Reduce your mean time to value (MTTV) with low-code cloud platforms

If you spend any amount of time in the IT business, chances are you have seen some very creative technology solutions to business problems, often developed by people outside of the IT department. These solutions are generally run on some kind of platform that wasn’t quite built to host them – yes, I’m talking about you, Excel – and built to solve a problem where there was no other available or affordable solution. Sometimes these solutions are unknown to the rest of the business, living in the mind (and hard drive) of their creator, and the consequences of losing that person or unquantified process can be devastating.

These solutions, while effective, often bypass the organization’s security and compliance rules. For instance, I once came across a homebrew Excel app that was able to query a bank’s financial information by hard-coding the credentials of one of the analysts into the worksheet. This spreadsheet was posted onto an internal SharePoint site, and anyone who opened it had free access to query confidential financial data. One of my team members found this app and we were able to get it taken down quickly, but it is almost impossible to know who may have been using it given that it could be downloaded and used on any of the bank’s computers.

The subject of shadow IT still comes up often, and while I firmly believe that the solution to managing shadow IT is to embrace and enable it rather than try to shut it down, you have to provide these “power users” an environment in which to safely create solutions. One increasingly popular solution to this the low-code development platform.

How do low-code platforms work?

Low-code platforms provide a set of tools to build fairly powerful applications with little to no code involved. The platform (and the IT department that enables it) provides the overall security, authentication and authorization, and the user builds their apps from a set of interchangeable parts like forms, templates, fields, and workflows, typically through an easy to use drag and drop user interface. These applications, their data model, and all of their related functions are stored and tracked within the platform, providing transparency to the IT department.

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