Digital Transformation

What Is Low-Code Workflow Automation?

What is low-code workflow automation and how can it help transform business processes for the better? Find out with this video explainer and blog.

Blog Post

6 minutes

Dec 08, 2021

What is low code workflow automation and why are businesses increasingly adopting it into their operations?

As organizations more frequently look to digital solutions as a means to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their processes both internally and externally, the importance that tools like low-code play become more and more important—particularly as regards their role as a competitive differentiator.

In this blog, we’ll be talking about what low-code workflow automation is, how it’s being applied by businesses and what the future holds for low-code regarding adoption among organizations.

What Is Low-Code Workflow Automation?

Low-code workflow automation is a method for creating automation software to facilitate workflow tasks and deploying them quickly through an abridged development cycle compared to traditional means of coding and software development.

Unlike typical ways of application development, low-code operates with a visual platform, allowing developers to take a “drag-and-drop” approach that is far less reliant on standard methods of DevOps.

Because of this, low-code workflow automation projects are cheaper and quicker to develop and deploy, allowing businesses to automate processes that would have previously been considered not significant enough to invest heavily in automation for.

These tasks will often concern manual, repeatable jobs performed by a human—commonly things like data entry, but thanks to low-code can be more sophisticated in nature as regards the workflow-at-large.

As a result of low-code workflow automation, humans can be freed up from having to perform menial tasks and instead can be utilized in a more effective way.

In addition to this, workflow automation allows for significant benefits—not least better visibility and oversight, as well as standardization for compliance purposes for tasks.

Low-Code Workflow Adoption Among Organizations

With companies today competing more than ever on the basis of their ability to leverage data and operate with strong, efficient, and fast workflows, tools like low-code have come to the forefront of decision makers’ ambitions when it comes to digitally transforming their organizations or departments.

It’s not a coincidence that the market for low-code has increased dramatically in value over the last six years, as adoption among SMBs in particular has become commonplace.

The low-code market was worth $1.7 billion in 2015 and estimates indicate it will be worth over $27 billion by 2022—an CAGR growth rate of nearly 50%.

This substantial growth has been driven by what low-code can offer—the cost and operational benefits noted above, but also the ability to involve stakeholders in the process right from the outset because of the less code-heavy development cycle.

In fact, many of those involved in creating these apps are “citizen developers” who are not trained in software engineering but are able to play a much bigger role in the dev cycle, shortening sprints and getting apps to deployment quicker.

72% of low-code developers create apps in three months or less, compared with six months or even years to develop applications using traditional development.

RPA vs. Low-Code

For those wondering if low-code automation sounds eerily familiar to robotic process automation (RPA), then we should probably address the differences between the two.

Generally speaking, RPA is best used when it’s employed to automate simple and repetitive tasks, often in isolation.

These tasks will typically be predictable and routine, making it a rather simple process to implement a software bot to take care of it.

Low-code, on the other hand, is best used as part of a wider strategy of app development across an entire company.

It, too, can be used to automate those simple tasks, but also to build new applications, improve the use of existing applications, and integrate legacy and third-party systems to automatically move data through workflows in a more effective way.

RPA can be thought of as a one-and-done approach to automation, whereas low-code can be thought of as more comprehensive, capable of handling more complex projects while offering more sophisticated opportunities in streamlining workflows across lines of business. 

How Are Businesses Using Low-Code Workflow Automation?

Approaches to automation in business vary significantly depending on what the individual organization wants to achieve.

Some may just want a simple software app that helps integrate a legacy application into their cloud ERP, while others may be embarking on a process of hyperautomation that looks to automate every applicable task on an ongoing basis.

Related Post: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) vs. Hyperautomation

Low-Code Workflow Automation Use Cases

The following are a few examples of what organizations can use low-code automation for in their business, courtesy of our partner, Mendix.

For more information about what Mendix’s platform can provide, click here.

Customer-facing Portal

For many businesses operating with legacy systems for managing customer interactions, they can spend inordinate amounts of time manually processing requests.

This is particularly the case in industries that still heavily rely on paper-based documentation and workflows, like law and insurance.

Creating a customer-facing portal with a low-code app can allow companies to automate these workflows end-to-end, with the customer using self-service software that is intuitive and speedy.

This means that customers can perform simple tasks themselves and allow the automated workflow take care of it without having to wait for a business representative to facilitate the workflow.

These automated approval process workflows can be created to be as complex or as simple as necessary, establishing logic-driven outcomes that reach the right stakeholders at the right time when process requirements are met for the workflow.

Scalability is also something that can be achieved easily, allowing businesses to increase or decrease resources necessary to power the automation platform depending on how much they need at any given time.

Operational Efficiency

Operational efficiency can be achieved through low-code automation by automating processes end-to-end within a business, eliminating the need for manual intervention and reducing reliance on paper-based processes.

These types of solutions can be seamlessly integrated into virtually any application, meaning low-code apps can serve a significant operational role in linking together business applications and automating the data flows between them.

This is also an opportunity for organizations to ensure that they are in compliance with the necessary regulations by creating clear, standardized rules for their workflows and having complete visibility over when sensitive data is being sent, where it’s being stored, and how it’s being handled and by whom.

Legacy Migration

Legacy applications can be difficult to manage for businesses today.

This is because of a few principal reasons; most often their flexibility as to ease-of-use for end users, the integration capabilities it has, and in some cases a situation where the team who developed the application that is no longer at the company, meaning current staff are encumbered with old, unruly technology.

By migrating—or porting—the application onto a low-code platform, users can continue using the software with all the added benefits that a modern low-code system offers, such as improved automation capabilities, scalability, and remote across devices use for end users on the go.

Bottom Line

Low-code workflow automation is something organizations find themselves approaching with more candor as they assess the capabilities of their existing applications and the effectiveness of their current working processes.

While other automation technologies, like RPA, offer plenty of room to maneuver in terms of automating simple, repetitive tasks; low-code offers the greater opportunities to establish end-to-end automated workflows in all lines business that can be deployed at scale.

Low-code also offers a substantial amount of flexibility, particularly with regards to app migration and improvement, as well as strong levels of oversight for data compliance purposes.

If you’re interested in learning more about what low-code automation can do for your company, consider downloading our free guide, What Is Low-Code?


Digital TransformationStreamline ProcessesAutomationRobotic Process AutomationDocument ManagementApp Development


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