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What is low-code automation?

Learning how to automate business workflows may sound complex, but thanks to low-code and no-code platforms, it’s never been easier. Citizen developers – non-IT workers with basic logic and coding skills – are cropping up in businesses all over the world. In fact, they’ll soon outnumber professional developers… and in no small part thanks to low-code automation.

What is low-code automation? It’s a type of business process automation that emphasizes configuration of automation software applications without requiring extensive coding. (What is business process automation? Technology used to automate business processes for greater efficiency.) Low-code automation opens the door for workers outside of IT departments –non-developers, that is – to build their own workflow solutions without coding knowledge or advanced degrees.

What does low-code mean?

Low-code means exactly what it sounds like: an approach to software development that doesn’t require advanced coding experience. Low-code platforms offer user-friendly tools that non-developers can quickly and easily learn without formalized training (that is, they become citizen developers). Many offer quick-start templates and drag-and-drop interfaces instead of the traditional programming languages used by formally trained software developers.

Low-code platforms empower workers across an organization to build applications without having to undergo expensive, time-consuming development education. They’re essential tools to have on hand for digital transformation, which is most effective as a business-wide initiative. They can also help free up time and resources in your IT department by outsourcing simple problems to citizen developers, leaving professional developers to tackle higher-level challenges.

Low-code and no-code automation

The easier to use a tool is, the more people can learn it (and in less time, too). This makes low-code tools highly valuable for businesses looking to accelerate their digital transformations. But though low-code tools are more plentiful in today’s automation world, no-code tools are also available.

No-code tools go a step further than low-code tools by totally removing code from the equation. Whereas low-code tools do require a little coding knowledge – familiarity with basic logic, integrations, and workflows – no-code tools are IT outsider-friendly. They’re best suited for simple task automation on the departmental level and typically don’t require developer oversight.

It’s helpful to think of low-code tools as bridges between citizen developers and professional developers. Low-code initiatives are usually created to support professional developers, lighten their workloads, and make better use of their time. No-code tools are simple in design and application: fittingly, they’re best suited for solving simple problems.

Four benefits of low-code automation


Perhaps the most important benefit of low-code automation is its user-friendliness. Very little knowledge of coding or application development is needed to get started. Almost anyone can use low-code tools after a few days or weeks of familiarization. The rise of citizen developers makes it clear: build it, and they will come. Provide your team with low-code tools and associated incentive programs, and they’ll begin automating workflows on their own.

Lower costs

Not everyone has the time or resources needed to become professional developers. Nor should they – developers have their own roles to play when it comes to solving urgent, high-value problems for their organizations. Citizen developers, however, require very little training to get started with low-code automation tools. There’s no need to hire additional professional developers when you can tap helping hands in other departments.

Improved agility

In the past, when businesses needed a workflow automated, they’d turn to professional software developers – a hardworking department with an unfortunately long history of project backlogs. Today, a big chunk of those asks can be outsourced to citizen developers across other departments. These workers are comfortable enough with low-code automation tools that they can quickly and easily automate processes.

Speed and efficiency

Low-code tools have a reputation for being easy to learn. Part of the reason for that is the way their features are designed. Drag-and-drop interfaces let non-developers automate and develop processes without needing to learn a coding language. They rely on visual components to illustrate how automation works, and in general, all users need is a little familiarity with basic logic. (Even less than that, if you’re using a no-code tool.)

Low-code automation use cases

Most businesses in most industries can benefit from giving their workers access to low-code automation tools. This is especially true for organizations in which professional software developers are bogged down with requests and could use an assist. Truly, there are no downsides to offering workers tools that empower them to solve business problems independently and work more efficiently. Here’s how businesses in other industries are using low-code tools now.

The School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh replaced a manual, paper-based evaluation system with an automated workflow and improved compliance 100%. Simple process-mapping tools enabled them to pinpoint problem areas and replace them with automated forms. Previously, a single full-time employee had been managing 2,000 annual evaluations!

iNova Pharmaceuticals automated vendor onboarding and expedited hiring processes by 30%. Previously, manual onboarding workflows halted frequently to let managers hunt through documents for information to keep approvals moving forward. They chose a low-code automation platform for its user-friendly interface, and now their managers can quickly and easily create workflows as needed.

Cimex Invest took control of their purchase order process and made it more adaptable to changing business requirements. This process was actually already automated but had been created with a competitor technology that only integrated with Microsoft SharePoint, stifling ongoing improvements. Cimex got a solution that scaled with their growing businesses, as well as one that didn’t overburden their already busy IT department.

What is a low-code automation platform?

Low-code automation platforms are software solutions that gather several easy-to-use tools in one place. They enable businesses to create applications quickly with user-friendly interfaces and intuitive features that require no advanced coding knowledge. Ease of use is key: these platforms are generally easy to understand and easy to start using, making them drivers of enterprise-wide digital transformation.

Low-code development platforms offer one source of truth and support for citizen developers in an organization. They gather the most essential tools for process identification, management, mapping, automation, and more in one place to promote collaboration and understanding.

Nintex’s low-code automation platform

Nintex’s Process Platform is an end-to-end process solution that enables discovery, automation, and optimization through a suite of easy-to-use tools. Powered by AI and machine learning, it uses process intelligence to shed light on your existing workflows, discover areas ripe for improvement, and guide users through the mapping and building process. Then, it automates these processes and delivers continuous insights about results, facilitating ongoing process improvement and optimization.

Most of all, the Nintex Process Platform is low-code. That means enterprises can adopt it across departments with minimal friction and start benefiting within weeks. Building, adjusting, and tinkering with applications is simple, and so is learning from the data gathered along the way.

Ready to empower your workers with low-code solutions and accelerate your digital transformation? Contact us for a free demo and see the Process Platform in action.