Introduction to Low-Code Development

Almost every business or public service will need software customized to their needs in order to operate in today’s world. However, low-code development is breaking up the long-established models of the software coding process, providing development teams with powerful new tools that make their jobs much easier. Low-code development is a form of visual software development done through a low-code application platform. It simplifies and optimizes the development process so that applications are created more rapidly without the need for low level custom code.

Low-code platforms are helpful for all members of a business, easing the burden on IT-based development teams and creating opportunities for “citizen developers” to be a part of the process. A low-code platform is a powerful enterprise tool that gives business users the ability to create custom applications, often combining things like a simple drag-and-drop interface with more standard development practices. It is far more accessible than traditional development and has found a market everywhere, from small businesses to Fortune 500 enterprises.

Low-Code Platform’s Industry Usage

Low-code applications are used by professional developers and citizen developers in a massive range of industries. One of the reasons that low-code application development has become such a fixture so quickly is its flexibility and customizing features that can apply to so many different industries. This is largely why Gartner projects low-code tools to account for more than 65% of application development activity by 2024 and have a global market that produces $187 billion in revenue.

Low-code application platforms are used in more sectors than can be named. They are vital components of process management in the manufacturing, telecommunications, energy, government industries, and many others. From finance to retail, low-code software applications are shaping businesses’ decisions. Let’s get into the specifics of how a low-code development tool can help enterprises in several critical sectors.

Government Use Cases: ACA Contact Center Automation

The public sector needs to rapidly respond to change under the intense pressure of managing a nation. With an estimated shortage of 1.4 million software developers, according to DAXX, empowering less experienced developers without extensive coding knowledge through low-code systems is a must for the government.

One of the great examples of low-code app development in the public sector is the use of the Appian platform to automate contact centers for the Affordable Care Act. The virtual rollout of the ACA was notoriously spotty, as the healthcare.gov systems couldn’t handle the traffic generated and crashed for 90 minutes due to a server overload. It was a political mess that marred a promising initiative. One factor, though, in the turnaround of the ACA was the use of Appian’s low-code platform to create a case management system that could scale to handle the mass volume an initiative like this requires.

Appian’s customizable platform, with the extra assurance of performance testing by Vision Point Systems, was up to the task of handling the changes required by the ACA. The improved efforts added new functionality that handled everything from insurance application processing to call center agent support. With rigorous performance testing from VPS, a similar system overload was avoided. All told, the case management systems delivered have managed over 70 million records, logged over 500,000 outbound calls, and helped with workload management for several thousand service staff. There’s a good reason low-code has been called the “fuel powering America’s public sector.”

Energy Use Cases

The energy sector is fundamentally important to global society, powering our homes, transportation, and commerce. Low-code software development is a critical component of this industry, helping companies in the energy sector manage core business tasks covering everything from procurement to operations support.

An example of the power of a low-code approach to development in the energy sector is Appian’s work with EDP Renewables. EDP Renewables is the 3rd largest renewable energy company in the United States. EDP Renewables, or EDPR, was looking for a way to manage their wide-ranging case management needs under a single dynamic approach. With wind farms spread across the country, changing wind patterns, and a huge variety of resources to manage, they needed an agile, customized case management solution.

EDPR launched COBRA; a system created using Appian’s Business Process Management tool. COBRA captured over a hundred million dollars worth of issue solutions in just its first nine months of operation. It created a centralized knowledge database that can be accessed across locations and gave EDPR a digital tool that allows them to monitor and alter several key business components. This is an example of a custom low-code tool yielding massive results for an economically vital business.

Telecommunications Use Cases

The telecommunications industry connects us. Everything from the internet to cell phones is reliant on the performance of this industry. It is an industry where flexibility is critical to survival and where innovation and digital transformations are a necessary part of the job. The power of low-code for rapid application development makes it perfectly suited to the telecommunication industry.

T-Mobile is one of the biggest telecommunications in the United States, a massive corporation with a revenue of $68.4 billion in 2020. T-Mobile is known for their willingness to be on the cutting edge, and they’ve relied on Appian’s enterprise low-code application platforms to help solve several key problems. They were seeking a platform that could enable rapid digital “test and learn” opportunities without the need for significant upfront investment.

With the Appian low-code approach to software development, T-Mobile rapidly created “T-Mobile Direct2You,” a popular service that allowed customers to upgrade their devices at the location of their choice. This service scaled nationwide in less than two quarters. They also used Appian to accelerate the Network Densification program. This program was a way to get more signals in larger geographic areas to help people get better service in more remote areas. Appian helped manage T-Mobile’s regulatory approval process, which sped up a key component of their business. This made it a smoother and faster experience for T-Mobile to get the towers they needed raised.

By streamlining T-Mobile’s wireline infrastructure, Appian was able to help reduce the complexity of the systems and cut the cost. This low-code solution helped T-Mobile optimize key business areas and provide a better customer experience.

Manufacturing Use Cases

The manufacturing industry is one where efficiency is critical, and changes within a timeline can have costly impacts. There is a lot to navigate in an incredibly competitive industry, and many manufacturing companies are finding that traditional software development is no longer adequate. Low-code business applications are making it easier to deliver faster, without sacrificing customizations and accomplishing a business’s needs..

The Appian platform has been used by major names in the manufacturing industry to transform operations, ranging from Kone to Prysmian Group. The uses for the customs apps and low-code BPM are plenty. Appian in the manufacturing industry is a significant component of everything from inventory and material planning to processing and field service management.

As a quick example of the Appian manufacturing usage, let’s look at Flowserve. Flowserve is one of the world’s largest industrial pump and valve manufacturers. Flowserve struggled to resolve customer invoice disputes due to multiple financial systems and ERPs. Appian helped Flowserve combine these systems into a single interface for dispute management and resolution. This helped Flowserve cut their dispute time by 50% and move millions of dollars out of their disputed status and into their revenue. Appian’s enterprise applications can drastically improve manufacturing operations.

Transportation Use Cases

In the transportation industry, timing is everything. From airports to car rental services, when people rely on the transportation industry, they are on a tight timeline. That means companies in this sector have to be capable of rapidly responding to potential problems and catering to unique customer expectations. Low-code custom solutions are a fixture of this industry for that reason.

The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, or DFW, is the world’s fourth busiest airport. They are a massive transportation hub that caters to over 60 million customers every year. It is an impressive airport in scale, totaling over 27 square miles. DFW was looking for a way to eliminate paper based-processes and create a central hub that employees could utilize on any device at any time. For that, DFW turned to Appian.

DFW decided to use Appian to create a platform where multiple applications are delivered through one easy-to-use interface. The benefit of the intuitive user interface was that it created a more connective workforce, where the over 2,000 DFW employees have easier access to the tools they need. This will go a long way towards helping DFW reach its goal of reducing paper consumption by 50% over the next five years.

Why Low-Code Can Solve Problems Across Industries

There is a reason the low-code visual approach to development has become so wildly popular across industries. It is empowering more members of business teams to step up and be involved in the process. It is helping businesses create higher-quality digital experiences and applications at a much more rapid pace.

Low-code development is one of the business solutions that is most flexible. From the manufacturing industry to the telecommunication industry, the applications are endless. Low-code benefits everyone by unifying workflows, providing a platform for rapid change, and streamlining the deployment process so you see your code faster. The development team gets virtual tools that simplify their job, business users get a platform that doesn’t require significant coding expertise, and companies get flexible fast-paced business solutions. Appian’s features are integral ways to simplify communication across departments and increase overall business agility.

The Future of Low-Code Development

Much is made about the future of low-code application development and its role in transforming the IT industry. One thing is clear. Anything that helps businesses cut costs and improve key processes has a large role in the future of commerce. The easy-to-use visual interface of low-code development and the improved development speed make it highly valuable to companies across sectors. This is why low-code growth has been so pronounced.

According to Gartner, the low-code market was forecasted to grow 23% in 2021. This type of sustained growth puts low-code development on the pathway to becoming one of the more widely utilized digital solutions across industries.

Conclusion

The benefits to low-code extend beyond faster application development. Business leaders in every industry are always looking for new ways to improve their operations and reduce excess in processes. This is what low-code can help provide. Making it simpler than ever before to manage operations and tie together different business areas in one central hub makes employees’ lives easier. Low-code platforms are the agile, customizable, and scalable solutions businesses need in today’s digital environment. That is why it has found such a massive market everywhere, from the manufacturing and telecommunication industries to the government and transportation sectors.

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