The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought about disruption at a scale that’s never been seen before. It has forced entire nations into extended lockdowns, forcing businesses to swiftly transform their operating models. As a result, businesses are increasingly adopting various digital transformation initiatives to solve the unique challenges of the “new normal”.
This crisis has put the IT departments under massive pressure to develop solutions for increasingly complex and unprecedented business problems. They are facing such a massive resource crunch and time constraint, they are struggling to meet deadlines, which in turn is affecting the overall business outcomes.
Consequently, businesses are looking to adopt Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAP), to empower their employees to build custom business apps on their own and without any developer help. The need for businesses to be more flexible and agile has never been more important and this need is accelerating the adoption of LCAPs.
Before we dive into how LCAPs are driving agility, let us first understand what they are.
According to Gartner, “An Enterprise Low-code application platform provides rapid application development and deployment using low-code and no-code techniques such as declarative, model-driven application design and development together with the simplified one-button deployment of applications.”
To break it down, low-code platforms democratize app development in your organization by enabling business users to build professional-grade apps with little to no coding experience. These platforms are reducing the dependency on IT and developer teams for app deployment and driving the emergence of “citizen developers”.
These platforms employ visual, declarative techniques rather than traditional programming, which means that anyone with minimal training can start using them to deliver solutions swiftly and smoothly. They include innovative features such as reusable components, drag-and-drop interfaces, and process modeling that allows users to experiment, develop prototypes, and deliver ready-to-use applications in a matter of days.
The pandemic has created an immediate need for IT departments to develop new, complex applications that can not only support the remote workforce but also help in generating revenues. However, with the growing uncertainties, tight budgets and the possibility of a global recession, this is easier said than done.
Hence, more and more organizations are rethinking their current app development approaches. Low-code platforms enable faster and cost-effective ways of app development that help businesses meet their rapidly changing objectives. Research also suggests that low-coding app development can reduce the overall development time by about 90%.
New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications leveraged a Low-Code platform to create multiple web portals to provide real-time COVID-19-related information to the city’s residents. The platform enabled the government to go live with the engagement portal within 72 hours! Whereas, without the platform, it would have taken the government upto 3 months to do the same with the same capabilities.
By retiring the traditional approach to app development, organizations can also reduce costs involved in hiring new developers.
In the new normal, democratizing innovation is what separates winners from the laggards. Innovation won’t be limited to just a core group of business leaders. By empowering employees with low-code platforms, businesses can deliver innovation across functions and levels. These platforms enable subject matter experts to collaborate, build and customize their apps more easily, without undergoing any unnecessary hurdles and bottlenecks that can impede success.
For instance, using low code platforms, doctors, hospital staff, and healthcare authorities can manage and coordinate millions of terabytes of information across multiple e-health platforms, insurance systems, and patient billing applications. Specifically, they can automate the entire information flow to enhance the quality of coordinated patient care and deliver more effective therapies.
Low-code application platforms also provide low-code integration capabilities through which organizations can connect their disparate SaaS-based and on-premise systems and have a unified view of their data.
Low-code integration enables your systems to adapt to the ideal processes your business needs rather than having to adjust your processes to the functioning of the systems. This flexibility offered by low-code platforms is critical in today’s highly dynamic environment.
With a plethora of low-code platforms available in the market, choosing one can be incredibly difficult. Both Gartner and Forrester named Microsoft PowerApps as a leader in the low-code development platform market. Brands such as Virgin Atlantic, PepsiCo, and the American Red Cross have transformed their process with PowerApps.
A low-code crisis communication and management app that enables organizations to quickly assist employees, track their health, answer FAQ, and improve collaboration.
This app helps organizations ensure a robust back-to-work strategy and seamless social distancing management. Some key features include booking a seat at the workplace, QR code e-pass generation for contactless entry, visitor management etc.
In the normal, enhanced flexibility and agility is something most businesses are consistently working towards, yet many do not have the right tools and resources to achieve them. In fact, the current market makes it even more difficult to do so. However, the clock is still ticking. A low-code platform is one viable solution for improving enterprise-wide agility. They enable faster and controlled development of applications within days, or even hours. In fact, they provide businesses with the flexibility, security, and other capabilities needed to fight the pandemic disruption.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic or you are planning to implement Power Apps for your organization, please feel free to get in touch with one of our Microsoft experts for a personalized consultation!