Low-code Gaining Integrated Enterprise-wide Capability

Abhrasnata Das | Wednesday, 06 July 2022, 14:01 IST

Suresh Jagannathan, COO, Digital Process Automation, CoforgeSuresh Jagannathan, COO, Digital Process Automation, Coforge, in an interaction with CIO Tech Outlook, shares his insights on the low-code platform and concerns pertaining to scalability, transformation to low-code platforms, and more.

The global low-code development platform market size is projected to reach USD 45.5 billion by 2025. How do you see this market developing in India? What are the factors driving the growth?

As per markets and markets research firm, the low code market is growing at a CAGR of 28 % to reach USD 45.5 billion by 2025. This is propelled by clients driving their transformation to achieve lower TCO, expanding their customer reach, while being nimble in developing the underlying platform.  

As per industry research, low-code application development will account for more than 65% of app development activity by 2024. In recent years, the industry has become favorable to the low code/no code development trend. As a result, the usage of these solutions has accelerated. We strongly believe that low code application services will grow much faster than the broader application services market as platforms mature and the universe of low code options expands. Companies are gaining value from minimal code application platforms in a variety of ways, including reduced cost and complexity, increased speed to market, regulatory compliance, improved user experience, and improved corporate efficiencies through the elimination of activities and process automation.

As a result, newer and smaller Indian businesses are also hopping on the bandwagon to digitize their operations. Small firms provide a significant boost to LC/NC culture as they provide a user-friendly interface, allowing them to quickly automate workflows and create custom applications. Low-code platforms drastically reduce go-to-market time by making it extremely simple to absorb the market's evolving needs, putting them ahead of the competition. Another reason for its growing popularity is that it makes managing a large workstation of tools much easier.

In line with Coforge’ s vision of Engage with the Emerging, we have incubated LCNC as a key capability, early in the game in 2008 with focus primarily on Pega & Appian low code platforms. Since then, we have expanded this group to include other market leading platforms such as Mendix, Outsystems, Salesforce, and ServiceNow. Our approach has been laser focused on specific industries such as Banking and Financial Services, Insurance, Public Sector and Travel, Transportation & Hospitality.

Low code platforms offer limited integration possibilities, hence creating a challenge for scalability. How can this problem be overcome?

The perception that a Low-code platform creates a challenge for scalability is not right. Infact, low-code solutions with cloud architecture are more scalable and facilitate continuous delivery.  By using a low-code platform that has containerized application delivery, development teams can ensure faster deployment, streamline operations, increase scalability, and portability.

However, it is important to ensure that certain must-have features are there while choosing a low-code platform to make well-informed decisions. To get the most out of a low-code platform, an organization must make sure that architectural requirements and internal processes are matched with scalability. Adjusting platform capacity to match demand while setting up the app deployments platforms as per the license terms is also very important. To save time maintaining, verifying, and correcting large application systems, agile teams must be formed and microservices architectural models must be chosen instead of employing different architectural models.

Although Low-code solutions have in-built security protocols, they still cannot provide the same security level as standalone development technologies. How can an organization overcome the security challenges while opting for low-code platforms?

Low code does not imply low risk and its development generates new threats to the entire organization. However, security best practices can mitigate the risks described above regardless of the technology. A few best practices include- 

  • Purchase software and platforms from reputable vendors and SI partners with a good track record in the market.
  • Ascertain that third-party attested certificates represent the vendors' internal security practices and processes.
  • In your application and software inventories, keep track of low-code and no-code platforms, as well as the applications that result from their use.
  • Maintain strict access controls; know who is using the platforms and what actions they are permitted to do.
  • Implement secure data practices to determine where essential data is stored and whether applications built using low-code or no-code platforms contain sensitive data.
  • Recognize the locations of low-code/no-code platforms. Are the platforms hosted by a hyper-scaler global Cloud Service Provider (CSP) like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure? Or are they housed in an old on-premises data center with little to no physical and logical access control?

For an organization, it is also crucial to think about it’s security culture. While platform users may not be programmers or security experts, they should be aware of the security implications of the low-code and no-code platforms and apps they use and create. As they say, with great power comes tremendous responsibility, and this is true with low-code and no-code platforms.

Every business now has multiple finance, HR, IT and ops systems in place. It would take a massive project to replace just one of them— let alone all of them. How can a seamless transformation to low-code platforms be achieved?

Low code is not an “All-in-one” solution. These platforms don’t aim to replace the important business functions of finance and HR but only facilitate them. The fact of the matter is, that the lower the code, the lower the flexibility. Companies will have to pay special attention to developing products unique to their identity as these low code platforms are for process optimization For instance- there's no way to anticipate every possible UI widget, page layout, process flow, or integration because these particulars are unique to one’s business.

Having said that, the scale of an organization also helps determine the seamlessness of the transformation.  These platforms can be an end-all for smaller/mid-sized companies but for larger companies, functions like HR and finance are massive, in such cases low code platforms might not be a preferable choice. 

How do you see the low-code platform market evolving in the near future? 

According to NASSCOM, LC/NC solutions generated over USD 400 million in revenue for Indian IT service providers and startups in FY 2021, with 70% of that coming from outside markets. The market is estimated to reach a whopping USD 4 billion by 2025, according to experts. Coforge believes that the industry has a lot of untapped potential and that these platforms might be a big assistance to small and medium-sized businesses and companies. Today, the company employs over 1700 people, all of whom are focused on low-code platforms. Coforge has also recently launched a Low code COE to provide thought leadership and turn-around short pilots on customer-specific scenarios to accelerate expansion.

Going forward, these platforms are expected to evolve in two ways in the future. The first is a larger level of simplification (i.e., a transition from low-code to no-code development), and the second is a bigger scope of services, moving away from spot low-code solutions and toward integrated enterprise-wide capability.