Developing a Successful Low-Code Development Model
Low-code development isn't a novel idea, it can be traced back to the early days of computing, when programmers began to develop tools that would allow users to create applications without writing code. One of the earliest examples of this is HyperCard, a platform developed by Apple in the 1980s that allowed users to create interactive applications using a visual programming language.
In the 1990s, a number of other low-code platforms were developed, including Visual Basic and Delphi. These platforms made it easier for users to create applications with a graphical user interface, but they still required some knowledge of programming.
In the 2000s, low-code development began to move to the cloud, and with it we've seen a surge in the popularity of low-code development. In the last few years, ServiceNow have positioned themselves to help their customers take full advantage of this rapidly developing field.
ServiceNow incorporated low-code development in its platform in 2016 with the release of App Engine Studio. App Engine Studio is a visual development environment that allows users to create custom applications without writing code. It is a drag-and-drop platform that includes a library of pre-built components and templates.
Low-code development is a key part of ServiceNow's strategy to democratise application development. But it’s a relatively unheard-of part of the platform, despite arguably being one of the most powerful. By adopting low-code development, ServiceNow customers can drastically reduce the costs and time associated with traditional development which allows them to rapidly scale the use of the platform across the business while maintaining all-important architectural governance.
So why choose ServiceNow?
Reduced time to market: ServiceNow's low-code platform can help you reduce the time it takes to develop and deploy new applications. This can give you a competitive advantage by allowing you to bring new products and services to market faster than your competitors.
Increased agility: ServiceNow's low-code platform can help you increase your business agility. This is because it makes it easy to make changes to your applications without having to go through a lengthy development process. This can help you respond quickly to changes in the market and customer needs.
Improved quality: ServiceNow's low-code platform can help you improve the quality of your applications. This is because it provides a number of features that help to prevent errors, such as code validation and unit testing. This can help you reduce the risk of releasing buggy applications that could damage your brand reputation.
Reduced costs: ServiceNow's low-code platform can help you reduce the costs of application development. This is because it eliminates the need for expensive developers and consultants. It also makes it possible to reuse code and components, which can further reduce costs.
However, it’s not all about the tool. For organisations looking at adopting this approach, it is essential to ensure that citizen developer initiatives are built to be successful, scalable, and secure.
So, who needs to have ultimate ownership and be accountable for low-code governance?
For most organisations, the answer is to create what has become known as a “fusion team”.
A low-code fusion team is a team of people with different skills and backgrounds who work together. Low-code fusion teams typically include business users, citizen developers, and professional developers. Business users are the people who have the business needs that the software application will address. They are responsible for identifying the problems that the application will solve and for providing feedback on the application's design and functionality. Citizen developers are people who have some technical skills but who are not professional developers. They are responsible for building the application using a low-code platform. Professional developers are people who have deep technical skills. They are responsible for integrating the application with existing systems, for ensuring that the application meets security and compliance requirements, and for providing support to the business users.
So why structure your team in this way?
Increased agility: Low-code fusion teams can be very agile, as they can quickly iterate on and deploy new applications.
Reduced costs: Low-code fusion teams can help to reduce the costs of software development. This is because low-code platforms are typically much less expensive than traditional software development tools.
Improved collaboration: Low-code fusion teams can help to improve collaboration between people with different skills and backgrounds.
Increased innovation: Low-code fusion teams can help to increase innovation. This is because low-code platforms allow people to quickly prototype and deploy new applications. This can help to foster a culture of experimentation and innovation.
So if this is something you’re interested in, where do you start?
Choose the right platform: Consider ServiceNow. It allows you to scale digital transformation across your organisation while giving you that essential architectural governance that comes with developing on the same platform organisation-wide.
Assemble the right team: Think about who needs to make up that fusion team I talked about above.
Provide training and support: Though low-code platforms are designed to be as intuitive as possible, your citizen developers will still need support and training to get the most out of them. They will also need support from the professional developers who will be integrating the application with existing systems and ensuring essential security and compliance governance.
I hope this gives you a good starting point and has inspired you to think about how low-code development can support your innovation journey going forwards.