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9 Crucial Low-Code Automation Capabilities to Evaluate

Michelle Gardner, Appian
August 13, 2021

Low-code automation platforms enable businesses to rapidly automate their applications and workflows. Basic low-code tools can create applications that help users perform simple tasks. But rapid app delivery is only the beginning of what low-code can do.

The most advanced low-code automation platforms deliver powerful business process automation capabilities. They offer intelligent automation capabilities such as RPA bots to automate tasks, Intelligent Business Process Management System (IBPMS) to automate processes, AI for cognitive decision making, business rules to define complex business logic, case and exception management, and data integration to connect data sources.

The new 2021 Low-Code Automation Buyer’s Guide examines the range of low-code automation platforms, the questions and criteria buyers need to consider, and how to evaluate platforms. It also lists these nine important low-code automation capabilities to look for as you evaluate platforms:

1. Complete automation capabilities.

A robust low-code automation platform helps you rapidly build and automate workflows by combining people, technology, and data in one place. If you want to realize the full power of low-code, you need intelligent automation capabilities that unite and augment all of your workers and resources. Look for the following:

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Bots perform repeatable, routine tasks, freeing employees to focus on more important work. RPA can also help connect older systems that don’t have APIs.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI can make simple cognitive decisions, suggest next steps, and ensure that business rules and logic are followed. That power is useful in many contexts. For example, implementing intelligent document processing to automatically classify documents and extract data from them, and turning unstructured information into structured data.
  • Business Process Management/Workflow: Workflow is the backbone of automation. It orchestrates Robotic Process Automation, AI, systems, and people in a cohesive process, ensuring it seamlessly progresses from start to finish.
  • Decision Rules: Simple interfaces enable developers to add complex business rules to any workflow without coding.
  • Case Management: Manage exceptions and ad hoc workflows in a single location for better visibility and improved collaboration, speeding up your path to resolution. 

2. Data fabric.

To deliver value, data needs to be accessible and synchronized across the entire organization. A robust low-code automation platform should let you access and incorporate data from any source without expensive migrations or database programming. It should have pre-built connectors to leading enterprise systems like Salesforce, SAP, AWS, and more.

3. Security.

Low-code automation capabilities should include security features that automatically govern the applications running on them. This makes IT’s job easier, and it also means the security of the platform is always kept up to date

4. Integration.

Integrated applications deliver more value by linking new functionality with existing solutions and legacy systems. To make sure your low-code applications fit seamlessly into your existing architecture, look for an extensible platform that allows for future growth.

5. Data governance and compliance.

When you have multiple applications deployed with various users and roles on your low-code automation platform, look for capabilities that ensure that IT remains in control and that guardrails are in place. 

6. User experience.

The platform you choose should wow your end users. Look for two elements: First, ease of use that remove the technical complexity from the design process. The best platforms are the most intuitive, enabling users to quickly draw processes like a flowchart. Second, user-centered design: The platform should enable you to create highly usable interfaces for your end users, in line with their needs. Rapid prototyping will allow you to get fast feedback from your users and iterate as you build.

7. Mobile.

The platform should have cross-platform functionality standard in its design, tuned to the specific capabilities and usage patterns of iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices. No separate development, maintenance or upgrades should be required to deploy your applications on mobile.

8. Open platform.

Your selected platform should be built with open standards to provide access to third-party applications. This ensures you can leverage your prior investments and third-party vendors as needed.

9. DevOps.

Building fast is great, but applications don’t start delivering real value until they’re in your users’ hands. The software development life cycle consists of building, testing, deploying, and monitoring to release high-quality applications fast. Your low-code automation platform should deliver an integrated DevOps experience that’s fast and fluid within the build process.

Low-code automation can transform your digital business. Learn more about the advanced capabilities to consider and the questions you need to ask when evaluating platforms in The 2021 Ultimate Low-Code Automation Buyer’s Guide.