How low-code development can help small businesses

By Hyther Nizam

No-code and low-code software development platforms are gaining popularity in recent times – especially among SMBs and SMEs – for their dynamic ability to quickly meet customisation and automation needs within limited budgets. According to Gartner, the market demand for software application development will double by 2021, with low-code platforms accounting for more than 65 percent of application development by 2024.

What is low-code development? Designing and building web and mobile applications with little or no coding is called low-code development. Visual builders, intelligible code, snippets, and templates are all included to make business apps quickly and easily.

Because of the ease of use of low-code, they can function as a platform for small and medium businesses to automate and run their entire back-office operations. Anyone from a project manager to an IT specialist can create and deploy cross-platform apps for multiple functions like sales, marketing, finance, HR, internal administration, employee collaboration, etc. Further, low-code platforms can even help set up front-end applications like customer portal apps for users to log in and get access to information.

Benefits for using low-code are as follows:

1. It’s cost-efficient

Low-code platforms are naturally designed for business users. This allows Kenyan businesses to empower functional teams and users to build applications quickly, which without low-code can sometimes take months or years to develop. Moreover, low-code projects require minimum programming expertise and, because most platforms are cloud-based, organisations save money on overhead costs. Businesses that adopt low-code also save money that would otherwise be spent on hiring and training app developers.

2. It’s easy to use – for everyone

Low-code platforms allow business and IT functions to work together to meet organisational needs. The platforms utilize visual interfaces through flexible drag and drop features, making them user-friendly and accessible to professionals from varying proficiency levels.

3. Works for both simple and comprehensive processes

Low-code is suitable for both simple and complex solutions. The development platforms support not only one-off projects and ad-hoc needs, but also major strategic programs like ERPs that integrate with a company’s existing processes.

4. The options are unlimited

Companies can leverage low-code platforms to build applications that cover a range of uses. They can do everything from modernizing and automating processes, constructing process automation solutions, business process management applications, and more. Additionally, the flexibility of the low-code platforms allows business teams to stay ahead of changing market needs by modifying live applications and applying changes quickly.

5. Low-code facilitates growth

Low-code offers scalability, enabling businesses to adjust their processes, add new functionality, and remove existing ones as they grow and become more complex, all without having to migrate from one solution to another. This allows you to begin by managing a small codebase and steadily progress at your own speed. The rapid roll-out of apps is made possible by a comprehensive ecosystem of intuitive visual builders, ready-to-use code snippets, form and report templates, and built-in connectors.

Grow at your own pace

In the past year, SMBs and SMEs have learned the importance of digitisation as well as being able to pivot and adapt at need. Adding low-code development platforms to their long-term digital toolkit will provide businesses the customization, flexibility, and resilience needed to thrive in unpredictable futures.

Small businesses can make low-code a formal, self-sustaining function, but to do that means crafting a vision, setting clear goals, and putting a plan in place to execute methodically. Even if businesses start small, over time those micro apps and apps built on the platform grow in scope and complexity and end up becoming a sustainable growth engine for business.

(Hyther Nizam is President for Africa and Middle East – MEA – at Zoho Corp).


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