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Top 7 Low-Code Capabilities

Michelle Gardner, Appian
March 16, 2023

Low-code is a visual tool anyone can use to design, build, maintain, and optimize apps and workflows. And according to Gartner®, “by 2025, 70% of new applications developed by enterprises will use low-code or no-code technologies”—in other words: get with it, or you’ll likely get left behind.

“By 2025 70% of new applications developed by enterprises will use low-code or no-code technologies” —Gartner®

Low-Code Critical Capabilities

Not every low-code platform is created equal. Some are designed for basic, small-scale app building while others have more enterprise-grade capabilities. The leading platforms, though, go beyond app design and offer unified capabilities to streamline your business operations end to end. 

Here’s what the most powerful low-code platforms can do: 

1. Find and Fix Process Bottlenecks

Today's low-code development platforms increasingly include process mining capabilities. Process mining tools analyze event log data to do three main things: give you a visual model of how your processes are actually running, identify where your processes bottleneck or deviate from your ideal model, and provide AI-suggested process enhancements based on data-backed insights.

2. Design workflows with a visual, drag-and-drop interface

Low-code lets you design workflow apps similarly to how you’d draw a flowchart on a whiteboard. Because you simply drag and drop workflow elements that reflect your ideal business processes, the interface is accessible to both developers and non-technical users. That means the business users who actually carry out your processes can be directly involved in creating applications—eliminating back-and-forth communication between developers and users. The intuitive nature of low-code design lets everyone speak the same language, and better communication means things get done much faster.

Here’s an example of what a low-code development interface might look like:

3. Create apps with prebuilt, reusable components

Building applications the traditional way requires a lot of slow, manual development work. Low-code lets you get to done faster by providing ready-to-use components that form the foundation of your app—all you have to do is pop them into your visual workflow design and code in any customizations you want to make the app work uniquely for your business. Most low-code platforms include these components:

  • Precoded actions: tasks or activities you can drag and drop into the right place in your workflow design.
  • Connectors: components that guide your workflow from one action to the next.
  • Decision rules: if/then functions that send your workflow in different directions depending on an outcome, letting you create more complex processes.

4. Customize apps with code extensions

Low-code is not a replacement for professional developers. Indeed, low-code actually supports developers, offering a solution to the all-too-common case of developer burnout.

Low-code gives developers a solid foundation of basic, secure functionality out of the box, letting them sidestep the most repetitive, monotonous parts of their jobs. Developers who use low-code create working solutions much faster and focus more of their energy on writing customizations and extensions to meet their unique organizational goals.

5. Automate tasks

If your workflows aren’t taking advantage of modern automation technologies, you won’t operate fast enough to stay competitive. Leading low-code platforms offer built-in automation capabilities, including robotic process automation, intelligent document processing, artificial intelligence, and smart services.

Good low-code development platform interfaces will let you drag and drop prebuilt automation components into your visual workflow design. And with their visual workflow designer, low-code platforms use data-backed insights to clearly show you which parts of your process would be better handled by bots, letting you strike a balance between a digital and human workforce. The strongest low-code platforms make it easy to manage all your automations in one unified view. Orchestrating all your workflows, bots, and data using a low-code platform provides end-to-end insight into all the moving parts that make your business processes hum.      

6. Integrate data from anywhere

And do it in seconds, no data migration required.

Data is the lifeblood of many organizations, and it comes from so many different places—CRMs, ERPs, and even simple spreadsheets. But data professionals spend 73% of their time searching for and preparing data, according to an IDC study, leaving little time for analysis.

Apps built using a top-performing low-code platform bring all that data into a single, unified view, so you don’t need to abandon all your existing legacy systems and databases. Instead, low-code platforms work with your existing systems to make your data accessible, and therefore, usable.

7. Go mobile instantly

Low-code apps are mobile-ready. That means once you’ve developed an app on a low-code platform, a mobile-optimized version is automatically created—you don’t have to do any additional work. And leading platforms will offer offline mobile capabilities too, letting your users access their mobile apps even without an internet connection.

So low-code is great. Transformational, even. That’s the what. The next step is to understand the how—how to use low-code to transform your business and stop letting slow or faulty processes hold you back. 

[ Want more info on low-code and how it can fit into your business? Check out Appian's Ultimate Low-Code Guide ]