Jul 24 2023

Low-Code Development Offers Fast Relief for Strained State and Local Agencies

The rising trend provides benefits for officials, employees and citizens while saving time and resources.

Software and modern application platforms are in demand by state CIOs. In fact, software dominates a recent National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) list of priority technologies, applications and tools based on a survey of state CIOs. The No. 2 technology in demand: legacy application modernization. No. 6 is artificial intelligence. And at No. 8 comes low-code and no-code software development.

These priority items are linked. For example, Gartner forecasts the low-code software development market will grow roughly 20 percent in 2023. Many state and local governments find low-code and no-code solutions appealing because they help to modernize legacy applications. And, as Gartner notes, low-code development increasingly uses hyperautomation, robotic process automation and artificial intelligence.

With this in mind, it is easy to understand the reasons state and local governments adopt low-code and no-code development, and the advantages it offers to agencies, employees and even citizens.

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How Low-Code, No-Code Saves You Time

In 2021, NASCIO released a report specifically about low-code and no-code software development titled “The Need for Speed.” In the report, NASCIO notes that state CIOs said that a primary benefit of low-code and no-code development was “the reduction in time from concept to implementation.”

Saving time was paramount after the COVID-19 pandemic crisis shut down government offices in March 2020. One CIO told NASCIO that “traditional development” to execute a project would require 18 months, but the average time spent during the pandemic was just 11 days. Studies by the Software Improvement Group reveal that low-code development can complete projects six to 10 times faster than traditional development methods.

Granicus notes in a company blog post that agencies also can save money with low-code development: “Because low-code tools are often not task-specific, organizations can save costs by using one solution to achieve multiple outcomes.”

EXPLORE: How to optimize your connection to the hybrid cloud.

State and Local Agencies See Benefits of Cloud Adoption

Many state and local governments recognize the advantages of cloud computing — flexibility, scalability and access among them — even if CIOs don’t have the money or expertise to fully harness the power of the cloud. Low-code development can help agencies move to the cloud.

As Dynatrace notes in a company blog post, organizations can tame increasingly complex cloud environments with automated workflows: “To be scalable, they also need low-code/no-code solutions that don’t require a lot of spin-up or engineering expertise.”

A 2021 survey by the Center for Digital Government found that 56 percent of states had moved less than 10 percent of their systems and applications to the cloud. Low-code platforms can help state governments accelerate cloud adoption by integrating data from separate platforms.

Because low-code tools are often not task-specific, organizations can save costs by using one solution to achieve multiple outcomes.”


The Role of Low-Code in Retaining Talent

Low-code development also can help state governments with another significant challenge: hiring and retaining qualified IT personnel. NASCIO has long observed that state agencies can find it tough to compete with private sector salaries. And often, agencies simply may be unable to identify qualified hires.

In “The Need for Speed,” officials told NASCIO that they could achieve more with fewer people thanks to low-code development. Low-code solutions also grant more agility to state governments, which can pick them up as required along the way.

Government agencies also must take care to train people in low-code development, but it is often easier for officials to expand the skill sets of current employees than it is to hire new workers.

READ MORE: How low-code and no-code platforms can benefit government agencies.

Improving the Citizen Experience with Low-Code

Perhaps it’s not as obvious, but low-code development also provides significant benefits to citizen services, particularly because it can create a pleasing experience for the user. “Since the software is often being developed by those who have user needs top of mind, low-code solutions present an opportunity to create tools with better user experience,” notes Granicus.

SAP notes on its website that “The ability to keep applications and workflows up-to-date and responsive to customer feedback will enhance both customer experience and loyalty.” Agencies can create customized surveys, payment tools, service tools and more with low-code development.

Low-code development, with its automation capabilities, may indeed prove to be the way forward for rapid application modernization in state and local governments.

This article is part of StateTech’s CITizen blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #StateLocalIT hashtag.


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