Our Expert's view on Low Code

Low-code has quickly established itself asa technology that will stick around, which is something our subject matter expert Lorenz Verheyden saw coming several years ago already. To anticipate the increasing demand for this new way of software development, he founded the RoboRana spin-off Roboest. Today, with Roboest, he supports companies in the implementation of low-code platforms in their organization—always with a human-centered approach.


Where does your love for low-code development come from?

It was not until my professional career that I learned to code and work with process automation tools. I am a Business Scientist by training with a master's degree in management and computer science. At the start of my career, I was first introduced to low-code platform Outsystems. I noticed how—with my limited coding knowledge—I could still create added value by pouring my technical and business insights into RPA and low-code solutions.


How did you expand your expertise around low-code platforms?

I joined RoboRana to take a deep-dive into these platforms. As an RPA engineer, I first started working with UiPath, BluePrism and Automation Anywhere. Then I had the opportunity to work withMicrosoft Power Platform. To introduce companies to the benefits of these platforms and the way they work, I founded the spin-off Roboest with the support of RoboRana. We anticipated the growing interest in low-code, and that assessment has since turned out to be spot on.


How do low-code platforms differ from custom development?

Low-code platforms bundle multiple tools that enable the development of digital solutions through a drag-and-drop interface.In this visual editor you immediately see what you're building. It’s an intuitive way of working, with a high degree of customization and that delivers results quickly. Instead of writing thousands of lines of code, you can use low-code platforms to quickly visualize complete applications and workflows with modern user interfaces, integrations, data and logic. Low-code development is also faster and cheaper than custom development because the teams needed tend to be smaller and more diverse.


For what problem is low-code the solution?

Many organizations are struggling to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for fast and digital solutions. IT organizations should not just develop new digital solutions, but also have to maintain, update and support existing systems. This creates a huge backlog for most IT departments, especially when combined with the ever-increasing challenge of finding skilled developers.

Low-code development remedies the growing backlog of IT departments and the scarcity of developers. It lowers the barriers to software development and transfers part of the development role to the end-user, leading to greater engagement.


What are some of the limitations?

Not all applications and use cases are suitable for low-code software development. It is important to keep both the strengths and limitations of these platforms in mind—otherwise you will end up with a suboptimal solution that mainly causes frustration. Most platforms do allow manually added lines of code, although that is best kept to a minimum for most users. This can be an interesting application for hybrid teams consisting of both IT and low-code engineers, who can then provide the custom code and low-code, respectively.


What is the added value of low-code platforms for organizations?

Because working with low-code requires much less in-depth technical knowledge, solutions can be developed by small teams with limited coding experience. This allows more people with backgrounds in business, finance or accounting to independently develop solutions to practical problems they experience in their daily work. That's what we call citizen development. However, at echnical or business background remains important to come to an optimal solution. I believe that this type of knowledge will be widespread in the future and that people without and with programming knowledge will develop solutions together, each from their own expertise. That’s what we call fusion development.


If everyone starts coding, won’t that just create more problems?

Citizen development needs to be properly managed. If it isn’t, it does indeed lead to more problems than solutions. At Roboest, we focus on an organizational structure in the form of a center of excellence, to counter these types of issues. We’ve taken a more people-oriented approach to heart, with a clearly defined framework for everyone who works with these platforms. We want to get people excited about starting to build their own applications, and we see that clear guidelines actually help with that. In time, organizations will increasingly begin to build internal structures to expand on this evolution of citizen development. Organizations that properly implement the right governance policies tend to focus on best practices. In those organizations, the deployment of low-codeplatforms can make an impact, make them more agile and competitive in the rapidly changing marketplace.


What will be the next step for low-code applications?

I expect the market will only grow. As the world becomes increasingly digital and connected, the demand for digital solutions is exploding. To relieve IT departments, there will be an increasing focus on low-code and citizen development. Low-code platforms will continue to evolve their offer for different applications—from internal apps to mobile apps to entire websites. Traditional programming will always have a place in this, especially for widely deployable standard applications. For specific business applications,I expect most will eventually be developed via low-code platforms.

Lorenz Veheyden
Managing Partner Roboest
March 20, 2023

Other resources

Emma's flying start at RoboRana



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