What Is Low Code? How Low Code Can Speed Digital Transformation

As more customer interactions move online post-2020, a recent report from McKinsey suggests that organizations must “recognize technology’s strategic importance as a critical component of the business, not just a source of cost efficiencies” if they haven’t already.

However, rapid digital transformation is easier said than done for most organizations, given most are already struggling to find enough tech talent. And it’s why more organizations are turning to low-code development to help them deliver the digital experiences their customers now demand.

Below is what executives need to know about low-code and how it can help them save time and money on software development.

What Is Low-Code Development?

Low-code is an approach to software development that reduces the amount of custom coding required to build an application by incorporating drag-and-drop interfaces, process modeling, reusable code templates, and software development kits (SDKs) into the software development process.

Low-code platforms do not replace the job of a software developer but rather make app development faster by providing developers and non-developers with prebuilt sections of code they can assemble (either visually or in a traditional development environment) instead of hand-coding every line.

Low-Code vs. No-Code

The terms “low-code” and “no-code” are often used interchangeably. But in practice, they’re two separate approaches to software development.

  • No-code development eliminates the need for coding altogether by making the entire application design process a visual drag-and-drop experience. As a result, anyone can use a no-code platform to build an application or website. However, the accessibility of no-code development usually limits the functionality a user can build into their application based on the prebuilt capability of the editing environment.
  • Low-code development also makes the development process more accessible to non-developers. But low-code platforms are still primarily designed for professional developers because they do not completely eliminate the need for coding skills. Low-code development platforms offer greater flexibility than no-code platforms, but they also require a higher technical aptitude to fully implement a functional application.

Adalo is an example of a no-code platform because it allows anyone to build a mobile app by dragging and dropping elements inside its editing environment. But a platform like Retool is considered a low-code tool since it still requires developers to write custom code to build a functional internal business tool.

The Benefits of Low-Code Development

Low-code development can save businesses hundreds of development hours, cut their development times by 50-90% compared to developing an application from scratch with custom coding, and reduce their IT spends by as much as 20%. As a result, it helps solve several common challenges that hinder digital transformation efforts for many organizations.

Improved Agility

Low-code development shortens the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), which helps your organization respond to market or business changes faster than you’d be able to if your development team had to code everything from scratch.

Low-code also makes it easier to incorporate non-developers into the development process, which is something most highly agile businesses are good at, according to PMI. For example, since low-code software development is visual, a developer can spin up a sample app for business teams to evaluate much faster than they could with custom coding, which shortens the feedback loop and helps improve the finished product.

Smaller Project Backlogs

Many enterprises have project backlogs that cost them billions of dollars in sales opportunities because they can’t find the right talent or software to address business opportunities fast enough. Low-code can help reduce costly backlogs because it helps your development team(s) get more done in less time.

Increased Scalability

Low-code development turns application elements like user interfaces, integrations, and custom logic into visual building blocks that developers can reuse anywhere by dragging and dropping them into the design interface. Depending on the platform, a low-code approach often simplifies the work required to scale and maintain custom applications across an entire enterprise or for millions of customers, since a developer can build something once and implement it everywhere in minutes.

More Developer Time For Innovation

According to a global study by Stripe, nearly 75% of the average developer’s week is spent on maintenance and dealing with technical debt. Since low-code development helps simplify the work required to scale and maintain software, it reduces the burden of updating legacy systems and the accrual of technical debt in the first place.

As a result, low-code can free up developer time for higher-value projects, like finding ways to innovate for your employees (which helps reduce their need to find their own software solutions (shadow IT)) or customers.

Low-Code Development Use Cases

Low-code development is a broad term that covers a lot of different use cases. Although most commonly used via standalone platforms for application development, low-code tools can also be incorporated into platform-as-a-service (PaaS) or other software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to reduce the time developers need to build applications or integrate services into their business apps. Below are the most common places low-code can help you save time and money on development costs.

Websites

Many website builders are both a no-code and a low-code environment. For example, Webflow allows a user to design a website without any coding at all. But it also offers the option to inject HTML, CSS, and JavaScript into a site to customize it beyond what its no-code environment allows.

Internal Business Applications

Not only does low-code development free up developer time to build internal apps or dashboards for business users, but it also helps developers build and scale those internal software solutions more effectively. For example, low-code automation platforms (LCAPs) help organizations turn business processes and tasks into automated software workflows faster than coding them from scratch.

Customer-Facing Applications

Low-code platforms often reduce the amount of time required to bring a web application or mobile application to market, as well as help businesses incorporate end-user feedback to improve those applications faster.

Replatforming

Low-code PaaS solutions make it easier to replace or upgrade critical components of your legacy systems with cloud-based solutions rather than trying to code everything from scratch.

For example, Auth0 Marketplace, Actions, Universal Login editor, and SDKs with sample code for many technology platforms all save developers hundreds of hours required to implement user-friendly authentication features while ensuring compliance with important data security standards (for example, HIPAA or ISO 27001).

Consider Making Low-Code a Part of Your Strategy

Low-code can reduce the need for custom coding and allow developers to focus more of their time on the things that make their products unique rather than common (but necessary) tasks like identity.

It’s why we continue to invest in low-code development tools for Auth0’s platform: to ensure developers can integrate identity quickly and get back to high-value tasks that will help your business grow.

Learn more about how Auth0 designs for developer experience using low-code, no-code, and pro-code here.

About Auth0

Auth0’s modern approach to identity enables organizations to provide secure access to any application, for any user. The Auth0 platform is a highly customizable identity operating system that is as simple as development teams want and as flexible as they need. Safeguarding billions of login transactions each month, Auth0 delivers convenience, privacy, and security so customers can focus on innovation. For more information, visit https://auth0.com.

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