand-coding and are simple yet powerful, leading to its fast adoption.
  • Five strategies for a successful low-code project include setting proper expectations, understanding the limitations of low-code, considering a hybrid strategy, figuring talent into the equation, and establishing goals before embarking on the low-code journey.

Businesses are constantly evolving. That’s the norm. But the past several years have required more change and adjustment than usual, testing the mettle of IT organizations everywhere.

As business evolves and needs change, organizations must also adapt and evolve their systems. As a result, low-code/no-code application development has become the darling of programmers everywhere, enabling fast change.

Now is the time if you have not yet become part of the low-code revolution. This article provides five strategies to help you ease into low-code platforms successfully.

The rise of low-code

Before sharing strategies, let’s discuss how quickly low-code has risen to prominence.

The dispersed modern workforce means people need access to information and other resources to do their jobs. This need has increased the drive to make things accessible and easy to use via mobile and other devices, prompting IT and operations leaders to introduce more software applications. Yet software development has traditionally been a heavy lift.

Experts typically use a programming language—such as Python, Java or C++—to write code and various tools to test and iterate. Unfortunately, this process usually takes a lot of time. Low-code platforms now allow for rapid application development with a minimum amount of hand-coding—increasing your agility and enabling you to release new capabilities virtually overnight.

Software engineers can spend less time debugging convoluted syntax and more time polishing business logic. Low-code platforms are simple yet powerful, so employees from various disciplines and junior engineers can work with senior coders in an application development project with short release cycles.

That is why low-code platform adoption is growing fast. Gartner forecasts that the low-code application platforms segment is projected to expand from $4.45 billion to $14.8 billion between 2020 and 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 26.4%. That’s a 223% increase over five years.

Five strategies for a successful low-code project

Set proper expectations

Gartner explains that a low-code application platform can support rapid one-step deployment, execution and management of applications. It's possible using declarative, high-level programming abstractions based on model-driven and metadata-based models. Low-code's visual and declarative capabilities let you release capabilities faster to achieve your desired business outcomes. You can iterate on your releases much more quickly too.

Be aware that low-code is not necessarily the answer to everything

Think through exactly what you are trying to address. For example, you may want to use a low-code platform to create and iterate on a dashboard. Or you may hope to gain a front-end visualization for a mobile front-end linked to your modernized applications, including cloud-native technologies. But you may find using low-code is not the best approach for back-end operations, which traditionally exist on-premises or in a private cloud.

Consider a hybrid strategy

You may want to build a hybrid strategy that uses a low-code platform for your front-end interface and middleware and a more traditional development for your back-end efforts. This strategy can depend on the extent the low-code platform can address the scalability and responsiveness that your application requires. For example, Digital Workplace Solutions from Unisys might generate four million API calls in an hour. At the same time, response time must be within seconds, which requires scalability.

Your back-end systems are rich in capabilities that need to be addressed carefully. So you need to ensure that your data flow meets your security and compliance requirements. You must also ensure low-code does not impede your ability to manage your code. Low-code may not be appropriate if your code has dependencies on Linux systems that are more legacy.

Figure talent into the equation

Low-code gives you the speed and agility to release as soon as possible. From a development perspective, you can look at this in two ways. One is you need to expend less effort on development and coding. Second, you can use the same set of resources to deliver more capabilities.

Establish your goals before embarking on your low-code journey

Get your lead developers involved with the low-code platform and keep your junior developers focused on more traditional development. This may seem counterintuitive, but your time to market is short with a low-code platform. So you must make sure if you are coming out with a release essentially overnight—and do not have quality assurance cycles—that you are getting things right.

Appoint a lead engineer who can visualize the development flow. This technical leader will also know your organization’s desired outcomes from this work. Plus, senior engineers can identify what they need that is not included in your catalog of low-code development assets. They can then request those assets or enhancements from your low-code platform supplier or develop and add the needed assets to your catalog.

Don't get left behind

Low-code is a revolutionary business and technology development. That is why many of the largest and most influential software companies–including Google, Microsoft, Oracle and ServiceNow—now offer low-code platforms as part of their solution portfolios.

Your competitors may already use low-code platforms to move quickly, fail fast and manage their budgets more intelligently. Those that do will offer more responsiveness, deliver better customer experiences and enjoy greater business success. Conversely, organizations that resist joining the low-code movement will be left behind.

Now is the time to join the low-code revolution. Get started with Unisys.

Explore how Unisys can help your organization’s application modernization efforts.

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