Evaluating Low-Code Options and Planning Your Low-Code Journey
As we’ve explored in the first two parts of this three-part series, there are many and diverse ways in which enterprise leaders can use a low-code development platform to transform their organizations.
We examined how they can use them to optimize operations, to unify systems and data as a more measured approach to modernization, and to transform the customer experience.
After reading about the results that many organizations are now realizing, you may be chomping at the bit to get going. But before you grab the first low-code platform you can find and dive in, there are a few things you should know.
In this final installment of our three-part series, we will review the specific enablers that you should evaluate as you consider a low-code platform.
Evaluating Platform Enablers
While the stories shared in the first two parts of this series demonstrated the results that organizations can achieve with this technology, not all so-called low-code development platforms are created equal.
A platform will only help you deliver these sorts of results if it offers you the means and mechanics to solve business problems more quickly and easily than with traditional methods of either buying commercial off-the-shelf software or building a custom, hand-coded application.
Likewise, the results that we’ve described in this series are generally only attainable when using what we call enterprise-class low-code development platforms, which go beyond enabling simple applications and, instead, enable organizations to build complex, mission-critical ones. As part of that depth, these platforms have been designed to meet the unique needs of large organizations and their incumbent security, integration, and governance requirements.
Finally, every low-code platform comes with a set of trade-offs. Only you can know which will best suit the specific needs of your organization.
As you proceed to evaluate the various low-code platform options available, therefore, you should take care to evaluate them through the prism of what we call the enterprise-class low-code platform enablers:
When evaluating low-code platforms, speed of development should be one of your primary evaluation criteria. The ability to rapidly ideate, prototype, develop, test, deploy, and change applications is a core enabler of the low-code value proposition.
It is essential, however, that you also evaluate a platform’s speed balance, that is, its ability to increase delivery speed through every stage of the application development lifecycle. To ensure a platform will meet your needs, you should evaluate things such as:
- Overall ease of use — from both a developer’s and a business user’s perspective
- Ease of application ideation and interface design
- Intuitive functionality that speeds overall development for both developers and business users
- The ability to rapidly change and adapt applications at any stage of development
- Ease of collaboration, including governance controls, that speeds co-development efforts
While speed is essential, you must also balance it with the depth of control and scalability that enterprise use cases demand. Being able to create an application rapidly is of no use if you cannot deploy it quickly at enterprise scale or integrate it into the complex enterprise technology stack. Therefore, you should also evaluate things such as:
- Integration: its ability to rapidly and easily integrate with both modern and legacy applications, and with both custom and commercial off-the-shelf applications, ideally with limited or no coding.
- Scalability: its ability to handle enterprise-level workloads with sustained performance. You should also evaluate scalability in terms of the platform architecture, deployment models, and how much effort on your part is required to create such scalability.
- Security: its ability to meet enterprise-level security, privacy and compliance requirements. At a minimum, this should include fine-grained, role-based controls, fine-grained auditability, and both role-based and application-based governance controls.
- Reliability: its ability to deliver enterprise-level application availability, reliability, and resiliency. This should include both meeting acceptable performance criteria, as well as tools that enable you to monitor and manage application performance.
The third platform enabler is the most difficult to describe, but is essentially the platform’s ability to help you innovate and create differentiating business value. Specifically, you should assess the platform’s feature set and capabilities from the perspective of its ability to help you create experiences or deliver services that will create competitive value for your organization in some way. This may include things like:
- The ability to create rich, modern digital experiences
- Advanced levels of automation
- The ability to leverage machine learning and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI)
- The ability to leverage emerging types of automation such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Digital Process Automation (DPA), and related technologies
- The richness of its mobile capabilities and the ability to create mobile-first experiences
The Intellyx Take: Clarity of Purpose is Essential
Choosing a low-code platform is a pivotal decision.
Knowing what you hope to achieve with it, therefore, is the essential starting point. We hope that the exploration of the diverse ways that you can leverage low-code to reshape your organization throughout this series has helped you with this crucial first step.
We also hope that the stories of how other organizations have already leveraged low-code platforms to deliver meaningful business results helps you see the richness and diversity of ways that you can harness the power of platforms, such as Appian, to transform your organization.
Most importantly, we hope that we have provided you the beginnings of an evaluation framework that will help you as you take the next step on your low-code journey.
If you begin with clarity of purpose and consciously endeavor to explore the numerous ways you can leverage low-code development platforms, we believe that you will open yourself up to a whole new world of application development. It will be a world in which you are free from the limiting constraints of traditional development approaches.
And it will be a world in which you are free to imagine entirely new business and operating models, confident that anything you can imagine, you will create.
To learn more about the current state of low-code development and how organizations have already leveraged it to deliver meaningful results, register for the upcoming webinar How to Transform your Organization with Low-Code on June 27, 2019.
Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Appian is an Intellyx client and provided all case study data. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this paper.