The role of ‘low code’ in digital automation platforms

In this post, we welcome guest blogger Carl Lehmann, a Principal Analyst at 451 Research, who focuses on integration and process management technologies.

Low code and citizen developers

The term ‘low code’ is being mentioned in various IT markets more frequently these days. In recent years, nearly all IT vendors have made great strides to simplify the use and deployment of their offerings. The fruits of these efforts are most obvious in improved user interface (UI) design. Simplicity has replaced complexity. Screen layouts and navigation have become more intuitive, which significantly reduces the time required for users to become proficient. IT vendors in the application development and integration markets proudly tout their new low-code environments, seeking new customers from those of a less technical and more business-oriented background, calling them ‘citizen developers’ or ‘citizen integrators.’

To be clear, these citizens are a new type of developer; they are not coding specialists, but rather more business-oriented staffers that team with IT coding professionals to design, develop and deploy applications and integrations. Those familiar with agile development practices and DevOps initiatives would testify to the value of joining business and IT professionals in a cross-functional team for solution development. Indeed, the role of citizen developers and integrators, and their relationships with IT coding experts, represents a similar but less formal organizational construct.

Low-code environments are not exclusively used for software development. Those that are well designed also enable full lifecycle management functionality that supports the design, build, deployment and management stages of a software lifecycle, and may include capabilities for social collaboration, project management, performance monitoring and end-user feedback.

Digital automation platforms

Low-code techniques are best instantiated within an emerging class of IT we call digital automation platforms. A digital automation platform (DAP) is a set of tools and resources structured within a uniform framework to enable application developers to rapidly design, prototype, develop, deploy, run, manage and monitor a range of process – and content-oriented applications – from simple task-related workflows to dynamic, unstructured collaborative activity streams, and even highly structured cross-functional enterprise applications. DAPs enable a low-code approach that uses graphical drag-and-drop tooling and pre-configured templates to ‘compose,’ rather than ‘code,’ applications.

We believe enterprises, in pursuit of transformative means to better serve customers and extract greater operational efficiency, should reevaluate their current application development strategy to include DAP capabilities.

To learn more about low-code and digital automation, download the Business Impact Brief from 451 Research.

Carl Lehmann

Carl Lehmann is a Principal Analyst in the Development, DevOps & IT Ops Channel. He leads 451 Research's coverage of integration and process management technologies in hybrid cloud architecture, as well as how hybrid IT affects business strategy and operations. The markets covered in his research include enterprise architecture management (EAM) tools, hybrid cloud integration technology (including iPaaS and API management) and business process management (BPM) software.

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