May 21st, 2018 • Low Code
These platforms promise faster development, reduced developer overhead, lower investment requirements, and most of all, minimal coding requirements–it almost seems too good to be true.
Are these anything more than empty claims? And what are the hard numbers of calculating the ROI?
Traditionally, skilled developers took hundreds of hours hand-coding applications. It wasn’t exactly efficient, since it would take them a very long time to produce a single application. However, the advantage of hand-coding was that every single part of the application could be customized as the end user required. There was total control over each and every part of the application. The heavy requirements of time and effort made every custom application very expensive, and unaffordable for most small and medium business customers.
So the biggest cost with traditional app development was the labor that programmers are putting into their work.
Low-code app development was initially imagined as a way to remove all of the downsides to traditional development. Through low-code, it was easier than ever before to create apps. Skilled developers took hours, not days, to create an app.This was done through visual interfaces and modular APIs that provided a way to drastically cut down the development time and effort.
There’s very little downside to low-code platform. There was a huge level of customizability when it came to creating an application, yet it took much less time than traditional hand coding. It saved a lot of time.
Hold on, we’ll get there.
The main problem of low-code was that it still required developers to be trained and adept at their job to create applications, even if they were simple in nature.
Finally, no-code app development arrived to solve that. As the name suggests, no-code allows applications to be created without any coding required whatsoever. Without the need for code, business users could create their own apps themselves, provided they understood the logic and flow of the app they wanted to create.
The major advantage of no-code is in allowing laymen users to create applications they need, even if they don’t have prior coding experience or knowledge.
But there is a downside, albeit minor. Since this is done entirely through visual interfaces and templates, there is a level of customizability that’s lost when compared to low-code and hand coding. Another downside is that no-code cannot be used to create complex applications. For that, you’ll still need to rely on other methods of development. Also, using no-code apps usually means licensing it out through a SaaS model, or buying a platform directly.
To calculate the ROI, there are a few metrics that need to be taken into account. This includes financial metrics like payback period, net present value, and total cost of ownership. But that’s not the whole picture, since you’ll also need to measure productivity. Has the low-code or no-code adoption improved your office productivity at all? If so, by how much? These are questions that you’ll need to have answers to before you calculate the ROI.
But this is hard to look at from an abstract point of view. Here’s an example of how that would work.
Scenario 1 is a team of four top-notch developers who create applications from code. Let’s assume they can put out two custom applications a month (what a team!). Aside from hardware and other costs, the collective salary is going to be in the $40,000 range per month.
In Scenario 2, let’s assume that a developer can work twice as fast on a low-code development platform as opposed to coding from scratch. Let’s say you license a low-code platform for $5,000/month. If you keep the whole team on board, you might be able to double your output (four applications a month) at $45,000/month, or you could keep your two applications a month and reduce your total costs down to $20,000/month.
In Scenario 3, you go for a no-code development tool, and license it out to 100 people on your team. App development time would shrink to a few days at most. And, you no longer have a need for programmers dedicated to help out, as the no-code vendor provides all the support. So, you’ve now reduced the cost to about $1,000 a month for more applications than you could have made in either previous scenario.
The only drawback of scenario 3 is that you won’t have the ability to make granular changes to the apps. However, if they serve your needs as they are, then a no-code platform seems like the obvious choice!
As a Fortune 500 company, McDermott always has a requirement for streamlined processes to keep their company at the top of their game. Previously, they used SAP, PeopleSoft, and Office 365 to keep their processes running. They used SharePoint for their workflows, but it was horribly complicated. It wasn’t easy to create workflows, and it wasn’t easy for end users to use them on a day-to-day basis.
But with Kissflow, they’ve been able to automate and streamline a number of their processes, including travel reimbursement, housing fee reimbursement, marine operations approval, and more. They currently use 96 apps through Kissflow to streamline their work.
For McDermott, this has removed the need to chase and follow up on emails for approvals and work orders. With this, their employees can focus more on getting the work done, instead of spending days developing the tools and apps needed to actually do it.
Another Fortune 500 company, Sealed Air, focuses on manufacturing packaging products to transport and deliver food and other products safely. Before they found Kissflow, they were using SAP and SalesForce. This was slow and cumbersome, and not in line with their vision of being agile and flexible to accommodate customer demands.
But once they found Kissflow, they were able to quickly leverage a total of 89 apps for their business processes, including food care pricing approvals, master data approvals, corrective and preventive action, and country material requests.
For Sealed Air, Kissflow’s promise wasn’t just a bag of hot air. The no-code platform delivered what it promised–quick development of apps, even by business users. It was perfectly packaged to their specific needs.
Before you jump into a low-code and no-code platform, you’ll want to find out what your requirements are. Do you already have a team of developers who need a tool to speed up their development process? Or do you have business users that need the ability to create their own apps, without needing to know how to code? Once you figure that out, you can start finding a product that best suits your needs.
Kissflow is a great solution if you need to create your own apps, without coding knowledge. With a powerful set of tools to help you build workflows and business processes of your choice, it’s worth a shot if you’re in the market for a powerful and comprehensive no-code platform.