Low-Code/No-Code Development Platforms: The Alternative to Traditional App Development

Associations use apps to engage members, grow non-dues revenue, and improve business outcomes. Here's how drag-and-drop solutions make the process faster and more affordable.

In the past decade, we’ve witnessed the rapid democratization of technology as digital advancements put new capabilities into the hands of everyday people.

Website building, once dependent on HTML and CSS knowledge, is now accessible via prebuilt templates and drag-and-drop solutions. Easy-to-use image editors and creators have put basic graphic design within reach for many, and point-and-click analytics make gathering business intelligence a breeze.

Even application development has become more intuitive through tools that require little to no coding knowledge. As a result, both professional programmers and non-developers can innovate swiftly using today’s leading app builders—some of which come built into association management software (AMS) solutions.

“When association IT execs can’t get the automation they need to carry out their missions, they build software tools and apps themselves,” said Marc Hehl, Chief Operating Officer, Impexium. “Historically, this development was highly customized. Low-code/no-code development offers a more managed, cost-effective, and productive environment for the eventual software delivery because it provides tools designed specifically for the end users (e.g., staff and/or citizen developers) rather than professional software developers.”

A Forward-Looking Approach

Associations are already using applications to share information, enhance member benefits, and build community, among other uses. Communication preferences are changing, and the ability to deliver content through apps via push notifications helps associations meet members where they are.

As association leaders across the globe work to become future-ready, the ability to expedite development, relieve pressure on IT staff, and create sophisticated member-facing solutions serves as a clear competitive advantage.

“I think low-code/no-code platforms are probably the most important technology tool today’s association CIOs need to look at,” said Patrick Dorsey, EVP Marketing, Impexium. “Just because you can build or customize something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Why not consider reusing something that somebody already built or take something already built and configure it to meet your association’s business needs?”

Integrated AMS Solutions

When conveniently built into an AMS, user-friendly development tools empower leaders to keep up with current demands and respond to emerging ones.

Look for solutions that are built from the ground up to meet the needs of associations while also leveraging the research and design investments of top technology leaders. These features help associations continuously improve their development efforts, both by empowering non-developers to build apps and helping professional developers extend app capabilities.

“Low-code/no-code development enables associations of all sizes to integrate new applications into their existing tech stack in a more seamless manner with a lift-and-shift approach vs. a rip-and-replace approach,” Dorsey said. “The time-to-market benefits and cost savings compared to developing and maintaining customized software are endless.”

For example, AMS platforms that leverage Microsoft Power Apps enable associations to start building apps immediately using templates and drag-and-drop technology. In 2021, Gartner recognized Microsoft as a leader in low-code app development. The same year, Forrester found that organizations that invested in the Microsoft Power Platform enjoyed speedier development, more streamlined operations, and increased revenue.

The reason? Microsoft’s low-code development technology is known for its prebuilt AI components, which make it possible for anyone to create apps using natural language. Other benefits include seamless integration with popular Microsoft products, better collaboration, and a library of data sources.

“Microsoft has effectively positioned Power Apps to connect citizen developers with professional developers by linking Power Apps to Azure, Visual Studio Code, and GitHub,” according to the Gartner report. “It has also expanded IT admin controls for tenant-wide governance, including deeper analytics and more granular control over data loss prevention policies.”

More data means a clearer view of your members—a must-have for associations looking to provide personalized, meaningful, and ultimately loyalty-building experiences.

Impexium’s Association Management Solution (AMS) integrates seamlessly with the Microsoft Power Platform. For more on how Impexium empowers associations to innovate easily, do more with data, and expand possibilities, request a demo.

(Handout photo)