Written by Malcolm Carroll, director at BlueFinity International
The SME business sector has been on a roller coaster ride over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses have been forced to move to remote working, some have had to close for many months, while others have benefitted from the rise in online shopping.
One development to emerge from the pandemic has been the increased demand for apps. Mobile analytics firm App Annie[i] claims the pandemic, “has changed consumer behaviour on mobile forever”. It reports that consumer spending on apps was $50 billion in the first half of 2020, up 10% from the second half of 2019.
To make app development easier and more affordable, many companies are now using low code app development tools. This is a growing trend – the latest forecast from Gartner[ii] predicts the global low-code development technologies market will total $13.8 billion this year, up 23% from 2020. By 2025, it expects that 70% of new applications developed by enterprises will be low-code/no-code.
Gartner says that the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have provided an extraordinary validation of the low-code value proposition and believes that adoption will accelerate in the short and long term.
So, it seems that low code tools are here to stay, and they are enabling SMEs to develop apps that can transform and future proof their business.
Benefits of using low code/no code tools
One real game changer with low code development technologies is they use intuitive tools that ‘citizen developers’ (in-house employees) can easily pick up to build and deploy apps. Companies no longer need to bring in outside developers at great expense – they can use their existing workforce.
There is no need for people to have specific coding skills, as good low code platforms use ‘drag and drop’, ‘point and click’ and ‘option select’ development techniques. This means anyone who can use a personal computer and understands the structure of their data can use the technology to build a comprehensive, full function app design, which can be turned into a deployable app. The use of internal staff also makes it easier for companies to update the app in response to any specific or changing business needs.
With the choice of the right platform, there is no large upfront capital outlay and for very little initial cost, companies can embark on app development without having to endure lengthy authorisation and sign off procedures.
In addition, these platforms can be used by groups of people working in different locations on a single (or multiple) app at the same time. Designers, developers, business users and management can work together online to participate in all stages of the required development and review work. With many firms wanting to continue remote working in the future this technology is ideally suited to this new business world.
The road to recovery
As the world looks beyond the pandemic, we predict SMEs will want to create apps to engage with customers in the digital world.
They allow SMEs to deliver all or part of their services to customers on mobile devices and laptops, as well as traditional desktops. And, if a company’s main competitors now have a fully functioning app, businesses will also need to develop one or risk losing customers.
It can also help to build customer loyalty and retention. If a customer has downloaded an app on their mobile, they are more likely to return to the app and less likely to search the market for other options.
Low code development platforms are opening the app market to companies who may not have previously envisaged creating an app, giving them a way to compete with larger businesses with bigger IT budgets.
Using low code, smaller firms can create and deploy sophisticated business apps without the need or expense of using external software developers or having to go through intense product training.
Many more businesses will be creating apps to streamline their internal processes, automate different functions and to improve how they trade and interact with their customers. Embracing low code app development tools means they can do this easily, efficiently and cost-effectively.
BlueFinity International markets Evoke, a low-code/no-code, App Development Platform that is based on open system technologies and works equally on SQL, Oracle, DB2 and Multi-Value databases. It can quickly deliver for your customers, partners and employees, web or native, adaptive business apps across all mobile and desktop devices on Android, iOS and Windows operating environments.