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What Is Low-Code Integration and Is It Right for Your Enterprise?

Dan O'Keefe, Appian
April 23, 2024

Enterprises have complex IT and technology needs. To reach business goals, organizations must often stitch together a patchwork of software and IT systems. So, it’s understandable that the thought of adding yet another technology—low-code—might cause trepidation.

But low-code excels at integrating seamlessly with any technology. Low-code tools speed up development work and enable rapid application development. And the right platform will offer low-code integration with multiple enterprise systems, allowing you to seamlessly connect and maintain your application ecosystem.

This post will cover low-code integration, including what low-code development is and why you shouldn’t believe some widespread myths. Finally, you’ll learn how to evaluate if low-code development is right for your organization.

What is low-code?

Low-code development refers to the ability to develop applications using visual interfaces. Compared with high-code development, which requires hard-coding in traditional programming languages, low-code application development enables both professional developers and citizen developers without coding experience to build applications rapidly using drag-and-drop functionality.

How fast? Depending on the low-code development platform, low-code can hasten business application development between 40% and 90%. This enables low-code development teams to rapidly respond to enterprise demands as needed and achieve flexible, effective digital transformations.

[Find out how what you can expect from using low-code and process automation with the Forrester Total Economic Impact™ of Appian study.]

Thorny myths about low-code.

Before we get into whether low-code integration is right for you, let’s tackle a few common misconceptions.

Myth 1: Low-code integration adds too much complexity.

Technology ecosystems can be incredibly complex. CRMs in sales. Billing systems. Case management solutions. Enterprise resource planning systems. Project management tools. To accomplish critical processes and automate repetitive tasks, businesses have a jumble of systems and data silos to support. Doesn’t adding low-code into the mix just add to the complexity?

Quite the opposite. Low-code excels at orchestrating connections between disparate systems. With prebuilt integrations with and no-code connectors to popular software, integrating with your existing enterprise software solutions is a breeze. API integrations are often strongly supported and simple to set up and maintain. Plus, with low-code application platforms offering data fabric, you can eliminate data silos and gain a 360-degree view of enterprise data in a unified data model.

Frankly, low-code is the integration layer between systems. It enables orchestration between multiple systems. For example, you can use low-code to pass work between software systems, digital workers like RPA bots or AI, and human employees. Like a symphony conductor, low-code systems can orchestrate work across your enterprise without adding needless complexity.

Myth 2: Low-code lacks power.

Low-code has been maligned in some cases as lacking the power and flexibility of high-code. While this may have some merit if you choose the wrong low-code vendor, there are very powerful enterprise-grade low-code application platforms on the market, too. They’re built for end-to-end enterprise processes and are trusted by leading institutions across public sector organizations, financial institutions, insurance companies, life sciences organizations, and more.

Myth 3: Low-code doesn’t scale.

Just as some worry about low-code lacking power, many organizations also might worry about how well low-code applications scale. Will they slow down employees due to infrastructure requirements? Can they really handle the same level of tasks as a larger scale enterprise software solution?

Yes. They can. Low-code application platforms are often built with scalability in mind, from strong backends to robust cloud-native environments. The right platforms offer dynamic scaling to adjust resources as demand increases. This means they can handle increased user or task load as needed—including at peak times.

Is low-code right for your enterprise?

Low-code integration is critical for nearly every organization. It’s an essential component in the technology mix. Here’s why:

1. Every company runs on processes.

Businesses live or die by their processes. The more efficient they are, the better. But far too often, business processes run on spreadsheets and legacy systems. Low-code enables organizations to replace these outdated workflows with better options—and do so quickly. 

But it goes well beyond this. While you can definitely apply low-code to small-scale business processes such as processing transactions, crafting knowledge management systems, or building out small workflows within a department, low-code is even more ideal for handling mission-critical, enterprise-wide processes.

2. It plays well with traditional development.

Low-code teams can accomplish new development projects extremely fast, but you don’t need to shift your culture overnight. And more importantly, if you have software solutions built using high-code, whether in-house or purchased as a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solution, low-code created software will integrate seamlessly. Consider it an incredibly powerful tool in your arsenal that doesn’t require you to retire what’s already working.

3. Agility reigns supreme.

Low-code platforms enable professional development teams to truly achieve the promises of an agile development process. With the ability to create applications faster, teams can become a lot more flexible. Low-code also lets businesses adapt to changing circumstances fast—whether it’s a new market opportunity, a recently updated regulatory framework, or an internal organizational change. The flexibility of low-code makes it a critical weapon in the arsenal of any competitive enterprise.

How to get the most out of low-code integration.

Not all low-code application platforms are equal. To truly maximize low-code integration, you’ll need a platform that offers multiple critical capabilities. For starters, strong low-code connectors to popular software systems allow you to easily integrate new low-code applications into your tech stack without difficult development work. A data fabric architecture also helps by connecting disparate data sources and enabling a 360-degree view of your data. Finally, it’s critical to place any low-code work into a wider context of end-to-end process automation. It’s worth noting that process automation platforms typically offer strong automation capabilities like AI and RPA to enable the ability to speed up processes (without making you create these capabilities from the ground up). 

Want to know how to evaluate low-code platforms? Find out the pros and cons with the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAP) report.