If your company has been looking into software development, you’ve probably run into the terms “low-code” or “no-code.” But what do these terms mean, and are they the right strategy for your company’s software needs?
Low-code development can be inexpensive and agile, but some needs are better met by custom software development. Here’s what you should consider.
What is low-code and no-code development?
Software development usually requires knowledge of coding—HTML, CSS, and programming languages like Python. Low-code and no-code development allow you to skip those prerequisites. Instead of creating the code yourself, you rely on an already established application to do the heavy lifting for you.
Take the WordPress or Wix, for example. When you use these sites, you use their visual editors to create your own website while they take care of the coding behind the scenes. Because it’s a templated form of website creation, you may sacrifice some creativity and freedom in the process, but you’ll also avoid the headaches of coding.
Though the terms “low-code” and “no-code” are often used interchangeably, they’re technically different. Low-code programs allow you to make small changes to the CSS and HTML, while no-code development doesn’t let you touch the code at all. Some of the more basic low-code programs may also describe themselves as no-code even if they provide options to use code, so don’t fret too much about the difference.
Why has low-code development become a popular business software strategy?
All successful businesses efficiently manage two limited resources: time and money. A low-code solution helps executives save on both.
Instead of spending the time to learn software development themselves or spending money to hire someone who does, they can use low-code software to get a similar product. Low-code and no-code projects typically take a few weeks to complete instead of the months a regular software developer would need, which equates to a lower labor cost for your company.
Because of that, startup businesses and entrepreneurs make up a large portion of low-code users. A low-code strategy is ideal for people with small technology budgets or very few software projects.
What are the downfalls of low-code development?
If you’re thinking that low-code development sounds a little too good to be true, you have good instincts.
Your company can’t rely entirely on low-code, and as your company grows, so will your frustration with the once-easy software. That’s because low-code development offers limited flexibility and even less scalability.
By using only low-code software, you’ll sacrifice customizable settings that could make your company stand out from the competition. As your software projects increase in complexity and size, you’ll realize that low-code development simply can’t accomplish your business goals.
Is custom software development worth the extra cost?
As a custom software developer, we’d love to give you a resounding “Yes!” but the truth is a little more complicated. Our answer: It depends.
Custom software development isn’t for everyone. If you only need a simple website or portfolio, a low-code application might be the right choice. If you can’t afford a software developer just yet, you might be able to create a low-code version of your project until you’re able to invest in custom software.
That being said, low-code is only a short-term solution. We recommend that you depend on it as little as possible so you can scale your software more easily in the future. In fact, a low-code strategy could actually increase your long-term business costs:
- Hourly labor cost of current manual work processes
- Refund processing costs due to outdated inventory
- Lost sales from poor-quality ordering and appointment systems
- Monthly or annual fees from using multiple low-code software packages to meet your needs
Though custom software development seems pricier at first, it will give you a better ROI. The final product will have more longevity, reliability, and flexibility. It will do what you need when you need it, and your clients will immediately recognize your UX/UI as superior to competitors.
Still Not Sure Which Software Development Is Right for You?
Deciding on a software development strategy is a lot more complicated than it looks. If you’re not sure which type of software will work best for your company, try this final test:
Think of software development as a clothes shopping experience. A one-size-fits-all outfit could work, but something custom-tailored may look even better.
If you need a quick solution that you can use right out of the box, low-code may be best. If you’re making a longer-term investment that will be critical to your business or will have a major impact on your branding or operations, custom software development will often give you the better option.