Low-code is changing digital development. Many organizations are contemplating how to make the most of the low-code/no-code opportunity.
The concept of low-code is simple. It enables the easy creation of new tools that help you streamline your daily work processes. It can lead to more advanced ways to support decision-making, or significant time savings in repetitive tasks.
For example, if your task involves combining data from multiple sources, filling in manual forms, or working with Excel files, you can create an App that speeds up your work. Low-code platforms empower you to do this without coding skills.
Market research and analysts hold high expectations for low-code. Studies have shown a global shortage of millions of software developers, because we need to understand what all the data we collect can provide to businesses. Basically, we don’t know what we know today. We need more solutions like low-code Apps and automated data flows to quickly understand what data is saying to us!
At present, there is a considerable disparity between the available resources and the number of Apps that need to be developed. More cost-efficient development is certainly an appealing value promise.
I describe the value potential of low-code like this:
We have over 300,000 companies in Finland. If we have a hundred thousand new Apps or Data Automations, each creating value worth 10k€ – for example by saving 150 annual working hours – on a national level, low-code can easily unlock over 1000 M euros in business value.”
Low-code presents great opportunities for both non-technical businesspeople, known as citizen developers, and more advanced low-code developers, referred to as champions or makers. Everyone can use low-code to create Apps that meet their needs.
Low-code is not limited to citizen developers. Low-code is also very powerful for business-critical solutions. Low-code technologies – such as Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI from Microsoft – provide capabilities to enhance processes outside ERP, CRM, and Line-of-Business systems.
With low-code, you can minimize core system modifications, and use external low-code tools to make better decisions with the richer data available.
This means that you don’t need any expensive ICT development projects to modify core systems. Just make sure (near) real-time data is available from several legacy sources to make better business decisions in low-code tools. You can, for example, automate repetitive tasks, integrate different systems for better decisions, and enhance data synchronization between core systems.
Leveraging low-code solutions empowers business users to optimize their operations, enhance efficiency, and achieve better results – while simultaneously providing a great opportunity to learn modern iterative and incremental business development processes.
It happens very fast; one very helpful App needs to be shared with other employees. This is the moment when things start getting serious, and organizations need help from more advanced citizen developers or from the ICT department.
When a team of people are using the tool for business, it needs to be available 24/7. This means the development work needs to be done somewhere else, without disturbing important production usage. Traditional Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) processes, even the lite versions, help to organize the development in a controlled manner.
In the next stage, the company might identify a need for expanding the Apps usage even more – and at this point the App is becoming even more business critical. There is a threshold where business criticality demands that the development work is transferred to a Pro-developer team. This is always great news and should be marked with positive communication and celebration.
Innovation rewarding mechanisms can encourage your low-code champions. Remember to celebrate each citizen developer whose App is selected to the professional track; it’s a great honour.”
Business critical Apps need to be developed and maintained using the company’s professional ICT ALM processes. ALM is serious business, and it has no room for citizen development. This is why it is a good practice to keep citizen development and business critical low-code development tracks separate – supported with different development models and teams.
You should have separate environments for citizen development and business critical low-code development.”
Picture. Low-code environments. The difference in low-code application lifecycle management (ALM) processes when comparing citizen development and business critical low-code applications.
I sincerely recommend that organizations find their own way to support citizen development. This can be achieved by setting up investment funds, ROI metrics and maturity goals for the low-code practice. Citizen development tools are both inexpensive and easy to use.
Think big! If everyone can experiment improvement opportunities, be it office workers, service field workers, production, or warehouse workers, employees are empowered to make their individual work more efficient. At the company-level, you will accelerate a pool of innovations. You can select the most impactful App innovations and transition them to the professional track, scaling their benefits even more across the organization.
To capitalize on great innovations, and safely maintain and develop them with a larger user base so they can be scaled for business-critical use, consider the following:
It’s a great practice to share good achievements across your organization.”
At Tietoevry, we have used low-code tools in customer projects for many years. Our mainstream low-code platform is Microsoft Power Platform. We have successfully used Microsoft low-code and Power Platform to fulfil business needs in many industries. Mobility is quite often a key requirement.
Our track record of modernizing our customers’ processes with low-code is something we’re proud of. Below, you will find a few examples of how cost-efficient low-code Apps have resulted in significant process improvements.
Salespersons participate in various networking events to gather sales leads. They used to fill in leads manually in the CRM system. With a low-code App, lead collection was simplified – just by taking a photo of a business card. Then App enters the information into the CRM or updates the customer record if it already exists in the system.
An approval process used to take too much time. It was difficult to keep track on needed actions because users had to log into the system to check the status. A low-code App made it easy to get alerts and enabled users to approve directly e.g., via email. Each decision is now automatically logged for reporting purposes.
All incoming orders used to require manual checks of material blocks in the warehouse to fulfil the order. A low-code App was designed to automatically assign raw material blocks for orders based on the weight of the block. The information about the location of the material block is now shared with forklifts operating in the warehouse, and the information is automatically entered to the company’s ERP system.
There was an automatic quality check done on the production line, but the related data needed to be synced manually with the ERP solution. A low-code App was designed to sync all information with the ERP solution, making the quality control process more efficient and faster.
Drivers used to book sessions by phone or email with the warehouse organization to load their trucks. All related information, including weights, distances, and times, had to be entered manually into the ERP solution. A low-code App was created to allow drivers to book and plan warehouse sessions and delivery destinations, automating the creation of delivery documentation.
Low-code Apps can offer a cost-efficient and agile approach to modernizing business processes. Partners can accelerate your low-code learning and reduce the payback time of your low-code investment.
We can assist you in selecting the right cloud technologies, development processes, and technology portfolio to drive your business development. We can also take over time-consuming tasks, such as design to deployment and application maintenance. This way, you can keep the “from idea to production” process efficient without compromising the core business.
If you’re interested in learning more examples of the low-code approach and its benefits, let’s connect.
Kari is passionate about creating value for our customers and enabling growth through attractive service offerings in the Microsoft ecosystem. He has more than thirty years of experience in the IT business in various roles within development, project management, supervisory roles and sales, helping customers to do better business with new ICT solutions.
In his current role as Service Manager at Tietoevry Tech Services, he advises existing customers on improvements and builds new low-code offerings for future growth.