How to Make Low-Code/No-Code Work in the Cloud

For a long time, enterprise digital agenda has been grappling with triangulation of priorities of business agility, increasing customer expectations, and the inertia of IT systems. However, with the shifting of contours with cloud adoption, Low-Code/ No-Code (LCNC) Platforms are helping businesses accelerate digital with a democratized tech workforce.

What does it take to become a future-ready company?

The question has become even more urgent with enterprises looking to adapt their products and services to the changing consumer behavior. This trend is accentuated by the need to embrace low-code for building applications faster and navigating business disruptions. In a conversation with Infosys president Ravi Kumar S, the founder and CEO of Appian, Matt Calkins said there’s no better time to embrace newer, faster ways of building products and applications, which is possible with low-code/no-code platforms.

“The essence of low-code is workflow; It’s a very human way to communicate with a computer. And it's a highly efficient way. By communicating with a machine in human terms instead of in machine terms, we liberate people to make fewer mistakes, to move more quickly, and to make changes later on,” said Matt Calkins, CEO of Appian. He added that low-code not only helps meet the speed challenge but also the unification challenge.

According to Gartner1, 65% of application development will be low-code by 2024, while Forrester2 predicts that by the end of 2021, three-quarters of companies will be writing in low-code.

Democratizing Development

We have used computational programming to construct, control, operate, and communicate with computer systems for a long time. For years, this has created a technological barrier, a skillset reliance where application development has been the exclusive domain of programmers. Low-code platforms are redefining development by dismantling the obstacles that separate skillsets from innovation. It enables business users the capacity to virtually automate typical, repetitive business operations by allowing them to create and deploy applications using graphical user interfaces and self-configuration tools.

It is a liberating and transformative concept that is ushering in a new development era in which consumers become producers and producers become consumers.

Not just another system upgrade

Organizations are accustomed to working in silos, but low-code platforms need a collaborative approach to development. Therefore, there is a need to pivot businesses to be "digital-first”, non-siloed, and agile, which is not just a technology shift but a ‘mindset shift’. User competence is also pivotal for execution, results, and scalability, and thus, user conditioning is another important milestone to be targeted.

The most significant advantage of low-code is that it provides business users with an opportunity to own their automation initiatives. Infosys Cobalt, which helps enterprises accelerate their cloud journeys, uses its “Fluid Digital Process Automation” for achieving this mission. It is all about how you can combine low-code automation platform and methodologies to reimagine, rethink and realize the value of automation in an accelerated fashion.

“By using a model-driven approach and by really having, I think, mastered the idea of building design thinking into our methodology, we're able to use our Pega Academy to teach people who do not have very deep technical skills how to organize their thinking so that they can define what they want the outcomes to be and how they want them to vary,” said Alan Trefler of Pegasystems. “And then, from that, our system writes the code. So, instead of humans programming, we have business-people defining, and then the software can drive change. It's, I think, a novel concept.”

For enterprises looking to start their low-code journeys, there are a few challenges.

Low-code is evolving very fast, in fact it has given rise to two different segments: No-code and Pro-code. Business users realize the benefits of low-code platforms and the cost savings it can provide. However, building the digital runway with the right set of low-code platform is key to organization success.

Some flag the possibility of a high risk of vulnerability to security breaches owing to heavy dependence on platform providers. However, Matt Calkins of Appian said low-code platforms offer far superior security.

“Security is a major advantage for low-code platforms because old applications don't keep up to date well enough, and that's where vulnerabilities appear. Low-code is an ever-refreshing security barrier that protects your applications, unlike legacy apps that tend to go out of date and are vulnerable to exploits written after they were published,” he said.

The Way Ahead

Rapid digital transformation is an essential need for organizations. Low-code will be the jet fuel for such transformations and the catalyst to drive innovations. Gone are the days of building multi-year, multi-million-dollar applications. The new normal demands agility and low-code provides that platform. Organizations need to free up cash to invest in new products, low-code enables to achieve business ROI faster. We are shaping a world using low-code where every person will be empowered to innovate.