Low-code solutions – what can be achieved with them and where do they fit?

Application development with low-code is simply more efficient for companies – in other words, faster and easier – than traditional application development. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 70% of applications will be developed with low-code. However, manual processes and Excel are still common, even in large companies. Excel is a good servant but a poor master. Fortunately, with low-code, one can quickly escape the Excel jungle. In this article, we'll go through when and in what situations it's beneficial to use low-code as a tool.

Applications and the underlying data are essential in almost every company today, but the needs vary significantly among businesses. One may require a comprehensive ERP solution, while another may only need a financial management solution alongside other business-supporting systems. A third company may be on the brink of growth and seeking the most cost-effective solutions. Excel isn’t disappearing from the world, but companies may still have needs to update technology and processes. Low-code offers many excellent opportunities for businesses of all sizes in different situations.

Manual work and data in Excel – inefficient operations?

You’re not alone: Excel is used for data management in almost every company. Excel doesn’t just support reporting; it also manages business-critical information. This is often because existing solutions lack the ability to manage that data, or it’s not practical to further tailor existing solutions.

Another factor that impairs the efficiency of the company is manual processes, where data is entered from one system to another. This leads to slow processes and quality issues.

Applications built with low-code technology are a precise solution and a perfect ‘match made in heaven’ for solving these basic problems. By digitizing data management with a low-code application, end-users receive a modern application instead of Excel. Additionally, it ensures that data quality doesn’t suffer, and data management can be guided by workflows. Furthermore, the application can be integrated with other systems. Another completely ideal use case for leveraging low-code technology is the automation of manual processes using rules-based automation, leveraging artificial intelligence, or robotics.

Managing critical master data and master data – faster and more affordably with low-code?

Often, large companies have already implemented some sort of solution for managing master data and other basic information, or they manage them directly in operational systems. If basic data needs to be mastered centrally, a separate data management solution is required, which is integrated into operational systems. This ensures consistent and high-quality master data. If an ‘on-premise’ solution has been previously implemented (and since everything eventually moves to the cloud), at least a version upgrade or a completely new solution implementation often arises. When considering the implementation or renewal of basic data systems, I recommend companies to evaluate whether low-code technology could be helpful.

Digitizing data updating – from manual oversight to process-driven model?

Often, there’s a need for targeted solutions to manage data internally or with third parties. In such cases, the application should offer sufficient support to guide processes, perform necessary data validations, inform users of any changes, and in some cases, integrate data directly into operational systems. For example, pricing or campaign management often requires a lot of background information and automations, where a modern application comes in handy. In the best cases, the application not only reduces manual work but also ensures timely data updates, which are crucial especially in the retail sector.

Data collection is often crucial in industries where assets are serviced and various registries, such as those for equipment and vehicles, are updated. This is often encountered in fieldwork. Data updating is still largely managed through methods like emails or manually scanning handwritten documents. Low-code enables simple applications that can completely digitize such processes. As a bonus, real-time reporting on the progress of the process and data updates is obtained. Increased efficiency in work hours is the reward for a job well done.

Growth companies and interim solutions – could things be done faster and more affordably?

As companies grow, they often encounter larger, time-consuming system needs that require careful consideration of the tools used to choose the right solutions. For example, the implementation of ERP solutions requires long-term development, which may not always be feasible. When it’s time to upgrade the system, there may be a need for quick interim business solutions. For growth companies, making decisions about major system investments is challenging because the focus is often on increasing revenue and thus achieving results. Therefore, it’s not always possible to make substantial investments, yet solutions are needed to enable growth.

Through low-code solutions, applications can be created to address temporary needs, or as is often the case in growth companies, a ‘good enough’ solution is implemented to move forward. Building low-code applications is often cost and resource-efficient. Maintenance costs are also reasonable, making it an ideal solution for growth companies.

Low-code – threat or opportunity?

In my opinion, companies should see low-code more as an opportunity than a threat. Low-code applications are suitable tools to support the business of companies of all sizes. With low-code, both larger solutions and smaller targeted solutions can be created, addressing missing pieces of individual process areas. Low-code projects are cost-effective and quick to implement, and maintenance costs are also reasonable.

Lanttu.io focuses on implementing a low-code solution using Microsoft Power Platform, which is a leading low-code solution and a top product in Gartner’s famous Magic Quadrant. Power Platform provides all the technological support that business applications and automations need, without compromising on security. The solution includes user interfaces, databases, automation for process management, integration, and reporting capabilities. Additionally, AI and robotics offer new opportunities both now and in the future. Lanttu.io’s focus is on digitizing business processes, streamlining master data management, and enabling innovative utilization of business applications. The future of low-code applications is here and now.

Pertti Karhu

The author is a seasoned professional who works on development projects with clients and supports the Lanttu.io team as an advisor and chairman of the board.

Sources: Gartner Says Cloud Will Be the Centerpiece of New Digital Experiences 

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