Why 2021 will be the year of low-code development in financial services

  • Chris McLaughlin , Chief Product & Marketing , Nuxeo

  • 22.01.2021 01:35 pm

Few would argue that we are currently in the midst of a highly challenging period for Financial Services (FS) firms. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt almost everything, from the health and safety of employees, to the need to meet rapidly changing customer requirements.

The fall-out from Brexit means that FS is still to settle down and there are many more ‘mundane’ pressures such as cybersecurity, data regulation, the threat from challenger banks, and the need for automation to cite just a few.

This all means that FS firms cannot afford to lose focus on delivering a first-class customer experience. Competition is fierce and if FS organisations cannot deliver such an experience, there is no shortage of rivals willing to do so. It is in this context that ‘low code’ development has become much more prevalent in FS, a toolset that can help firms become more agile and responsive and to address customer requirements.

What is low-code development?

Low-code development has existed for six or seven years now and refers to development platforms that focus on ease of use and development simplicity. The idea behind it was that it allowed users of all skill levels – not just developers - to code applications and bring them to market, involving business users and not just technical teams.

It has also made software development much quicker and more agile, allowing organisations to bring products to market faster and better meet customer expectations. The use of low-code has been on the increase ever since its inception, but the pressures facing FS in 2021 are bringing about a significant increase in its use.

This was especially highlighted in FS by the plummeting interest rates triggered by the pandemic. Here was a chance for mortgage and loan providers to roll out something special for customers that found themselves financially challenged during the pandemic. Historically, gearing up for peak demand for borrowing would have required advance warning, exceptional resourcing and staff training. Those FS providers that could switch on a virtual workforce however, giving them secure remote access to all the information they needed, were able to fulfil demand spontaneously.

The rise of low-code tool

This increase in the use of low-code tools was highlighted by recent Nuxeo research with 200 UK software developers to understand the growing prominence of low-code environments and their perceived - and experienced - benefits. Close to a half (45%) of software developers said they already used low-code development tools occasionally (once a week or less), and almost two-thirds (64%) reported that their use of low-code tools had increased in 2020 (since the initial global lockdown).

Demand is coming from their employers too, as the benefits of low-code become more widely appreciated. 55% of developers in the survey said they were being encouraged by the business to use low-code development tools. A strong majority (60%) reported that they use these tools specifically to create content-based applications. Furthermore, the use of low-code remains on a sharp upward trajectory. More than six in 10 software developers predicted that up to half of their organisation’s app development would make use of low-code by 2022.

Not only do low-code tools make developers more efficient, but they also make it easier for business users to bring applications to market. The realisation that this low-code development approach can be applied specifically to content-based applications is particularly exciting. It paves the way for companies to create new content-based services at high speed.

Whereas it might have taken up to 12 months to create a new customer experience the traditional way, development teams with access to a low-code development platform for delivering new content-based services and experiences, can do so within just a few weeks.

Low-code in 2021

Crucially, shortening this gap between idea and launch gives FS firms critical market advantage. They can then go about evolving the application or service to deliver the best possible customer experience – one which they can keep tweaking and embellishing over time.

For all the challenges facing FS in 2021, there is also opportunity. There’s even an argument that recent events have stirred businesses from their inertia and forced them to be more agile, bolder and more decisive. Agility is perhaps the most highly prized quality in any business, and while it is not practical to try to conceive and build the perfect FS application right from scratch, with a low-code development approach this is much more viable.

Low code allows for the unforeseeable and provides FS firms with the agility to create new content-based services at high speed and to improve them on an on-going basis, according to changing market requirements.

About the author

Chris McLaughlin is Chief Product & Marketing Officer at Nuxeo, a provider of content services and digital asset management solutions, helping firms build smart content applications that enhance customer experiences, improve decision making, and accelerate products to market.

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