Although we often discuss how computers have changed the world, the vast majority of this change has been through the creation of useful interfaces to computing power. Whether that is to make calculations (spreadsheets) or share news or thoughts (social-media) or to be entertained (video-games, music, etc…) or find our way to new destinations (map apps) much of the transformative power requires there to be some special tool that helps empower the users in new ways. Most of us — even developers — are consumers of this type of tool not producers. But how many times have you been at work and thought something like, oh — it would be so helpful if we had a tool to automate this process? But then you follow that up with, “oh, but the budget, the hurdles, the testing, the effort… <sigh>” and got back to work the old way?
This is where Low-Code development platforms can change your life for the better. As the name implies, “low code” platforms empower non-programmers to craft working software solutions.
The promise of Low-Code is that it connects the people with the business knowledge directly with the tools to craft a working application which will empower their work processes. Why would you settle for a shared spreadsheet on some network drive when you could have a web-based collaborative application which runs on your laptop, tablets or phones and is built by you and your peers to meet your team’s needs precisely?
Apex is developing (and actively using) our new Low-Code platform, Apex Designer and we believe it is going to change the way your company can do business — in ways that will be transformative, innovative and powerful.
But who benefits from adopting a Low-Code platform? Let’s discuss who directly and indirectly see the quickest return on investment in this kind of platform.
Semi-Technical Business Experts
Not everyone in a business group has any interest in coding or crafting applications, but if you’re the kind of end-user who makes formulas in Excel, macros in Word, or who has spent some time setting up a personal website, you’re clever enough to transform your work environment with a bespoke application (or applications) that you can build collaboratively with your teammates. When you’re done, you’ll have a tool that even the non-techies can use — and one that will be more appreciated since they will have had a direct hand in building it.
At Apex, we always engage with the business experts and their feedback is vital to building something everyone will use. Having them as participants in the project has always been important, but with Low-Code tools they can participate directly in the building process.
Obviously if your company has an existing development team, a Low-Code solution may sound unnecessary but before you dismiss the idea, let me tell you a few ways that embracing a tool like Apex Designer can be positively transformative for them and you. As an analogy, I’m going to make some comparisons to house-building.
- Speed to Delivery — A Low-Code tool means being able to quickly get up the framework of your new application. User management, database connectivity, web-hosting, scalability — these things are all far simpler in a Low-Code implementation. You might think of this as an ease in setting up plumbing, power, and even the foundations and walls of your “software” house.
- Access to Modify — Being able to quickly prop-up your Low-Code application is great, but it’s also important to be able to customize. In Apex Designer you can use our built-in tools for building fully functional applications — but you can also drop-in your own custom code. We built our tools using powerful cloud-hosting, AngularJS, Loopback and include API tools as well, so you’re never forced into a walled-garden. In our home analogy, this means that you’ll find that you have access to the wiring and plumbing and the tools to make changes and, because we built on tools with vibrant and active user communities, expert help abounds when troubleshooting.
- It’s an Ecosystem — Our platform is more than just a tool for rapid application development. Once you start making applications with Apex Designer, you’ll find that when an idea strikes your business users, adding additional applications to your environment becomes easier. Suddenly, having work applications exactly like you want becomes the norm rather than a dream.
As a developer and former IT manager, I’m very familiar with how frustrating it can be when various business groups want to bring in vendors to develop tools with disparate requirements. For example, having one group who wants some Oracle solution, while another group is developing with MS SQL Server as a requirement. Or you have people crafting local applications on their desktop and find out that an entire group is running their home-brew team management tool on a laptop that’s not even being backed up. Or you have rogue groups setting up apps outside of your security control and now you have to worry about exposure to hackers and other security issues.
With Apex Designer’s Low-Code tools, you can set up an environment where security, reliability and scalability all played key focus during design. Granting access to these tools can give you a reliable, homogeneous development platform for use for any pioneering developers in your ranks. Extending the house-building metaphor a bit, this is like giving all your users access to the same building tools and an empty lot for anything they want to craft, rather than them trying to build some shoddy trailer in someone else’s backyard.
Is it time to consider bringing in Low-Code tools to your business?
Of course it is. There’s always time for innovation and cleverness. I bet your company is full of ideas waiting to become reality. Contact us today and learn how you can sign up for early access to our Apex Designer Low-Code platform.