Low-code automation platforms are fast becoming the go-to solution for startups and enterprises looking to design, streamline, or automate their business processes and workflows with a quick, cost-effective approach.
As the name implies, low-code software requires programming and hand-coding skills to extract the most value from them. However, their ease of use, focus on expanding end-user capacity, and regular software updates make them a top choice for product and IT teams looking to test new products, offer microservices, or try different brand looks.
What Is Low-Code Automation?
Low-code development platforms simplify application development to a tee, using simple commands and visual drag-and-drop elements. They're used by professional software developers and savvy business users, called citizen developers, to build apps, generate APIs, connect business applications, and increase overall workforce productivity and capacity.
Using a low-code application development user interface gives more employees the ability to build applications that solve their unique business needs in less time. For example, an Agile project manager may create an internal sprint review app to gather all sprint-related conversations and decisions on one dashboard, eliminating silos, communication, and collaboration problems between cross-functional teams.
Low-Code Automation vs. No-Code Automation
The most significant difference between low-code and no-code platforms lies in the amount of code needed to set up, integrate, and adopt the platform into an organization's business process and workflows.
Low-code platforms require a basic level of coding experience, and no-code platforms require none. Low-code platforms are also more customizable, lending themselves to the developer's expertise and molding to solve each business needs in a specific way. In contrast, no-code tools typically offer pre-programmed templates and very little room for customization.
Whereas the no-code development process requires less IT involvement and staff training for adoption, low-code automation projects should be led by the IT department and integrated carefully to ensure seamless adoption within the team leading to a better customer experience.
Documentation is crucial when building new low-code functionality. Documenting reduces shadow IT risk, where citizen developers create applications that can’t work or scale well and cause more problems hampering team efficiency.
When implemented the right way, low-code app development provides a better fit for most business requirements, especially in the testing stage. App development documentation ensures easy handoff and continuous use and improvement of the low-code solutions from one team, manager, or citizen developer to the next.
Low-code tools cost much less than in-house application development and offer many benefits, including data analytics and prediction, artificial intelligence, and rapid machine learning. All these add up to make low-code tools a no-brainer when developing new software solutions, enterprise-grade applications, and digital transformation without hiring a team of developers.
Low-Code Automation Use Cases
Post-pandemic, more organizations are focused on accelerating their digital transformation to create more intuitive and user-friendly products and services that fit nicely into their customers' lives, work, and preferences.
It's important to consider your business use case before settling on the right low-code platform for you. Not all low-code solutions would integrate easily with your current business applications and systems. Managers, executives, and business owners must weigh the pros and cons of a chosen low-code solution before moving an entire organization or team to adopt it.
If you find yourself changing your workflow and processes to suit a low-code solution instead of vice versa, it is probably not the right one for you. Your low-code automation platform should speed up growth and increase productivity and efficiency, not otherwise.
9 Low-Code Automation Use Cases and How They're Impacting Today's Workforce and Workplace
Let's take a close look at nine low-code automation use cases and examples. We'll also discuss how these tools impact the workforce and workplace today.
1. Improving Business Process Management
One of the most popular low-code use cases is streamlining business processes and improving workflows to significantly boost productivity and collaboration between and within teams.
From standardizing support requests to integrating new application functionality and creating defined workflows for executing new projects, low-code software empowers teams to create the unique solutions they need and perform at full potential.
A real-world example of this is Captive Resources, one of America's largest alternative insurance firms. Using Pulpstream, they were able to transform key business processes digitally — eliminate data entry redundancies, reduce service delivery time, and build operational resilience to change — all in four months. Without a low-code platform like Pulpstream, this transformation may have taken years to achieve.
2. Improving Small Business Transactional Systems
Another common low-code use case is improving small businesses' transactional systems. This improves the end-user or customer experience by plugging in gaps in their delivery process, making fulfilling orders, and completing business transactions seamless and more satisfactory for both the team and customers.
A perfect example is Commerce Casino. After embedding Pulpstream's low-code automation solution, Commerce Casino saves its HR department two to three hours a day by automating digital processes so the HR team can focus on more critical tasks within the organization.
3. Generating APIs and Integrating Platforms
Using low-code automation tools reduces IT and DevOps workload significantly. With the visual development environments and drag-and-drop interfaces of low-code platforms, citizen developers can generate APIs and connect work applications, creating a more synchronized and replicable workflow to make the most of the organization's resources, including human resources, time, and money.
Integrating work applications also provides better data sources and analytics that help improve business processes and performance, creating a loop of continuous improvement.
4. Streamlining and Automating Workflows
Formerly, only the IT team and professional developers could handle streamlining and automating enterprise workflows. Now, every technical user can automate workflows easily with low-code automation platforms offering a wide range of solutions for organizations in different phases of their lifecycle.
Low-code solutions range from sophisticated solutions to simple assignments. For example, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) helps enterprise IT teams reach into multiple databases, information systems, and data sources to perform specific tasks on a schedule. Low-code tools, on the other hand, are simpler solutions that serve as connectors between two work applications or tasks.
As another example, you may create a spreadsheet that automatically updates when a visitor to your website completes a contact form. Programming simple rules like "If this, then that" for simple decision-making and assigning work to team members allows citizen developers to eliminate low-value tasks and focus on value-adding tasks.
5. Empowering Non-Technical Employees
Low-code software empowers non-technical employees by putting programming power in their hands to create solutions to their business problems. Non-technical staff can quickly become outstanding citizen developers, freeing up the IT team's workload to innovate and secure the organization’s systems.
Business users can elevate team and user experience by developing beautiful web and mobile applications that streamline or add value to the business process or product. Low-code application platforms also help different departments improve their work systems. Marketers, for example, can easily automate marketing activities such as website personalization, email marketing, search engine optimization, and social media scheduling.
6. Modernizing Legacy Systems
As technology speedily accelerates, most big companies face the problem of obsolete legacy systems still powering most of their operations and output. IT departments and teams can leverage available low-code applications to modernize their legacy systems, one bit at a time while keeping operations running smoothly as usual.
7. Creating Industry-Standard UI Design
Low-code applications help to embed industry-standard UI design into your digital products and applications. Citizen developers can easily drag and drop the modules they need, maintaining a clean look and standard UI until a concept is brought to life. Different low-code tools offer different layouts and UI elements, allowing you to build web or mobile solutions with industry-standard UI and UX design quickly.
8. Establishing Containerization
Containerization means a situation where specific applications are run in isolated user spaces called containers. Each application runs separately in a container, although all of them use a shared operating system. This helps avoid accumulating technical debt or shadow IT risk over risk as more business users create new applications that may not be compatible with other software the organization uses.
Containerization helps separate the ad-hoc systems citizen developers create from the primary operating system of the entire organization. This allows the IT department to review, improve, and update low-code solutions built by citizen developers before merging them with the organization's central system.
9. Expanding Current Services
In catering to current customers, some businesses discover a tangential product or service for which their customers use their solutions. This is an excellent way to discover what services your customers are looking for and improve your product or tack on a new solution to your current offerings.
Low-code tools provide a double advantage here — from gathering and analyzing customer data to building the applications and product features your customers want based on the data gathered earlier.
Implement Low-Code Automation Strategies in Your Business
Many great benefits accrue from adopting low-code software development. You can have your business users handling their team and personal problems using low-code tools that follow your organization's IT and app development best practices while your IT department focuses on initiatives and tasks that move the needle.
Keep documentation of your low-code applications and process automation in a central platform, accessible to members of your team, so there's ensured continuity of any process that is built, regardless of whether the builders leave the company or not.
Start today to take advantage of low-code automation tools to make work more meaningful for your teams. You can begin with baby steps, reducing costs with use case templates.