Most low-code platforms provide building blocks that enable rapid development of intuitive user interfaces but sometimes, these have implicit constraints in creating hyper-customized or ’pixel-perfect‘ screens. Depending on the use case, this may not always be an issue but if the difference between a ‘neat’ UI and a ‘wow’ UI is critical, it is recommended to explore and discuss the constraints proactively with stakeholders at an early stage to avoid a mismatch in expectations at a later stage.
While getting started quickly is always tempting, it is important to be mindful that traditional technical solution design, for instance, aspects like data modeling, integration strategies, internationalization approach, and layered security, are all still critically important and if ignored, can result in rework and delays later in the project cycle. Use low-code to accelerate development but not as a shortcut to sound technical design.
- Licensing or total cost of ownership
The licensing models for low-code tools and platforms typically vary between a combination of one-time costs, annual costs, per-user costs, and more, and it is important that the total cost of ownership (TCO) breakdown be evaluated carefully and consider longer term ramp-up plans for the applications being designed. For example, for a per-user licensed tool, an application that is projected to have an exponential ramp-up in the user base in the future, the TCO might not always justify the ROI forecasts.
- Connectors and integration
Most low-code platforms facilitate seamless integration with enterprise systems based on open APIs and ready connectors. While it is impossible to conclusively define ‘future-state’ integration fitment during platform selection, in most cases, the 80-20 rule holds good, that is, 80% of interactions happen with 20% of enterprise systems and for those systems, it is advisable to validate and document the connector availability, and recommended approach and best practices for integration.
The capabilities unleashed by low-code platforms also expose the potential for security gaps, often related more to the way the tool is used rather than the underlying technology. Recent reports of configuration and misconfiguration issues resulting in data leaks have brought these aspects into the spotlight. It is critical to perform a detailed security assessment of the platform as well as the implementation design of the use case with particular focus on data storage and security layering.
- Automation, continuous integration, and continuous delivery (CI/CD)
Although the adoption of low-code tools is accelerating, large-scale development initiatives with distributed agile teams will push the boundaries of these tools and test the ability to align with continuous integration and delivery expectations that businesses are now accustomed to in achieving the vision of ‘perpetual innovation’. This is also an area where low-code tools will continue to evolve and is a dimension that should be explored proactively during platform fitment and establishing the ‘ways of working’.