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02 May 2019

Low-code platforms: (Bass) How low can you go?

Gavin Smart

Gavin Smart
Manager, Technology Transformation

Low-code can be traced back to the early 1990s and the onset of Rapid Application Development (RAD). Built using RAD principles, low-code platforms operate on the premise of model-driven design enabling the user to simply drag and drop components which auto-generate code, supporting data entities and services.

Over the years, low-code technology has evolved and during this time has increased in popularity amongst organisations needing to keep pace with the onset of digital competitors. Much of the appeal can be attributed to simplicity of a platform that does not require programmatic skills. This leads to what Gartner terms as the ‘citizen developer’. The citizen developer in this context is someone from the business or marketing department rather than from traditional IT functions.

Some may argue that this could lead to shadow IT, however, others would suggest this approach fully embraces the principles of agile, breaking down silos between IT and the business. Whatever your stance low-code looks here to stay with Forrester predicting the market to increase to a staggering $22 billion by 2020.

So why should organisations sit up and take note of low-code? Fundamentally, low-code is an enabler for digital transformation providing companies, who have historically run services from a legacy IT estate, the ability to adapt and offer new digital services. Low-code and specifically Mobile application Development Platforms (MaDP) sit on top of the existing IT estate, leveraging native services providing organisations with the ability to rapidly consume existing legacy services e.g. enrolment and registration, repurposing them within a shiny new mobile platform.

In addition, low-code platforms extend customer interaction through leveraging the native capability of the device including biometrics and GPS to name a few.

So what should organisations consider when embarking on their Low-code journey?

Business Outcome – Be clear about the business outcome you are looking to achieve

  • Low-code platforms are designed to be quick. Projects are typically inhibited not by the tech they are using, but the lack of certainty of direction and business outcome.

‚ÄčArchitecture – Low-code platforms have to be appropriately architected

  • Architectural disciplines are still required when adopting low-code platforms. The implications associated with exploiting micro-services need to be understood to avoid potential stability or performance issues

Security – Design with security in mind

  • Whilst there are low-code platforms on the market that incorporate security, be mindful that you will likely be exposing and consuming greater volumes of data through the platform which will need to be secured appropriately

Sustainability  - Consider your long-term strategy

  • Low-code platforms auto generate code in a language that cannot be easily interpreted. Should you decide to move away from a low-code platform, consideration should be given to how you access and reuse the generated code in the future.

Low-code looks here to stay and, adopted in the right way, can help organisations extend their market reach through digitising their existing services. So, in the words of Simon Harris, ‘How low can you go?”