How a low code platform solves business challenges better, faster and more easily.
Low code platforms are very hot nowadays. Forrester estimates the market to reach $15 billion by 2020, and cloud application leaders like Salesforce are massively investing in it. In fact, Outsystems, a low code platform provider, just raised $360M, probably because of their great position in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise High-Productivity Application Platform as a Service. In essence, a low code platform lets you focus on solving problems instead of thinking about the technology.
When I founded b-pack in 2000 (now part of Determine), to build one of the very first e-procurement web applications I disrupted the market by using a full open source stack dedicated to web applications. It allowed us to go-to-market very quickly with limited funding. However, we used standard object oriented development methodology.
For non-technical folks, what that means is, as we moved to the SaaS model and drastically increased the number of features our P2P solution offered, our monolithic application became exponentially more difficult to maintain. Filling each new feature gap was challenging, full testing coverage was getting more complicated and each bug became more difficult to fix.
No code, infinite possibilities.
To expedite and simplify our expandability and scalability, in 2006 I decided to completely re-platform our procure-to-pay application into a set of apps in the cloud. To achieve this, we found out that we could build a core engine to manage the user interface, API, data layer and processes management. We also created a business-oriented descriptive language (we named it LEA — Language for Enterprise Application) to build all of our business apps.
By doing that we created what was perhaps the first no-code platform on the market. We could build anything using declarative language without having to use code anymore, and the result was incredible. The code base was divided by 10, meaning we were able to update our technology stack multiple times without having to rebuild our applications. In 2009 we moved our entire platform to the Amazon Web Services cloud with fully managed applications as a service.
Reliability, security and performance were greatly improved, allowing us to deliver our enterprise application to global companies with tens of thousands of users around the world generating millions of transactions and manipulating large amount of data. Now we have one of the most extensive source-to-pay cloud platforms on the market, with best-in-class features in many areas like procurement, sourcing, supplier management and contract management. Interesting to note, it has been done with very limited investment compared to our biggest competitors.
Accelerating (and simplifying) digital transformation.
No wonder why low code platform/no code platform are now getting so much attention and funding. As an early adopter and innovator, I can predict that most business applications built in the next few years will use these platforms. And it will accelerate the digital transformation of many organizations in the process.
Access to artificial intelligence technology, big data and analytics, robotic task automation, API integration and interoperability, new user interfaces — including mobile and conversational interfaces — will become the norm. Low code platforms will further allow enterprise technology providers to concentrate on solving business problems instead of having to catch-up with technology. Stay tuned to see how this plays out in the months and year ahead.
If you’d like to see for yourself how much better more focus you can have on optimizing your business processes instead of being distracted by technology, schedule a personalized demonstration of the Determine Cloud Platform.