4 Things to Consider Before Buying an Enterprise Low-code No-code Application Development Platform
Updated: Sep 25, 2020
In today’s competitive market, IT organizations are facing mounting pressure to do more with less and to rapidly deliver business solutions that add value to products, services and operations. One way that IT organizations are responding are by turning to low-code no-code application development platforms. A low-code no-code application development platform is a type of software that allows users to create both desktop and mobile applications with little-to-no coding required. Instead, apps are built through drag-and-drop interface designers, visual workflow builders and codeless integrations that allow apps to connect to on-premise and cloud-based data sources and third-party apps. Low-code no-code application development platforms provide organizations with a ton of benefits such as faster time-to-market over traditionally developed apps and easy integration with external data-sources. Procuring such platforms can be complicated as there are a lot of platforms available with significant product differentiation. Regardless of the platforms that you’re considering, the following are four things that you should consider before you go to market for an enterprise low-code no-code application development platform.
Why Does Your Organization Want to Purchase a Low-code No-code Application Development Platform?
It is important to have a clear understanding of your organizations objectives for wanting to purchase a low-code no-code application development platform before going to market. The low-code no-code market is saturated with a variety of platforms with varying degrees of functionality and navigating the market can be complex. Understanding what problems, you’re trying to solve or opportunities you’re trying to realize with help narrow the scope of your platform selection and will help streamline the evaluation process. Some potential questions that you can ask to help understand the objectives are:
What issues are you facing with respect to application development?
How long does it take for apps to be developed & deployed currently?
If using a legacy solution, what are its biggest strengths and weaknesses?
Is your current platform too costly?
Do you rely too much on external developers to build applications?
Are you able to satisfy the use-cases and business requirements that are being raised?
Who Will Be Using the Low-Code No-Code Application Development Platform?
Another important question to consider is who is the intended user base of the low-code no-code application development platform? While the answer to this question will vary from organization to organization, it is important that organizations understand that users of these platforms can vary in terms of technical expertise and experience with coding or programming. The image below highlights the potential range of users for low-code no-code platforms with non-technical business users on one end, pro-code developers on the other end and with your various information technology analysts sitting in the middle.
Understanding who will be using these platforms before purchasing is important to ensure that the platform will be fit for use. If the low-code no-code application development platform will be primarily used by non-technical business users, then you will want to ensure you purchase a platform that is simple and easy to use. If the core users will be pro-code developers, then perhaps you will be looking for a platform that is more feature-rich and that supports the inclusion of custom code and app components.
How Much is Your Organization Willing to Spend on an a Low-Code No-code Application Development Platform?
Cost is one of the most important things to consider before going to market to purchase a low-code no-code application development platform. The pricing models for these platforms vary significantly with some charging annually per user of apps developed in the platform and some per data table entitlements. To help you estimate your annual costs, you should try to estimate your annual user base and should also consider how this number may scale in the future. Pricing for most platforms are available online and list prices may be discounted based on volume of licenses purchased. Generally, the higher the volume the steeper the discount. Lastly, try to consider and research any potential add-ons that you want to include in the platform. Some examples of add-ons that are growing in popularity but that represent additional costs are artificial intelligence modules and machine learning.
What Types of Data Sources & Third-Party Apps Will You Need to Connect To?
One of the best features of low-code no-code application development platforms is the ability to easily connect them with various external data sources and third-party apps. Such connections allow organizations to automate processes and workflows across apps and services. As more and more apps and services shift to the cloud, the need for easy integration with proprietary applications is only going to grow. When evaluating low-code no-code application development platforms, you should first understand your organization's technology portfolio and catalogue the important apps and services that you want to connect to or interact with through applications to be developed. A good example of this type of integration would be creating an application that can interface with an enterprise active directory. Perhaps your organizations uses active directory groups to manage permissions or distribution lists and in the current state, users have to submit requests to IT to modify such groups. However, if a low-code application development platform supports integration with the active directory platform that your organization uses, then in the future it would be possible to develop an app to invoke and trigger such modifications. Thus, it is a good idea to determine which critical technology apps and services you may need to connect to before going to market to ensure that the platform you ultimately select supports integration with these apps and services.