Companies in every industry imaginable are looking to digital transformation to streamline operations and improve their ROI. The Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are two top technologies leading the way for digital transformation. For all of the benefits these technologies can bring an organization, they can be complicated, or, even worse, fail. These issues are even more prevalent for companies that don’t have IT departments with experience dealing with the IoT and AI. Fortunately, innovations such as low-code can make digital transformation possible for organizations without the need for extensive technical expertise.
What is Low-Code?
Low-code is a software development philosophy that seeks to make the creation of applications as easy as possible with the help of tools that minimize the coding that programmers need to write. This philosophy, taken to the extreme, is known as no-code, with an objective to allow anyone to access the creation of apps and software with no programming knowledge.
Software development is one of the major barriers many industries face in their digital transformation journey. This is why the low-code philosophy is so popular in sectors where the technological gap is important. At the same time, the need for digital capabilities is driving the creation and adoption of low-code and no-code tools. In fact, the demand for these tools has grown greatly in 2021, partly as a consequence of the COVID 19 pandemic. According to Gartner, the size of the low-code development market will reach $13.8 billion in 2021, more than 22 percent higher than its value in 2020. Forrester sees even greater growth by 2022, with a forecast to reach $27.2 billion.
Accelerating Digital Transformation with Low-Code
The industrial world is undergoing a profound transformation involving both new digital processes and business models. Digital transformation uses data as the raw material to improve processes and to build new ones, thus, optimizing resources and generating more revenue.
Algorithms as simple as detecting the humidity in a plant so farmers know when to water it, or as complex as forecasting when a piece of industrial equipment is about to break by measuring dozens of parameters, allow companies to be much more efficient in their processes.
However, all of the above-mentioned require some technological capabilities. Fundamentally, there is a need to:
- Capture data from industrial devices and equipment
- Process and analyze this data, either on-site or in the cloud
- Execute certain actions based on the performed analysis
In industrial environments, these tasks are not without complexity. They have to combine IT knowledge with traditional OT knowledge in the following ways:
- They have to be able to use a myriad of different industrial protocols that are not oriented towards data analytics
- They have to deal with sensitive environments that have traditionally been isolated
- They have to acquire knowledge on advanced data analytics (data science), etc.
Low-code tools provide invaluable help in these environments as they eliminate a large part of the complexity in programming solutions and applications, and provide developers with pre-programmed modules and facilities for the customization of algorithms.
The Advantages of Low-Code
The adoption of low-code philosophy and its tools is clearly helping to accelerate the digital transformation journey in the industrial world. It provides a number of advantages that allows digital transformation projects, such as IoT deployments, to be implemented, measured, and improved at any level because:
- It speeds up the so-called “taking of requirements”. The development cycle of functionalities that allow programmers to validate customer requirement is more efficient and simple thanks to this method.
- It allows for agile iteration. Any changes that need to be introduced in development processes can be undertaken much more quickly using low-code. In fact, this methodology encourages the creation of minimum viable products (MVP) that are incrementally improved with successive iterations.
- It simplifies integration with other external systems. In digitization processes, it is key to have the ability to connect the data gathered and processed with existing systems and infrastructures (CRMs, ERPs, etc.).4. They can now focus on the value of data; by reducing the technical complexity of development, they help programmers and business operators to focus on where it is most needed, on getting value out of data.
Digital transformations can become more efficient and successful with low-code. By reducing friction and making processes simple for developers low-code makes digital transformation possible for more organizations. Even if a company does not have an IT department with AI and IoT experience they can take advantage of the technologies thanks to low-code.