Rainer Wendt: What does Low Code actually mean, does it only have advantages or does it also have limitations?
The general opinion about the advantages of low-code is that you can deliver very much faster, develop more agile and with lower costs. Another important advantage is that low-code enables citizen developers to develop enterprise-grade applications without any programming knowledge. Due to the lack of 60.000 IT professionals in May 2019 in Germany, Citizen Developers will help us to compensate the deficit that digital transformation requires more software than traditional coders can deliver.
Asking about limitations is a good question, especially when you consider how opinions about low-code have changed in recent years. For example, I personally remember a white paper of a well-known German IT technology provider, where they explained that low-code never will provide the possibilities like high-code. They also mentioned that complex low-code projects finally would be converted into high-code project with rebuilding the low-code part in many cases. Today, a few years later this company announces to provide a low-code platform themselves.
To my opinion limitations for business applications depend on the low-code platform capabilities and not on low-code technology. According to Forrester there are 4 categories of low code platforms, describing platform capabilities in comparison to scalability and complexity. The majority of business applications can be developed with low-code easily. Only a small percentage of complex enterprise applications will partly need to be implemented by high-code like Java. Using the Appollo platform you can integrate such a complex high-code component easily be using the custom connector. Thus the whole rest of the application remains built in low-code. I highly recommend that the platform categories 3 or 4 should be taken into account for a low code strategy of medium-sized or large enterprises. In such a way limitations related to platform capabilities can be avoided or could be reduced to a minimum.
Rainer Wendt: Can you name a factor – how much cost is saved in the maintenance of low code solutions compared to traditional coded solutions.
Low code-development not only accelerates app development from years to months or months to weeks, it also speeds up maintenance and reduces maintenance costs. First, let’s look at the maintenance probabilities for bugs within a low-code based application in comparison to an application, built by traditional coding. In case of traditional coding, 100% of the application could have bugs to be fixed. In case of a low-code app only a small part, the business logic, could have bugs. Second, maintenance related to enhancements or change requests is very much faster, because of easily maintainable, graphical models and well-structured coding artefacts. Those coding artefacts consists of a small number of lines of source code for business data manipulation in many cases.
Moreover, in case the maintenance is done by different developers, it is easier to understand the graphical models of a low-code platform instead of endless lines of traditional code. Additionally, many Low-Code Development Platforms, like Appollo, support for an auto deployment into test, preproduction and production environments. They also include automated testing and managing version dependencies in a heterogeneous integration environment. In such a way maintenance plus operational costs are also reduced and quality is increased.
Of course, the maintenance effort depends on the capabilities of the low-code platform for an easy to maintain architectural design in case of change a request. Using the Appollo Platform you can follow the “Developer’s Guide To Forrester’s Strategies For Integration And Digital Business Platforms”, which is a very important maintenance factor, especially for large and complex enterprise applications. Additionally, I want to mention an outstanding feature of the Appollo Digital Innovation Platform related to maintenance costs. Let’s assume a Loan Application that executes wrong transactions, where you could lose one million Dollar per day. In such a case you typically shutdown the application until the issue is resolved. This means other application functions, like order loans, view new loans, reporting etc. cannot be executed. In contrary, the Appollo platform provides the possibility to only lock such a specific microservice and you can run the rest of the application and satisfy your customers. Also the redeployment of such a service can be done on the fly, by just click on a publish button even without any shutdown or IT support.
Dr. Eckhard Herdt has almost 40 years of experience in various areas of application development. He focuses on business analysis, architecture, test management, multi-project management and strategic management consulting for large-scale enterprises such as banks, insurance companies, telecommunications, transport and logistics.
At the end of 2015, Eckhard founded Appollo Systems (https://www.appollo-systems.com/en). The company offers consulting for digitalization and its cloud-based APPOLLO DIGITAL INNOVATION PLATFORM, which covers all phases of the application life cycle. Highlights include low-code APP development in conjunction with BPMN-based process automation, 20 model types, heatmap-based business analysis and heatmap-based real-time application monitoring, as well as an integrated collaboration and issue management.