How to transform app development with a low-code platform

A low-code platform (LCP) can help businesses to build apps faster and in a cost-efficient manner. They can go digital at scale. Learn about this new, business-friendly technology.

Divyesh KharadeSep 26th 2018
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The enterprise-class organisations in India have been experiencing a host of challenges. Even as the economy returns to normalcy, the investment climate remains uncertain. With cut-throat competition and inflationary pressures on the rise, digitalisation has become essential for companies to stay relevant and grow.

As the critical element of their digitalisation strategies, organisations need to create several apps today. While app development offers a range of advantages including expediting business processes, launching new services, or providing a fulfilling user experience, the activity is fraught with high costs and hassles.

According to the data released by Statista, the average hourly cost of building Android apps in India stood at $26 in 2015. Another estimate (by Business of Apps) puts the total average cost of developing an Android app at $23,000. The availability of developers with cross-platform skillsets is another challenge faced by organisations.

A new approach
Given these challenges, employing a low-code rapid app development platform, also known as low-code platform (LCP), has emerged as a suitable option for organisations today. Using an LCP, an organisation can build high-quality mobile apps with speed. An LCP offers a range of benefits to CIOs and business heads while saving them from development hassles. It is faster, saves effort and provides flexibility.

●    Address the talent shortage issues: An LCP with its focus on visual development tools minimises an organisation’s dependence on qualified and skilled designers and developers. The platform’s drag-and-drop visual interface features ensure that people with basic HTML knowledge can build the apps they want without special training. For instance, the operations head of a logistics services provider can quickly get an app built for the company’s truck drivers to streamline reimbursements of their expenses on toll, parking, and fuel. Low-code platforms, thus, make it fast and easy to design, deploy, and use business apps.

●    Build functionally better apps: At another level, since the development interface of an LCP tends to be uncomplicated, the business users can build the app they want with a greater understanding of purpose. Due to such direct and deep involvement of the business stakeholders in the project, the apps you build tend to fully meet the business objective(s) they are meant to. As LCP incorporates the elements such as process and workflow modelling, rich and customizable user interface (UI), the app you build becomes functionally better also from the users’ perspective. With built-in features such as form builder, ready and customizable templates and WYSIWYG Editor, LCP makes your app-building exercise simple, fast and cost-efficient.

●    Gain agility: As the business heads do not have to overburden the IT team with extra work or do not have to hire expert developers, the app building decisions can be taken at the department level itself. By cutting down upon the coordination round-trips the organisation can trim the time required for the exercise. Moreover, the low-code capabilities of the platform shorten the development cycle allowing the organisation to respond to market demands with greater agility.

●    Achieve lean budgeting: An LCP takes care of all functions including development, distribution and DevOps, without too many resource- or process-demands. It helps keep cost augmentation as notional as the business users are able to create apps without sacrificing their routine work. If the LCP vendor you select can offer you a flexible, OpEx based model, then the high up-front costs typically involved in software development projects can also be avoided.

A few precautions
Even as LCP has become a great technology for expediting app development, tread with caution while selecting a solution. Look for a few important capabilities in the platform before spending a rupee. App building can never be a standard process. Every organisation has specific requirements due to certain business processes it follows and the legacy systems it uses. The low-code platform you select must, therefore, have a few key capabilities. Ask these questions for evaluation:
●    Can the apps you build be easily integrated with your existing systems at the backend? The integration should also cover aspects such as easy database integration as well as with third-party applications.
●    Is the platform flexible enough to help you add a custom-code whenever needed?
●    Does it come with command line interface (CLI) tools?
●    How easy is it to maintain?
●    Does the platform come with a ready app marketplace for improved convenience of your developers as well as users?
●    Is it future proof? The vendor you rope in should be able to support you with updates, upgrades and fixing compatibility issues with new technologies, new versions and devices.

Last, but not the least, verify whether the platform you select comes with inbuilt security provisions and also allows you to scale up and down with agility, as per your business needs. A low-code rapid application development platform that fulfils all these critical requirements can help you accomplish your digital transformation goals with enhanced speed and finesse.

 

Divyesh Kharade is co-founder & CEO, DronaHQ

Originally posted at http://www.cio.in/opinion/how-transform-app-development-low-code-platform-lcp

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