How Enterprise-grade low-code speeds up Time to Market
Digital transformation poses a complex array of challenges. Businesses around the world are turning to low-code to streamline processes and reduce Time to Market.
Tag along for a journey back in time. Remember that blissful age before COVID-19?
Then it happened.
Businesses that were almost exclusively offline suddenly had to digitize operations. Some were not the least bit prepared. As if moving workers to work-from-home positions wasn’t challenging enough, team communication had to be revised. Product development was put on hold. And the Time to Market of innovations increased.
At the same time, peoples’ lives changed, meaning businesses had to adapt, fast. The strain on digital platforms grew, and IT teams felt the pressure.
COVID-19 soon became the biggest driver of digital transformation in recent years. The pandemic triggered a profound shift in the way companies work. Business leaders found themselves under intense pressure to cope.
So, how did savvy companies respond?
Fast forward to today.
Companies are rediscovering low-code, a software development approach that enables the delivery of applications faster and with minimal hand-coding.
Low-code platforms are a collection of tools that enable the visual development of applications through a graphical interface. They enable developers to skip hand-coding, speeding up the process of getting an application to production.
Low-code isn’t as new as you might think
However revolutionary, low-code is not a new concept. In computing years, some might even call it ancient.
If you worked in IT in the 1980s or 1990s, chances are someone pitched you a solution that promised to offload much of the demand for new applications to the users themselves. The grandfathers of low-code were computer-assisted software engineering (CASE) tools and early rapid application development (RAD) tools.
OutSystems, the first low-code platform for application development, was founded in 2001 by founder Paulo Rosado, amidst a tech bubble burst and a catastrophe such as 9/11. The goal? Take on the likes of SAP and Oracle. No easy feat, especially when you consider the facts of that year, but OutSystems powered through to raise $1 M that very same year.
However, the dream to tickle tech giants has become more realist in recent years, as low-code truly gained traction. For 2030, Forrester expects the low-code industry as a whole to be worth an estimate $B 187. OutSystems alone has a market cap of $30 billion, with more than 300 partners, including – you guessed it – us, here at Near Partner.
“Low-code” has become something of a buzzword. But what does it mean exactly?
What Low-code actually means
Low-code is an innovative approach to software development that involves minimal hand coding. Instead, low-code relies in visual development of apps through a graphic and intuitive interface.
This means almost anyone with a basic understanding of how software works can now “program” apps, websites, or back office apps.
Implementing low-code is revolutionising the way businesses operate, as it enables the software that usually took weeks or months to code and test to be deployed in a matter of days or hours, in some cases. Concepts turn into realities faster, drastically reducing Time to Market.
What is Time to Market, you ask?
Why businesses should care about Time to Market
Time to Market is the time it takes to go from initial idea to finished product – whether that is a product, a website, or an app.
Research has shown that new market entrants enjoy clear advantages in terms of market share, revenue, and sales growth. That makes Time to Market one of the essential product development KPIs or metrics – and a top priority for business leaders.
A project such as building a fully functional website for an already-existing business in the traditional way can take somewhere between three months to almost a year – depending on the business needs.
On top of that traditional development is pretty much restricted to skilled teams with in-depth coding knowledge. Low-code, on the other hand, is much more inclusive. It allows business users from all departments to get actively involved in the development and design of their apps, avoiding common pitfalls in app development that happen when there’s a big separation between the IT department and the rest of the business.
Time to Market is also significantly decreased, with the total timeline, from conception to deployment, ranging from a couple of months to a couple of weeks.
How low-code is changing businesses’ Time to Market
Everyone can learn code 101
To be able to make decisions regarding low-code programming, you do not need a computer science masters’ degree. One of the ways the adoption of low-code helps speed Time to Market is that all team members can actively participate in application design, with little to no coding skills.
The simple interface and intuitive design of low-code platforms streamline the process. Suddenly, designing applications becomes widespread across the organization: what if basic programming became as commonplace as creating a spreadsheet or a presentation deck?
Of course, changes, fine-tuning and overall customisation will need an experienced pair of hands and a low-code-trained brain, but the foundation can absolutely be laid by anyone in the team. This is where a digital transformation partner like Near Partner can help your business grow. Each solution is tailored to your needs, and a team of highly skilled individuals will build on what you already have to make scalable and secure.
If you’re looking of ways of upskilling your developing team, start with these 5 essential Software Engineer skills, according to CIOs.
Customer feedback can be quickly embodied
Customer and client feedback is a precious resource for all kinds of businesses. That’s why, when a business manages to get feedback, the smart thing to do is to listen and act accordingly.
By using a low-code platform, changes can be quickly implemented without having to rely heavily on the IT department.
It’s all about what drives company culture. At Near Partner, everything we do revolves around customer needs. Back in 2017, before we even had a name, we knew customer centricity was essential, as well as empathy, mutual help, and kindness to each other.
That is what Culture means to us, whether we’re working on a project, having a “Pouf Talk”, laughing at lunch, or fighting it out at a Ping-Pong game.
Testing gets easier
Testing new concepts can represent a huge chunk of the time spent developing an application, which ultimately slows down the Time to Market. Proper testing isn’t done overnight, and meanwhile the businesses can’t deliver – increasing Time to Market and adding costs.
With low-code, unit testing is dramatically reduced. Why? All the testing is done beforehand, since low-code platforms offer ready-to-use modules with all the respective functionalities up and running.
What if you want custom coding additions? Some unit testing might be needed then, but the cloud-based environment simplifies and streamlines testing even further.
Modular solutions enable iterative evolution
Expanding the functionalities of a website or application is also made easier with low-code. Its modular nature allows for iterative expansion and evolution, functionality-adding and, most importantly, it doesn’t affect the main website or app, or the Time to Market.
While the central part of the business continues to run smoothly, different departments can work on the expansion without disrupting the “business as usual”.
Low-code can help your business face today’s challenges and prepare for tomorrow’s. Streamlining development, integration, and deployment of applications helps drive business value, as it cuts back on development time, costs, and ultimately, Time to Market.
No more rogue IT
In large organizations, rogue IT or shadow IT refers to solutions deployed by departments other than the central IT department, to work around the shortcomings of the central information systems. Excel macros are the most common examples and represent around 19% of all rogue IT applications.
Rogue IT can be a barrier to innovation because it blocks the establishment of more efficient work processes. It is also a waste of time: since most “developers” of rogue IT actually work in HR, finance or marketing, development usually takes longer only to end up not being scalable to other departments. Also, usually it doesn’t comply with cybersecurity best practices.
Solution? Low-code allows users to create apps in different departments with an embedded single set of previously agreed-upon rules.
Partnering up: OutSystems x Near Partner
At Near Partner, we are big advocates of OutSystems, the leading low-code platform for the development of mobile and web applications.
Why OutSystems, you ask?
- OutSystems means development costs are much lower, and Time to Market is up to 4x faster.
- The OutSystems platform is intuitive and user friendly, and allows business users to build highly responsive applications, easily integrated with existing systems.
- It allows for custom features to be added to your project or evolve applications at the pace that your business needs them.
- At Near Partner you get personalised support with all the steps of development and maintenance.
- OutSystems provides a platform with advanced enterprise features to enable seamless growth.
You’d be right to guess that we are OutSystems fans. However, we don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole. If your project requires something different, our team can find the right set of tools for your business development needs. Just give us a shout and board the digital train with us.
We’ll be happy to help you deliver great solutions while speeding up Time to Market.
Contact us about our OutSystems services and find out how we can be there for you and your business.