If you are reading this, you are probably in the phase of considering a low-code platform or you are already using a low-code platform to address your application development needs.
The pace of change in technology adoption is leading to an increasing demand for cloud-ready, enterprise-grade applications. There is a sense of urgency to develop and deliver applications with speed. Application development cycles have reduced from weeks or months to days. While the promise of low-code platforms is to accelerate application development with ease, not all platforms would be suited to your business requirements, scalability and application development strategies.
Despite the pressure, it’s time to pause and take stock of your existing systems and resources to identify how you can adopt technology meaningfully. Understand your business needs, your existing systems and processes, and the skillsets of available resources. To leverage the power low-code has to offer, you should take the time to evaluate and choose a platform that suits your enterprise needs.
Over the years, as low-code providers, we have come across some insightful questions from customers before they decided to partner with us. To understand the evaluation parameters when assessing a low-code vendor, this Webinar by Deepak Anupalli, Co-Founder and Head of Product Engineering at WaveMaker will help.
Let’s take a look at six critical questions every enterprise must ask their low-code vendors:
1. Is the platform purpose-built for developers? Is it easy to use and learn to build web UI or mobile applications?
- Keep in mind who will be using the low-code platform. Identify the type and skillsets of your developers.
- Consider the capabilities the platform offers, because it should appeal to professional developers and empower them to do more.
- Get to know what type of technology stack the platform has and if you need to reskill your existing development team.
Ideally, the low-code platform should give your developers the bandwidth to focus on innovation, and the complex and critical functions that would make the application rich.
2. Does the platform support a ‘real code-behind’ strategy? Is the code generated readable and modifiable? Does it allow for interoperability of code changes across IDEs? Customization is a key aspect when developing enterprise apps with real world applications.
- You need to know if the low-code platform generates code that can be customized, modified and integrated across development environments.
- Also consider whether the technology stack and architecture of the low-code platform supports compliance requirements and existing business components. This will ensure that the applications built are according to compliance and security requirements before they are released.
- You also must assess whether the platform supports an open standards-based technology stack, because then you can use the capabilities of mature software tools and proprietary code without having to reskill or disrupt the use of existing tools.
Like Deepak said, “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. A low-code platform that supports an open standards-based technology stack gives you the right level of maturity of software that has taken years to perfect. It also gives developers access to open standards libraries and open source frameworks like Angular, Spring or Hibernate. In this way you don’t have to reinvent the wheel in using a completely different type of software when you can get access to the same kind of capabilities by leveraging an open-standards based technology stack.”
3. Does the platform help to build scalable applications to cater to larger user base or growing use cases? No application can be scalable right away. Application scalability is deep rooted into the architecture and technology used by the platform. In terms of scaling applications, modern applications use microservices-based architecture instead of monolithic architecture.
- First, identify your scalability requirements. Are you going to increase the scope of application to include new use cases? Do you aim to increase your user base? Do you want to scale horizontally and want your applications to be deployed onto a cloud infrastructure?
- Also get to know the architecture that the platform supports. This will help you to understand whether you can scale applications to a growing use case, larger user base or based on your data or user scalability requirements.
4. Does the platform have architectural best practices in place that include enterprise-grade security? Enterprise grade security has become a critical requirement. And one of the primary reasons for delay in application delivery is getting clearance for security compliance and governance rules.
- Make sure the platform has security as a feature that is deep rooted into all the layers of the application, from the database layer, APIs, to the front-end UI components.
- Also ensure the platform integrates with the identity management system in onboarding users and uses existing permissions for role-based information access and existing security infrastructure to secure applications.
5. Does using the platform minimize risk and maximize digital transformation efforts? One of the key aspects when using a low-code platform is leveraging existing assets. To succeed in your modernization efforts, you cannot just replace existing technology, you need to integrate them with existing systems and create modern workflows and processes.
- Make sure the platform has built-in integration features that allows for integration with REST APIs and SOAP web services and existing systems.
- Also make sure the platform can generate all data structures and methods, and enable developers to manage integration and configurations without the need for them to write custom code.
- The platform must also democratize application development to enhance existing skills across teams, thereby minimizing risk and dependency on skills.
6. Is the pricing or licensing model scalable and affordable? There is a lot of confusion and complexity in understanding of licensing models of different platforms, especially when you want to build more applications.
- Identify the right pricing model and strategy that fits your needs, one that is not short-sighted. The licensing and pricing model should be affordable and scalable for your application use cases.
- The platform cost should not be disproportionate to your scalability needs. Whether you are building a complex application, increasing your user base or expanding your business use case.
Nothing holds truer today than the statement by Marc Andreessen that “software is eating the world”. In the last decade, software development has rapidly evolved and there is an increase in cloud and mobile adoption. The increasing change in pace at which software is getting delivered is faster than what enterprises and users can keep up with. Given this fact, it can only mean that it’s time to pause, assess and improve the technology you have to deliver more with less.
When assessing a low-code vendor, to understand the evaluation parameters and find examples of how low-code can deliver value, you can get a first-hand perspective in this Webinar by Deepak Anupalli, Co-Founder and Head of Product Engineering at WaveMaker.