Digital Transformation: low-code vs traditional development - Who wins and why?

Digital Transformation: low-code vs traditional development -  Who wins and why?

Digital transformation is here! With tens of thousands of searches on the web each month, it has moved past the “trend” stage directly into the realm of reality. As of now, there isn’t a clear leader in the C-Suite driving digital transformation in enterprises, so all C-level executives need to be educated on the benefits of modernization and the solutions in the marketplace to best help make the transition.

Entrepreneurship is at an all-time high and today’s Gen-Y and Millennial founders are digital natives. Their new companies were launched in the era of smartphones, Wi-Fi, and social media. They know no physical or digital boundaries and are leveraging their technological prowess to give them a competitive advantage.

Established companies are in the unenviable place of having to play catch up to new entrants, and figuring out how best to become more digital-friendly without interrupting business processes or breaking the IT budget. Although today’s companies are of aware of the need for digital transformation, many have yet to move past the initial stages.

Why Low-Code Now?

According to IDC, in Portugal, 27% of medium and large organizations are still at Level 1 (on a 5-pt scale) in the Maturity model for digital transformation. This compares to 20% in Western Europe and 13% in the U.S.

While it is true that someone–a person–at a company has to initiate the digital transformation process, technology will be the mechanism by which it all comes to fruition. According to Gartner, 2.2 million terabytes of new data are created every day and the forecast is that by 2020, there will be 40 billion gigabytes of data in the world.

This data comes primarily from everyday life and how people move and interact with the world around them. As such, the data are largely unstructured and difficult to synthesize into useful information. The ability to manage this influx of their own data, plus data they acquire externally is a driving force behind the digital transformation process.

Without powerful back-end systems and databases, front-end applications will fail to deliver the user experience today’s discriminating user’s demand. And without beautiful and simple UIs, all the processing power and structured data in the world will sit unused.

This forces organizations to consider how best to tackle the software side of digital transformation. Replatformization of major systems using traditional methods requires a great deal of planning, hundreds, even thousands of hours of programming and testing, and even at the end, there will likely be issues during deployment that interrupt or even delay rollout.

On the other hand, a low-code, rapid application development solution can significantly simplify the process of replatforming core systems and make smaller projects such as web applications, a snap to plan, develop and deploy.

First Things First! – What Is Low-Code?

Low-code, a term coined by analyst firm, Forrester, in 2014, is a method of visual development that significantly improves design and delivery times by minimizing hand-coding. It allows citizen developers and professional developers alike to develop core, mobile and web-based applications faster because many of the repetitive programming tasks are already built into the platform.

Low-code promises, and delivers, on the ability to quickly fulfil customer demand without an army of expensive developers. That’s not to say you don’t still need developers on-staff, but mature low-code shops are finding that in-house citizen developers are able to create the same functionally rich applications as professional developers thanks to the intuitiveness of visual development, rich libraries of reusable code, and simple one-click deployment.

This frees up professional developers and IT personnel to focus on more complicated backend integrations and systems projects that leverage the work of citizen developers.

Is Low-code Right For You?

The short answer is, probably. But understandably, most organizations need a more formal evaluation before leaping into the low-code swimming pool. The two top questions asked by any CxO when considering a new project are:

  1. How much will it cost?
  2. How long will it take?

How Much Will it Cost?

There is no short answer on cost. As with any product or service, different vendors offer different feature sets that affect development expertise requirements, which in turn affects the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC) budget.

OutSystems low-code, rapid application development platform has seen ROI savings as high as 442% thanks to a reduction in in-house expertise, and time-to-market thanks to automated testing and deployment.

How Long Will It Take?

Development times will vary depending on the type and complexity of the project, the experience of the platform developers, and the IT readiness of the organization to handle the additional data load on its systems.

Low-code development platforms significantly reduce programming timelines–that’s one of the keys to its rise in popularity. What may have initially taken several months to scope, design, code, test and deploy, can be done much faster thanks to the simplicity and reusability of visual development. Assuming the platform also handles deployment processes such as version tracking, dependency checking and impact analysis in real-time, timeframes can be shortened even further.

All of these reduce both cost and complexity, which means faster time-to-market for your organization. Whether you are simply providing integration with third-party apps to your own systems, creating web or mobile apps, or replatforming your entire core, OutSystems low-code development platform is crafted to help you build better apps faster.

*Article co-written by Blue Screen and OutSystems.

Why Blue Screen and OutSystems?

Each organization’s needs are different. What you choose will depend on an analysis of what you are trying to accomplish with your digital transformation efforts.

OutSystem is the #1 low-code, rapid application development platform on the market and was just named a Leader in the Gartner High-Productivity Application Platform as a Service Magic Quadrant–for the second year in a row!

Blue Screen is a systems integrator and software development partner of OutSystems. Between us, we have more than 20 years in the low-code development and integration space.

Give Blue Screen a call, or contact us online, and let us work with your team to evaluate if low-code is right for you and your customers.