Low-Code and digital innovation

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Low-Code Simplifies IT Modernization of Core Applications

Digital Transformation | Low-code | Modernization
Low-Code Simplifies IT Modernization of Core Applications

Digital Transformation not only means developing new systems but also modernizing existing systems for two out of three IT leaders[1] because it is a crucial activity for transforming and evolving the company's business. Despite this, almost half of the companies postpone or abandon the modernization of corporate information systems due to more binding priorities to safeguard competitiveness or the lack of a roadmap and a development strategy.


The cost of legacy systems

Some companies still run legacy systems written, for example, in Cobol, Fortran o Basic[2], especially for core applications, which, for strategic importance, for the costs incurred to develop and maintain, or perhaps simply because of the benefits of a more modern technology are considered lower compared to the burden of evolving a complex software system and have not been technologically updated, even in the last 15 or 20 years.

However, the technical debt borne by these systems can cost up to 20% of the budget dedicated to the company’s ICT software portfolio because of the maintenance costs caused by architectural or functional problems of interfaces that are now 20 years old and no longer suited to the new digital needs of speed, mobility, and integration that have emerged in recent years.


The advantages of IT modernization

When the modernization of information systems takes place across the enterprise, productivity increases by 20-30%[3], according to McKinsey, with a reduction in time-to-market by 40-60% and an increase in staff motivation by up to 40%.

Operating costs decrease by more than 13%[4] and only 20% of IT leaders say they are adopting technologies for process automation, which would allow for a sharpened increase in productivity.


The modernization of applications with Low-Code

Low-Code technology can accelerate[5] the transformation of applications with more modern technologies, such as web, mobile, cloud, and business process automation. According to Forrester's[6] research, Low-Code is also useful for modernizing core applications on which the corporate information system is based: It helps in decreasing the investment risk because it requires less time and resources, making applications more suitable for digital automation, tailoring them to the company’s business processes, and simplifying monitoring, revision, and maintenance, thanks to the greater ease of development compared to traditional methods.


At present, only 18% of core applications’ modernization cases use Low-Code, and only 22% of the companies use it extensively in all business units.

So, if we add this possibility of extending the use of this technology across the enterprise, the increase in productivity and the decrease in operating costs derived from the modernization of business applications, the reduction of technical debt, and the returns on the investment of digital transformation with Low-Code, the result even goes beyond the 14%[7] delle performance aziendali atteso dai leader IT.


How to modernize a core application with Low-Code

According to Forrester’s analysis[8],core applications are mainly of three types:

  • systems of records that guarantee the integrity of key business data, such as registry management systems within CRM or ERP;
  • shared services that offer key business process functionality, such as billing or asset management systems;
  • core operational processes that automate business activities, such as bank payment systems, tracking systems in logistics and distribution or the automatic creation of invoices in sales.


Low-Code technology finds its greatest use in the last two categories of core applications because it simplifies the design and development of digital services based on business processes, the integration of information systems, and the automation of digital processes.


Thanks to the Low-Code platforms, it is possible to limit software licensing costs because they allow for the development of proprietary applications, without relying on third parties to pay a periodic subscription. The integration between systems is simplified because, by using a single development suite for all web applications, mobile and BPA, digital solutions can be natively integrated with each other using the same technologies and the same structural and architectural approaches (such as microservices). Also, the entire development team can use a single tool suitable for all applications without the need of having various groups that specialize in a single technological field or in the use of multiple platforms.


The key practices for developing core applications with Low-Code

From the experience of the core business application-development teams, Forrester[9] traces some useful practices to manage development and management. Among these key practices, we highlight the following:


  1. The separation of the three types of core applications

Separating core applications by category increases development efficiency and improves the design with a more modern and scalable architecture. As in the case of payment modules, instead of creating one for each operational process, you can create only one payment system shared between the various processes.

WebRatio Platform 9 simplifies the use of this approach, making it possible to develop reusable modules for greater development efficiency

  1. The creation of a modern architecture to address complexity and scalability

Core applications have complex business logic and must serve large volumes of users, processes, and transactions. Those systems that can no longer meet these requirements or slow down processes are often based on antiquated architectures and not on modern principles, such as services, microservices, process domains, or master data management.

WebRatio’s Low-Code makes development simple, thus hiding its complexity and managing modern architectures with microservices.

  1. Stability, growth, and customer references

Companies offering Low-Code platforms have multiplied in recent years, but it is good to rely on companies with proven experience in the sector and with examples of digital solutions developed for their customers. WebRatio has been transforming business processes digitally since 2001, with numerous success stories for companies such as Ricoh, Gewiss, and Clivet.

  1. Involvement of business in the IT development process

Those directly affected are business experts who use business applications on a daily basis, and knowing all of their requirements exponentially increases the success of the digital project, just as involvement increases the adoption of systems.

The visual approach of IFML (Interaction Flow Modeling Language) and BPMN of WebRatio Platform can be used as the common language between businesses and the IT department in order to design solutions that are more suited to the company’s needs.


With Low-Code, it will no longer be necessary to modernize core systems

One advantage of using the Low-Code technology is that applications are easily updated to cutting-edge technologies by vendors because it is their duty to keep the underlying platform up to date. Customers no longer need to worry about updating the digital solutions’ technological stack.


Therefore, the use of Low-Code technology could change the core applications’ modernization paradigm, which would not be an activity carried out in every technological era but a continuous process that would always make core systems suitable for modern digital needs, thus saving the company time and costs and, above all, allowing it to maintain high operational efficiency with high-performance digital solutions.



Find out all the advantages of Low-Code for companies >



[1] https://www.insightcdct.com/getattachment/0fb34de7-b77c-4486-9f9c-c8b5cb28eba8/The-State-of-IT-Modernization-2020-infographic.aspx

[2] https://dzone.com/articles/preach-to-the-choir-article-about-low-code-no-cod

[3] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/modernizing-it-for-a-digital-era

[4] https://www.avanade.com/-/media/asset/white-paper/avanade-it-modernization-whitepaper.pdf

[5] https://dzone.com/articles/preach-to-the-choir-article-about-low-code-no-cod

[6] https://www.forrester.com/report/When-And-How-To-Modernize-Core-Applications-Using-LowCode-Platforms/RES155943

[7] https://www.avanade.com/-/media/asset/white-paper/avanade-it-modernization-whitepaper.pdf

[8] https://www.forrester.com/report/When-And-How-To-Modernize-Core-Applications-Using-LowCode-Platforms/RES155943

[9] https://www.forrester.com/report/When-And-How-To-Modernize-Core-Applications-Using-LowCode-Platforms/RES155943









December 23, 2021 / WebRatio

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