Low code business apps are helping drive business recovery

By Malcolm Carroll
Businesses will need to adapt fast as they scramble to recover from Covid-19. Low code apps will help, says Malcolm Carroll...

A great deal of media attention has been placed on the negative impact of Covid-19, but many businesses are now focusing on recovery and how they will operate successfully in the post Covid-19 world. They want to ensure their business has a sound basis for economic recovery and in a significant number of cases this has included the creation and timely introduction of innovative business apps.

Increasingly, companies are now seeing apps as a way of responding to the challenges of the virus and to subsequent changing consumer and business behaviour. According to mobile analytics firm App Annie the pandemic “has changed consumer behaviour on mobile forever” with its latest statistics highlighting that Covid-19 has driven consumer spending on apps to $50 billion in the first half of 2020, up 10 per cent from the second half of 2019. Other research from McKinsey shows that digital interaction with B2B customers is now twice as important as traditional channels—that’s a jump of over 30 percent since before the COVID-19 crisis hit.

We are seeing businesses creating apps to streamline internal processes, to automate different functions and to improve how they trade and interact with their customers. Many businesses are embracing low code app development tools to drive the transition.

Why develop an app?

Apps allow businesses to deliver all or part of their services to customers on mobile devices and laptops, as well as traditional desktops. Today, apps are being used for everything from ordering grocery shopping to fitness tracking, from day-to-day banking to ordering a beer in a pub, and from coronavirus track and trace solutions to monitoring mental health. Businesses cannot afford to get left behind in this increasingly savvy technological world.

The security and flexibility of an app, in a world where people are working from home, social distancing and changing their routine on a continual basis, can help companies adapt and aid their business recovery. What is more, if a company’s main competitors now have a fully functioning app, then they will also need to develop one or risk losing customers.

One of the best ways that companies can develop apps, without the expense of employing a team of developers, is by using a low-code app development platform. It will allow sophisticated business apps to be created and deployed without the need for external software developers or product training.

Benefits of using low-code platforms

Low-code platforms empower businesses to create apps in a fraction of the time and cost of more traditional methods. They enable companies to design, develop and deploy adaptive business apps across multiple mobile and desktop devices using their existing staff.

These platforms do not require people to have any coding skills as they make extensive use of ‘drag and drop’ and ‘point and click’ development techniques. The platforms should also allow companies to develop an app once and deploy it across multiple mobile and desktop devices, and multiple operating systems. They must also be able to integrate seamlessly with any database. 

The selection of the right development platform should also provide the flexibility to customise the apps to the client’s exact requirements either directly through the platform or by the addition of custom code. The right platform will also enable businesses to choose to generate their apps as web, hybrid or native apps from the same design base. It should also provide the client with no limitations for future customisation and development possibilities.

One company that has used low code app development in lockdown is Classic Groundcovers, a wholesale nursery based in Georgia, USA that sells plants to nurseries, re-wholesalers and landscape contractors. It used low-code app development system, Evoke, to create an app to digitise its manual ordering system and to enable the company to handle a record volume of sales.

Spring is always Classic Groundcovers’ busiest time. This year orders were exceptional as the pandemic forced people to stay at home and many turned to gardening, which in turn led to an increase in the demand for plants.

The company had previously operated a manual order system. When order volumes were high, the associated administration could take up to 12 hours a day. Clearly, the situation was unsustainable. Classic Groundcovers decided to create an app to automate its order processing, reduce administration, and ensure it could manage high volumes of orders.

After careful analysis, the company chose the Evoke low-code development platform because of its speed and ease-of-use, and to avoid having to recruit a team of outside developers. The result was that existing employees were able to design, create and fully deploy the app in under 30 days.

The company said that having the app has had a ‘ground-breaking’ effect in terms of both automating order processing and the business in general. It enables Groundcovers to manage surges in order volumes and reduce administration time and costs. Consequently, the team has more time and energy to focus on growing the business. That’s a win-win situation, and that’s the power that low-code business apps can unlock for companies across all sectors. 

To conclude

As companies start to recover from this pandemic, they will be looking for new ways to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Many will turn to low-code app development tools to create apps easily and cost-effectively.

Companies should not delay decisions to go digital until ‘things get back to normal’ as they could miss a significant opportunity to get their business ready for the post Covid-19 world. The market has experienced unprecedented disruption, and fast-paced change is here to stay.

Now is the time to not only be responding to those changes but also to be preparing and planning for the future. In the world of business and e-commerce, the introduction of the right apps can provide the point of difference that is so often needed to stay ahead of the competition, and to remain agile in the context of continuous market flux and change. 

Malcolm Carroll is director at BlueFinity International


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