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4 Myths of Low-Code Methodology for BPM

Nicolas Chabanoles CTO, Bonitasoft
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Prioritizing digital transformation has become a business imperative, causing disruption but also delivering dramatic results across all industries. And low-code software development—described as "extraordinarily disruptive"—has become a part of digital transformation for many organizations. According to a market research report earlier this year from Fortune Business Insights, the size of the global low-code market grew from $10.82 billion to $13.89 billion from 2020 to 2021; by 2028, the low-code market is expected to reach $94.75 billion, at a compound annual growth rate of 31.6% during the forecast period. 

Adopting low-code doesn’t mean you’re looking for ways to replace your experienced developers, however. Instead, it enables professional coders to do their jobs more quickly and efficiently—so that your business can respond to changing market conditions more effectively.

Still, companies often have misconceptions about low-code methodology and what it can do for them. Here we'll debunk five of the most common myths about low-code development.

Myth 1: Low-code is for citizen developers.

Listen to the buzz about low-code platforms and you might get the idea that the latest low-code tools will enable your business analysts to become citizen developers, building applications that exactly fit your needs. In this scenario, you can drive digital transformation without having to wait for scarce expert development resources. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true.

Sure, some low-code platforms enable business users to build simple applications. But the applications that support digital transformation are not simple. Additionally, many applications are being used for business process management (BPM) in hopes of streamlining operations and building more effective processes. These are high-visibility, enterprise-wide and enterprise-grade applications that need to be built rapidly and integrated with the enterprise information systems—by expert developers.

That said, a good low-code platform can provide capabilities that help business experts and developers collaborate on BPM application requirements and interfaces—so that together they can build an application that meets all of the business’s needs for functionality and usability. They also allow developers to use their own tooling to code and test when they extend the platform.

Myth 2: Low-code is only for simple BPM applications.

While you can indeed use low-code platforms to build simple BPM applications, you can also do so much more than that with low-code. Low-code platforms are ideal for highly scalable applications that support complex logic—the kind of custom applications that support digital transformation of your business.

You’ll need a team with excellent coding skills to do it, but by the end of the project they’ll be telling you how the low-code platforms made it easy for them to build robust, unique, and intricate applications more quickly than conventional development tools.

For example:

  • BBVA—a multinational banking group—used a low-code application platform to integrate its IT systems through more than 40 applications.
  • The University of Queensland developed a high-availability solution—used by more than 10,000 people simultaneously—on a low-code platform.

Myth 3: Low-code development means no collaboration or reusability.

Low-code platforms enable various technical teams across the enterprise to start building their own BPM solutions independently. This allows scattered teams to start being productive sooner but raises concerns about efficiency and collaboration. Ultimately, each team will need to connect to existing corporate systems, and, without collaboration or reuse, each team would need to develop its own extension to do this.

But low-code platforms can support efficiency through reusable components and collaboration. For example, with a completely modular low-code architecture, a developer can write a connector to integrate an internal CRM solution, and then easily share it with all other teams through a version-control system.

Myth 4: Low-code means no programming, ever.

Low-code platforms offer visual-development tooling so that business experts and developers can collaborate and rapidly design applications that meet the business’s needs. Drag-and-drop capabilities and templates cover common use cases, accelerating development. This frees the technical team to focus on the customization that makes their applications unique.

This no-programming interface is so appealing—and so powerful—that some people think that’s all there is to a low-code platform.

But that’s just the start. Low-code platforms let you go beyond their visual design capabilities, so that you can easily extend any part of an application that you build with them—with your own preferred tools for coding. The best low-code platforms will let you seamlessly mix pages designed with a UI builder with pages you build using custom code.

Broaden Your View of Low-Code

There is more than one way to look at low-code. Focusing only on how low-code solutions are useful to citizen developers represents too narrow a view—leading to myths and misunderstandings by developers on what low-code can and can't do for automation and other application-development projects. 

Low-code allows developers, too, to create, support, and continuously improve business applications—while giving them flexibility to code or not, as they prefer or as needed. Low-code tools can even allow developers to create templates and yet other low-code tools customized to specific business needs—for developers and non-developers alike.

And when developers can build better code faster, the business can implement digital transformation more effectively.

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