As William Shakespear famously wrote:
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
Today many organisation around the world have transitioned the debate of build vs buy to code vs no-code – should we code custom applications, or should we jump aboard the no-code/low-code bandwagon. The trade-offs are not very different from the conundrum posed by Shakespear above – suffer months of development cycles with specialised skill-sets needed for every step of the process, and mountains of code to maintain and evolve, or trust that your chosen no-code/low-code platform has the required flexibility and ease of use to deliver on the promised benefits. You make the wrong choice, and you will run into road-blocks that may derail your development plans.
Here’s a quick checklist to consider for your code vs no-code trade-offs:
1. Do you have a lot of legacy applications?
No-code and low-code platforms work well when you are dealing with a standardised and modern interface and data formats (Eg. REST API’s with JSON payloads). If your legacy tools have custom interfaces written in languages that are soon to be obsolete, you will need to invest in a lot of custom coding to translate these interfaces and data formats. Re-building the applications from scratch in a new low-code environment may be a viable option if time, cost (return on investment) and knowledge-base (do you still have access tot he original developers of your applications around) permit.
2. Do you have internal developer teams with specific skill sets?
Core designers will always want as much control over their implementations as possible. No-code/low-code platforms abstract the infrastructure and architecture aspects of building an application to a level where any IT person can build on them. Expecting a core database engineer well versed in writing SQL queries to accepting a drag and drop environment for quick development may be a difficult proposition. Similarly an experienced Angular developer may not truly appreciate the time savings if he/she doesn’t get the pixel-level control on every UI/UX element. Developing on no-code platforms often requires a change in mind-set – prioritising speed of development and ease of evolution over micro-level control over every aspect of the solution, which in most cases may just be a personal preference rather than a genuine requirement.
3. Are you building customer facing applications?
If you need utmost flexibility to launch pixel perfect customer facing applications where unique branding and a very use case specific UI/UX is a pre-requisite, then custom development with experienced UI/UX and graphic designers will be the best option. Several low-code website and app builders are available, but will often include a finite number of screens and widgets to build your applications. As the number of configuration options grow, the low-code environment starts looking no different from developer frameworks. The backend for the application on the other hand can be built much faster and with much more out of the box scalability with low-code platforms that do all the heavy lifting for setting up your servers and databases and communications interfaces and more.
4. How much money are you willing to spend?
The choice of a platform and implementation partners will depend a lot on your budgets, and your ROI expectations. Enterprise solutions build for the Fortune 100 companies, like typical iBPMS suites like Pega or Appian or ServiceNow offer a whole range of solutions with deep functionality, which you may or may not benefit from. With user based licenses and system integration costs with partners running into millions, you would need to justify significant cost savings or growth potential with applications built on these platforms. Evolution is always a challenge as many of these are not designed to be self help solutions. On the other hand, if you a mid sized enterprise looking to solve complex automation problems in days, with little to no developer dependence, and at annual license costs in the tens of thousands, platforms like Zvolv will be a right fit. Offering 90% of the functionality at 10% of the cost, you can achieve your automation goals with justifiable ROI, in a matter of weeks.
5. How much time do you have?
The biggest pull for developing on low-code platforms is the rapid time to market and instant evolution of your solutions. If you are not in a hurry and have time and resources to spare, you can embark on more traditional development approaches, and maybe leverage rapid application development platforms to ease some of the effort and add more structure to the development process. But if time is of the essence and you need your solutions to add value in weeks, platforms like Zvolv can prove to be extremely viable solutions. With un-rivaled customisation flexibility, extensive integrations, DIY capabilities and an extensive set of features, no automation initiative is beyond the reach. With rapid POCs in days, MVPs in under 2 weeks and full-scale deployments in under a month, you can start building complex applications on Zvolv today, no developer skills needed!
These are but a few tradeoffs in the battle between no-code/low-code and traditional application development. Every organisation and project is unique, and some of these decisions may hinge on more organisation cultural nuances or long term vision. With Zvolv we provide white-glove treatment to our clients, helping you evaluate the best options for your implementation and guiding you every step of the way in the last mile of your automation journey. Drop us a note and we’ll be happy to get a ‘no-strings’attached’ conversation started.