The tech industry loves acronyms—it has one of the richest abbreviated slang vocabularies of any industry. While this helps insiders to rapidly communicate with each other, it can leave the very people it’s meant to serve baffled.
With Gartner’s newly coined term, Low-Code Application Platform (LCAP), and the shift towards it, it’s worth examining for those evaluating LCAP solutions for the field.
To breakdown LCAP in more detail:
Low-code means there’s very little coding required when using a low-code development platform—in some instances, none at all.
Application refers to the products or tools that are made to solve problems and streamline workflows. In our personal lives we use applications to plan and book trips, check on the weather, and find the fastest route to our destination. In the workplace, popular applications can include preventative maintenance checklists, safety inspection forms, and step-by-step equipment installation guides.
Platform is the over-arching technology that lets users create and deploy applications. Take Microsoft Office, for example. It’s a platform, while Excel, Word and PowerPoint are applications included in this platform. Similarly, a field-orientated low-code platform lets you create work orders or checklists, how-to documents, or data sheets from inspection & audits, incident & hazards, installation & maintenance, accounting, and supply chain management.
But let’s straighten something out. There are many LCAP-esque options known by lots of different acronyms. High Productivity Application Platform as a Service (hpaPaaS) and Rapid Mobile Platform Development (RMAD) are just two of multitudes.
Ultimately, all of these solutions share similarities. But where LCAP takes the lead is in its low-code development platform that accelerates the time it takes to build and deploy powerful apps.
Where Low-Code Application Platforms Fit in Your Digital Transformation Journey
In a world where digital business transformation propels the high volume of software creation IT departments are being asked to produce, and where enterprises and small/medium business (SMBs) are looking for ways to differentiate themselves and become more agile, it makes perfect sense why low-code platforms are being touted as the way forward.
Software developers who have specialized coding skills and tech experience are still in high demand, with 250,000 developer jobs unfilled in the US alone. Thanks to low-code development platforms, citizen developers are filling the gaps.
To put the idea of a citizen developer in context, think of a person who jumps out of their car to direct traffic that’s moving at a snail’s pace because of impaired stoplights. That citizen is taking on the role of an unavailable uniformed officer. A citizen developer can be anyone in your business who oversees a team and is looking to automate processes.
Low-code app platforms shine here because they require no coding experience. Like a citizen traffic conductor, a citizen developer can build solutions faster than if they waited for IT software developers. And the outcome usually deploys quicker because the individual creating the app is closer to and intimately understands the process that needs automating.
In a growing LCAP market, how do you know which one is right for you? Only 18 vendors out of 200 were included in Gartner’s 2019 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platform vendors. This is a great place to start. From there, it depends on your industry. ProntoForms, for example, is the only field-focused solution to be featured in the quadrant. The innovative platform provides an intuitive low-code, platform with drag-and drop capabilities and a visual app-building approach that empowers citizen developers to create custom field-focused apps for fieldworkers.
Jason Bloomberg a leading IT industry analyst and Forbes contributor believes the trend is clear. “If we take a traditional enterprise app that might require, say, six months, a dozen people, and two million dollars to build and deploy, and reduce those figures to two weeks, three people, and fifty thousand dollars – and end up with a faster, higher quality, more flexible app to boot” In field service, low-code solutions are poised to completely disrupt IT workloads by allowing line of business owners create and deploy apps.
Evaluating LCAP Solutions For the Field
Don’t let acronyms confuse you. Take a page from the experts and ask these ten questions of prospective vendors to find a low-code platform that works across the three key field-focused LCAP requirements.
Does it empower your operations?
- Can line of business owners develop low-code apps that work directly with their processes?
- Does the solution work with your industry and specific field use cases?
- Can it reliably capture and send data to people and system of record/execution?
- Is the solution capable of scaling rapidly across lines of businesses?
Does it empower your fieldworkers?
- Does the solution work across all mobile devices with a simple, fieldwork-friendly interface?
- Can the solution streamline fieldworkers’ workflows with local data, business logic for tasks like data validation, and processes like page navigation?
- Are field teams put first in design and solution execution?
Does it empower your existing tech stack?
- Are integrations with back-end, local, and cloud services via APIs and data sharing built into the solution?
- Can the LCAP connect app to app with applications your field workers may already be using, including FSM, EAM, APM, fleet, and CRM systems?
- Does the solution prioritize governance, access and data security, and regulatory compliance standards?
Looking for a field-focused LCAP solution that answers “yes” to all ten questions? Look no further than ProntoForms, the only field-focused LCAP solution in Gartner’s 2019 LCAP Magic Quadrant.
Book a demo to learn how we earned our place in the quadrant.