7 Key Aspects of Low-Code Development Platform Evaluation
Increased commercial need for software solutions, along with a scarcity of trained developers, has pushed the use of low-code development platforms to the forefront. Low-code is a software application development method that allows firms to design and create apps using graphical user interfaces (GUI). In contrast to traditional programming, which necessitates a large amount of manual coding, low-code development just necessitates the drag and drop of application components into a flowchart-style structure to solve this code. Following that, the code is produced and coded automatically.
You may utilize visual development tools to design, launch, and maintain commercial apps with a low-code application development platform.
1. Identify and evaluate multiple use cases
Low-code platforms should assist your company in accelerating application development and making improvements easier to support. However, this must be balanced against the sorts of applications desired for end-user experiences, data requirements, workflow capabilities, and other considerations.
When studying and evaluating low-code platforms, it is critical to consider diverse app development needs and use cases. Most importantly, determine what the platform can or cannot readily perform, as well as its scope, strengths, and shortcomings. Choosing a low-code method because it works well for one use case does not imply that it is the best standard for ongoing needs.
2. Specify who will develop applications
Some platforms advertise themselves as low code, implying that some coding abilities are necessary to create apps. Others promote themselves as “no coding” and provide visual tools for creating user interfaces, processes, and connectors.
The target developers should be eager to understand the platform, build apps, and devote effort to continuous developments. Engaging them early in the selection process ensures that they support the tool’s use to support business aims.
3. Research customer happiness and evangelism
It’s difficult to persuade people to comment about platforms that haven’t met expectations, yet every technological platform has hundreds of good evaluations. Some platforms may advertise the number of apps, customers, and developers they have; the better ones will reveal customer satisfaction statistics. Gartner Magic Quadrants, Forrester Waves, and other analyst publications are likely to include the larger, more established, “enterprise-ready” systems.
I’m looking for door number three. I’m looking for platforms with a fervent following. To have a successful low-code platform, the organization must succeed at providing exceptional end-user experiences, astound technologists with its capabilities, and demonstrate both short- and long-term value to executives. Some low-code systems may be ineffective at capturing one of these personalities, making it difficult to deliver repeated results.
4. Define usage requirements and estimate pricing
The business and pricing structures of low-code platforms are extremely varied. Some feature end-user pricing, which means you pay more for more program users or consumption. Other firms price their platforms based on the development scale, which includes variables such as the number of applications or development seats. Some provide numerous items that must be purchased individually, while the majority use capability-based price levels.
As a result, while many companies provide simple onramps to trials and producing proofs of concept, it’s critical to understand the end-state development and production needs.
Also, don’t make the mistake of comparing low-code platforms just on pricing. Finally, these platforms must provide engaging experiences, increased development productivity, and solid operational capabilities. Consider all financial aspects while attempting to create a total cost of ownership.
5. Investigate and prioritize integration requirements
Nobody can afford to build low-code apps in silos. Enterprise systems, APIs, cloud and data center databases, and third-party data sources must all be integrated into applications. If your company is creating IoT data pipelines or machine learning models, chances are you’ll want to combine them with low-code platforms.
APIs are available on nearly all platforms, but what you can do with them, how well they work, and how vendors assist development teams to vary greatly. The last thing you want to do is create low-code apps that require sophisticated integrations that must be maintained on an ongoing basis.
6. Review hosting, DevOps, and governance options
Low code was traditionally linked with SaaS and cloud hosting solutions, with few offering hybrid cloud and data center options. This is no longer the case, and low-code platforms are increasingly competing on hosting flexibility.
Another key factor is to look at DevOps possibilities. When it comes to DevOps capabilities, not all low-code platforms are made equal, particularly in areas such as:
- Application versioning or integration with a version control system
- Providing assistance across the development life cycle in dev, test, and other settings
- Providing an agile development process with access to tools for managing backlogs and road maps.
- Integrating change management procedures with continuous integration/continuous deployment, continuous testing, or IT service management
- Enabling data snapshots, mirrors, and replications, as well as extracting, converting, and load operations to aid disaster recovery and data science.
7. Understand compliance and security requirements
It is critical to assess platforms in the correct sequence. Don’t get the impression that compliance and security are the least critical considerations. Determining what is a must vs a should and when to consider different criteria is part of the art and science of evaluating platforms.
If you’re creating apps that need HIPAA compliance, data lineage capabilities, auditing capabilities, data sovereignty compliance, active directory integrations, hosting limits, or other non-negotiables, you should examine these needs ahead of time.