Cloud Pak for Business Automation

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The Need for Speed and Low Code in Business Automation

By Allen Chan posted Thu August 12, 2021 06:13 PM

For the last several years, we have been pushing the notion of Low Code in the various Business Automation capabilities.  Recently, I was asked to present our Low Code strategy for Business Automation to a customer so I decided to write down my perspective on Low Code and why Low Code.

What is Low Code?
Here is the definition of Low Code from Gartner - "An Enterprise Low-code application platform (LCAP) provides rapid application development and deployment using low-code and no-code techniques such as declarative, model-driven application design and development together with the simplified one-button deployment of applications." 

In IBM – we have a definition that specifically focuses on the visual experience and ease of use.
Low-code is a visual approach to software development that enables faster delivery of applications through minimal hand-coding ... Low-code platforms democratize app development, particularly for the “citizen” developers—i.e. business users with little formal coding experience, such as business analysts or project managers. 

Is Low Code only for non-technical people?
Definitely Not.  Low Code is also for developers, even those that love coding. Why would developers want Low Code? Don't they all love writing code? To some extent - that's true - and there is a large population of developers that are making contributions to many open source projects or writing many lines of java, python, or javascript code daily. However, I believe there is an even larger population of developers or business users who just do not have the time that it will need to create an enterprise-ready application from scratch.

I believe there are two key reasons for the rise of Low Code/No Code.

  1. The push for the ”squad model" – a small team of cross-functional developers responsible for the entire end-to-end development of applications. Instead of having specialized teams for UI, application, integration, and security, we have “pizza” teams where each one is responsible for building the entire application. With a smaller team, developers don’t want to learn 5 “best-of-breed” tools - they want a single integrated tooling environment.
  2. The push for rapid ”everything” – completion time needs to be measured in weeks instead of months. To achieve that, we need
    1. Fast development with immediate feedback from Line-of-Business. 
    2. Visual development through configuration instead of writing thousands of lines of Java/Javascript/Python code.
    3. Support Reuse instead of Create. Need for templates and reusable assets that can be easily extended or modified.

With IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation - we specifically focus our development experience to enable business developers to build Business Automation solutions using a Low Code approach. You can see some of the examples here:

  1. Low Code process modeling -
  2. Low Code application creation -

In future blogs on this topic, I will discuss some of the recent updates in our low code experience, how to evaluate a low code experience, and how we are pushing the boundary of No Code into an interactive experience with Watson Orchestrate.