Low-code no-code: A visual approach to tech innovation for banks

Banks can use low-code no-code tools to drive innovation and customize and automate workflows even if they don’t have staff with highly technical coding experience.

By Sayon Deb

Low-code no-code, or LCNC, based platforms are rapidly gaining popularity in the software development space across various industries, including banking and financial services. These tools offer a visual approach to app development compared to traditional computer programming approaches that rely on code. The flexibility of this approach has prompted software and app vendors in other domains, such as process automation or business process management, customer relationship management, and business intelligence to integrate low-code no-code capabilities into their solutions. Banks can use LCNC tools to drive innovation and customize and automate workflows even if they don’t have staff with highly technical coding experience.

LCNC-based platforms enable non-technical business users with little formal coding experience to contribute to software or app development projects. This in turn helps institutions reduce the time and resources required for app development. In this article, I will explore what low-code no-code based platforms are, how they impact the banking industry, and what banks should consider when adopting and implementing them.

What is low-code no-code?

Custom-code, low-code, no-code.
Low-code no-code is best thought of as a graphical or visual approach to conduct a programming or development task that has conventionally required coding. As the name implies, low-code platforms rely on the user having some coding knowledge and are most likely to be used by IT professionals with some coding skills to create complex custom apps, while platforms that offer no-code environments enable most business users to create apps and workflows to address their business needs without any programming experience.

Low-code platforms offer greater flexibility and customization options compared to no-code platforms but require some coding knowledge. However, both low-code and no-code platforms offer a faster and more efficient way to develop applications as they reduce the need for traditional coding and testing.

How does it affect the banking industry?

Banks use a wide range of applications to manage customer data, financial transactions, and regulatory compliance. In this context, LCNC-based platforms can support many use cases (in addition to app development) such as enabling and enhancing automation of workflows, process optimization, digital banking and data analytics.

For example, banks today face increasing pressure to provide their customers with online and mobile banking experiences. LCNC app development platforms can help banks address the increasing demand for digital banking services and the need to develop and deploy new digital applications quickly and efficiently. These tools can also help accelerate the development of customer service apps such as chatbots and virtual assistants. By eliminating the need for traditional coding and testing, LCNC-based platforms enable banks to streamline their app development processes.

LCNC-based platforms can also aid in automating business processes, such as account opening, customer onboarding, know-your-customer verification, transaction processing, loan origination and underwriting, among others. By reducing the need for manual intervention, these tools can improve efficiency and reduce the risk of errors. Moreover, banks can leverage these platforms to improve regulatory compliance by automating compliance processes and reduce the risk of errors and non-compliance.

As community banks continue to face challenges in recruiting and retaining skilled technical talent, LCNC-based platforms can improve an institution’s ability to build new digital products and scale them, when necessary, regardless of their size. These platforms are often less expensive than developing in-house systems, can be tailored to a bank’s unique business requirements and allow banks to respond quickly to changing business needs. Most LCNC platforms offer an integrated development environment with built-in APIs, reusable plug-ins and visual-based connectors that automate much of the development process.

What can banks do?

To take advantage of the benefits offered by LCNC platforms, banks can first assess their existing IT infrastructure and identify opportunities for automation and workflow improvements; these are likely to be areas where LCNC platforms can be used to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Banks can identify areas where such tools are relevant by assessing their existing business processes and conducting process mapping exercises to identify bottlenecks (that is, tasks that are manual, repetitive or time-consuming). Once identified, banks can evaluate the potential impact of using LCNC-based platforms for each use case, estimating time and cost savings and considering potential impact on employee experience, compliance and risk management. The identified use cases should be prioritized based on potential impact and resource requirements, starting with small, low-risk use cases before scaling up to more complex processes.

Banks should also evaluate LCNC offerings in the marketplace to identify the best fit for their specific needs (for example, general purpose app development, process automation, CRM) and requirements. Many platforms offer both low-code and no-code functionality, such as Appian for process automation, Mendix for app development, Microsoft Power Apps for data connectivity, and Genesis Global for financial institutions to build apps. Other vendors that offer pure no-code platforms for enterprise-grade apps include Unqork, Betty Blocks, Nextworld, AppGyver and Zapier. Like with the adoption of most new technologies, banks should consider starting a pilot project that allows adequate testing and evaluation of benefits and drawbacks in a controlled environment. Some key factors to consider include the platform’s features and capabilities, ease of use, scalability and security.

In conjunction with evaluating infrastructure and vendor options, banks may need to invest in training to ensure that their staff have the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively use these tools. While the tools reduce or eliminate the need for coding skills, employees may be more effective using the technology with some training in project management.

To tie it all together, banks should ensure that they have a clear plan for integrating LCNC platforms into their existing IT infrastructure. This should include a detailed roadmap for implementation, as well as measures for monitoring and evaluating the success of the new tools.

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