Getting IT applications off the ground faster

Getting IT applications off the ground faster

4 June 2021

Low Code

Most organizations want their IT applications to be developed much faster, and no-code or low-code can be a means of achieving this goal. Traditional programming (such as Java and .NET programming), the 'high-code' approach, requires IT experts to write many lines of code over what can be weeks or months. With low-code, you mostly work with building blocks, and your IT experts have to write much less code. This allows you to build complex IT applications in weeks, or sometimes days. No-code applications are more focused on what are known as citizen developers. These are employees without a technical background who are able to create small-scale applications without the involvement of technical experts. On the face of it, this makes the no-code approach very attractive, but there are certainly a number points to consider when choosing this route.

Developing IT applications is about much more than just the application itself. Let’s take two examples of aspects that are at least equally important: data policy and security policy.

The aim of the data policy is to synchronize your data as much as possible, to ensure each data record is always the same across all systems. This way, you avoid different versions that could introduce an element of doubt. A typical example would be a customer's email address. Another common example is being unsure about whether or not an order has been invoiced, or has been invoiced in part. Or, imagine if your bank did not know the right balance on your account. The first example represents an annoying detail, the second would necessitate wasted time on administration, and the third would be considered an outrage. Before you set off down the no-code or low-code route, you should take a moment to consider your data policy.


The same goes for information security. Every organization needs to know how its own information is being handled, especially when it comes to confidential data, commercially sensitive information or personal data. If your HR department is planning to create a simple expenses app itself using a no-code application, you need to ask if they will explicitly consider active protection of your employees’ personal data.

So, the choice of no-code, low-code or high-code (or a mix of these) is not a decision solely concerned with technology, it is also about general organizational aspects affecting your IT applications. In short, it is a strategic decision. Rolling out no-code and low-code might be a reflection of your information architecture, your GRC policy (Governance, Risk and Compliance), version management, master data management (how you store your unique data in a uniform way), standard software choices, your IT service catalog, or internal charging of IT costs. Don't shy away from discussion of these various aspects: you will avoid practical issues down the line and can eliminate potential pinch points in your digital transformation upfront.

Go for the simplest solution

Maybe you already have this information recorded and can save a lot of time this way. Always opt for the simplest way of working: if you can use no-code and you are convinced that this choice will stand the test of time a few years from now, go for no-code. The same applies to low-code. Everything else can be swept up in a high-code approach.

We previously mentioned that there are certain points to consider in relation to no-code. When it comes to functions, integrations, interface and security, you will be creating these with the standard components of the no-code software. When things get more complex, you will need to bring UX elements into play, and if there is a need for more in-depth integrations, no-code is unlikely to stand up to expectations. As discussed, the focus of no-code tends to be on the 'citizen developer' working on small-scale applications, often on the business side, that in the past were often developed in Access or Excel.


Low-code lets you to take it a step further, because even though you start with the standard components of the low-code software, such as Appian or Mendix, you can add to or change the programming for any parts that are missing (if adapting the programming would take too long, it is usually best to go straight for a high-code approach).

Moreover, with low-code you start with a much bigger package of standard components that should generally produce more robust applications with a lower risk of errors.

Finally, these days high-code is often the standard way of creating IT applications. It gives you everything you need to produce complex customizations, to put variable data into all kinds of formulas, there are absolutely no restrictions in terms of the user interface (for example, to fully align it to your visual identity), you can scale the application for as many users as you want, in principle you can link an infinite number of data sources, and you have complete control when it comes to data security. It is also easier to put extra power behind the application when the requirements in this area are critical.

For more complex applications with many users, high-code may also turn out to be better value than low-code in the long run. This is because there are no licensing costs for the platform on which the application is based. This is a factor that should always be weighed in the balance.

We conclude with exactly the message you would expect from us: whatever you decide, we are here to help you choose the most appropriate approach – tailored to your organization – as and when you need us. We offer advice that is not technology-specific, practical support at the analysis stage, for the architecture or for development, and we can also support you by taking over the maintenance of your application landscape. Everyone is predicting that more IT applications than ever will need to be built over the coming years, and we are here to help you navigate the range of options on offer.

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