More and more companies invest in building a branded custom app which meets their needs with a low-code platform, nowadays, instead of choosing an app “off the shelf”. But, is it really worth risk money on developing a custom solution with a low-code platform for your company?
Starting with nailing down the goals of the organization such as the application scale within your organization, the issue that needs to be solved and the nature of people who will adopt the new application.
The Age of Process Perfection is vital, since competition is sharp and swift.
Choosing a software, after taking into consideration the above questions is not an easy job. In some cases, for example searching for accounting software, it may be easier to find an “off-the-shelf” solution that meets your needs, but you will not be so lucky in an internal process software tracking tool, as different policies and procedures may occur depending on the business nature and sector. For more advice on Digital Transformation check out this guide.
You might be aware of the IKEA concept.
You just head to an IKEA store and while you are following the pre-defined journey, you select the furnishings you need, receive them from the warehouse and take them to the cash desk. Then, you go back home and start building your own furniture following the given instructions. And then, two possibilities occur; either you like it a lot, you keep on up to furnishing completion and you are pretty satisfied with the object you have bought and the “DIY” experience, or you are in a huff trying to build this thing for many hours, wishing you had someone else do it for you or buying it ready-made.
“The concept itself is amazing and in most cases, you buy a good bookcase for just 100 bucks, but not everyone has the patience or the ability to rig objects.”
What if you had the choice to make that bookcase a bit taller, but less wide.
How about having painted the bookcase in your very favorite “maroon” color? You could have visited a carpentry manufacturer requesting the bookcase that exactly meets all your requirements. But, again, this would be costly…
We could have the middle ground here, I suppose. Having all the tools, having some pre-built furniture to choose but also being able to make some adjustments on-your-own? I am sure that you will find some “IKEA DIY hacks” on the web – thank me later for that.
“Hence, the ideal would be to have a software with some pre-built precast apps ready to be used at any time or adjust them with a low-code platform, but also have the option to build your customized apps that meet your specified requirements.”
All of them, in an affordable cost and without the need of a developer. Let’s go shopping out there…
The Off-the-Shelf Business apps
Template applications that are sold widely in the web, built in a cookie-cutter type design that does not need any development skills to be used.
Key pros of the off-the-shelf apps are:
- Easy-to-use and quick deployment
- Lower up-front costs
- It’s also possible the app will have more features than the ones you need
- Usually, free upgrades are provided
“It’s like having an IKEA bookcase ready-to-use delivered to you, but also you may paint it in your company logo colors.”
On the other hand, there are some cons selecting only off-the-shelf apps:
- No flexibility and control
- It does not fit all needs
- It’s difficult to adapt; it may be a case to change business processes
- No participation in new features/enhancements of app
- High customization costs
Of course, there are also Off-the-shelf apps that offer customization paid per working hour or within a support package. Some of them also are willing to implement enhancements in the software as per your request. This is pretty much brilliant as you may have a good-valued product which helps you improve your business activities. The bad thing here is that sometimes they adopt these changes delivered to other customers in their next software release – and then this may not align with your business objectives.
Custom software to build New apps from scratch
Low-Code platform is the way to upgrade from a “good” to a “powerful” solution for your organization.
Custom apps will fit your organization like a glove; for this project, you may have a partner your internal IT department or even a software development company.
Key advantages of custom software creation with a low-code platform:
- A personalized software that fits exactly your needs
- Easily scalable and optimized in the future
- Easily adopted by employees as the procedure will not differentiate from the ones you already have
- Reliability and complete control of the application
- Efficiency and productivity will surely be benefits
“Going to a carpenter and requesting a custom-made bookcase will give you your dream “wow” bookcase with smart shelves that can be expanded, smooth surface and non-fixed middle shelves, costing probably more and taking longer to build.”
Low-code platform usage to build an app from the scratch may have some cons, as well:
- Higher upfront costs than Off-the-Shelf apps
- Need some time (months/years), energy and resources to be deployed
- Self-help center limits to internal Knowledge Base
All in all, custom software -if you can afford it- will give you a competitive advantage, as it will align smoothly with your processes and help your employees work efficiently. The Software belongs to you, so you can decide whether and when new enhancements will be made. Read about the benefits of using your own BPM tool with low-code.
Custom Software with Off-the-shelf Business Apps
Low-code platform with pre-defined off-the-shelf components which can be enhanced so as to build your very best custom apps. If building a custom app from the scratch sound like a headache, I have some good news for you. There is a solution somewhere in the middle, to help you gain leverage, by having pre-defined business apps but also the ability to build custom apps using no-code or some code.
It’s like an Off-the-Shelf purchase, which will need a soft customization afterwards. This customization may be deployed easily with a low-code platform either by you (from your simple business users), your internal IT team or your IT partner. With low-code software, you achieve a cost-efficient solution for your company. You may start using a simple BPM tool with the pre-defined business apps and improve them later with the low-code platform’s app builder.
Key benefits will be:
- Upfront costs -although high- can be reduced with pre-defined components
- Develop your own-business apps taking advantage of seeing benefits from pre-defined apps, which may help you improve your processes
- Start with less and scale gradually
- Instant changes can be performed
- Apps built can be tailored to your business needs
“Wouldn’t it be ideal to be able to “hack” the IKEA furnishings by putting the components provided in a way that you could build your dream bookcase, fully functional and available to change it in the future, when you relocate to another place?”
Of course, the cons here:
- Some IT staff may be needed in some cases, depending on the complexity of the apps
- Self-help center is limited to the internal Knowledge Base and best practices of other colleagues
And now… what would you choose???