So you have decided to build your new application, as well as your future applications, with a low-code or no-code platform. The big question: which platform? A low-code platform? No-code? Forms generator? A BPMS solution? Workflow automation tools? There is so much out there…. Oh, and to make it a bit more complex: many of the vendors combine these tools, making it even harder to decide what you need.
There is not single answer to “what is the right platform for me?”. Every platform has its pros and cons and it really depends on your particular situation to decide which platform is the best fit. There are a number of things you need to take into consideration in order to make your choice. Let’s look at some of the most important questions you need to answer.
What are the resources you have available?
If you do not have any programmers available, your selection becomes a lot easier because you can forget about all the platforms that still need coding. If you really want to build applications yourself, look at the no-code platforms out there because they don’t require actual coding skills. Of course you could hire programmers to build the apps for you, of course. In that case low- or no-code doesn’t really matter.
Where does the application run?
In the cloud? On premise or a private cloud? On mobile devices? And if it is on mobile devices: do you always have network connectivity? All of the above?
If you are building native mobile apps, just look for the best platform to help you, because you run your application locally. In all other situations, you have to think about where you want your application to run.
One of the important aspects to take into account: where is your data stored? Every vendor deals differently with data. And data security as well as data privacy are important issues to take into consideration. So if your data is stored in the cloud, make sure it is secure. And check with the vendor how they deal with backups, disaster recovery, failover of dataservers, etc. Do they have security certifications? Do they do pentests? Etc.
If you don’t wat your data to be stored in the cloud, make sure you pick a vendor that lets you run your application locally, on premise. Or maybe in a secure private cloud. Not all vendors offer this option.
And there are also vendors that don’t store any data, but have all application logic running in the cloud. This may be ideal for some companies, but not for others.
So, where your application needs to run is an important part of your platform selection.
What are you building?
Are you building small productivity apps? Maybe replacing Excel spreadsheets? Or are you building a large business critical enterprise application? Maybe you need to implement a complex business process supporting application? Do you need a solution for a specific problem, or are you looking for a platform as the basis for all future software development?
All these questions are very relevant to your platform selection.
Not all platforms are suitable for your specific challenge, so you need to make sure you know what you expect to build in order to select the right platform. If you are building a large enterprise application, many of the platforms can actually help you, but it will come down to some of the other aspects mentioned before, to decide on a platform. However, if you are looking for a platform for all your current and future software development, you probably want to look at low-code platforms that are strong in many areas, although they may not excel in specific topics.
We see that many of the no-code platforms are used for specific solutions
- Is the User Experience important, or is the focus on efficiently working with data?
- What else are you using?
Are you using Office365? Google G Suite? All Oracle tools? The application(s) you need to build wil likely integrate with your other back- & frontoffice applications.
Based on the answers, it is highly likely that you are left with only a small selection of platforms/tools that work for you.
I would start with defining what the application is that I want to build and where I want to use it. If you need a mobile app only, you should focus on platforms that are very strong in this area (e.g. Kony). If integration with your existing Office365 environment is crucial, make sure single sign-on is possible and integration with O365 is easy. In this case forget the Oracle tools. MS PowerApps is a better choice, although WEM, Outsystems, and several others would work as well.
The type of application is pretty important as well. Whether it is a reporting application or a business process mgt application, makes a big difference. If you need a complex BPM solution, Appian should be on your shortlist, but Bubble shouldn’t. Make sure you know what type of application(s) you are building.
And yes, maybe you are selecting a platform for all your future application development, which includes all types of applications. In that case you probably should forget platforms that are very strong in a particular area (like Kony or Appian).
Specifically: don’t start with “I want a no-code platform” or “I need a low-code platform”, because you could end up with a platform that can’t deliver the type of application(s) you need. A strong no-code solution like Betty Blocks will help you to create mobile apps, but you always need network-connectivity. What if your users don’t have that all of the time?
So: define what your application needs to do and where you need access to it. That will leave you with a smaller selection of platforms to pick from.
Next step: what resources do you have available? If you do not have developers, and the remaining selection has no-code platforms in it: your selection of platforms has just become a lot smaller.
To make your final decision, make sure you take the time to test-drive the platforms. That will help you in fully understanding the platform’s capabilities and if those are a fit with your needs.
And finally: check out if the pricing/licensing approach works for your situation. Every platform has its own pricing scheme, make sure that scheme works for your company.
Good luck with your selection.