Low-code and No-code platforms were developed to take over some of the work that programmers do. These tools help to build applications faster and administer them without developers.
Low-code and No-code platforms firstly were represented as independent solutions: low-code to simplify the development of programs and applications, and now-code to help non-programmers to build business processes and create simple applications.
Low-code solutions were made for developers and analysts to increase speed of development and implementation, and allow reusing functionality across different solutions. These tools are complemented by business process management tools to visualise processes and events in forms, diagrams and charts.
Such platforms allow you to create a full-fledged application for specific business needs: modeling and visualising processes, customising interfaces, using ready-developed blocks, or allowing you to write your own program code.
No-code platforms were made for implementation without developers. Tools provided by these platforms can be used by a sales rep, secretary, department head, or any other business role, and no need for experience in program code at all. No-code platforms allow you to visualise business processes and create application interfaces, ror example, to make a request for customers to upload documents, and to set a task for the relevant department to process it. To do this, the user selects built-in elements, such as tasks, buttons or input fields, from the set offered by the platform.
Low-code and No-code platforms initially did not compete for users: they were targeted at different audiences. Today's solutions take the benefits of both of them, and represent a new level of implementation. Modern no-code/low-code platforms are equally suitable for small, medium and large enterprise businesses. They correspond to the requirements of scalability and security, allowing the creation of large applications for a large number of users.
Developers add new features to no-code/low-code platforms with which users are able to:
- write scripts for complex business logic;
- develop program code;
- create custom interfaces.
Nowadays solutions are not focused only on developers or only on business users. Different workspaces on one platformcan be implemented by people with different levels of expertise. For example, a company needs a custom contract negotiation workspace as it has a unique business process and logic, but a ready-to-use compliance workspace fits the company’s needs just fine.
No-code/low-code platforms do not involve programmers in the development for a longer time, as only some processes require more knowledge and skills for working with the platform.
BPM-core in a low-code platform
Most low-code platforms have a BPM-core (Business Process Management engine), which helps to develop and automate processes fast, and efficiently manage them. Those platforms are easy to use and make process design effortless.
BPM tools allow us to monitor business processes and find where they can be improved, automated and managed.
To implement the concept of BPM there is special software generally called BPMS (business process management system). It assists in the modelling, monitoring, and identification of bottlenecks and areas for improvement of business processes.
The concept behind any BPM system is straightforward: while implementing business process management in your company, you define operations using unambiguous diagrams without involving IT professionals. Settings are made with a mouse click and do not require programming knowledge.
Pros and cons of BPM based low-code platform
It is necessary to highlight a number of advantages of BPM low-code platform, such as:
Low-code based solutions are rapid to implement, due to ready-developed tools and even entire workspaces. It means saving time of deployment, lowering costs of a solution and its administration.
Low level of coding for developers, which means business experts, who really understand the exact goal of the solution, can implement and deploy it.
Low-code platform allows non-coders to prototype solutions quickly. These solutions can be tested, evaluated, approved or rejected without using large staff resources. Competing solutions can be compared, discarded or merged until ideas based on the final prototype are good enough to be developed and deployed.
Low-code ready-developed tools are standardised and tested, which means lower possibility of bugs during implementation and integration issues to deal with. Spending less time on development allows developers to focus on innovative work to reach business value.
Low-code platforms are easy to learn. It takes a couple of hours to learn your way around, and to create an application and a working business process.
Low-code solutions can be implemented in short development cycles. Within 1-2 weeks a solution with user interfaces, tasks and tuned business processes can be presented to the customer.
Low-code solutions help to start and expand new business with limited funds. It means that people in their garages and small shops are able to grow their markets due to the highest level of automation.
Low costs of support and administration of low-code solutions helps to reduce business operating expenses.
To be fair and impartial, there are a few disadvantages too, such as:
In case some ready-development tool does not correspond to business requirements, it cannot be changed by low-code instruments. Implementer needs to contact the product vendor to change it, and only the vendor has the final decision to approve it or not.
Large enterprise customers are rarely ready to use only the built-in tools, they need a high level of customization. This means that developers will have to write extensive code, even through the platform is a low-code one.
Business-process based platform in action.
ELMA365 is a low-code platform based on business processes. It allows both IT departments and business specialists to quickly develop sophisticated corporate solutions.
The standard graphic elements of BPMN 2.0 are used to describe business processes in ELMA365. The executors are represented as swimlanes, and their actions are indicated as sequential tasks. There are separate blocks for notifications and subprocess execution. This method makes the process chart accessible to a wide range of people, from technical experts to business users.
In addition to the common BPMN elements, you can use additional blocks designed to simplify modelling. Ready-made ECM activities, for example, aid in the interpretation of actions such as signing and approving documents generated from a template. Webhooks allow you to build up integrations, send SMS or email to customers and staff in real time, and track the progress with statuses. If there aren't enough items, you may always use scripts to implement the essential business logic.
All forms are designed in a graphic editor and adjusted according to the data requirements of the business process. Add your own fields to the form and organise them in the order you choose. Tabs can be used to group information, and panels can be used to divide the form into logical sections. Hide or reveal fields based on the information entered by the executives. It helps easier navigate the task and get the job done by the employees.
During the modelling phase, scripts can be added to the process. Analysts can use them to enhance the system's capability and the operations that employees used to do manually. Scripts can be used to fill out forms automatically, calculate field values, or choose which process branch to take. TypeScript scripts are executed inside forms and operations. The development environment has been designed to be as user-friendly as possible for those with no prior technical knowledge. Tooltips, syntax highlighting, and autocompletion aid in the speedy implementation of ideas and adjustments.
Reasons to choose ELMA365 low-code platform
ELMA365 has all the advantages of a low-code system and by combining low-code and no-code solutions helps to avoid disadvantages. For example, if a vendors' solutions do not correspond to your needs you can develop your own solution, with unique logic and tools.
The Low-code concept allows you to significantly speed up the cycle from a business need to a ready-made solution. An analyst does not need to write a TOR for the IT department and does not need to wait for the developer to bring it to life. With ELMA365, they get a tool where they can create working applications themselves in a visual constructor.
This approach fundamentally changes the rules of the game. From the cycle "Analysis - TOR - Development - Refinement - Deployment - Refinement - Production work" you move on to the cycle "Analysis - Create a solution - Phased launch - Continuous improvements".
Contributor: Valerie A, Business Analist, ELMA365