Based on our exclusive interview with Forrester’s Clay Richardson, we look at 5 things that make Low-code Development platforms standout from BPM Suites – particularly for building customer-friendly apps and processes.

If your customers don’t like the way you do something, you need to change it, fast. And if they don’t like that, you need to change it again.

In the age of the customer, lean startup concepts such as test-and-learn are helping organizations to keep updating their websites, apps and business processes in light of what their customers need.

But designing new processes, developing them into apps, getting feedback, and iterating new versions requires speed and agility. And most traditional business process management suites (BPM Suites) just don’t enable enough of either.

I recently sat down with Forrester Principal Analyst, Clay Richardson1 to discuss the new breed of Low-code Development Platforms: software development tools that bring developers and process professionals closer to an agile, test and learn culture.

We found five key characteristics that make low-code an ideal choice for organizations that want to move fast to meet changing customer needs.

  1. Visual, drag and drop configuration
    One of the defining features of a low-code platform is the ability to create and configure apps in a drag and drop environment, rather than by coding. A drag and drop interface, with pre-coded components, is easy for non-coders to use. So when you get feedback or improvement suggestions, you can make the changes faster without joining the IT queue, helping accelerate the test and learn cycle.

BPM solutions offer visual design interfaces, but Low-code further differentiates itself with a focus on…

  1. A “fast ramp” to productivity
    Low-code is all about shortening the initial development time to enable you to get feedback faster and then iterate based on that feedback (the test and learn cycle). Unlike traditional BPM Suites that require vast amounts of training, you can get started with Low-code after just a few days of training. This means you can spend less time training staff, and more time iterating on apps and processes that will better engage customers.
  1. Low barriers to entry
    Low-code is all about getting set up and productive quickly, not only in terms of training, but also with deployment. The majority of Low-code platforms are delivered via the Cloud with a software-as-a-service payment model, to keep technical and cost barriers as low as possible.
  1. More accessible to more employees
    Just as Cloud reduces the barrier to entry for organizations, low-code also minimizes the technical skills required to develop new process apps. Not only can you get started with Low-code platforms sooner, but more of your people can use it—even if they have limited coding experience. This means you can have more people building apps, faster, than you can with more IT-centric methods for app development.  In certain industry sectors such as local government, its all the more important to make less highly trained developers productive, as it’s really hard to attract and retain such talent on public sector pay-scales.
  1. Short term but scalable
    Though Low-code platforms are often used to develop a proof-of-concept or temporary solution, in many cases these “throwaway” apps turn out to be good enough to use as a full solution, and end up being deployed and continuously improved over the long term. This is a defining feature of any low-code solution: agile enough to create a quick, short-term, low-cost proof-of-concept, but robust and scalable enough to become a long-term solution whenever needed.

Who is it for?

Low-code platforms are about getting more people making more apps, faster than ever before. But it isn’t just for organizations looking for more agile or more lightweight BPM.

Though Low-code is traditionally seen as a way of getting more “civilian coders” working on process applications (and it most certainly can be used for this purpose), more and more IT departments are adopting a “bi-modal” app-dev approach; where Low-code platforms offer the speed, agility and low set-up costs needed to address customer-centric projects which are by their nature more dynamic and uncertain.

If your dev team is looking to accelerate the test and learn cycle, a Low-code Development Platform can help you iterate more quickly on what Forrester calls “systems of engagement” – the apps and digital services that your customers interact with. And by optimizing your systems of engagement, you can both improve operational efficiency and deliver outstanding customer experiences in a fast moving, digitally disrupted world.

Learn more about Low-code

Interested in learning more about Low-code? Check out MATS, our Low-code Development Platform for business process development.

Download “Five qualities that define Low-code development platforms”

Download

1 Follow Clay Richardson on Twitter and on Forrester.com