How do top technical leaders evaluate low-code platforms for their business?
Blog: NASSCOM Official Blog
The objective of any low-code platform is to accelerate speed of development by empowering app makers with pre-built, reusable components, functions, and third party connectors.
With the app platform market expanding and demand for digitization on the rise, more organizations turn to low-code platforms to speed up business processes in less time and money.
Technology has never been more accessible and easier to understand than it is today for businesses to adopt and reasons to adopt technology are diminishing.
So the question rises – how do enterprise application leaders assess low-code platforms to find the best-fit for their requirements?
Enterprise customers evaluating low-code platforms need platform capabilities that go beyond customer-facing platforms. To evaluate low-code platform vendors from an enterprise view, focus is on advanced features, ease of use, customizability, reusability, speed of delivery, and enterprise-readiness. This article provides an overview of various capabilities to assess low-code platforms on. You can read through the following checklist or get instant access to low-code platform vendor evaluation scorecard to select the most appropriate vendor for your business needs.
App development platform evaluation requires careful consideration of following:
- Unique Business Needs
Every organization’s requirements are unique. If the app maker’s are citizen developers, then going for a zero-code platform would be fruitful to avoid any code related complexities and enable them to create the solutions that solve their problem or problems for their department. For more creative and personalized development, give your IT teams a low code platform where they can speed up development with ready components and still code on top of it to bolt in their custom features.
- Compliance, Data Security & Resource Management
Citizen development using no-code or low-code platforms can give rise to unique governance challenges. While enabling citizen developers, you need to be sure the output is secure. The decision needs to be balanced with costs, security and compliance the platform readily provides. The platform should be an enabler of both compliance policies and technology constraints that covers the What and How of the work to be done.
- Vendor Expertise
Visual app development vendors offer an all-encompassing product — from letting makers build front-end to back-end to integrating with existing legacy systems or cloud-based software. Others offer a range of specialized options that are more suitable for specific industry, processes or departments. Some vendors may have domain expertise and ready templates for applications for your domain. If your objective is to create applications for enterprise-wide operations or if you currently have a very specific problem to solve but don’t want to feel tied up with a vendor for future requirements, going for an all encompassing vendor solution is the way forward.
- Future-proof Technology
This is a critical one, anticipating your technological advancements, the vendor you select should let you extend your existing systems with ease and make upgrades and iterations more seamless, letting your scale as you go. You successfully moved existing internal tools to the cloud and built new processes but is the platform going to support your future needs as well? You should be able to make apps that can be easily maintained and scaled as needed.
Even for experts, vendor selection can seem complicated and possibly an expensive process, trying different providers to find the one that works for their organization. One is bound to go for platforms that are:
- Abundantly promoted, or
- Bundled with a software already used in your organization (this could be a vendor providing ready solutions to integrate apps already in use)
While every low-code platform will have its own set of trade-offs, I have attempted to categorize the capabilities into the following buckets:
- Visual development environment
- Basic Platform Requirements
- App Development (UI/UX)
- Reusability and Branding Capabilities
- Integration with upstream or downstream systems – critical for enterprise agility
- Integration Capabilities
- Ready Connectors – API
- Ready Connectors – Database
- Process automation & business logic
- Front-end business logic builder
- Workflow and Reporting Features
- Automation Capabilities
- Enterprise-readiness for easy IT approval
- Data Security Management
- Development Environments
- Standard Certifications
- Ease of user onboarding & user management
- Access control dashboards
- Platform and app use Analytics
- Onboarding Help for makers
Shared in this link is a more refined version of an actual scorecard from a company evaluating DronaHQ low-code development platform against other options.
Why this matters for your enterprise
Low-code tools come in all varieties, from installable IDEs to cloud-based platforms. Understandably, thorough research is always a good idea as only after trying the platform can you determine its true value to your organization and how it solves your purpose. The aim of this article is to help enterprise IT Leaders bypass some of the evaluation steps in less time or declutter the prospect list. As you weigh your options, consider this simple evaluation tool as it sets the base for basic as well as critical considerations, and a method of rating the considerations based on the speed and ease the vendor provides.