Accelerate App Dev With a Low Code/No Code Factory Model

Low code/no code platforms revolutionize app processes. The factory model offers scalable solutions, fostering rapid innovation and digital transformation.

Steve Pellegatto, Vice President of Microsoft Services

June 24, 2024

4 Min Read
Office
office-Image by StockSnap via Pixabay

Low code/no code (LCNC) platforms have revolutionized the way enterprises build business applications. With drag-and-drop configurable components, visual interfaces, and pre-built templates, these platforms enable us to create apps faster and easier than ever before, without requiring programming skills. Businesses can incorporate advanced features such as AI, automation, and analytics faster than ever.  

However, LCNC app development is not without its challenges. As the demand for apps grows, so does the complexity and scale of the projects. Enterprises need to manage a large backlog of app requests, ensure quality and security standards, integrate with existing systems, and provide ongoing support for the apps. Moreover, they need to balance the empowerment of citizen developers with the oversight and governance of IT.  

What Is the Factory Model for LCNC App Development? 

The factory model is an approach to LCNC app development that treats it as a continuous and scalable process rather than multiple individual projects. The factory model involves setting up a dedicated/partially dedicated team to handle the entire SDLC, from envisioning to deployment to ongoing support. The team typically consists of one or more of each of the following roles:  

  • Business Analyst (BA)  

  • Solution Architect (SA)  

  • Developer(s)  

  • Test/Quality Architect  

The factory model can leverage onshore, nearshore, and offshore resources to maximize value and provide scalability, often at the developer level.  

Leveraging a partner to achieve scale as well as incorporating specialty expertise can be important to success. For example, if you are building an app that integrates with an ERP system, you may need to leverage a partner to quickly onboard an ERP expert.  

Finally, since this model, by definition, brings rapid change to the organization, you may want to include a change management team as well.  

Center of Excellence 

As your factory model matures, establishing a center of excellence (CoE) for LCNC app development is critical for long-term success, especially if you intend to promote citizen developers.   

At the enterprise scale, a CoE is often a cross-functional team that provides governance, security, strategy, and support for all LCNC initiatives including platform oversight. The team will need tools to provide insights into your environment. Microsoft’s Power Platform Center of Excellence Starter Kit is an example.   

Empower Change Agents to Innovate…Quickly 

The goal of the factory model is to enable business users to turn ideas into apps rapidly by allowing the business team to quickly connect with the factory team. Traditionally, it can take weeks (or even months) to get a dev team connected to the business users.   

On the contrary, once a factory model is in place, the BAs and SAs can quickly collaborate with the business users to envision their solutions within days. And of course, the beauty of LCNC is that you can iterate quickly, get the users’ hands-on early and often, and provide feedback to the factory team. Business solutions can be envisioned, designed, built, and released in weeks rather than months, including highly sophisticated AI, LLM, and GPT-enabled solutions. In addition, this approach allows multiple apps to be built in parallel.  

The real benefit here is that the business users who are in the trenches can surface their ideas quickly, innovate rapidly, fail fast, and provide continuous improvement to their functional areas while keeping costs down when compared to traditional approaches.    

Technical Debt 

Most enterprises are plagued with technical debt. This comes in numerous forms including legacy workflow solutions and on-premises data-dependent applications.   

Many companies have hundreds or thousands of active InfoPath forms in SharePoint 2010 on-premises, dozens or hundreds of Lotus Notes databases and apps, Microsoft Access Databases, or even ERP systems in need of process updates. These apps are often business-critical and rebuilding these solutions in a modern platform is a very large and costly ($MM) effort.  When factoring in that most resident IT teams are already tapped out, the solution authors have long since moved on, and there is little to no documentation, businesses are often handcuffed and unable to innovate and adapt.  

Many companies overcome extremely difficult situations like this by scaling up specialized teams built to port these legacy business solutions to a LCNC platform at high velocity. This in turn removes the handcuffs and allows the business to innovate again.    

Looking Ahead

LCNC app development is a strategic imperative for enterprises seeking to thrive in the digital age. The factory model offers a business-integrated approach to low-code application development focusing on long-term strategic partnerships, quality, security, and the scalability necessary. This model is particularly beneficial for enterprises looking to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, eliminate large amounts of technical debt, modernize processes, incorporate AI into their business apps, and foster a culture of continuous innovation.    

To learn more about LCNC, visit fptsoftware.com

About the Author(s)

Steve Pellegatto

Vice President of Microsoft Services, FTP Software

Steve Pellegatto has over 30 years of business consulting experience, deep technical knowledge of the Microsoft product line, and is well-respected for his visionary talent. As Vice President of Microsoft Services, Steve focuses on solving business problems by working closely with clients to develop a vision and strategy for collaboration solutions based on M365 and the Power Platform.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like


More Insights