• First Digital

Low code solutions: Pain or gain?

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

The idea that you can rapidly build applications using low-code platforms and cut development costs sounds like a winner to many IT departments. “All these business requirements that we can deliver in a matter of days. Awesome!”

This is true and certainly possible. You could automate numerous processes and digitalize a majority of manual forms using a low or no-code development platform such as Power Platform, K2, or Nintex.

However, this requires sound analysis of the requirements and a good understanding of the limitations that comes with low and no-code platforms. Let explore some pitfalls to choosing a low or no-code platform.

1. Complex requirements

Some platforms have limits of what you can customize. Knowing these limits upfront will help you determine whether the platform will be a good fit for the requirements. Doing a proof of concept first is a good approach, but be careful not to focus on the easiest and quickest features to implement, and then discover these limitations when faced with the real-world requirements. Low or no-code development platforms fair well at simple, structured data driven requirements, but often lack the ability to meet complex requirements. Picking the most complex requirement for a proof of concept is the best way to test the platform against the deliverables.

2. You do not require to be technical

Despite what is commonly sold as a feature of a low code platform, which is not needing developers, having a development background is a big advantage. Often low code platforms require some code, so having that experience can help you develop a solution that is responsive and provides a positive user experience. Purely relying on non-technical resources (sometimes called Citizen Developers in the low code world) to develop applications creates risk of poor quality apps due to the learning curve required to master these platforms.

It is critical to work with an expert and cover all the required questions before investing in a low code platform. An architecture that allows a hybrid approach should be considered. For example, you can develop the user interface using modern development tools but rely on the workflow engine from a low code platform to automate various actions such as sending notifications, reminders, and sending information to APIs.

In Conclusion

Low code platforms will forever change how business applications are built. They offer rapid development as a fraction of the cost of custom development. Because they offer a controlled environment, the testing efforts are also reduced compared to custom built software. However, beware of the limitations of such a platform. Just because the technical resources on the project are predominantly non-developers, an intimate knowledge of the platform and its limitations are critical to achieve successful outcomes.

Kevin Tshiowa

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