Application development using no-code low-code platforms is on the rise. The no-code low-code market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22% for the next 6 years. IT owners need to start strategizing for no-code adoption in their respective organizations.
A low-code/no-code platform offers the ability for rapid application development, deployment and execution. It supports the use of declarative, high-level programming abstractions ( model-driven and metadata-based services) for application development, thus avoiding the need for skilled developers.
Gartner views no-code as a subset of low-code technology solutions.
If you are still wondering where to start, here is a list of key considerations for low-code strategy that you can use.
1. HYBRID APPROACH
First and foremost, consider taking a "Hybrid" approach. It is a mix of in-house app development as well as app development using a low-code platform.
For instances where you are concerned about IP, complexity of the system or business criticality then you can choose to build it from scratch in-house. Apart from owning your source code, this will also give you the option of going with the tech stack of your choice.
Applications that help you increase operational efficiency, need to be built fast and are expected to be easy to maintain, should be built using a low-code platform. Process automation, digitization of manual processes, user-friendly flows and workflow definitions can be taken up with a low-code platform.
A "Hybrid" approach lets you get started with the low-code platform. It helps you take small but important steps towards improving efficiency and productivity of your IT organization. It lets you keep your valuable developer community focussed on core and business critical software development.
2. IDENTIFY USE CASES
It is good to be clear about the use cases you will address through a low-code platform. Based on the kind of apps that you want to develop, you need to evaluate and choose a relevant platform.
Use cases can be broadly classified in the following three categories:
Internal Applications are for the use of employees and are usually web based. These apps can be built in 2-4 weeks. These applications involve:Data Extraction, Processing & Reporting, Centralized Data Entry & Dash-boarding, Simple Workflows for Approval & Claims.
Enterprise Grade Applications: Applications with complex business logic and workflows with integrations to external systems and services. These applications usually also involve user management.
Mobile and Web Applications: These can be your customer or user-facing applications. They need to have rich user experience on the web and mobile.
As earlier stated, it is good to start with internal apps that will automate processes and increase operational efficiency. Customer facing apps can be avoided in the first pass. However, if customer facing apps is the focus then your evaluation should check for capabilities that will let you provide rich customer experience.
3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT NO-CODE PLATFORM
There are close to 300 vendors offering low-code platforms today. Not all of them can do everything. There are some that are more suitable for specific use cases (mentioned above) than the others.
You should look for specific capabilities in the low-code platform to suit your organizational needs and focus.
Below is a list of parameters to check for while evaluating a low-code platform for your use case:
Application Design Tools
Visual Design, Debugging and Testing
Data Modeling approach - Inferred vs Graphical
Responsiveness to Form Factors
Security and Encryption
Integration via APIs
One click deployment
Support and SLAs
For more details on capabilities refer to our blog for "Key Capabilities" to look for in a low-code/no-code platform.
4. MULTI VENDOR APPROACH
The requirements of your organization can be diverse. One platform may not meet all your organizational needs. For example, there are platforms that are good at providing rich multiexperience ( user experience across platforms - phone, web, tablets etc) while there are others that provide enterprise grade security, speed and scalability and the ability to encapsulate complex business logic.
You can choose a large established and a small upcoming vendor. The established vendor will bring in predictability and stability to your IT efforts and charge a premium for the same. A small vendor will bring in agility and flexibility along with innovation. The willingness to engage and the desire to delight customers is very high with small vendors.
A "multi vendor" approach also ensures that you have the flexibility of switching from one vendor to the other quickly, if things do not work out as expected. It will ensure that you are not totally locked in with just one vendor without any options.
5. MANAGE CHANGE PROACTIVELY
Change often faces resistance and shadow IT will resist changes with full force. There have been cases when the IT teams, especially developers, get demotivated by the thought of diminished chances of coding. Coders cannot be expected to embrace a no-code low-code platform!
It is usually the Business Team and Citizen Developers who are most excited with the prospect of a platform expediting application implementation. It will be good not to lose sight of the developers in the team.
Concerns of the developer community need to be addressed actively as these can cause demotivation and dissatisfaction within the community.
A good change management plan needs to be in place. More importantly, the objectives and benefits of the low-code platform adoption should be communicated within your organization in detail. Impacts on teams, restructuring and change in responsibilities need to be communicated with team members. It is important to convey that the low-code adoption is being driven from the top.
As an IT owner you can explore no-code low-code technology for its immense benefits. If planned properly the speed of adoption and associated impact can be managed well within an organization. The key considerations detailed above can help you get started with your no-code low-code strategy.
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