CONTRIBUTOR

Every software company wants a competitive edge. Some try and find that edge in their pricing structure, others in UX design and some in customer service. An innovative and competitive edge can assemble all the ingredients needed for business success: Higher-quality customers, bigger-ticket jobs, better job candidates, greater investment prospects and more.

Low-code platforms have emerged as a not-so-well-kept secret within the software development industry, giving companies that ever-important edge. According to a 2022 Springer-published article on the adoption and barriers of low-code software development platforms, “LCSD platforms provide more flexibility and agility, faster development time that allows responding quickly to market needs, less bug fixing, less deployment effort, and easier maintenance.”

Adapt Quickly in the Face of Disruption

Companies disrupt markets by developing unique innovative solutions that attract customers and solve irritating pain points. But disruptors only gain the upper hand when competitors fail to integrate innovation fast enough. Due to long lead development cycles with legacy products and services, companies can be quickly outpaced by an agile startup – simply because they can’t redesign fast enough.

The solution helping potential disruptors to pivot and adjust can be found in the agility of low-code platforms, which allow organizations to develop software, features, functions and UI components quickly. Instead of months of software development lead time, software makers can use a low-code approach without sacrificing quality or functionality.

Faster Customer Go-Lives

Getting to market is frequently a race against time. To accelerate the process of going live, low-code platforms are an electrified tool in an otherwise manual toolbelt. An analysis by HFS Research indicates that “using low-code in your software development lifecycle can accelerate delivery by 85%.” With shorter development cycles and faster go-lives comes more immediate customer satisfaction; and with low-code platforms requiring as little as one-third of the time as a fully-coded solution, companies can potentially triple their ability to develop new software projects.

Much as software language libraries shortcut functions within code, low-code platforms shortcut the design and workflows of functional components and UI elements. While low-code tooling still requires developers to drive the build, the time it takes developers to build the software is greatly reduced.

A New Composable Software Ecosystem

Established software companies that design well know the power of in-house, reusable software libraries, functions and microservices. The right low-code platform offers a similar, composable environment for development. That vertical integration is advantageous, says Forrester’s Chris Gardner: “There’s a very clear benefit of low-code, that it’s a full stack technology. It’s everything in a box needed to do modern development.”

With the best low-code solution providers, customizable, ready-to-use prefabs (PBCs) can be dragged and dropped within a visual editor to compose completely new applications. When designing with microservice architecture design patterns in particular, developers are able to quickly stitch together previous app functionality for reuse, with little to no re-coding required.

Enabling Customer-Driven App Extensions

Incoming support and feature request tickets can be the difference between having time to take on a new customer and having your devs spend all their hours on projects that should have wrapped up long ago. While ongoing revenue from these jobs is beneficial for your business’s bottom line, the process can frustrate customers, bore developers and lead to stagnation across the company and its projects.

Customers want to be able to make small changes to their software without waiting days or weeks for turnaround – and low-code platforms can give them that opportunity. By offering focused training and an accessible dev environment to one point person or small team within the customer’s company, you put the power for change into your customer’s hands.

Innovate, Create, Grow

It’s clear how software excellence and flexibility can fuel performance, as detailed in a recent McKinsey study: “Organizations with strong tools – for planning, development (for example, integrated development environments), collaboration and continuous integration and delivery – are 65% more innovative than bottom-quartile companies.”

This core benefit of low-code platforms to considerably cut the amount of time spent coding frees up developers to concentrate on difficult logic, systems efficiency or even brand-new innovative projects and solutions. Low-code presents a way to work smarter, not harder.

Is there a learning curve for low-code platforms? Yes, but it’s far easier than learning a new programming language. It’s a more efficient way of working that developers, and others, can easily adopt. Will dev professionals still need to code? No doubt. But with an intuitive low-code platform that generates much of the code itself, there is far less code to be written. And that translates into far more customer satisfaction and the competitive edge you need.