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Low code development platforms represent a fast-growing sector of the software industry. They offer to revolutionise the way applications are developed by making the process more accessible to non-professional developers. In this blog, we drill down into the common features of low code platforms, how they differ from no code platforms like Intelastel, and why they’re witnessing a surge in popularity – especially in business.  

What are low code development platforms?

Low code development platforms are an umbrella term for a range of platforms which can be used to produce entire applications using just a small amount of coding for certain applications or functions, or none at all for others. That’s in contrast to no code application development platforms, which require absolutely no hands-on programming at all. 

A low code development platform enables its users to create custom applications and automate tasks using a visual interface – such as drag-and-drop – instead of traditional hand-coded computer programming. As a result, software application development is made accessible to individuals with limited or partial technical IT skill sets. 

Some of the most common applications currently built with low code include partner and customer portals, web apps, help desk or customer service delivery solutions and document management systems. 

Low code development platforms

Global research and advisory firm Gartner estimates that by 2024, 80% of tech products and services will be built by people who are not technology professionals. Low code development platforms will be instrumental in serving the demand, with the market for low code solutions expected to increase nearly 30% from 2020 to reach $5.8 billion by 2021. Forrester estimates that low code tools have the potential to make software development up to 10 times  faster than traditional methods, due to the time saved spent developing and testing applications. 

As low code development platforms have become more advanced and intuitive, their popularity has increased among and spurred the growth of non-professional developers. Also known as ‘citizen developers’, this group can quickly create applications for a range of utilities without relying on developer support.

Low code platforms for business developers

As we touched on, low code development platforms have given rise to the concept of citizen developers in business. 

Citizen developer is a persona not a job title. It refers to a non-tech professional – but a savvy tech user – who leverages increasingly accessible visual interfaces of software platforms to contribute to the development and implementation of digital solutions within their enterprise, for use by themselves or others. 

There is a risk that citizen developers can add complexity or cause confusion by continuously adding new applications and functionalities, which could contribute to ‘shadow IT’. But there are huge benefits available to businesses that can learn how to embrace the citizen developer movement effectively. 

By using tools that are not forbidden by their company’s IT function, citizen developers can provide benefits to organisations. These include increasing departmental or interdepartmental efficiencies, replacing outdated or legacy systems, and reducing pressure on IT resources. As a result, these individuals can help save costs and accelerate business-wide digital transformation. 

Less pressure on internal IT teams means businesses can employ fewer developers, while a core team can create and oversee IT infrastructure, while supporting staff with the development of their own applications. 

Low code platforms also have the potential to foster collaboration between business departments by enabling multiple teams to build new functionalities together, and can help to ensure that the digital solutions a business adopts are appropriate to every user’s requirements. 

Meanwhile, Deloitte found that just 12% of executives believe that future employees will have sufficient digital skills. Advances in low code development could come as a relief to business leaders who are concerned about a shortage in the digital talent they increasingly need. 

Best low code development platforms

While low code platforms are available to anyone with a project idea, what’s considered the best low code development platform and how to choose one depends on a few different factors. 

There are many now available for users that have little to no programming experience – if you’re interested in learning how to build basic applications, mobile applications or web applications, this could be the right platform for you. At the more advanced end are platforms aimed at more experienced developers who are looking to expedite the development of projects and supplement their own programming with powerful pre-made templates and highly-customisable integrations. 

What is ‘best’ depends on your situation and preferences and whether you require a one-stop solution with no frills, or would you rather have the ability for fine-tuning and customisation. 

Intelastel helps citizen developers, business users and IT professionals create powerful, bespoke applications – that can be integrated with thousands of data sources – in minutes to streamline their operations and save costs.

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