This master’s thesis examines the potential of low-code platforms for software development in public administration. For this purpose, an empirical study was conducted on the basis of expert interviews in order to identify the advantages, prerequisites and challenges of the use of low code platforms. The analysis is based on the example of the low code platform A12 from mgm technology partners and its relevance in the context of OZG implementation. The work provides an understanding of the topics “digitization in public administration”, “software development” and “low code platforms”.
The interview partners come from various fields and positions, including project managers, experts from public administrations, administrators and software developers. They provide interesting insights into the software development process and the fulfillment of the promise of low code platforms to reduce programming effort.
What problems do low code platforms solve?
In a nutshell, low-code platforms have a positive impact on the following factors:
- Time savings: developers* can build applications faster by leveraging existing templates and using simple drag-and-drop functionality.
- Cost savings: Since less code needs to be written manually, development costs can be reduced.
- Increased efficiency: Low-code platforms provide an intuitive user interface and a high level of clarity, which increases the efficiency and reliability of application development.
- Increased agility: Changes and customizations can be implemented faster because less code needs to be written manually.
- Shortened time-to-market: low-code platforms enable applications to be developed and deployed faster, resulting in a shortened time-to-market.
- Increased accessibility: Low code platforms enable non-developers to create simple applications, which increases accessibility to application development.
- Risk reduction: Low code platforms reduce the risk of shadow IT, cyberattacks and other threats by making it easier to build compliant and secure applications.
Challenges of software development with low-code platforms in public administration
Low code platforms can change the static, traditional approach in public administration because they encourage an agile approach and not everything has to be perfectly planned at the beginning of the project. This requires a different approach to digitization projects on many levels. One challenge is building trust between the authority and the service provider, which is crucial for successful projects. Low-code platforms enable the rapid deployment of visual solutions and can involve users directly in application design. One clear finding of the research is that when it comes to software development in public administration, there is no challenge that is too complex to implement using a low code platform.
Possibilities for expanding the area of application of low-code platforms in public administration
In order for the area of application of low code platforms in public administration to expand, greater support for the software development process is necessary. This is possible if the first prototypes of the software can be tested more quickly and users know what the operating, testing and development environment looks like. For the broader use of low-code platforms, there should ideally be the possibility to overview the processes and environments of software development and to optimize them if necessary. At best, this can also optimize the operational flow.
Future potential application areas for the use of low code platforms in public administration include
1. Business process management
As a future possible application area, the field of business process management for specialized procedures in public administration offers great potential. This makes it possible to digitize not only a subarea, but complete processes with the help of low code platforms. Thus, all tasks in a workflow are visible and allow to identify potentials and bottlenecks in the processes. The visibility of the processes makes it possible to react dynamically to capacity bottlenecks.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Another application area is artificial intelligence that builds applications via voice interface. Low code platforms offer a huge potential due to the standardization, because not only user interfaces can be developed, but also the complete backend is integrated. Thus, it is much easier for AI to build new applications, revert to existing building blocks and then reuse them.
Low code platforms have the potential to address the skills shortage in the IT industry and can help improve IT security. These platforms allow subject matter experts to develop their own software without having to be familiar with the technical systems in the background. This means that misunderstandings can be avoided during requirements elicitation and development time can be shortened. They also offer greater software usability and the ability to gather direct user feedback. Low code platforms, through their modular approach, have the potential to speed up software development, make application maintenance easier and reduce the need for traditional development effort. They are particularly well-suited for projects where a working application does not exist at the outset or where customizations are required frequently. However, it is important to identify challenges in software development in public administration in order to eliminate potential problems in time and make the most of the potential of low-code platforms.
- Download the master thesis by Jonas Baur (in german only)