Custom versus Low Code Software: 4 Things to Consider

Decisions, decisions! Choosing the right software solution for your company can be a headache that won’t go away. Low-code platforms have been around for years and provide companies with an alternative to traditional software development. From setup to deployment, “citizen developers” (those without technology training) can get it up and running in no time. But being the quickest “tailor-made” software solution on the block doesn’t always mean it’s the best choice for your business. Promising a fast turnaround with an initial low-cost investment, low-code seems almost too good to be true. Custom software solutions, on the other hand, have been around longer and have been effective for even the most unique of businesses. Delivering solid, flexible platforms that grow with businesses and integrate with systems is what custom solutions are all about. So, how do you know which one is right for you? Here are some items to consider before making your decision regarding custom versus low code software:

Restructuring of business processes
If you are looking to restructure or overhaul your entire business processes as opposed to simply making improvements to your current system, forget low code. The fact you are rethinking how to run your business suggests that you know what you want and how your system should run. This screams that a traditional custom software solution may be the answer to provide all the capabilities and features you are looking for. Otherwise, you will find yourself having to make sacrifices and adjustments to your wish list and end up trying to fit your business into a neat, little low-code box of tools. As such, this option may pose limits to your preferred features, flexibility, integration with other systems, support, and more. Custom software will accommodate your processes regardless of any uniqueness or complex logic that a business may pose.

Future growth
Another consideration with the use of low code for your business may be the ability to grow larger with you. As your business grows, you may need to accommodate increased amounts of computation and algorithms that your low code platform may not deliver. Once you determine that your business processes will go beyond what low code can provide, you’ll need to turn to custom software solutions to fit the bill. At that point, you may find yourself wondering why you didn’t start with the custom development option to begin with. On the other hand, planning for your business future is what your custom software provider strives for, allowing for growth and adjustments while providing a solid platform that is built to last.

Integration with other systems
Here’s where it could get ugly. Low code may promise you the moon and the ability to integrate with other systems, but it may come with a price. Since many low-code platforms require the use of RESTFul APIs to enable integration, you could be back to square one and faced with time-sucking programming that sets you back. Custom software is built to integrate with your existing and future systems.

Reduced flexibility
You may also want to consider that low-code applications are deployed to the vendor’s cloud and are limited to pre-designed, drag and drop interfaces that have built-in functionality that may or may not suit your business needs. Issues with integration and enhancements may surface leaving you unable to develop desired features and functionality due to tooling limitations. Unfortunately, alternate tooling is not generally possible on the code, so you may have to rethink your business processes to suit these low-code tools. On the other hand, flexibility is what custom software is all about. It’s built for your business model and designed to work the way you do.

Conclusion
Designed to quickly deliver applications, low code may get you to a happy “up and running” place quicker but it may mean sacrificing important processes that define your brand and how you do business. Your software solutions should match or exceed the hard work, dedication, and quality that you put into your running your company. Custom software can help you achieve the type of solutions that are as unique as your business niche while attracting customers and challenging the competition.

Posted by Ephraim Arnstein

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