A Digital Toolbox for Everyone – Low Code vs. Custom Development Solutions

There goes a saying that a craftsman is only as good as his tools. However, in today’s digital workforce, are organizations giving their employees the right digital tools they need for the job? Organizations must gauge low code vs. custom development solutions, the benefits of each, and how to make the choice.

A Digital Toolbox for Everyone

As an organization, trying to assess the quality of the digital tools offered to your employees can be overwhelming. A good business-to-employee (B2E) software selection strategy is needed in order to cover all the scenarios of what an organization needs to onboard, train and empower employees. These tools allow employees to effectively and efficiently collaborate, and communicate through a unified and virtual workspace.

low code vs. custom development

Most companies typically approach their B2E efforts in the same way – with a strong dependency on a COTS (commercial, off-the-shelf) software. Communication tools like Skype, Microsoft Teams, or Slack are a few examples of this. Though these applications may sometimes be a great fit for your organization, there are times where they may not be enough. You could always use a combination of several different tools, but then you begin to stray more and more away from creating a comprehensive, unified workspace for your employees.

Low Code vs. Custom Development

A good B2E solution should not only give an employee the means to get their hands on the information they need promptly, but also provide a personal and easy-to-use experience to avoid user adoption hurdles. Thus, sometimes the best approach would be to build your own custom solution.

Every organization, and most certainly the people that comprise an organization, are different. Therefore, you need a B2E system that reflects your organization’s ingenuity. Apps deployed quickly on low code development platforms, or a full-blown custom application, can be great choice for this purpose. But how do you know which one is right for your organization? Let’s take a look at the two popular contenders here.

Even the best applications have bugs, could use tweaks, and grow outdated over time.

Custom Application Support

Low Code Development Platforms

Low code platforms are rapidly growing in popularity and adoption across many different industries, and for good reason. These platforms provide an all-in-one development and hosting environment for an application that can be tailor made to fit a variety of use cases. They boast a low cost of entry, and a distribution and subscription model that are a great fit for a B2E use case.

Among the most attractive benefits is the fast turnaround time and development cycles due to a primarily drag-and-drop, connector-based development environment. These platforms provide the rough building blocks that allow you to quickly create the application of your choosing, all while focusing on the actual problem and the business logic. Though some of these platforms have their own limitations, the leaders in this space still provide a large number of options to ensure your application can integrate with existing systems without too much hassle.

Here are some examples of what low code development applications look like:

low code vs. custom development
low code vs. custom development

Custom Development Platforms

As you would expect, custom applications provide the greatest amount of flexibility – the sky is essentially the limit here. A custom application can be made to satisfy even the most complex requirements, all the while having a true sense of individuality, and a look and feel that you simply can’t get with other options. In addition, any number of complex integrations can be built to ensure your application’s functionality won’t be limited by an inability to communicate with your organization’s systems.

However, going the custom applications route poses its own set of challenges as well. The development cycles can take much longer depending on the complexity of the application. In addition, an on-premise or cloud environment must also be configured to host any number of backend services the application may make use of, which comes with its own costs. Also, depending on the tools and frameworks used to develop the application, more work may be required to support multiple screen sizes, devices and out-of-the-box platforms.

When to Choose a Low Code Application

Choose a low code application if…

  • You won’t need a lot of complex integrations with existing systems and infrastructure.

  • A simple, purpose-built application that is designed to do a few things very well is optimal.

  • You want to sacrifice some level of granular detail for a rapid turnaround time and low initial investment.

  • You must deploy to a relatively small number of users, and low code platform subscription fee is not a burden.

  • Your organization is on the smaller side. Low code platform subscription models typically charge on a per app/per customer basis, though some can provide different payment options that can still be a great value.

When to Choose a Custom Application

Choose a custom application if…

  • The need is less immediate, but the level of detail is high.

  • Your application is going to need a variety of complex integrations with your systems and infrastructure.

  • Your solution needs to do a variety of things well and fit a number of sophisticated requirements.

  • You want an application that is flexible and can scale and change along with the needs of your organization.

  • You must deploy to a large number of users, trading the low code platform license fee to development costs.

A Strong B2E Development Strategy is Crucial

A solid B2E strategy will empower employees to improve overall efficiency and satisfaction within your organization. Employees can work smarter and be more productive when they are given the right tools to do their jobs. Whether you choose to go the low code path or the custom path (or you’re still on the fence), Smartbridge has many seasoned professionals that can work with you to help you make or reinforce your decision. Together, we can help choose which of these paths is the right one for you and your employees, and begin paving the way to a better employee experience.

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