The Five W’s of Low-Code Applications

Written by:
Suzanne Sorbera

Low-code applications have cemented a role in today’s hyperautomation engrossed world. According to Gartner, nearly 80% of technology products and services will be built by those who are not technology professionals by 2024. As tools, they enable faster delivery times and can be used to create ‘windows’ for human review at key stages of end-to-end automated processes. Below is a quick Q&A for anyone new to the hyperautomation space and/or interested in learning more about low-code applications.


Why should I be interested in low-code applications?


  • Automation use cases are becoming more technically challenging and are beginning to integrate with data that is not fully structured.
  • In cases where natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) models are not fully confident, automated solutions need to be designed with ‘windows’ to enable data validation (human-in-the-loop) prior to automated process execution
  • Human-in-the-loop functionality allows an automated process to pass a work item to a human for a judgment decision that enriches the work item’s data model, after which the work item can be taken forward by the automation for downstream processing
  • Low-code applications are often a low-cost and low effort solution to enable human-in-the-loop.  They allow automations to queue up specific work items for humans to review and to enrich via a graphic user interface (GUI).  Said simply, low-code applications are a perfect solution to facilitate communication between humans and automations.



When should an automation program begin to consider low-code applications?


  • Development and support complexities are quickly realized when designing an automation to handle semi and/or unstructured data
    • Many automation programs are beginning to prioritize such projects due to the amplified business benefits the automations can unlock when successfully delivered and administered
    • Integrating a low-code application to enable human verification/validation of data is often a must-have for these types of end-to-end automations
    • Considering the added complexities, it is recommended that an automation program has successfully delivered a few simple automations handling structured data before prioritizing an end-to-end automation involving a low-code application for human validations



Where should you consider adding low-code applications within the design of an automated solution?


Beginning of an automation:

A low-code application could be configured to allow human users to upload PDF documents for an automation’s review and downstream process execution


Middle of an automation:


A low-code application could be configured to allow an automation to pause processing on a particular work item and to pass the case to a human for review/validation.  Once the human has enriched the work item’s data, the automation could retrieve the case and finish processing.


End of an automation:

A low-code application could be configured to allow an automation to pass work items having business exceptions to a human for manual completion while also providing a view of work items that were completed successfully by the automation.



Who are some of the vendors offering low-code applications?


With a rapidly growing and loosely defined market, a diverse group of software companies from unique pedigrees are providing low-code solutions.

  • Traditional RPA Vendors – UiPath, SS&C Blue Prism
  • Integrations Platforms – Workato, Mulesoft
  • Legacy BPM/DPA – Bizagi, Pega
  • Native Low-Code – Outsystems, Appian
  • Enterprise Software – Microsoft, Salesforce


What questions should you ask when selecting a low-code application platform?



  • Is the low-code application platform compatible with any/all corresponding automations in my program? (In nearly all cases, the answer is ‘yes’ via API’s.  In some cases, it may be easiest to select the low-code application tool that matches an already in-house automation vendor)


Development complexity:

  • How intuitive is the low-code platform’s GUI to use to create an application?
  • How easy is it to link the low-code application with an automation?
  • How much additional time and budget should be allocated to a project for both efforts mentioned above?


Licensing Cost:

What is the licensing structure and cost for the low-code application platform?

Some are free with automaton licenses while some are considerably more expensive than others


How can I learn more about integrating low-code applications within my automations?


We’re here to help you learn more about low-code can help deliver operational excellence across your enterprise, let’s chat.


Written by:
Suzanne Sorbera