Low-Code Automation: Definition, Benefits and Platform Features

Managing the numerous business processes your organization relies on every day is no easy task. You need to identify each activity within a process, and understand the purpose and value of those activities, the relationships between them, and how they should be executed. All this is key to ensuring processes run smoothly. Low-code automation can help.


What is low-code automation? 

Low-code automation is a visual way to automate business processes that requires little to no coding. Rather than relying on complex code, users can implement visual tools, such as model-driven application design with drag-and-drop features and reusable components, speeding up the delivery of applications and automations. This makes it easier for non-technical business users to get hands-on with automation projects and decreases reliance on developers and software engineers.

Discover Bizagi's low-code platform for process automation and enterprise application development.


What are the benefits of low-code automation? 

Ease of use 

One of the most obvious benefits of low-code is that users do not require an in-depth knowledge of software development. G2 states that 70% of users with no coding experience before using low-code platforms learned how to use low-code in one month or less.  

The visual approach, based on business models and incorporating intuitive features like drag-and-drop interfaces and one-click deployment, makes it easy and straightforward to use. It takes less time to build and automate processes, and users can see results fast. The straightforward nature of low-code development is easy to understand and can be used throughout the business, without relying on skilled developers, which leads us on to the next benefit…  

Empower citizen developers 

The low-code revolution is fuelling a generation of citizens developers: business users who can create their own automated processes to aid their work, without the need for IT intervention. According to a Gartner report, 61% of organizations either have or plan to have active citizen development initiatives. 

As organizations ramp up their digital transformation plans to keep up with competitors, it has put pressure on IT teams to deliver new business applications. The advantage of low-code is that employees outside of the IT department can now help them to meet this challenge of keeping up with new developments by sharing the burden.  

Enhanced productivity across teams  

Enabling citizen developers to map and automate their own processes means they don’t have to wait for developers to write code and develop applications for them. This means that ideas can be realized more quickly, seeing faster solutions to business problems. 

This has actually been happening in the background of many organizations for a while, in the form of Shadow IT, when business users go rogue and create their own applications without the knowledge or approval of the IT department. Low-code automation platforms are an effective way to govern Shadow IT, as they offer a standardized approach to process modeling and automation, which means that business users can help themselves, while IT can rest happy in the knowledge that best practices are being followed.  

This also takes the pressure off IT, who are increasingly dealing with growing backlogs of requests. In some cases, it may even be more efficient for the business user to model and automate their own processes, because they have the knowledge themselves. They don’t have to spend time briefing the developer and reviewing the process before deployment. It all equates to increased productivity and faster time-to-value. 

Speed of deployment  

One of the immediate benefits of low-code is the speed of deployment. The drag and drop functionality allows process models to be built quickly, and can then be implemented with your other applications and systems using pre-built connectors and APIs. Processes can then be automated and applications can be deployed in just one click. So, time that would be spent on coding and development is significantly reduced.  

Forrester reports that the current usage of low-code platforms indicates that software development can be propelled to 10 times the speed of traditional processes. And the benefit of speed continues past the initial deployment phase, as if there are changes required, it is quick and easy to update processes. 

Improve agility 

When the process is the application, it’s much easier to manage requirements and even change them in an agile way. The simple approach building and amending processes means you can make agile changes to process without having to worry about changing complex code. This helps to keep up with regulatory changes, adapt to market changes or respond to customer needs.

This is where low-code technology has particularly shown its worth in the last year. “Low-code/no-code tools have been instrumental in helping businesses respond quickly to COVID-19 by allowing them to build new enterprise applications and automate work quickly,” reports TechRepublic.  

Low-code platforms have aided business continuity and helped organizations adapt to new ways of working in the face of the global pandemic. This agility will continue to prove its benefits in the years to come as businesses adapt their processes and applications to keep up with evolving marketplaces.  

Ensure best practice and compliance 

The agility that comes with low-code platforms is particularly useful when it comes to keeping up with ever-changing rules and regulations, particularly in highly regulated industries such as finance and manufacturing. Documenting and automating workflows using a low-code platform is the ideal way to ensure that specific requirements are met, and that operations can be agile enough to evolve when regulations change. 

Additionally, templates play a large role in low-code automation, with many applications originating from process templates. So, providing templates that adhere to best practice for users to follow when building and automating processes means they will be created in a compliant manner. 

Legacy integration  

Thanks to the wide availability of connectors, widgets and APIs, low-code platforms can easily integrate with legacy systems that are already in place within an organization’s infrastructure. In fact, low-code platforms can act as an integration layer between applications, so your users have a centralized platform to access information that is held in different silos across the organization.  

Connecting your silos and systems across the organization can help to provide better customer service, as all data is centralized and visible, and helps to ensure operational efficiency and compliance through visibility and connectivity.  

Cost saving 

Costs savings can be seen in various aspects of low-code platforms. Costs can be saved on initial training, and money doesn’t need to be spent on hiring skilled developers who demand a high salary. Additional cost savings can also be seen from the faster time to market, being able to do more in less time and produce a solid ROI.


Low-code automation use cases 

Workflow management - build automated workflows to ensure that tasks are completed correctly and efficiently. 

Legacy modernization - create low-code applications to extend the capabilities of your existing systems or replace them completely. 

Integration - connect systems from across the enterprise for end-to-end orchestration.


What is a low-code automation platform? 

A low-code process automation platform is a visual development tool used by both professional and citizen developers to analyze, design, and automate end-to-end business processes across the organization. This gives you greater visibility and control over the resources, costs, and timeframes associated with business processes. It also enables business users and IT to collaborate on process standardization and improvement efforts. 

Forrester states that “Low-code platforms can help development teams work faster and increase enterprise-wide software production by empowering “citizen” developers.” 

The low-code market is set for rapid growth. Gartner predicts that low-code application building will make up more than 65% of all app development functions by the year 2024 and with about 66% of big companies using a minimum of four low-code platforms.


Low-code platform features 

Business process modeling 

Business process modeling is the first step in any process automation project. The practice is used to create process diagrams that detail the individual steps within business processes from end-to-end. 

This method gives you a detailed view of what is required for processes to run effectively and identify any areas that are preventing optimal efficiency. Business process modeling is used to verify that the process is running as it should be and identify any improvement opportunities prior to automation efforts. 

Business process simulation 

Business process simulation is a low-risk and low-cost method that allows you to test process improvement efforts in a real-world scenario prior to implementation and determine which version of the process would deliver the best results. 

Running simulations enables you to confirm that your processes are being executed correctly, analyze processing time, identify process gaps and gain visibility into resource costs and utilization. Using what-if analysis allows you to create various scenarios to determine how different factors would affect process performance such as changes in budgets or resource availability. The insight gained from business process simulation allows you to make informed decisions when changing processes and demonstrate ROI of the changes to other stakeholders.  

Process mining 

Process mining is a technique that allows you to monitor how your business processes are performing based on real data. The technique extracts data from the event logs of systems used across your organization and uses the knowledge collected to generate process models that you can compare with your initial process definition to discover exactly how a business process is currently working and pinpoint any issues or improvement opportunities. 

The practice enables you to leverage the information gathered to gain a better understanding of process performance and optimize business operations to create more value.  

Business process automation 

Business process automation is the use of technology to automate manual tasks within business processes. The practice orchestrates the people, applications, devices, and information across your organization and allows you to better manage and optimize your business processes. 

Automation efforts are managed within a low-code platform. Once the optimum version of a process has been defined, you can build and deploy it. 

Reporting and analytics 

A low-code platform collects historical and real-time process data to provide visibility of process performance against KPIs. Analytics dashboards allow you to identify bottlenecks, monitor resource performance, service levels and trends, and adjust process and business strategy accordingly. Many process automation tools also have the option of extending reporting capabilities by integrating with third-party software.

Need some advice on choosing the right platform for your automation project?

Low-code automation examples




How does low-code automation enable citizen development? 

Low-code automation platforms enable citizen developers to create their own business processes and applications. Thanks to the ease of use of these platforms, business users with no prior coding experience are able to create their own processes without relying on support from IT. 

“500 million new apps are going to get created in the next five years. Think about that, that’s more apps than in the last 40 years… When you think about this challenge of 500 million applications, we’re just not going to have professional developers to build these applications, so we need citizen developers.” – Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO. 


How does cloud computing support low-code automation? 

Cloud-based platforms have helped support a recent surge in the use of low-code platforms, as the secure, yet flexible solution allows users to collaborate across the organization. It’s easy for citizen developers to gain access to the software, and it can be scaled up or down as required with regular updates to ensure users are always using the latest version. 

A key benefit of using the cloud is the ability to spin up and test new services. And if the solution doesn’t work, it can be turned off without worrying about wasting money on physical infrastructure to support the services that may or may not work. This means you can experiment with new solutions in low-code, supported by low-cost and low-risk deployment on the cloud.


Low-code vs. no-code automation 

Low-code and no-code automation both speed up application development and make it more accessible to business users without coding knowledge. Low-code however, can involve some coding if customization is required whereas no-code relies completely on pre-built templates and components. 

Want more information on the differences between low-code and no-code?

Low-code automation challenges 

Limited customization 

The pre-built templates and components offered by low-code platforms can limit customization and make building applications tailored to specific business requirements difficult therefore it is important to select a platform that offers the ability to write script when required.  


The ease of application development with a low-code platform can sometimes lead to business users creating applications without any IT involvement making it difficult for the IT team to keep track of and manage the applications in use across the organization. 


Without IT supervision, applications may not meet the security standards of the organization therefore choosing a platform that allows you to build governance into the development process and the applications themselves will mitigate the risk.


Bizagi’s low-code automation platform 

Bizagi’s low-code automation platform enables you to create and run process applications across your organization on any device, without coding.