Low-Code Business Process Automation: A Look at the Possibilities and Limitations

15 min read
Low-Code Business Process Automation
Low-Code Business Process Automation

As a business owner, you are in charge of making all crucial company decisions. So when it comes to business process automation, you want to ensure you will opt for the best solution at the most optimal price. And here’s where low-code process automation software can become a true life-saver for your business.

At Flyaps, we've been helping businesses find, build and implement the right software solutions for over 10 years. We've seen firsthand how the robotic process automation (RPA) solutions, AI, and low-code platforms have revolutionized business processes and led to financial success for our clients in various domains. From our personal standpoint, low-code is definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution and has certain drawbacks. But the opportunities it brings to the table, if it truly fits your needs, can definitely outshine them.

In this article, we're going to share our experience with low-code automation software, provide examples of how they can be successfully implemented, and help you decide if it's the right choice for your business. But first, a brief definition!

What is low-code automation?

In a nutshell, low-code automation is a technique that uses low-code software to create and automate business processes and workflows with minimal coding and scripting. This software is known as low-code application platforms (LCAPs), which provide developers with visual tools, pre-built templates, and drag-and-drop interfaces to create and deploy applications without the need for starting from scratch.

Read also: What Is Business Process Automation? Use Cases, Best Practices, and How to Implement It in Your Organization

Here’s an example of when LCAPs may come in handy. Imagine your employees are snowed under with work and people are starting to burn out. Obviously, you're on the lookout for a solution to make their lives a bit easier and automate some processes. You've searched high and low, but it seems impossible to find anything off-the-shelf that meets your specific needs. So you decide to take matters into your own hands and build your own solution. You hire a team of experienced engineers to get the job done. But you're on a tight deadline — just two months.

Your engineers know that time is money, but in this case they simply don’t have enough of it to deliver the project on time. That's when they suggested using the LCAP. With LCAP, they could quickly build the app, automate repetitive coding tasks like validation and exception handling, and reduce the overall workload.

After agreeing on a suitable platform, the team got straight to work. As a result, they built the app in record time, meeting the set deadline and staying within your budget. And best of all, it did not affect the quality at all!

Low-code process automation, low-code workflow automation, and low-code business process automation (BPA) solutions — all mean the same thing. But what about no-code solutions?

Low-code vs. no-code: what is the difference?

When it comes to low-code and no-code, they're often mentioned as interchangeable terms and sometimes are even written with a slash in between, which makes people believe they mean the same thing. But it’s not quite right, and here’s why.

It's true that both solutions share a similar goal of making development more accessible and faster by minimizing the use of code and scripts. However, there are some key differences between them.

Differences between Low-code & No-code
Differences between Low-code & No-code

No-code platforms, like Wix, are designed for people who have zero coding skills. You can create and edit web pages, add functionality like contact forms, and optimize your site for search engines and analytics, all without writing a single line of code. It's perfect for individuals or small businesses who want to get online quickly and easily.

On the other hand, low-code solutions require additional support from the IT team. Platforms like Webflow provide a visual interface and pre-built templates to simplify the coding process, but such platforms require some coding experience to fully utilize their capabilities. They're great for developers who want to create more complex applications while minimizing the amount of time spent on coding. Low-code platforms also offer a range of other benefits that can help your business thrive, which we’re just about to discuss.

How your business can benefit from low-code automation software

Low-code workflow automation has quickly become a go-to solution for many enterprises, so here's a breakdown of some of the key features that make it so popular.

Drag-and-drop interface

With this feature, your developers don't have to worry about as many bugs as they would have with traditional coding. That's because some blocks, layouts, and components are already pre-made, and they can simply place them using a drag-and-drop editor. So instead of spending countless hours fixing bugs, your team can devote their attention to developing new solutions that improve your business operations.

Source: UiPath
Source: UiPath

Process modeling

Mapping out the process with diagrams or other visualization techniques is a starting point of any automation. When you use low-code platforms with automation features to create process models, automating your company workflows becomes very easy. You can choose from a menu of automation options like robotic process automation, intelligent document processing, decision rules, and smart services, and simply add them in your visual process model.

Source: Appian
Source: Appian

Workflow automation

Let's say you have a retail business and you’re going through a growth stage. You've noticed that your order processing is slow and requires too many people to handle. Additionally, you're finding that relying on spreadsheets and email for collaboration is no longer effective so one thing is certain: something needs to be changed. To tackle the challenges highlighted, your developers turn to Frevvo, a low-code workflow automation software.

Using Frevvo, your development team can quickly select templates for financial operations and install forms like "Basic Purchase Order Form" and "Basic Purchase Order Process". In case needed, they can also make adjustments with coding to better fit your specific company needs. Once your team is done working, all the repetitive tasks like data entry, approvals, and notifications are all taken care of automatically. This frees up you and your team to focus on more important things like providing the best customer service possible and all thanks to automation.

Source: Frevvo
Source: Frevvo

Business rule engine (BRE)

A business rule engine in low-code software sets specific conditions for how the program should behave. If all the conditions are met, the engine will execute the corresponding code.

Let’s consider invoice processing as an example here. With low-code software that has a business rule engine, you can set specific conditions for how the program should behave. For instance, you could set a condition that if an invoice is over a certain amount, it must go through an approval process before being paid. If all the conditions are met, the business rule engine will automatically execute the corresponding code.

This feature is incredibly useful as it allows you to change the software behavior based on your specific business requirements without having to modify the underlying code. So, if you decide to change your approval process or adjust the threshold for invoice amounts, your developers can simply update the business rules in the low-code software. As a result, developers don't have to make big changes to the code every time your business requires modifications.

Integration with legacy systems

It’s quite common that businesses rely on legacy software that meets their specific needs and can be hardly replaced. So when you have one in place, it’s very important to choose the LCAP that can be seamlessly integrated with your legacy system.

The bad news is that the level of integration low-code application platforms provide varies, and you’ll have to find the most suitable platform, which may take some time. But the good news is that most LCAP providers prioritize integration capabilities and ensure that their software can connect to legacy systems of different types, so finding a fitting solution should not be an issue.

Workflow analytics

With workflow analytics, you can gain valuable insights into the performance of your workflow, including where bottlenecks and inefficiencies are occurring.

Imagine you're a project manager who's using low-code workflow automation software to manage a construction project, and you noticed that there's a delay in materials delivery. By identifying this issue through workflow analytics, you can take steps necessary to address it, such as finding a new supplier or adjusting the delivery schedule. Similarly, if you notice that certain steps in the workflow are taking longer than expected, you can investigate why and make changes to improve efficiency.