Data Integration is considered to be one of the more complex tasks when building digital services. Yet it is crucial in delivering digital innovation to the market. In this article we examine the low code approach for data integration, explain how it accelerates digital innovation by enabling more employees and show how it can reduce costs.
Low code is a visual development method to create digital applications without needing deeper knowledge of programming languages. Using a graphical user interface, whole applications can be easily created and securely operated by drag & drop. It also enables developers of different skill and experience levels to work on applications. While non-experts or business developers can finally build new products on their own, experienced developers benefit from an increased productivity because tedious administration or infrastructure get abstracted and are easier to manage.
Numerous companies around the world integrated low-code platforms into their development stacks thus gaining an enormous advantage over their competitors.
In recent articles from Flatlogic and from Quickbase it is explained that low code platforms have their origins in so-called fourth-generation programming languages (4GL), computer-assisted software engineering (CASE) tools, and early rapid application development (RAD) tools such as Excel, Lotus Notes and Microsoft Access. These tools put some development-like capabilities into the hands of business users, i.e. non-IT professionals. However the users needed to have a good understanding of the business applications. Nowadays, low code platforms are far more advanced and users can have either minimal or no real knowledge of the tools or development in general.
Low code is on the rise in all areas and Forrester Research is expecting the market to grow from $3.8 billion in 2017 to $21.2 billion in 2022. Numerous companies around the world already integrated low code platforms into their development stacks thus gaining an enormous advantage over their competitors.
- A lot of manual and repetitive tasks which should be automated
- Dependency on a few domain experts
- Long development cycles
- High Maintenance Costs
- Faster development time
- Decreased time to market and reduced development costs
- Automated operational processes
- Eased workload of IT departments
Through the abstraction of formerly complex processes, the tools and tasks get “democratized”, as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in one of his recent keynotes.
He further stated that Citizen Developers will be a common sight in companies of the future. But what does this term mean exactly? Scott Brinker, VP Platform Ecosystem at Hubspot, explains it well:
The labels of citizen analyst, citizen data scientist, citizen developer, citizen integrator, etc., refer to people who are not experts in a particular discipline — such as data analysis, data science, software development, systems integration, etc. — but who are able to wield a new generation of tools to accomplish tasks in those disciplines as if they were experts.
It is also important to keep in mind that low code solutions do not replace professional developers or data scientists: They enable companies to leverage skills and technology they might not be able to otherwise.
Today, the demands on developers to support multiple projects is increasing as new languages, procedures and applications are implemented. With low-code platforms, you enable non-experts to develop at scale and free experts from routine work at the same time.
Low-code platforms support many different use cases, like automation, customer service, web experience, e-commerce, data analysis or enterprise software development.
However, one of the most interesting scenarios lies in data integration.
Since every application relies on data, a robust yet flexible integration determines whether projects are a success or failure. Due to immense scaling requirements, large variety of data formats, different types of endpoints and significant technical innovations data integration has become increasingly complex. That’s why it’s often the case that highly specialized developers need to perform those tasks. In larger companies there are even entire departments responsible for managing APIs, micro services and data integrations. And exactly this is a use case where low code can help immensely.
Specifically for low code integration you benefit from the following points:
The benefits are not limited to daily work, but also directly influence business metrics.
In addition of empowering new employees and thus accelerating the development of innovative digital products and services, low code integration also has a significant impact on hard business metrics. You can save costs in areas like API maintenance, through the reusability of APIs and unveil new revenue streams.
In the current report Low Code Data Integration: Best Practices in Cost Control and Reduction we investigated every part of data integration and show how you can reduce and optimize costs with a low code integration platform like Xapix. If you are interested, you can download it here.
In the following (non-exhaustive) list below you can find some of the currently most popular enterprise low code data integration platforms. Please note that we have not tested all platforms ourselves. Depending on the use case, they have different strengths and weaknesses and you should carefully evaluate them according to your specific requirements.
Our goal at Xapix is to make data integration accessible to everyone. With our enterprise-ready platform, we enable non-experts such as product owners to work on integration tasks in an easy, safe and productive way.
If you are interested in learning more how our approach to low code integration looks like, just get in touch with us.
We are looking forward to hearing from you!