How Low Code and the Creator Economy Drive Efficiency
Increasingly, companies are turning to low-code application development to enable non-programmers across departments to develop applications in a matter of days. The main reasons for this are clear — and manifold — including enhanced productivity, improved personal satisfaction and increased agility.
A 2021 Statista survey revealed that organizations that use low code to create customer-facing apps have increased revenues by 58 percent on average and were able to create software solutions 56 percent faster.
It's no surprise that the creator economy — a software-facilitated economy that enables creators to earn money from the content they produce — is epitomized by sites such as Twitch, OnlyFans, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Patreon. Low-code tools like Shopify have enabled smaller companies and entrepreneurial creators to rapidly create online presences without a substantial upfront investment in time or money.
The Benefits of Low-Code Technology
The benefits of low- and no-code technologies are myriad. Among them are the significant productivity gains companies can unlock compared to traditional manual or script-based frameworks.
“Delivering quality at speed will be necessary, regardless of whether new functionality is deployed by an IT team or a citizen developer,” said Martin Klaus, vice president of product marketing at software-testing company Tricentis. “Recent trends in low-code/no-code technologies bring an improved way to enable rapid delivery for business applications with minimal upfront investment.”
Increased employee engagement and productivity is also important advantages of the technology. “Businesses are seeing improved agility, decreased costs and reduced maintenance," said Klaus. "Low-code approaches are particularly successful when organizations want to customize or add new functionality to an application platform that can meet a variety of different business needs or when bespoke, custom application development by skilled developers isn’t feasible."
Roy Morejon, president and co-founder of Enventys Partners, a product development and marketing agency with locations in North Carolina, California and Taiwan, said low-code technologies enable citizen developers to handle internal process issues themselves.
“It leaves IT the space and time to focus on more important work, and empowers business users to build their own powerful solutions," he said. "When a business empowers its citizen developers, it’s an investment in the future of its own digital transformation — a wider pool of low-code/no-code talent who are already in the family can offer some serious time and money-saving rewards."
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Empowering Citizen Engineers
To support citizen developers, organizations should first identify the platform that best supports their endeavors and their learning. “Consult with them to determine the features and functions that align with their needs," said Morejon, "or you won’t get the most out of the investment.”
Like anything in the workplace, engaging employees requires giving them valuable learning and development opportunities, he said. As such, building platform training into the workweek signals the importance of the citizen developer’s journey to the company.
According to Rich Waldron, CEO of Tray.io, investing in low-code solutions helps bridge the gap between heavily burdened IT teams and the pressing needs of employees across other departments to function more efficiently. It empowers a new generation of citizen engineers who can design, build, execute and iterate on mission-critical processes in any department across the organization at virtually unlimited scale, he said.
“These citizen automators can leverage low code automation to self-serve their integration and development initiatives, alleviating overburdened IT and engineering teams and allowing them to refocus resources on productivity, innovation and other development tasks that require advanced IT and engineering skills," said Waldron. "Some of the most successful citizen automators we’ve encountered have been non-engineers in line-of-business roles such as marketing, sales, support, finance and HR."
In his experience, these employees are, in fact, often in a better situation to build on their process since they’re already experts in their own apps — and the innate gaps in those apps. "In the future, we’ll see citizen automators tackle technical challenges by conceptualizing, testing and implementing the solutions to fundamental business challenges using low-code tool sets," Waldron said.
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Should Low Code Be IT's Responsibility?
John Li, co-founder and CTO of lending company Fig Loans, said that with the massive skills shortage that many companies are experiencing, low-code platforms are revolutionizing development, with the full support of the IT department. However, for low code to be most effective, Li said it should nevertheless be overseen by the IT department.
“The best way for a business to engage its team to become citizen developers is with the help of the IT team," he said. "Though low code leads the way for fewer required IT roles, the team will never be defunct altogether — it will morph into a smaller, leaner group that can focus on its most pertinent and complex tasks."
Working in conjunction with the IT department, Li said, ensures citizen engineers follow best coding practices, so that the apps they develop are successful.
“Training teams to use low-code platforms by IT experts can help elevate your team’s knowledge and set them up for better success,” he said. “Within the first few months of the swap to low code, IT should be monitoring its citizen devs very closely to ensure that the process is running seamlessly and help troubleshoot the issues that arise.”
Related Article: How Low-Code Development Is Transforming Organizations' Approach to Tech
A Low-Code Use Case
Mike Bradshaw, senior partner at Connect Marketing, shared an example of how a no-code platform was used with success where traditional developers failed.
“The president of Chrysalis, a healthcare organization that serves people with mental disabilities, used Skuid’s drag-and-drop, code-free user experience platform and developed beautifully designed apps — on his own — with no development experience,” Bradshaw said.
“He did all of this after first connecting with a customer developer with a $500K price tag, and after hiring a team of developers to create a new platform from scratch. After a year in development, and little to show for the expense and the effort, he found Skuid and turned himself into a citizen developer.”
Low-code and no-code platforms drastically reduce development time and costs, enabling non-programmers to create efficient and effective applications. They help citizen developers design the right apps, addressing a specific problem to ultimately improve processes.
Related Article: What Can You Do With No-Code and Low-Code Software?
Citizen engineers across various sectors and organizations are using low code to fast-forward the application development process, saving developer's time for more comprehensive, advanced application development while providing opportunities for employees from every department to contribute to the success and growth of the workplace.
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