The Benefits of Low-Code: Choosing the Right Option

In our world, data has always existed. From the unique genetic code in our DNA to the ones and zeros that make computers run. There is an unmistakable abundance of it, and we humans have managed to harness data and use it for the building blocks of civilization and commerce.  Once we entered the digital era, creating applications for the betterment of workflows has become a norm that has been adopted across all industries. Nowadays, 65% of customer interactions take place in the digital space, and the need for personalization of this medium is at an all-time high. 

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The commitment to optimization and innovation has compelled businesses to make great strides in their digital experience for both developers and end-users. As competition grew, so did the expectations of customers, and a paradigm shift happened where simply being bigger didn’t always mean better. In an ideal world, there are no losers. But the contrary is true, and the companies that are lagging behind in terms of modernization are becoming less attractive. The numbers reflect this, and the bleak reality is that 2023 alone saw 72% more bankruptcies of public companies as compared to 2020. 

To counter this, companies have quickly caught on a way to turn the tides through no-code/low-code platforms. Whereas applications and tools built with these platforms only accounted for 25% in 2020, Gartner estimates that this number will see an explosive increase. The software itself has become so sophisticated that up to 70% of modern companies use a form of low-code in their business strategy, according to Gartner. The increase in the usage of low-code tools is for a good reason: they provide a stable, scalable, and accessible platform for the rapid creation of business tools.

Navigating the Low-Code Landscape

What enterprises need is the agility to keep up with digital transformation without straining their existing IT resources. Low-code platforms are nothing new within the SaaS world. This type of development approach was adopted in the early 2000s, but the term wasn’t officially introduced until 2014 by an industry analyst at Forrester Research. No-code can be classified as a subset of low-code, which is more rigid and allows for few customizations while still maintaining speed. 

When enterprises integrate low-code solutions into their infrastructure, they automatically broaden their horizons within the IT landscape. Thanks to the platform’s drag-and-drop interface, components of an app can be built in a visual environment rather than a coding environment. The results are on par with a professionally built application. It enables faster time-to-market, and fewer people are needed while reducing the overall costs of creating one. IT departments maintain governance of the development process to avoid shadow IT practices. 

Nowadays, there is a massive diversity in what different low-code/no-code vendors can do. Some come with limited options for “quick and dirty” solutions, which lend themselves exceptionally well to no-code platforms. Others come with a broad toolkit suite that can even be augmented with the help of expert developers who create custom APIs according to business needs. But the foundation of a low-code platform remains the same: being able to solve technical roadblocks to drive a business forward. They offer a great alternative to traditional coding but can also be used in tandem with existing IT departments.

More often than not, IT departments are already overwhelmed with their backlog, and new projects need to be put on the back burner, however pressing they may be. This generally results in projects being delivered too late. Revolutionary ideas that could have led to disruptions in the market suddenly lose their innovative edge. This is textbook counterproductive to staying agile in a fast-paced digital world. By introducing low-code solutions holistically into the business strategy, the entire software development life cycle reaps the benefits. 

The Diverse Approaches to Low-Code

One of the main reasons to opt for a low-code platform is its versatility and lower learning curve compared to traditional code. The simplicity of low-code means that tech-savvy people can master it, no matter their position in the company. For developers, low-code platforms are used to aid them in delivering faster on large-scale projects. Cutting out the need for boilerplate code significantly reduces both cost and time spent until tangible results are achieved. IT is also able to keep a close eye on governance and avoid shadow IT thanks to the oversight that low-code platforms can bring to the company. Citizen developers, or non-technical employees in colloquial terms, are able to configure and scale applications to suit their needs better.

When choosing a low-code platform, it’s necessary first to define the use case. Many companies opt for the low-code approach in order to streamline how internal data is processed, on top of the development of new tools. If we look at the no-code and low-code application development platforms, we roughly see the following categories:

Aspect No-Code Platforms Low-Code for Citizen Development  Low-Code for IT
User Non-technical business users Business analysts, domain experts Professional developers, IT teams
Purpose To enable building of web applications and mobile apps without coding To empower non-technical users to create applications for business needs with minimal coding To accelerate application development with extensive customization and integration capabilities 
Use Case Building simple websites, personal projects, small business applications Departmental applications, workflow automation, business process applications Enterprise-grade applications, complex systems with deep integrations
Pros
  • No programming knowledge required
  • Quick prototyping
  • User-friendly interface
  • Rapid development for business needs
  • Lower barrier to entry than traditional development
  • Integration with business data sources
  • Speeds up development while allowing for complex logic and integrations
  • Scalable to enterprise needs 
  • Supports full software development lifecycle
Cons
  • Limited customization and scalability
  • Dependency on platform for hosting and maintenance
  • Limited complexity compared to fully coded solutions
  • May require IT oversight for governance
  • Higher learning curve than no-code solutions
  • Costs may be higher for full functionality

 

As you can see, no-code platforms are a great asset within the software development life cycle and lead to quick wins. Developers can easily customize any application or tool built on a low-code platform. It is wise to choose a vendor that offers both options so that software can be augmented and scaled when necessary. This allows for businesses to have full control over their entire tool suite.

Picking the Right Solution

So, jumping back to the earlier question: “What is the best low-code platform?” the answer is yet again, “It depends.” It depends on your specific needs. What will the platform be used for, and who will use it? Does it need to be customized, and what about scalability? All these factors need to be considered before making a decision. In our experience, opting for customizability and scalability is always a safe bet. You might not need it now, but we’ve seen many times that a solution gains traction and then needs added functionality or needs to scale. If the low-code/no-code tool you opted for doesn’t provide these options, you have to rebuild, which means spending budget and time twice.

Want to learn more about the different types of low-code? Tune in for our webinar ‘Navigating the low-code landscape’ with Betty Blocks’ CEO and Co-Founder Chris Obdam. Sign up here to secure your spot.