Why Agencies Need Low-Code Application Development Now

The use of Low Code Application Platforms (LCAP) in government is accelerating at a rapid pace, driven not only by the need for rapid delivery, but also by its quality, security, l ‘comprehensiveness of capabilities, high availability and, most importantly, the ability to change quickly. Custom applications are known for their long development cycles and are inefficient at meeting changing demands. Low-code platforms have reached critical mass, and technology is accelerating at a speed that agencies can no longer ignore. Major low-code platform providers include Appian, Microsoft Power Apps, Salesforce, and ServiceNow.

The use of LCAP enabled the delivery of web applications from initial concept to production deployment in less than eight weeks. Additionally, by using a certified CASL at the highest impact risk level under the Federal Risk Management and Clearance Program, agencies can dramatically simplify the certification process.

This promise of quickly delivering new applications and services while saving time and money is why LCAP is gaining the attention of government organizations and the private sector. According to Gartner, the market for low-code development technologies is expected to grow 23% between 2020 and 2021. By 2023, more than 50% of medium and large enterprises will use a low-code solution as one of their mission-critical application platforms. By adopting CASL today, agencies will benefit from rapid development cycles, project success, and rapid return on investment.

To get the most out of low-code development, IT leaders need to understand its capabilities, limitations, and how it fits into their strategy of building apps that empower employees and serve citizens.

How far can you code?

Low-code development augments traditional hand-coded programming with a platform that allows developers to take advantage of a graphical user interface to create new software quickly. Additionally, LCAPs provide dozens of pre-built components that offer drag-and-drop functionality to enhance existing applications or assemble new ones. As such, it requires little to no coding skills, making it easier for developers of all skill levels to build apps.

Low-code development allows agencies to:

Quickly innovate new applications. Low-code development is ideal for scenarios where time is of the essence, reducing development cycles from year to month or month to week. Efficient platforms also allow IT managers to quickly integrate components from major cloud providers, useful tools such as address validation or speech recognition.

Modernize existing applications more easily. Many agencies do not have the resources to migrate from existing systems. A low-code approach is well suited to overlaying a graphical interface or front-end portal on older software. This approach can also pay off on the road. Many existing systems require months of training and are only fully understood by long-time users. A low-code interface can help new users get up to speed quickly.

Comply with agency standards. Whenever an administration, government department, or Congress changes a set of rules, agency applications and services must reflect those changes. A low-code approach can make the response faster and easier. Additionally, many agencies maintain style guides that specify fonts, colors, and other details for websites and online tools, and low-code tools can automate almost any style guide compliance.

Focus developers on innovation. People are good at imagining new processes and services, but not so good at repetitive tasks, which leads to random errors. The software, on the other hand, is superb in terms of repetition and consistency. So it makes sense to take advantage of low-code tools for reusable components while freeing up developers to imagine new and better ways to empower employees and serve voters.

While low-code is a strategic enabler for just about any business application, it has its limitations. For example, intensive graphics applications (simulations / animations), low level drivers and on-board systems should always be written in a powerful language like C ++ or even assembler. However, with a good web services-based architecture, low code can still play a role by integrating with high code components through REST or even built-in Docker containers running within the platform.

Second, unlike no-code solutions designed to allow virtually anyone to create software, low-code development is best reserved for the development team. Sophisticated business users can use a low-code platform to enhance a digital tool used by a small internal team. But for enterprise-class applications or citizen-oriented services, even low-code development is best left to the experts.

Five steps to success in low-code

Like any technology, low-code development requires the right approach. To be successful in low-code, agencies should follow these five guidelines:

1. Empower developers. A low-code platform replaces the long build and test cycles of Java and C # with modular coding and drag-and-drop reuse. Today more than ever, agencies need experienced and talented experts to understand business needs, innovate new processes and services, and apply modern and agile methodologies to deliver advanced capabilities. As we have seen from 100% custom code, class libraries such as Java Development Kit (JDK) and Microsoft.Net and frameworks augment class libraries, the goal has always been to maximize the reuse of existing code. to accelerate the delivery, capacity and quality of applications. Today, LCAPs offer considerable out-of-the-box capabilities while providing extensive integrations and blank palette user interface capabilities through JavaScript, CSS, and HTML hooks.

2. Adopt a modern software architecture. Low-code development optimizes the design of the software. But that doesn’t eliminate the need for a robust software architecture.

Software design involves the organization of data, the implementation of components, and the appearance of applications. Software architecture deals with the underlying structure of the system, how the components fit together, and how the application integrates with other systems. Agencies need a modern architecture to create business software that can easily integrate with other systems.

3. Focus on the needs of the business. Low-code development can provide new functionality, but it does not identify the functionality that users need, so agencies need to make sure that developers capture user needs from the start. Fortunately, a low-code approach can free IT managers to spend more time understanding needs and how new applications and services can meet them.

4. Don’t get locked into a low-code platform. LCAPs now offer robust platforms designed for scalability, but they require investment and can lock organizations into a particular set of solutions. A robust architecture, component-based strategy, and integration with the best web services can help minimize vendor lock-in.

5. Work with a partner who is familiar with low-code development. Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos talks about one-sided decisions, that are almost irreversible, and two-way decisions that can be easily changed. To deliver a successful enterprise application, organizations need a partner with extensive experience in low-code web services, containerization, cloud, and advanced development. When properly implemented, low-code applications provide two-way gate agility, providing the longevity needed for applications to maintain an iterative development lifecycle without the need for total rewrites.

Such a partner can also help agencies understand development needs and how a low-code approach can meet them. Additionally, it can help implement an architecture that allows the most significant benefit from low code efforts. After all, the ability to build apps quickly and inexpensively offers little value if the apps are inefficient.

In traditional development, developers devote a great deal of their effort to the basics of the application. There’s little time, budget, or energy to build capabilities that deliver truly high value. Low-code development can allow teams to focus on building applications that empower employees more and serve citizens. It’s no wonder that the Air Force, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Transportation Security Administration are taking advantage of modern low-code platforms to speed delivery and quality. software applications to support their critical programs.

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