Low-Code vs. Traditional Development

Low-Code has become an important ingredient in enabling businesses to adapt to their changing environments quickly. It can be used in multiple scenarios to propel efficiency and act as a supplementary force for traditional development by IT.

Is your IT department overwhelmed with a never-ending backlog of applications? Maybe you would like to build some in-house custom applications to boost productivity, but IT doesn’t have the time. You recognize that transforming internal processes is crucial to keeping up with the market’s ever-changing demands, but there’s nothing you can do without your IT team.

 If this sounds familiar, it’s time to consider introducing low-code into your application development process.

What is Low-Code?

Low-code is an easier, quicker, and more inclusive approach to application development. Unlike the heavy coding requirements of traditional development, low-code makes use of a drag and drop interface that requires very little coding to enable faster development and delivery. In addition, low-code presents a lot of features and benefits for businesses looking for efficient application development.

While traditional development requires skilled teams and in-depth knowledge of technologies and frameworks, low-code is more inclusive. The ease of building apps with low-code allows developers with varying levels of experience, as well as business users, to deliver apps within the required timeline. This decreases IT professional’s backlog and overall workload and lets them devote their time to more complex tasks. Moreover, since low-code enables business users to actively get involved in the application development process, they can incorporate feedback from various stakeholders for more control over the specifications of the final product.

Low-code can be instrumental in improving the overall growth of your business. The cost and time-saving benefits of low-code are so prominent that reports suggest almost 70% of the organizations believed low-code to be more affordable than traditional development. Low-code can also save your business $50-$100K of your application development cost! With respect to apps’ speed-to-market, low-code cuts down the traditional development process taking more than 6 months for delivery, to only a couple of months long.

Low-code improves productivity, efficiency, and overall morale within an organization by equipping IT and business users with the right tools for application development.

When to Use Low-Code?

A) For Business Use Cases that Drive Agile Transformation

In most enterprises, business users from departments such as HR, Marketing, Operations, etc. want to implement ideas to improve the functioning of their department. Traditional development may not suit such a scenario since it is less adaptive to continuous changes. Additionally, the speed-to-market for these internal transformations needs to be high, to optimize its effectiveness.

In such cases, low-code can be a great alternative to develop applications that cultivate agile transformations within a business. It allows changes to be made quickly, and if these changes do not work, they can be rolled back just as easily. This allows business users from various departments to freely make changes in apps to facilitate their internal transformation.  

For example, if your marketing department wishes to implement some form of automation, they can use low-code to build and rebuild workflows that cater to their specific department needs without depending on IT. This would not be possible with traditional development.

Therefore, low-code can be a driver of agile transformation and change management in your business.

B) Quick Application Development by Business Users:

Business users are often the ones to introduce innovation within a company but are held back due to their inability to implement these innovative ideas. Traditional development requires hardcore coding abilities that only IT professionals possess. Hence, your business users have to rely on the IT department—that typically have a laundry list of other priorities and projects—to bring their ideas to life.

But all this can change with the introduction of low-code development!

Low-code platforms allow business users with little to no coding abilities to design apps as per their requirements. The simple user interface and easy-to-understand design process enable them to build applications with minimal dependencies on the IT department. This results in faster development and deployment of the app and lower instances of missed opportunities.

C) For Unique and Customizable Solutions:

Certain business problems are unique to a particular department and organization and require customizable solutions. In such scenarios, traditional development can be very expensive and not worth the investment. Long development times, longer feedback loops, and the appropriation of skilled resources for an internal project is not a desirable scenario for most organizations.

However, with low-code, your business users can easily build and rebuild apps as per their evolving requirements. The scale of the application can also be expanded to reflect the growing needs of the department, ensuring cost optimization.

In situations where off-the-shelf solutions do not work, and traditional development is not worth the time and money, low-code can prove to be a cheaper, more effective, and customizable solution.

However, in certain cases, traditional development is recommended for application development while low-code is seen as a supplementary tool that frees up resources and opportunities for your employees to focus on more complex or urgent issues.

When to stick with Traditional Development?

A) For Open-Ended Solutions:

Some business problems require open-ended thinking. Since these problems have an unstructured process of resolution, it can be difficult to build an app without a predetermined structure.

Low-code best works for solutions that follow a defined structure and are required to be designed accordingly. Hence, cases which are more open-ended and unstructured cannot make use of low-code platforms to construct a solution.  

In such scenarios, it is better to use software that encourages the collaboration of ideas and fosters discussions.

B) For Applications Requiring High Level of Specialized Interactivity

Some applications require a high level of specialized interactivity. Though low-code platforms can create highly efficient applications, they do not provide the flexibility and freedom that traditional development provides when building apps. This is because traditional development platforms provide an infinite number of functionalities.

For such applications, it’s best to use traditional development and design the app as per the exclusive specifications. Here, low-code can be used to offload the other applications in your IT team’s backlog, allowing them to focus their efforts on these complex solutions requiring actual code.

The verdict

Low-code development and traditional development are two approaches to building software. Low-code development is a faster, more visual approach that doesn't require as much coding knowledge, while traditional development involves hand-coding every aspect of an application. Low-code development can help you save time and money, but it may limit your ability to customize your software. Traditional development, while more time-consuming and expensive, can give you more control over your software's features and functions. The choice between low-code and traditional development ultimately depends on your project's specific needs, timelines, and resources.

Low-Code With Traditional Development

After going through the capabilities of low-code and the right scenarios for its usage, you can see that it is not meant to completely replace traditional development.  

Instead, your business should incorporate low-code to supplement the traditional application development currently being done by IT. In many ways, it can be superior to the functioning of traditional development, and provide faster and more effective applications. However, it cannot completely replace traditional development’s flexibility. 

Low-code and traditional development need to be used in tandem so as to facilitate the productivity of your IT teams, decrease their workload, and retain them by reducing backlogs. Your business users can also benefit from this collaboration and gain control over building apps of their own without relying on IT.

Recognizing the usefulness of low-code for your business and identifying the right opportunities to implement it can ensure a competitive advantage in a fast-evolving market. It can transform your business operations and help you quickly and successfully capitalize on growth opportunities.

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  • Bharath Kumar B

    Bharath leads the Marketing and customer success initiatives of Zoho Creator. 
    He has over 12 years of professional work experience across SaaS, ERP & Telecom domains. Loves travel, playing badminton and yoga. He believes in keeping things simple.

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