Programming has often been described as difficult and unaccessible, which is why the implementation of low code solutions designed to amend these issues is so appealing to insurers globally. But can they be used at a corporate level? Dmitry Kurbatov, delivery manager at Symfa, delves into the lessons he learnt while implementing such an offering at a US insurance firm.
Low code solutions are so appealing in nature as they take-away the coding element from the app delivery process, effectively circumventing the nitty-gritty difficulties that turns the less computer-savvy operators from around the world away from programming.
Platforms such as Bubble do this so efficiently, allowing a business/individual to put together a web service, without the agonising troubles that may traditionally accompany the process.
Whilst these solutions can’t completely diminish some of the software technicalities that give companies nightmares, namely operating systems, data storage and payment processing, they do vastly reduce the notorious headaches that can arise when dealing with enterprise software development.
Despite this, negative reviews still crop up from the more technically dept, so why is this?
To gain a greater understanding as to why, Kurbatov explained through his own experience of utilising low code programming in the corporate world.
When explaining the task that awaited him when he joined the project, Kurbatov said, “The whole project – let it be the Alfa application – revolves around reinsurance contract entries. Originally, the process was as follows: the employees upload information about contracts to the database. Those are pretty common contracts stored in huge Excel files. Generation, editing and uploading of these files to the database is done manually. After the doc is uploaded to the database, the next application – let’s call it Omega, which existed in the customer’s company long before we joined the project – performs calculations on the data contained in these contracts.”
To achieve this, he had to automate the process for people who worked with these contracts, while also making sure that all the information that had been uploaded to the Alpha version, was also in the Omega version.
Throughout the process, Kurbatov determined that low code solutions are particularly useful for internal software development, as they allow for quick implementation of missing business functionality as the backend and APIs were developed in .NET, while Outsystems handled the frontend, delivering the required functionality.
While the resulting application may not be the fastest, it excels in automating complex processes in the corporate environment, despite some limitations in UI/UX customisation.
Despite its advantages, low code isn’t always the best choice. Three key limitations were put under the microscope throughout this project. Firstly, low code solutions may not deliver visually stunning applications with intricate animations and transitions. Additionally, using Outsystems for backend development may not be as flexible as .NET in accommodating complex logic. Teamwork can be challenging with Outsystems due to version control issues.
When forming a project team, it’s crucial to have at least one team member proficient in low code, specifically for frontend development. This approach reduces the overall team size, as the focus shifts to strengthening .NET qualifications for backend development. Additionally, the need for a UI/UX designer is minimised, as low code platforms offer ready-made elements and themes that can be consistently applied across corporate applications. This saves time and budget, providing instant value to the development process.
Overall, it’s key to remember that low code solutions are a valuable asset for corporate projects, offering efficiency, speed, and cost-effectiveness, as was shown throughout Kurbatov’s project, which has led his team to be buoyed and impressed by the result. However, the key message from this, is that these solutions are not a one-size-fits-all approach and should be used in conjunction with traditional coding to meet the diverse demands of corporate development. As technology continues to evolve, it’s crucial for businesses to adapt and leverage the best of both worlds.
Kurbatov asserts that the success of the project was not down to the efficiency of low code solutions. But as a result of the team coming together to best analyse the pain points and how they can be amended to best benefit the system.
The rise of low code solutions does not signify the end of traditional coding. While low code is accessible and can be learned relatively quickly, full-stack developers remain indispensable, especially when intricate UI/UX and advanced features are required. Low code is a valuable addition to a full-stack developer’s skill set, but not a complete replacement for traditional coding. The tools have their undoubted strengths and applications, but the traditional incumbents of the development community need not to be sweating just yet.
Read the part one of Symfa’s blog series on low code solutions here.
Click here for part two of Symfa’s low code series.
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