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5 factors to consider before taking the Low-Code plunge

Pani Baruri
Head of Delivery, India

With the rapid adoption of digital technologies spurred by the pandemic, organizations modernize their traditional monolith IT systems by adopting a cloud-native microservices architecture. While benefits like flexibility, scalability, and responsiveness are apparent, many businesses struggle with designing and executing such transformational programs. Given the scenario, low-code is emerging as a fast-growing trend, with an increasing number of companies adopting it or exploring it to accelerate their application development process. 

Low-code explained

Enterprise low-code application platform (LCAP) trend is not new. As businesses adopt cloud, automation, and software that creates an omnichannel strategy, LCAP suppliers have been investing in a platform that will allow anyone to code quickly and achieve broad objectives faster. 

So,why this buzz surroundinglow-code? Gone are the days of writing lines of codes. It’s the age of using graphical interface to visually drag and drop components, which would then become the code. These features simplify and guide the application creation process, enabling developers to streamline their work, reducing the application development and support load typically placed on the IT department.At the same time, low-code drives innovation at lower costs as businesses can now exploresolutions that might have been deemed high cost or time-consuming with traditional development practices. 

A new way of developing solutions

Low-code development is shortening the learning curve and making the process simpler, easier, and more accessible. While it might be tempting to jump into the low-code bandwagon, we look at the five most essential factors to evaluate before taking the plunge. 

  1. Cost
    Most of the LCAP tools are "Per User" or "Per Application" based. Although the initial costs are high, it decreases with the volume of usage. It is essential to thoroughly evaluate all the business processes and their value streams and automation opportunities. LCAP decisions should be taken when organizations have sufficient use cases to accelerate the current business process.
  2. APIfication
    Organizations are at varying levels of maturity in terms of IT adoption. Some of the ‘early adopters’ are still running on mainframe applications that are hard to do away with.By adopting APIs and microservices as a strategy, they have stitched together with old and evolving applications. However, to effectively embrace low-code, it's imperative to audit the IT landscape, identify inter-linkages and then decide the following path.Many LCAP suppliers allow existing services to be called in through APIs and provide their APIs for accessing their data or services. They also offer multi-experience development capabilities, enabling highly effective, customer-friendly user experiences with web and mobile devices.
  3. Tool Selection
    Multiple COTS vendors are available who provide tooling across many dimensions, such as Data, Process Automation, UX, App testingand reporting, to name a few. The selected toolshould meet the key objective of creating a platform for seamless collaboration between business and IT. Organizations should also watch out for vendor lock-ins and the associated consequences. 
  4. Security
    Historically, LCAP tooling has been deployed for business-to-employee (B2E) applications behind the firewall. However, recently, they are increasingly used for B2C and B2B use cases, which means increased security considerations.For the platforms delivered on the cloud, security updates are regularly scheduled. Services are updated automatically behind the scenes, focusing on best practices such as authorization, authentication mechanisms, and data encryption services. 
  5. Customization
    The power of Low-Code is in its predefined components that can be incorporated in the workflow with a visualdragand drop.Many a time, organizations fall into the trap of customizing the code to suit their needs.While each business is different, they can fully leverage their low-code investments by prioritizing what needs to be customized. Painting all code in one brush stroke might not yield the best results in terms of performance. 

In Conclusion

The IT industry is at an exciting inflection point with the availability of Low-Code platforms. As organizations become digitized, it's critical to break down traditional silos and reshape operating models. And, with low-code, businesses will have the opportunity to do just that.  However, as the first step, they need to consider these five aspects to devise a strategy that empowers them to harness and optimize the power of low-code development. 

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