Making the Business Case for Low-Code/No-Code Platform Adoption
By Siddharth Wadehra, QuickReach Head of Research
The demand for tech applications has never been more intense. Recent research has indicated that 42% of IT professionals plan to deliver more than ten applications for their organization. However, custom-building these applications could not only be time consuming but also expensive. This has given rise to another option which seems to be gaining immense popularity of late: Low-code/No-code app development platforms.
Low-code/No-code platforms focus on developing apps faster and enabling more people to build their own solutions. According to Forrester Research, low-code development platforms “enable rapid application delivery with minimal hand-coding, and quick setup and deployment.”
But is low-code/no-code application development ideal for you? Many CIOs and IT leaders can easily list a few advantages of low-code/no-code, but not very many have a specific way to measure if it is living up to its cost.
So how can business executives, CIO’s and other IT leaders see and demonstrate the real value they get from low-code/no-code?
While your organization might have different metrices to evaluate the impact on budget, the following are the five key parameters which you should be continually looking at. Effectively tracking the parameters listed below might help demonstrate whether the adoption of low-code/no-code platforms might allow you bootstrap your digital transformation ambitions.
1. Reducing IT backlog
As the demand for developing tech application mounts, most IT teams which are already strapped for time don’t really have an effective way to handle it. What ends up happening is that the requests are placed on a backlog tracker and are attended to as and when they could be. A potential area where low-code/no-code platforms might impact is reducing the number of IT application requests by empowering ‘citizen developers’ to seamlessly roll-out apps. Recent reports indicate that 71% of organizations that leverage citizen development have sped up application development by at least 50%, and 29% of companies have seen a 2X or more jump in delivery time. 90% of developers who use a low-code/no-code platform have less than five app requests per month in backlog.
How to measure?
An appropriate way to measure might be to track the number of requests the organization might potentially have for custom applications. Inviting business leaders to submit their wish-list for tools and making an assessment of how long the IT team might take to clear the request using custom development might be an indicator to benchmark. Now, the same list could be compared with the capabilities of the low-code/no-code platform to understand which ones could be developed by the business executives themselves while which of them are complex and might require IT intervention. This comparison would show up to how much the wish-list queue has been reduced by.
2. Progressing with digital transformation goals
Every organization is in the midst of digital transformation. After the core systems have been digitized, internal IT teams are facing a never-ending list of processes that now need to be brought into the newly created digital ecosystem. Traditional development techniques might mean that there is possibly no end to the already-tiring digital transformation journey. Low-code/no-code offers a convenient solution to close the gaps in the company’s digital transformation journey after the core has been digitized. A study suggests that accelerating digital transformation was the top reason most leaders chose a low-code/no-code platform with 69% focusing on completing their digital transformation initiatives.
How to measure?
Evaluate your existing digital transformation journey with the existing milestones laid out on the road-map. Re-evaluate how this road-map might potentially be affected once you implement the low-code/no-code platform. An understanding of exactly how much time the organization might be able to save by empowering citizen developers to roll-out digital processes and applications and how would it accelerate the existing milestones in the present road-map.
3. Reducing IT Spend
With custom development, the only way one can tackle challenges is through a huge budget. Demonstrating the ability to address these challenges while not adding exponential costs is highly desirable.
Low-code/no-code platforms could help save cost by preventing hiring of developers or IT consultants. Instead these platforms would empower business executives to roll-out applications themselves. Another potential way in which low-code/no-code platforms could reduce IT spending is through saving costs on single point solutions which each department (HR, finance, procurement etc.) might use to automate internal processes or systems. Research shows that a low-code/no-code solutions can replace eight single point tools.
How to measure?
The organization should look to evaluate how much would it cost to build or buy the same number of applications without a low-code/no-code platform. Needless to suggest this would include the additional staff which the company would need to hire to develop these applications. One could also explore the cost of single-point solutions which are being used in the company and whether all (or a majority) could be created from a low-code/no-code platform. If so, what might be the potential savings from the same are some of the metrics which you could look to evaluate.
4. Increasing the IT Output
Having a low-code/no-code application platform would significantly increase speed, quality and impact of the IT team. When citizen developers in the organization are busy launching their own apps, the IT team could focus on critical projects which might require their skillsets. A low-code/no-code platform would allow prototyping, iterating instantaneously which would eventually help apps produce faster and better. Understandably, this would allow IT teams to focus on developing technology which might have a greater impact on the business rather than tending to every application request that comes across.
How to measure?
The business should examine the output delivered by the IT team over the last couple of years to understand the impact they have been making. This would help understand the kind out applications the IT teams have been developing or maintaining. This should be followed by an analysis of what might have been the case if there was a low-code/no-code platform and the IT team was perhaps focused on working on core mission-critical applications.
5. Reducing chaos
Unhappy business leaders wanting their solutions to be prioritized. The mounting queue of escalations and requests which the IT teams have to tend to on an immediate basis. Sounds familiar?
A parameter which is probably the hardest to quantify, but probably among the most important- turning to a low-code/no-code solution significantly reduces the chaos in the organization.
How to measure?
While this might be inherently hard to quantify, a way to look at the problem would be to understand how swamped your IT is with the tasks at hand. Also one should look to evaluate the support tickets, feature enhancements or escalations from existing applications which the IT has to tend to. You could also look to survey business leaders in various departments on how they feel about the IT and whether they are satisfied with the service they have been receiving in terms of the development/response time. A low-code/no-code platform could go a long way to improve the relationship between the business and IT functions. The IT team could become an enabler rather than a perceived impediment to the company growth.
Steer: The best ROI for no-code platforms
Priced extremely competitively keeping the digital transformation needs of the mid-sized company, Steer provides your business with the best ROI there is on any low-code/no-code platform. Steer, priced competitively per user, allows you to create unlimited number of apps on the platform with the cost of each app going down the more apps you create.
Steer would further be cost advantageous, not just in meeting current requirements but future ones also. In our experience, the success of new self-built automated apps often cause the need for more of the same and what is created in the end is higher than what was originally anticipated.
References:  The state of Citizen development report 2015. QuickBase. September 2015.  The State of Application Development 2018: How IT Is Responding to Digital Disruption and Innovation. OutSystems.
 The state of Citizen development report 2015. QuickBase. September 2015.