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How finance firms select the right low code platform

How finance firms select the right low code platform 3

How finance firms select the right low code platform 4By Malcolm Carroll, Director, BlueFinity

The use of mobile apps in banking and finance is seeing huge growth.

A recent YouGov survey in the UK found that the use of all digital banking services has grown since the start of the pandemic, but the largest increases were for the use of mobile banking apps. Unsurprisingly, growth is led by the under 35s with 85% of 18-24 year olds and 79% of 25-34 year olds using mobile banking apps more often[i].

Globally, the fintech app market’s growth rate was amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, with worldwide downloads of fintech apps surpassing 6.1 billion in 2021, up 25.2 percent year-on-year, according to data from Sensor Tower[ii] Also, the cumulative downloads of financial, fintech apps reached a new high of 1.74 billion in Q1 2022.

Apps are now a necessary part of doing business and interacting with customers. Those companies that have already developed apps are aware of the resources required and the associated costs as well as the timescales involved. Organisations that are new to apps may struggle to know where to start.

This is leading to an increasing number turning to low-code development tools. Aside from major cost savings, low-code or no-code development empowers digital product teams or other staff to build apps without time-consuming hand-coding. And they are not alone, tech analyst firm Gartner says 80% of IT products and services will be built by non-developers by 2024[iii].

But how do companies select the right low-code platform for their business?

Low code makes it easy

Low-code methodology is finding greater acceptance as a key part of mainstream development. A good low-code platform offers an easy-to-use methodology so that companies can use existing business or IT staff (or a combination of the two) to design and create mobile apps by using option select, drag & drop and point & click techniques.

This means they don’t have to rely completely on developers and other IT staff, which with the IT skills shortage can be a real advantage. In the UK, TechNation[iv] recently warned that the technology sector has a talent shortage which could “stifle growth”, and it was “a real issue” which must be rectified.

Using low code, apps can largely be built by multi-level selection processes rather than coding, and the development can be supported by actions and routines that make the process simpler, faster and more cost effective. If companies can use their existing business staff in the development process, it also makes it easier to design and update the app in response to any changes needed as the business evolves.

Designers, developers, business users and management can work together online at all stages of the required development and are able to review and revise their work in a collaborative and iterative process. In addition, these platforms can be used by groups of people working in different locations on a single app (or multiple apps) at the same time. With many firms now embracing remote and hybrid working, this technology is ideally suited to this way of working.

Choosing the right platform

There is still a good deal of sometimes justified skepticism expressed by some companies prior to committing their future to a low-code solution. The main concern is that implementing a low-code platform could potentially lead their company to become reliant on (locked in to) a platform that is not capable of meeting all their future requirements.

Many low-code suppliers will promote similar benefits but these platforms are far from all the same. Although they may appear, on the surface, to meet the initial goals of using familiar techniques to quickly build an app, many can present their users with severe limitations as requirements evolve or change, either through growth, reorganization or dynamic business conditions.

Doing a thorough investigation at the start is essential before committing to a platform. It is vital to understand how flexible and easy-to-use the platform is and the extent to which the app can be customized to meet unique business requirements. What happens in the future for instance once the app is built and generated? How can it be adapted to future needs? Will native apps rather than web apps be a better option for the company longer term?

Businesses need to be confident from the start that there is absolutely no limit to the degree of customization or the potential and scalability of the apps created.

Flexibility and choice are key

Only a small number of platforms are designed to combine the ease of development with the flexibility, scalability and scope that should now be demanded. An important consideration is having the generated code made available in an industry standard form (such as Visual Studio) to provide for unlimited scope and a route for onward development outside of the low-code platform.

This can be extremely beneficial for all companies. If they are not particularly technical, they need never touch the generated code, and can follow a no-code development and deployment approach. However, if in the future this situation changes then developers have the generated code delivered on to their computers and always have full access to it.

This means that the platform should be capable of being employed either as an entirely no-code solution or as a genuine low-code solution that can easily incorporate a customer’s existing code, new code, library routines and third-party software as needed.

Another important consideration is to ensure that you have the choice of generating a web app or native app, from the same app design.

Although a web app is often entirely capable of meeting the requirements of many companies, the benefits of being able to generate a native app from low-code should not be underestimated. A native app is not only able to make full use of the integrated technology of a smart device such as increased security, location-based communication, GPS, Bluetooth, web services etc. but will offer a great deal more flexibility when compared to a web app. A native app is also capable of being deployed through the major app stores making it much more accessible.

When it comes to the choice of a low-code platform, of course not every company will require this degree of potential and flexibility, particularly at first, but it is important to investigate and evaluate the options available to ensure that your chosen platform meets the company’s needs, now and in the future to avoid a costly mistake.

BlueFinity International markets Evoke, a low-code app development platform that enables businesses to use existing staff to design, develop and deploy business apps across multiple devices (IOS, Android and Windows phones and tablets, plus Windows, Apple and Linux desktops) on multiple operating systems and multiple types of databases.

[i] https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/news-and-insight/blogs/digital-banking-experience-trends-2022

[ii] https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/info-tech/global-financial-fintech-appdownloads-reach-record-high-of-174-billion-in-q1-2022-report/article65513877.ece

[iii] https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2021-06-10-gartner-says-the-majority-of-technology-products-and-services-will-be-built-by-professionals-outside-of-it-by-2024

[iv] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-62098767

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