Low-code application development platforms provide opportunities for managed IT services providers to build their own applications, as well as offer development support services.

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

November 8, 2017

2 Min Read
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Designers man drawing website ux app development. User experience concept.

Low-code applications are creating new opportunities for MSPs. Here’s how low-code development can benefit managed service providers.

Programming used to be relatively hard.

Writing an application required a fair amount of expertise not just in coding, but also in testing, building and deploying code.

If you wanted a graphical interface to accompany your application, the programming requirements were even greater.

The Low-Code Trend

Today, however, the low-code development trend has significantly lowered the barrier for creating applications.

Low-code programming frameworks make it possible to develop applications without having to write much code.

The frameworks make it easy for people who aren’t professional programmers to create an application using preconfigured functions and features, which users then customize to build an application tailored to their needs.

The applications generally have integrated graphical interfaces, which make them user-friendly.

To be clear, low-code doesn’t mean code-free.

There is still some coding required, and you should have a basic grasp of application architecture concepts in order to use a low-code platform.

Still, with a low-code platform, you don’t need to be an expert, or worry about things like language-specific syntax, floating points or memory mapping in order to build a real-world application.

Examples of low-code platforms include QuickbooksMicrosoft PowerApps and Appian, to name just a few.

Low-Code Development and MSPs

Low-code platforms can benefit MSPs in two main ways.

First, they can be a useful tool for MSPs themselves to create applications that make their business more efficient.

You may want to build a dashboard that lets customers monitor their account, for example.

Or maybe you need a custom ticketing system for helping to manage customer support requests.

A low-code platform could be a good solution for building applications like these, without having to have a great deal of coding expertise yourself or hire expensive developers to build an application from scratch.

Second, in some cases MSPs may wish to help customers build low-code applications as part of a managed service offering.

Although low-code platforms usually offer various degrees of support to users, businesses that seek more hand-holding or specialized expertise may benefit from working with an MSP that can help to support their low-code development efforts.

For businesses, such an offering would mean an easy on-ramp to building business applications, without having to navigate the world of low-code programming entirely on their own.

This could be attractive for businesses that are too small to have large in-house IT teams, but still require custom applications.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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