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IT Governance and Low-Code App Development: What to Know

To make sure that businesses get the most out of low-code app development, they need to incorporate it into their IT governance structure.

Low-code app development has become key for businesses of all sizes who want to build better apps, improve efficiency and productivity, reduce costs and better serve, attract and retain customers.

That doesn’t mean it’s problem-free. A long-standing issue with the technique is that typically, low-code tools are used outside the provenance of IT. That can lead to a variety of issues, including apps that don’t conform to the business’ security rules and designs. It can also lead to a “shadow IT” department that conflicts with existing IT.

The solution? Apply IT governance best practices that will make sure that the apps and the way they’re built conform to IT-wide standards. Let's explore why IT governance is important, how to implement IT governance, and outline IT governance best practices.

IT governance

What Is IT Governance?

We’ll start by discussing IT governance. CIO Magazine offers the best definition I’ve seen yet: “IT governance is a formal framework that provides a structure for organizations to ensure that IT investments support business objectives… Essentially, IT governance provides a structure for aligning IT strategy with business strategy. By following a formal framework, organizations can produce measurable results toward achieving their strategies and goals. A formal program also takes stakeholders’ interests into account, as well as the needs of staff and the processes they follow. In the big picture, IT governance is an integral part of overall enterprise governance.”

That means that every aspect of the development and deployment process needs to adhere to strict, company-wide standards. Security is particularly important to take into account, as is the precise method of developing apps and integrating them with a business’s overall infrastructure and data sources. IT governance planning is important as well – the need to look into the future and determine when and how governance should change.

Which are the main steps to create a low code application?

Amy, you mentioned in your note you would be able to put this section together. Just an FYI that it seems to be out of place in this article. But I understand that you want it here for SEO reasons.

What Is Low-Code Governance?

As low-code platforms are becoming increasingly important for businesses, low-code governance needs to be taken into account as a way to make sure that apps this way conform to company-wide standards.

Forbes on IT governance and low-code developmentThe Forbes article, “5 Key Governance Principles For Low-Code Success” is an excellent place to turn for understanding low-code governance. It explains the need for it this way: “There’s something to be said for centralized, tightly controlled software ecosystems—not least being simplified governance. It’s no coincidence that, as a matter of policy, employees are rarely given administrator controls over their software installs and upgrades.

“This raises the question: What role does governance play with low-code? How do we maintain cybersecurity standards, for example, when citizen developers are building their own applications?”

Mark Tognetti ServiceNow on low-code software and data governanceMark Tognetti, global Now Platform transformation leader at ServiceNow explained to the magazine, “A properly deployed low-code platform, with properly enabled and empowered citizen developers and clear governance models, is a whole lot safer than folks building macros in spreadsheets and passing them around via email.”

The article “Governing no-code/low-code innovation” adds: “Governance is not a simple process or a task to check off and forget about; it will be constantly put to the test. As such, the most important governance feature for LCNC (low-code/no-code) development is a platform provider with the flexibility to adapt to specific needs of an enterprise. The provider should be a partner in expanding the role of citizen developers within the organization.”

What Are Examples of IT Governance?

What does all this mean in practice? The Forbes article says that at first, one should create “a ‘fusion team’ that includes pro coders, security experts and business partners. This will lay the foundation for establishing effective low-code governance policies.”

data and it governanceNext, fundamental governance questions need to be asked, including “What is allowed to be built on a platform, and by whom? What training will be provided, and how will that happen? Who owns the approval process?”

A formal process for code reviews needs to be put in place, the article adds. In addition, IT should set minimum skill set for anyone who will build apps using low-code tools.

A “sandbox” should also be established, which Forbes explains is “a development environment that’s kept separate from the organization’s active network and digital asse

ts. Professional coders typically work in sandboxes, and other staging environments, to build and test their applications before going live. In an effective citizen developer program, sandboxes and the rules that govern them are vital.”

Finally, IT should pick the right low-code/no-code platform. The article warns that many platforms fall short when it comes to IT governance. Tognetti explains, “It's important that your platform can enforce your standards. Whether it's inheritance of data architecture from existing tables or requiring integrations to be built by professional developers, much of your risk is mitigated through proper governance.”

Learn More About the Benefits of Low-Code Software

Get more details here about the benefits of low-code software, including conforming to IT governance standards.

The Best Low-Code Software that Supports IT Governance Practices

Alpha Software has worked with enterprise IT departments for over 10 years. Our solutions integrate corporate data assets securely, while establishing product features and professional services methodologies that support IT governance and data security.

Alpha Software offers free mobile app development software and tutorials, videos and other learning materials to help anyone learn app development, build secure mobile apps, and establish best practices for data and IT governance. Developers can create apps for free and deploy them to the cloud for as little as $99 per month with Alpha Anywhere Community Edition.

Alpha Software  provides low-code software that supports IT governance

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.