The pace at which disruptive technologies are accelerating is making way for the emergence of new business models and automated systems.
Businesses today need to scale, be more agile, fully automated while integrating more digital transformation into the operational processes that thrive their business values.
The rising demand for applications and modernizations has forced businesses to perform faster and explore new ways of application delivery. They want to experiment in all unique ways to improve their customer experience and make processes more efficient.
Low code/no-code software development is one of the buzzwords that is constantly gaining decision-maker’s attention, and it is getting louder with every passing day. It promises faster development, even multiple applications, all with minimal coding.
This becomes a matter of discussion for the business leaders and the technical architects to decide the best way of doing software development that embraces digital transformation and supports business process automation. But faster, way faster.
Here at this stage, you need to make a big decision of choosing between low code and custom software. What works best for you? Which one is more beneficial to your business?
This article will compare both the app development approaches against specific criteria.
#1 Required Coding Skills
Custom Development: Developing a custom solution requires an entire team of talented professionals, including developers, designers, project managers, Quality Analysts, and many more, to create a powerful application from scratch.
The custom software development process requires much time and hard-earned efforts to make it ready to market faster. The entire development is done in sprints while collaborating with different teams for accomplishing tasks/ processes to deliver a robust product.
Low code: These applications are designed and developed without any technical expertise. The low code approach minimizes the complexity of developing apps and ensuring their security and scalability. Application development using a low code method becomes easier for non-coders without mastery of skills.
#2 App Speed And Maintenance
Custom Development: With custom software development, your software is partially built, like it’s never finished. The development process is ongoing as the new software built always needs regular updates, maintenance, etc. These changes are implemented by a third-party development team in the custom software development process. Software revisions are also done simultaneously after a specified time. The dedicated team sets a proper timeline for the changes to be done and the product release.
Due to its complexity and high technicalities, custom software development usually generates a lot of errors, app usage, and many other bugs. Due to this, the entire development process may suffer your app quality at times.
Low code: On the contrary, low code platforms do not generate bugs while developing and designing applications. As low code platforms, you can say are aPaaS(application platform as a service) where the software or a platform that develops applications is owned and maintained by a company. The host company only handles the updates and improvements required in the software instead of hiring a third party.
All this leads to the generation of hassle-free apps and smooth running of the entire system with no chances of error.
#3 Development Time
Custom Development: Designing and developing custom software is entirely a time-consuming process. In this approach, a final working product can take around 4-9 months to complete. It may vary depending on the complexity, the scope of the project, and the team involved. Creating a code from scratch for the product/app development always takes time compared to implementing with existing software frameworks and tools. The development time it takes in building software includes designing, developing, testing, debugging, client reviews, etc.
Low Code: On the contrary, a low code solution provides pre-built templates and an interface where you just need to use the drag and drop functionality to build an application. Here you don’t need to spend much time and hard effort to make even a complex application. Also, you don’t have to rely on other teams to start the development. With minimal coding and a pre-existing platform, applications can be made in days or weeks.
#4 Pricing Consideration
Custom Development: Building custom software is a costly affair as here you have to build a product from scratch. A full-fledged development process requires a pool of talented developers and other additional resources. The custom software development process will cost you $40,000 and $250,000 to design and develop customized software. Here the cost will vary depending on the scope of the project and business requirements. Developing custom software is a bigger picture and can’t be created using a low code/no code solution.
Low Code: There is a slight need for hiring coders here, which ultimately reduces their hiring costs. Also, an enterprise only pays for the specified service, unlike custom software development, where you have to pay for the initial stage of action till the end.
Therefore, the more applications you build in a shorter time with low code platforms, the less cost you have to pay. Low code platforms will charge you differently according to their low code services and the features and functionality they are providing. For example:
Outsystems will charge you basic for $4,000/month, the standard for $10,000/month, and custom quote for Enterprise plan.
Mendix will charge you a free community version, basic starting at $58/5 user/month, Standard at $925/month, and a custom quote for Premium.
And last but not least, Appian.
It will charge you a free community trial, standard $70/user/month, and platform and unlimited at the custom quote.
#5 Security Compliance
Custom Development: Security compliance is one enterprise’s biggest concerning any software or product. With custom software, you can implement security measures pre-built into the software. Cyber attackers are not familiar with the tools you use in customized solutions, which leads to fewer chances of intrusion. Also, you will be assured of the code quality you wrote.
Low code: Whereas low code platforms do not provide absolute control of the app, you develop as you do not write the code. Also, you cannot rely on the existing platform or pre-built templates for security reasons. It might get hacked by hackers. They can simply enter and access your system and cause you software failures and data leaks.
#6 Business Values
Custom Development: Custom software development comes up with comprehensive frameworks and rich libraries. This makes your development process more efficient and helps you build robust and scalable applications. Here you can create customized solutions as per your business requirements and customer needs. If you want to stand out in the competition, you need to develop out-of-the-box custom solutions to fulfill your customer needs.
This ultimately adds value to your business. That is why custom software development is not going anytime soon. It’s not the cheapest and fastest solution, but still, it is the best investment a business could make.
Low code: On the contrary, low code development is a bit restricted and confined. It is imperative to say that the added value for low code is apparent but will not replace custom software development yet.
Low code is quite insufficient in setting up systems, managing an environment that involves a lot of complexity.
The customization possibilities in low code platforms are minimum. It is an ideal solution only when you want to create your applications or no homogeneous solution for application development that solves your problem.
Your business may not achieve its desired functionality because of limited customization options.
Hence it adds less value to your business as compared to custom software solutions.
When To Use Low Code?
Low code development can be an excellent alternative to developing an application that embraces agile transformations within a business. Where you can make upgrades quickly, and if required, roll back all the changes rapidly.
It can be your accelerator to digital transformation and change management in your business process. You can use low code to develop business-critical solutions and redefine legacy modernization programs.
You can also build engaging self-service applications and engaging portals to deliver exceptional user experiences to your customers. Low code will reduce your delivery times from months to days.
Also, you can build operational dashboards, workflows, and employee portals to support all processes.
When To Use Custom Software Development?
There is a need for some business problems to get solved using an organized and customer-specific software development approach. After completion, each task or procedure is done in sprints and gets reviewed by the end-user to bring an innovative and scalable digital product.
You need to have a pool of expert professionals with niche expertise to build custom software that needs regular updates and maintenance after being created. Custom software is highly efficient as it undergoes multiple development procedures and develops by individuals owing to a rich skillset.
Custom software development is required when you need a lot of customizations, like in the healthcare industry, where you need to handle sensitive and confidential patient information.
Wrapping It Up
I hope this article will help you make the right decision of going with the traditional approach or custom software development or with the modern approach that is low code development.
Both of them have their pros and cons.
Low code development has transformed the way businesses used to develop apps a few years back. They can now build applications without any technical expertise, and that too faster and cost-effective. But at the same time, it lacks flexibility and reliability when it comes to customizations and integrations.
You cannot almost rely on the pre-existing frameworks or systems. There might be chances of loopholes or bugs in the pre-built templates or UI.
Custom software development allows you to work with a highly customized, customer-specific, and entirely digitized software product. Irrespective of the considerable cost and time it involves, still it ensures businesses with high security, scalability, and flexibility.
After going through both low code and custom software development capabilities, you can analyze that the modern low code approach will not replace the traditional system.
Instead, to explore new ways of app development, it is advisable to incorporate low code practices while implementing custom software development. In numerous ways, it provides you with faster and more robust applications.
And thus, your business users will also benefit from this collaboration and gain control over building apps. It provides you with significant competitive advantages in a fast-evolving market.