Development / Contributed

Mastering Low-Code Application Development in 2021

22 Feb 2021 11:16am, by

Josh Kahn
As General Manager of the Platform Business Unit, Josh Kahn is responsible for providing an application development platform for ServiceNow customers and partners to build applications that will transform the way the world works. Kahn joined ServiceNow in 2016 from EMC Corporation (acquired by Dell) where he was Senior Vice President of Global Solutions, focusing in the areas of hybrid cloud and cloud native application platforms.

This past year, organizations in every industry were required to reinvent their manual processes and become more digital, reengineering and optimizing them for new customer, employee, and partner engagements. The pressure to digitally transform will continue to be a top organizational priority in 2021, but there are challenges that need to be addressed for these changes to be successful.

First, there are simply not enough application developers to build the software experiences needed in the year ahead. Second, IT developers need to be able to move faster to deliver on the growing backlog of applications. This business reality has created a catalyst for low-code platforms, powered by citizen developers, to become one of the top emerging technology trends for 2021.

With many enterprises looking to implement low-code platforms this year and scale their application development, the following factors will be critical for success with low code.

Your Platform Must Enable Intuitive, Powerful, and Intelligent Experiences that People Love

The most important thing about a meal isn’t the recipe or the tools you use to create it — it’s the delicious food that your guests eat. The same is true of digital transformation — the most important thing about delivering applications to modern workers is the application experience. It must be easy to use, accomplish the task at hand, and make intelligent assumptions that automate mundane steps.

The best low code platforms will have a set of essential capabilities to power these experiences, including a broad spectrum of interfaces with native iOS and Android mobile capabilities, natural language conversational interfaces, and modern web browser experiences that look nothing like the confusing, rigid traditional enterprise apps of the past. But there is more to the experience than just the interface, the platform needs to embed analytic insights, AI, and other ways to automate key actions.

With these ingredients in your low-code platform, you are ready to start cooking!

Simple, Powerful Tools Scale Your Developer Community in Two Ways

Citizen developers need point-and-click tools and templates so that they can drag-and-drop their way to applications with clicks, not code. And, these simple tools need to support all of the powerful features of the platform, allowing a citizen developer to build the experiences people love. If you have a platform with incredible AI capabilities, but it takes a developer writing code to build AI into an application, you can’t really scale the full value of your platform through low code.

The great news is that these low-code tools for citizen developers can help IT developers build applications faster, speeding through the simple actions and empowering them to spend their time and energy writing code.

So, with the right low-code platform, you can get benefits of scale in two different ways!

Enable Technical Developers to Empower Citizen Developers

Citizen developers will hit roadblocks and will need outside support to create more sophisticated applications. Technical developers play the important role of empowering citizen developers to reach their highest potential.

You want a low-code platform that allows technical developers to build reusable components such as pre-built blocks of code, integrations, UX components, and more, and then easily share them with citizen developers for consumption. With this set of capabilities, your citizen developers will be able to create more powerful applications, freeing your IT developers up to build even more business-critical applications that drive digital transformation.

Overcome the Fear of Application Sprawl

IT has historically worried about the lack of enterprise visibility and oversight of low code platforms because the application built by citizen developers can create risks — security risks, compliance risks, and impacts on availability of other applications. Lines of business have been wanting to utilize low code platforms so they can speed application delivery when IT is not moving fast enough.

You need a low-code platform that provides the best of both worlds. One that empowers citizen developers to build applications. And when it’s time to take an app to production, the app should run confidently with enterprise-grade scalability, performance, resilience, privacy, security and compliance, all while on the same platform as the business-critical apps built by the IT organization.

If enterprises take into consideration all these key factors, the success of low-code applications will be inevitable — driving digital transformation to the next level. We will see more mission-critical software projects in new territories executed by citizen developers as a result, opening opportunities for business growth.

Feature image by Tayeb MEZAHDIA on Pixabay.

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