Enterprise adoption of low-code platforms has been invigorated in recent years by its potential to drive digital transformation. This fast-rising platform solution offers promise to democratize programming with today’s talent shortage and help companies develop applications and enhance functionalities faster. While the opportunities are clear, charting a path to successful adoption is ambiguous. Learn the 4Cs approach used by best-in-class enterprises for selecting and adopting the right-fit low-code platforms in this blog.
As many as 60% of new application development engagements consider low-code platforms, according to Everest Group’s recent market study. Driven by the pandemic, the sudden surge in demand for digital transformation accelerated low-code annual market growth to about 25%. Considering its potential, low code is appropriately being called the “Next Cloud.”
Interest by investors also has accelerated, further driving R&D spend for new product development. Funding activities in 2022 to companies featuring low code in their profiles already amounts to $560 million across 40 rounds.
Platform providers are responding to these elevated expectations with equal fervor by building platforms with deep domain-specific expertise, while others are providing process-specific solutions for enterprises’ customization requirements.
While these markets have resulted in a proliferation of low-code platforms to choose from, it also has led to confusion and inefficiencies for enterprises. As more and more enterprises explore the potential of these platforms, IT leaders are faced with numerous questions and concerns such as:
“How do I select the platform that can address my current and future requirements?”
“Which platform will work best in my specific enterprise IT landscape?”
“How can we optimize the investment in this technology?”
“How do I compare the pricing structures of different low-code platforms?”
“How do we ensure governance and security of the IT estate with these new tech assets?”
Adoption journey and evaluation parameters for low-code platforms
In addition to the high-priority use cases that initiate the adoption, enterprises should consider the platform’s scalability potential, talent availability for support and enhancement, and integration with the broader IT landscape to make the right selection.
Additionally, low-code platforms are intended to address the requirements of the IT function as well as business stakeholders. Considering the drivers, expectations, and requirements of both when making the selection is essential. A collaborative decision-making set-up with the central IT team and key Line-of-Business (LoB) leaders is critical for a successful platform selection. Let’s explore the 4Cs to low code success.
4Cs to low code success
The key steps to ensure successful low-code platform selection and adoption are:
- Contemplate: Initiate platform adoption by a set of high-priority use cases but plan for scalability at the enterprise level during platform selection
- Collaborate: Bring together the central IT group to lead the selection and adoption effort and meaningfully involve the LoB stakeholders
- Compare: Start with business and tech drivers, expectations, and requirements from both IT and business to prioritize and rank platforms and select the best-fit platform
- Customize: Make small and incremental enhancements post-adoption to broaden the platform’s scope without disrupting daily operations
This approach can provide a roadmap for enterprises with distinct outcomes. We have witnessed enterprises either adopting the best-fit approach resulting in a platform portfolio or leveraging a single platform as a foundation for an enterprise-grade innovation engine.
For instance, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of a leading bank in the US invested in establishing a low code Center of Excellence (CoE) that uses different platforms for process automation, IT Service Management (ITSM), and enabling point solutions for business users.
On the other hand, a large US commercial insurer built its entire end-to-end multi-country app on a single low-code platform. This comprehensive, business-critical application managing claims, billing, and collection is accessible by all underwriters and service personnel.
Next, we explore how to best compare platforms based on their offerings and capabilities. The tables below illustrate the top five business and technology-oriented parameters to consider when evaluating platforms, along with their relevance and enterprise expectations.
Technology parameters for low-code platform selection
Factors associated with the platform’s technical robustness are of key importance to IT decision-makers. Integration and UI/UX capabilities are at the top of enterprise’s technology priorities when comparing multiple platforms.
For instance, Appian ships with 150-plus Out-of-the-Box (OOTB) connectors. Appian SAIL, a patented UI architecture, takes declarative UI definitions to generate dynamic, interactive, and multi-platform user experiences. It also makes the applications more secure, easy to change, future-proofed, and native on the latest devices.
Business parameters for low-code platform selection
Assessing these parameters is important to understand whether low code can be sustained and scaled long-term and if it addresses the business users’ expectations. Pricing and security constructs are at the top of the list for businesses looking to adopt a low-code platform.
Let’s consider Salesforce as a case-in-point. Salesforce has security built into every layer of the platform. The infrastructure layer comes with replication, backup, and disaster recovery planning. Network services have encryption in transit and advanced threat detection. The application services layer implements identity, authentication, and user permissions. In addition, frequent product updates that help it to align its product offering with changing market demands put Salesforce as one of the go-to platforms for all the CRM needs of enterprises.
Low-code platform outlook
The plethora of options makes it difficult for enterprises to zero down their investments on a particular low-code platform. Enterprises must also leverage their network of service partners for guidance in this decision-making process.
Talent availability for implementation and enhancement support is critical to keep in mind during the platform selection. For the same reason, multiple system integrators are now taking the route of inorganic growth to bolster their low-code capabilities.
This is the time to hop on the low-code bandwagon and establish low code as the basis for enterprise digital transformation.
Everest Group’s Low-Code Application Development Platforms PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2022 provides an overview of the top 14 platforms based on vision, strategy, and market impact.