Forrester Principal Analyst John Rymer recently spoke with QuickBase customers about how organizations are revolutionizing their approach to application development and delivery (AD&D) with low-code platforms for rapid application development. In his presentation, Rymer described low-code platforms as "platforms that enable rapid delivery of business applications with minimum hand-coding, and minimal upfront investment in set, training, and deployment." In case you missed it, you can find a recording of the web event here. But before diving into what low-code platforms like QuickBase can do, it's important to understand why they're so important to IT and process leaders, whose roles are most transformed by low-code platforms' potential for driving greater operational efficiency, business agility and employee productivity. In other words, what are some of the problems IT and process leaders face that make low-code platforms an important solution for them to consider?
Traditional programming methods and application development platforms cannot keep up with growing demands on IT teams. The speed of development on legacy systems is too slow, and the cost of technical talent and internal resources is too high. IT teams face a mounting backlog of applications requests from increasingly digital-savvy stakeholders in the business. As they consider potential solutions, progressive IT leaders are seeking the right balance between productivity and control when it comes to managing the development and deployment of apps.
The pervasiveness of "shadow IT" initiatives, scattered app islands with silos of data, and growing demands for a widening variety of applications for processes with varying levels of maturity are compelling innovative IT leaders to search for platform solutions that enable the business to contribute to servicing its own app requests, collaborate over process and app iterations, and help app builders become more effective and productive. Simultaneously, the right solutions for IT must provide the right level of customizability, scalability, extensibility, and governance.
IT leaders are increasingly turning to rapid application development (RAD) solutions as highly productive alternatives to traditional development environments. And low-code to no-code RAD platforms are displacing less flexible, resource-draining applications typically hand-coded in traditional development languages by scarce, expensive talent. But as a broader, non-coder but business-savvy pool of app builders – called “citizen developers” by many – is engaged and enabled by IT, potential risks around app administration and lifecycle management increase.
Business process leaders tasked with drawing out operational efficiencies across organizations are increasingly driving conversations around important technology decisions. Their unique vantage points across departments and alignment with the business enable them to provide solutions that make a real impact. But they often struggle to provide technological solutions, despite a deep understanding of business needs, due to their inability to write code. And traditional process methodology improvements deliver decreasing marginal returns because of difficulties in translating unstructured data into measurable, actionable data points.
In tandem, process leaders’ technology requests are heaped onto IT’s mounting backlog, which is never addressed quickly enough. Even if process leaders find appropriate point solutions among a growing number of options, they face the technical challenge of deploying applications, which they may be ill-equipped to handle. The evolving processes of business stakeholders further add to difficulties, often requiring collaborative, ongoing iterative customization of applications, and requiring costly resources and time.
As technology solutions and data proliferate across departments, geographies and unconnected point solutions, process leaders must provide a single source of truth (read: break down data silos) to ensure that they can enable stakeholders with actionable insights based on accurate, fresh data. The pace of market demands and rising customer expectations place mounting pressure on process leaders to enable their organizations with technology faster than ever.
If you're responsible for providing technology solutions in your organization, do these problems resonate with your experience? Learn more about the "Rise of Rapid Application Development," which discusses some of the learnings from a panel at Empower 2015, QuickBase's annual user conference, with application development leaders at Tesla Motors, Norwegian Cruise Line, Ceva Sante Animale and Wingstop.