Low-code, no-code: Building apps for digital and mobile banking

August 16, 2022

John R. Rymer, a principal analyst at Forrester and world authority on low-code development says, “There are just not enough developers to go around, so by going low-code, you can get a lot done with ordinary developers that you can afford.”

This blog considers the case for low-code development, how it differs from its no-code cousin and why banks of all sizes must welcome these new techniques.

The digital demand

Digitalization puts technology at the front, back and center of banking, and technology is a major determiner of bank brand engagement. A bank’s technology defines which customers it attracts, the quality of the customer experience and how long customers remain customers.

And the stakes for banks are high. Achieving success involves aiming for a multi-dimensional and ever-moving target. Moreover, banks can no longer operate in isolation, nor can they rely on outdated operating models. They must leverage modern technology and techniques in order to participate as part of a bigger financial ecosystem – one in which application program interfaces (APIs) serve as the universal mechanism for connectivity. Banks must collaborate to innovate, and technology is the prime driver of success.

Agility and responsiveness are essential, and the rewards for speed and accuracy are high. Banks with the right development methods can increase customer engagement and do more for customers who are increasingly comfortable with mobile banking. To get ahead and stay there, banks need to find smart ways of creating new customer experiences, quickly and cost effectively. Low-code and no-code development are two powerful responses to this burgeoning need.

Software development, but not as we know it

As the demand for quality software increases, many companies simply cannot keep up with the backlog of development work that needs to be done. Top developer talent is always in short supply, causing many IT projects to remain unfinished or flounder in the pending file. This is a serious issue in the banking sector where modern technology is so critical to business success.

Low-code and no-code development solutions are emerging as viable and convenient alternatives/complements to traditional development processes, empowering banks to transform software development as we know it. They can help to:

  • Democratize technology
  • Boost business agility
  • Simplify connectivity
  • Increase efficiency

Although low-code and no-code are closely related, they are not synonymous, and it’s important to know the difference.

What is low-code?

Low-code is a rapid application development technique that automates code generation using visual building blocks such as point-and-click, drag-and-drop and pull-down menu options. This automation allows low-code users to focus on the differentiators rather than the common denominators of programming. Low-code solutions also allow users to do some coding and scripting. In simple terms, low-code offers a hybrid system that enables developers to become more productive. Furthermore, low-code solutions empower less technical people to become “power users” who can make system changes.

Although low-code methods cannot do everything, they are particularly useful in integrated development environments (IDEs) where there is a need to reorganize workflows, debug systems or change web interfaces, all of which are highly beneficial in banking.

In an open banking environment, low-code can be used to build connections to Banking as a Service (BaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) APIs – connectivity that is potentially transformational. It is easy to imagine a future where banks will harness low-code applications to reduce time to market and offer truly personal banking at a far lower cost and at a far greater pace than previously possible.

What is no-code?

No-code offers a subset of the low-code development approach. In contrast to low-code environments in which developers may have a hand in scripting and manual coding, the no-code approach depends entirely on visual tools. In this situation, a user can point-and-click and drag-and-drop, but there is no direct access to code. No-code development builds the code and opens up the world of technology to a whole new audience of users who do not need to be technical experts.

No-code techniques can perform an expanding range of capabilities in banking such as creating user interfaces (UI) on web or mobile; creating dashboards for analytics; displaying key performance indicators (KPIs) and charts to increase customer engagement and more. No-code methods can also be used to increase process automation, improve API integration and implement decision authorizations.

A typical low-code/no-code banking platform

Low-code and no-code applications are quickly becoming mainstream in financial service and will soon become the baseline for banking success. Forward-thinking fintechs already offer low-code/no-code platforms that embody an integrated development environment with built-in APIs, reusable plug-in modules and graphical connectors that automate much of the application development process. With these tools, a bank of any size can become much more customer centric and fully participate in an open, collaborative ecosystem.

Low-code means business

In practice, low-code and no-code are complements not substitutes and collectively signal the direction of travel for development. Both are critical for banks because they pave the way for “citizen developers” with a different skill set and less technical background than professional developers.

Free from the need to hire an army of developers, a bank can focus on doing more to attract and retain customers. Faced with an uncertain future, banks need to embrace change and adopt digital solutions that are evergreen. Cloud-based low-code and no-code solutions can empower banks to unlock the potential of digitalization and put modern technology at the heart of the business.

FIS Digital One Consumer Studio – Enabling the Future of Digital Banking, Now.

Ten large financial institutions, ranging between USD 16 billion to $250 billion in assets under management, have signed deals for the platform, and two of those clients are already in production in pilot and seeing positive results. FIS sees Digital One Consumer Studio as empowering the next generation of digital experiences.

“Studio will help set the standard as the front-end digital experience for banks, allowing digital teams to create beautiful seamless experiences across multiple products and domains that will help cross-sell and engage the bank’s customer base” says Hector Pages, VP Line of Business Executive for Digital One LFI.

About the Author
Andrew Beatty, Head of Next Generation Banking
Andrew BeattyHead of Next Generation Banking

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