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How SMEs Can Choose the Right Low-Code/No-Code Platform

Feeling the Pressure to Innovate Faster?

As an SME leader, staying ahead of the curve is an ongoing battle. Your competitors are churning out new ideas, and the market demands a responsive and agile organization. However, traditional development cycles can be cumbersome and expensive, challenging your ability to innovate quickly. 

Enter Low-Code/No-Code (LCNC) technology—a buzzword captivating SMEs, CxOs, and decision-makers alike. But is it a transformative reality or just a passing fad? Deciphering its real potential for your business can be confusing. This blog will delve into LCNC, focusing on why enterprises, especially SMEs, should actively consider its adoption. We will also discuss factors that can make or break a successful LCNC implementation and share steps to guide decision-makers through the crucial process of selecting the right platform. 

High-Impact Benefits, But Wait…There’s a Catch!

The lure of low-code/no-code solutions lies in their promise of high-impact benefits that can reshape how businesses operate. Let’s dive into what it has to offer: 

Faster Innovation

Imagine bringing your ideas to life at a pace that matches the speed of your imagination—a reality made possible by the efficiency inherent in LCNC technologies. It empowers organizations to break free from traditional development cycles, enabling swift application creation and deployment. 

Cost Savings

LCNC simplifies development processes and reduces dependency on specialized coding expertise, converting it into significant savings. This allows businesses to assign resources more efficiently, pushing funds toward strategic initiatives that drive growth.

Increased Agility

LCNC equips enterprises, especially SMEs, to rapidly adapt to evolving market conditions by making crucial modifications, updates, and enhancements manageable. The result? A business that is nimble, responsive, and ready to adapt to future challenges.

Effortless Data Integration

LCNC streamlines data integration by simplifying workflows for effortless information handling. Users easily locate, understand, and utilize data, quickly identifying source, ownership, validity, and quality across processes, empowering confident decision-making.

Enhanced Customer Experience

LCNC platforms facilitate the seamless updating of systems and empower CX professionals to craft tailored customer surveys, e-commerce solutions, customer service interfaces, and loyalty applications, further elevating the overall customer experience.

Streamlined Governance

LCNC platforms enable IT and DevOps teams to manage application portfolios efficiently and with strong compliance and governance features. Reducing reliance on third-party apps for quick fixes, LCNC fosters a collaborative work environment and ensures effective management while meeting governance standards.

Making the Right Choice: A Cautionary Note

Amid the excitement of these high-impact benefits, there’s a crucial point to consider. The market is flooded with various low-code/no-code platforms, each boasting unique features and advantages. Decision-makers face the challenge of selecting the one that aligns seamlessly with their business goals. It’s about more than just the features on paper but the practicality of integration, scalability, and long-term support. Choosing the right platform is paramount, as the wrong decision could undermine the very benefits you seek to gain.

Read About Low Code Adoption for SMEs and the Impact

Choosing Your Weapon: Selecting the Right Platform

The next crucial step is choosing the right platform that aligns seamlessly with your business needs. This decision holds the key to unlocking the full potential of low-code/no-code within your organization. Let’s delve into essential considerations and best practices to guide you through this pivotal selection process.

So, what are some key things you need to consider?

Best Practices for Platform Vendor Selection

To navigate this decision effectively, consider adopting best practices:

  • Conduct Demos: Actively participate in platform demonstrations to get hands-on experience and an in-depth understanding of its capabilities.
  • Evaluate Technical Support: Assess the level of technical support provided, ensuring a reliable partner in your LCNC journey.
  • Assess Future Growth Opportunities: Look beyond immediate needs and assess how well the platform can support your organization’s growth.

With these considerations and best practices in mind, selecting the right LCNC platform becomes a strategic move toward unlocking your organization’s potential for innovation and efficiency. So, let’s equip ourselves with the knowledge and insights needed to make this crucial decision and pave the way for a successful LCNC integration.

Meet the Vendors: Exploring Platform Offerings

Let’s take a brief tour of a few popular platforms—Mendix, Microsoft Power Apps, Appian, and Outsystems—and uncover their unique strengths:

Mendix: Renowned for its prowess in handling complex enterprise applications, Mendix, an American no-code development platform, helps create and deploy intelligent applications with contextualized and proactive user experiences using Mendix. Enhanced with AI capabilities, Mendix features virtual co-developer bots that streamline processes. Additionally, the pioneering LCAP supports embedded machine learning models rather than relying solely on API-based integration. 

Mendix is ideally suited for four common application scenarios in low-code development:

  • Innovation
  • Customer engagement
  • Operational efficiency
  • Legacy migration

Mendix empowers you to create diverse transactional, event-driven, and adjacent applications tailored to various industries. Whether dealing with complexity, performance demands, or scalability needs, Mendix provides a versatile solution for all your application development requirements.

Microsoft Power Apps: Microsoft PowerApps, a low-code development platform by Microsoft, allows for rapid application building and seamless data connectivity. Its Excel-like logic expressions ensure smooth cross-device operation. Integrated with the Microsoft ecosystem, PowerApps synergizes with SharePoint, OneDrive, MS Office, Azure, Dynamics 365, and Teams. Furthermore, the Microsoft Power Platform offers a comprehensive suite of tools, seamlessly integrating with various Microsoft products and providing numerous data connectors for effortless access to diverse data sources.

In Forrester’s Total Economic Impact™ study on Power Apps, the following results were unveiled:

  • App development and costs reduced by 74%
  • A 4.3% revenue uplift attributed to increased and expedited development efforts
  • $132,000 worth of worker hours saved through streamlined and automated activities by Year 3

Appian: With a focus on rapid development and deployment, Appian offers an intuitive interface and streamlined workflows that enable a swift creation and deployment of applications, driving productivity and agility across organizations. Appian’s LCNC  platform is well-suited for businesses and industries with complex and dynamic processes that require rapid application development and automation. Some of its unique features include:

  • Rapid App Development: Build applications quickly.
  • Empower Developers: Provide visual and intuitive low-code design for professional and citizen developers.
  • Cross-Platform Deployment: Develop once and deploy across various devices and web browsers.
  • Built-in Governance: Enable governed development and native CI/CD for reliable deployments.
  • Power of Low-Code: Quickly address complex business application needs with low-code solutions.

Outsystems: The OutSystems low-code platform utilizes AI and automation to expedite the entire software development life cycle (SDLC). With no requirement for intricate, customized scripting during code deployment, publishing becomes a one-click process. Dependency analysis ensures that changes do not disrupt your portfolio or application. Additionally, OutSystems seamlessly integrates into your DevOps infrastructure, providing the agility to adapt to evolving requirements.

  • Robust Security and Compliance: OutSystems ensures app security with AI-powered checks and enterprise SAST solutions, complying with standards like SOC2 and HIPAA.
  • Rapid Development: With OutSystems, build and update apps quickly using visual tools and AI automation, reducing development time from weeks to hours.
  • Superior User Experience and Automation: Create stunning web and mobile experiences while automating internal processes. Develop custom ERPs, CRMs, and core systems of record for business success.
  • Extensive Developer Support: Access thousands of templates, connectors, and modules in the Forge repository. With a large developer community and integrations with 400+ systems, scalability and innovation are assured.

While each platform boasts unique strengths, aligning the platform with your specific needs and skillset is the key to success. Whether you lean towards technical proficiency or embrace the power of citizen developers, choosing a platform that resonates with your organizational requirements is paramount. Choosing the right platform sets the stage for a successful LCNC journey, unlocking a world of innovation and efficiency tailored to your unique business objectives.

Embracing Change: Integrating LCNC into Your Enterprise

Integrating low-code/no-code into your enterprise represents a significant shift that necessitates a strategic approach to change management. Addressing concerns and challenges surrounding organizational change is pivotal for successful implementation.

Low-code/no-code adoption should align closely with the organization’s culture and overarching business objectives as a pivotal strategic decision. There are three critical areas for enterprise action: 

Define: 

  • Articulate LCNC’s vision and objectives.
  • Create an assessment framework to categorize applications and set the base for transformation.
  • Define a roadmap aligning LCNC with the growth journey.

Design: 

  • Establish a governance structure involving business and IT leaders.
  • Promote talent development and collaboration.
  • Ensure consistency through taxonomy and standardized implementations.
  • Devise guidelines for LCNC development and application classification.

Develop: 

  • Choose platforms aligning with business strategy and scalability.
  • Mitigate risks with a balanced approach.
  • Foster collaboration between professional and business developers.
  • Set up pilots and transformation sandbox for continuous improvement.

Limitations and Considerations: Maintaining a Balanced Perspective

While low-code/no-code platforms offer significant advantages, it’s important to maintain a balanced perspective and consider certain limitations:

Reduced flexibility: Low-code/no-code solutions may need more customization options with traditional coding, potentially limiting adaptability to specific user requirements. Feature ability is dependent on the platform vendor. Tenancy extensions can help mitigate this limitation to some extent.

Security and risk: Relying on platform providers to ensure application security can pose risks, as the underlying system is a black box and its security compliance may not meet specific business needs (e.g., HIPAA for Healthcare). This risk is heightened for products acquired from vendors rather than in-house developed solutions.

Vendor lock-in: Businesses using a specific low-code/no-code platform may face challenges switching to alternative platforms, increasing dependency on a single provider.

Complexity of Certain Applications: Despite the advancements in low-code/no-code technology, some applications may still require the expertise of professional developers, especially those with complex functionalities or unique requirements.

Long-Term Maintenance and Integration Needs: Organizations must anticipate and plan long-term platform maintenance and integration requirements with any technology solution. This includes ensuring compatibility with existing systems and scalability to accommodate future growth.

Embrace the Future, But Choose Wisely

While low-code/no-code presents exciting opportunities for innovation and efficiency, it’s essential to approach adoption cautiously and diligently. A thorough evaluation of its platforms ensures they align with the organization’s goals and requirements. Businesses can leverage its benefits while mitigating potential risks by making informed decisions and selecting the right LCNC solution.

A Brighter Future: The Power of Low-Code/No-Code Awaits

In the context of digital transformation, the combined forces of low-code and digital process automation (DPA) account for $13.2 billion by the close of 2023, a 21% growth since 2019. According to Forrester, 87% of enterprise developers have adopted low-code development platforms

A leading American business helped its clients prolong the life of their structural assets through robust quality and field maintenance programs. To streamline their field inspection Ops and enhance worker health and safety, Trigent leveraged Microsoft .NET framework and the Fulcrum low-code platform apps to automate field data capture, invoice generation, and worker health checkup schedules were developed quickly. This automation resulted in operational efficiency, accurate billing, and priority for worker safety. Faster development, lower costs, and reduced time to market were added benefits
This success story epitomizes the promise of low-code/no-code, where innovation thrives, agility is realized, and organizations become more responsive than ever. Embrace the potential of low-code/no-code to revolutionize your business today.

Start Your Low-Code/No-Code Journey Now – Explore the Possibilities! Contact Us!

Author

  • Abishek Bhat

    Abishek Bhat is the Vice President of Business Development at Trigent Software. He enables businesses to adopt strategic outsourcing to make their processes and workforce more productive and improve ROI. A passionate advocate of digital transformation, he guides organizations on their journey towards digital maturity and excellence with a keen focus on QA.