Low-code development platforms allow users to automate or streamline workflows. For example, an intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to turn a manual process or static spreadsheet into a dynamic application. That is the power of low-code development platforms.
One of the most attractive features of a low-code platform is that users don't have to be trained software developers. Instead, any necessary coding is usually done behind the scenes so that the user can focus on function rather than syntax. Yet, the platform can be flexible enough to accommodate code if the user prefers.
Since coding skills aren't required, the process experts are usually closely involved in the development. But more likely than not, they're building the project themselves. This direct connection ensures that the resulting application matches the user's intent. In addition, updating and improving the app is quick and easy.
Generally, low-code apps are deployed by simply clicking a button. As a result, users don't have to worry about installing, configuring, or managing a server.
Any organization that prides itself on being dynamic and committed to process improvement should consider a low-code development platform.
These days flexibility is an important business attribute. The ability to shift seamlessly from offline to online and vice versa can be a determining factor in continuing as a going concern. A low-code platform helps digitize manual workflows, making it possible to scale, integrate, and coordinate various business activities.
Low-code apps typically improve administrative operations. So, tasks like tracking time and expenses, managing events, itemizing inventory, etc., are ideal use cases for low-code development. However, some low-code platforms can connect to external services that help in collecting customer feedback and managing bookkeeping functions.
Getting Started with Low-Code
A background in spreadsheets is a valuable asset to getting started with low-code tools. If you're comfortable organizing and manipulating data within spreadsheets, it's not too much of an extension to apply different functions that will automate or streamline those business spreadsheets.
In terms of where to look for tools, you could start with your company's ERP system. Many of those programs now include a no-code or low-code offering. Existing software would be an excellent place to start because you are probably already familiar with the interface and systems, which should flatten the learning curve.
Nonetheless, do your research. Review several different options, schedule demos, and exploit free trials. It would also be helpful to talk with your IT department because you may already have access to a tool. Or, they can offer guidance in terms of integration requirements.
Some low-code platform providers offer formal training workshops for the tool, either directly or through trusted partners. However, you can also find simple tutorials that introduce the tool's essential features and functions. Again, if you're proficient with spreadsheets, those skills should be helpful.
Nonetheless, don't underestimate the time commitment to learning the features, functions, interface, etc. In addition, a low-code program may be less intuitive than a spreadsheet, so be prepared for an initial learning curve.
When you're evaluating low-code options, be mindful of the other users. Many low-code providers have a vibrant online community that promotes collective learning and collaboration. Take advantage of this resource, particularly when you have specific questions about a function or task.
The biggest mistake a new low-code adopter can make is giving up. There is a learning curve, so consider your time as an investment. Please don't assume the tool can't do something before actually verifying it. Instead, you can lean on the product engineers and managers as well as other users to find a way to make the tool do what you need it to do.
In that same vein, be sure not to compromise process efficiency. The platform should accommodate your workflows so that you won't have to fit your workflows into the tool. Therefore, during the software review process, be fully aware of the platform's capabilities. If you find yourself thinking of workarounds before you've even installed the program, you should probably keep looking.
There are plenty of low-code platforms currently on the market, and many more are still in development. So explore your options thoroughly and strategically. It's important to be honest about your intentions and objectives and not get distracted by the sleek and shiny aspects of the platform. In addition, consider the organization's long-term goals, growth, and direction and whether the program will be as flexible and scalable as your future business plans.
Do you need help with your next low-code project? We are a team of FileMaker, SQL, and Web developers. We can create a new custom solution for you, help you enhance an existing application, or provide you with FileMaker training and support. Contact us for more information and to schedule a free initial consultation.