What is low-code?

A low-code development environment empowers less technical users, such as business users and citizen developers, to build complete business applications on their own without the help of IT. Through a highly visual, easy-to-use interface, low-code alleviates the IT backlog for creating or updating business applications. It is a way to design enterprise-grade business applications fast and reliably with little to no coding knowledge needed. With low-code, anyone can create software applications and services.

Low-code is a helpful approach when you have a process that you need to digitize—especially one that involves people, processes, and technology—because it can easily bring them all together through automation. Low-code uses a step-by-step, interactive wizard that interviews the business user to capture the intent of the application, and then a guide that helps them build the application using drag and drop from start to finish.

Because business expectations are building, app development backlog is crippling IT teams. They are hitting productivity walls that are costing the business time, money, and opportunity. Low-code platforms enable a company to quickly build (assemble) and deploy applications to solve real business problems. Business applications can be created in days if not hours, results can be assessed swiftly, and updates performed fast and iteratively. Accomplishing all of this while allowing for standard IT governance is both nimble and cost-effective. Low-code development for citizen developers was designed to empower any business user to turn their ideas into fully functional applications in just minutes. Simple yet powerful visuals, step-by-step dialogs, and point-and-click interactions allow any user to feel comfortable right away in building an application in a safe and predictable way.

With low-code, companies can solve business problems faster with less risk. They can more easily and quickly create effective applications that can help improve the customer experience, lower operational costs, improve productivity, and increase revenues. With low-code app development, you can automate operational processes, add new features to your favorite platforms, and unify several enterprise systems into one. Today’s IT seeks new approaches that can greatly accelerate application delivery, and low-code is the answer they are looking for.

Although low-code platforms cater to those without a lot of technical knowledge, the best ones also allow skilled developers to more quickly build prototype applications, enhance monolithic systems, or address skill set gaps, such as mobile enablement or back-end data connectivity. Therefore, a good low-code platform has both a really simple UI with step by step instructions that can guide the user, as well as more advanced customization capabilities for skilled IT resources.

The Benefits of low-code application development

Cheaper and quicker to build apps than traditional coding

With low-code, companies do not have to rely on IT to build or enhance business applications. Therefore, they can build apps in weeks or days rather than months or years, saving a lot of time and money. Also, with low-code, the challenges of hiring skilled IT resources can be addressed by tapping the know-how and goodwill of business users who want to solve business challenges they experience on a daily basis.

A way to unleash widespread digital transformation at scale

Because business users are now empowered to create their own apps, they no longer have to wait for IT and can move ahead with their ideas, increasing the speed of innovation and digital transformation. With low-code, you can innovate and unlock the creativity of your business organization and tackle the development backlog of your IT department. Value is delivered by providing the perfect environment for easily turning ideas into fully functional applications.

Integration and extension of legacy systems

One of the biggest challenges organizations face in digital transformation is that they feel trapped by outdated, legacy systems that they have spent years and a lot of money developing. Low-code is a way to easily modernize enterprise systems and tap the full potential that digital transformation has to offer.

Faster app development and updating

Traditional software development would typically needs months to complete new services or changes to applications. This leaves employees, and possibly customers, frustrated. Now, with low-code app development, legacy applications and services can be updated and new applications can be built, leading to faster innovation.

Less shadow IT

Now that you have a reliable, self-service tool for business users to turn their ideas into applications, they will be less prone to look for off the shelf solutions that are not easy to customize and that often fall back into the hands of IT because they are so hard to use. A low-code platform enables business users to ideate and create their apps while also having the right safeguards and controls for IT to make sure applications are managed overall.

Essential low-code capabilities

User experience

The user experience should empower citizen developers to build fully functional business applications from a web browser in minutes while staying within the right guardrails. Users should have the ability to jump right in and start describing a solution to a business problem in plain language. First-time users should be able to learn on the fly, easily and naturally.

Intuitive and visual modeling

An easy to use drag and drop interface to allow business users to design an app in the way they think about their business. They should be able to assemble building blocks, draw simple pictures to create a flow of activities, and define the actions they want to perform in a few clicks.

Integration with all your other systems

One of the biggest attributes of a low-code solution is that it should integrate with any data, service, application, or system anywhere. This capability makes low-code a great solution for extending and/or unifying existing systems.

Enterprise readiness

The platform should deliver all the necessary capabilities users would need for enterprise-scale deployments. Security certifications, role-based access, and authenticated application deployment are just a few examples of the built-in security features needed. The platform should also have a strong focus on scalability and performance to allow users to scale a pilot departmental application to enterprise-wide availability instantly and risk-free.

What are some top low-code use cases?

Digitize operational processes: A sales kick-off attendance approval application, built by TIBCO using low-code, is a great example of how a low-code app development solution can be used to streamline a process. We quickly built the application to make sure the right people would be cleared for the sales kick-off event. Usually, this is a long, drawn-out process featuring a lot of emails, out-of-date spreadsheets, and altogether too much back and forth and wasted time. The application created with low-code improved visibility into the approval process and automatically verified that the right people were informed. No one had to wait for emails to move forward with the process. In this case, low-code greatly improved collaboration between teams.

Extend and enhance existing system(s) with new functionality: An insurance company wanted to extend its mobile app so various body shops could quickly and easily requote and reset the cost of car repairs. Low-code enabled the company to avoid a very long update cycle for a system that may have been used for a very long time. With low-code, the company added a mobile user interface, approval, and right-process enforcement to a legacy system, resulting in improved customer experience and lower operational costs.

Connect and unify existing applications: Companies can use low-code to unify applications for very significant business improvement. One of our customers used more than 40 SaaS apps to operate their business. One of the challenges was that some of their business processes cut across many systems, and none of them were connected, leading to slow, laborious processes. For instance, their customer onboarding process, including a welcome email nurture stream, cut across CRMs, a marketing automation system, and a back-end system that set up supply provisioning. It was a time-consuming, painful process, and sometimes they would lose customers because of it. Low-code provided the glue to manage some of the processes and provide a smoother onboarding experience, greater customer satisfaction, operational improvement, and improved data quality. This company can now onboard customers eight times faster and quickly adapt to customer needs to deliver value quickly.

Other low-code use cases by department

Engineering / IT

  • Asset management and monitoring
  • Helpdesk
  • Process control and quality management

Field and miscellaneous operations

  • Customer complaint management
  • Field service appointment scheduling
  • Inventory management and tracking


  • Deal desk
  • New product setup
  • Vendor on-boarding

Human resources

  • Interview management and recruiting
  • Time-sheet management
  • Troubleshooting and helpdesk management


  • Digital marketing campaigns setup and approval
  • Approval management (reminders, escalations)
  • Win-loss data capture, management, and analysis

Other low-code use cases by industry


  • Account servicing
  • Customer service helpdesk
  • Dispute resolution

Energy and utilities

  • Asset management and monitoring
  • Permit management
  • Technician dispatching


  • Benefits processing
  • Court case management
  • Grants and permit qualification


  • Fraud and abuse prevention and management
  • Field service management and scheduling
  • Inventory management and tracking


  • Demand-driven inventory locator
  • Merchandise calendar planning
  • Trade promotion management


  • Customer service helpdesk
  • Field service management and scheduling
  • Preventive maintenance

Travel and transportation

  • Asset management and monitoring
  • Irregular operations management
  • Maintenance inventory location and management

The impact of low-code

Businesses today face a higher demand for digital transformation initiatives, but they also have a shortage of qualified developers. Low-code application development offers the perfect solution. With little to no technical knowledge, anyone in any organization can use low-code to turn their ideas into fully functional enterprise-scale applications in just a few clicks, thus speeding up digital transformation initiatives. Low-code offers a unique, easy, seamless approach to managing application data. Underlying business logic makes it possible for business users to solve real business problems quickly and all on their own. With low-code, businesses can fill a process gap, manage a variance, extend a core system, or invent new ways to work.

low code chart