While the benefits of Low-Code development platforms are being touted by vendors, there is a dark side that customers should be aware of when they adopt this approach for rapid apps development.
By their nature Low-Code and visual design means that citizen developers can create numerous apps, fast. This, without intelligent governance can lead to a number of issues:
- A large number of applications needs to be maintained and managed
- Deployment of “spaghetti apps” where data is duplicated and not normalised
- Orphaned apps that are built and not used by any users
- Integration between systems are duplicated as they typically only extract “app relevant” information
- Depending on your chosen vendor, you may attract unwanted platform fees, based on number of apps, function points or users
In most companies that implement Low-Code platforms, the “honeymoon period” provides huge traction, with new applications being delivered at the speed of light, but as the applications and users mature, the changes to applications become much more difficult to manage and administer.
We regularly come across clients that need their applications refactored (typically around a year after productive use) for the integration, data models and user roles to be normalised. Most of the prominent Low-Code vendor conferences typically feature architecture tracks explaining how to best model larger applications.
Our advice to reduce chaos is:
- Implement a simple architectural review (governance process) before applications are promoted to production. One of the most common patterns we encounter is where add-ons (downloaded from the the vendor market place) are directly modified within an application – when updates to the add-ons become available, it “breaks” the original application.
- Review your Low-Code business case quarterly and ensure you are deriving value and using the platform as it is intended. Adoption and usage of the developed apps is a key metric.
While Low-Code platforms provide speed, they also build up technical debt, be sure to have some “refactoring” time in your application sprints. An interesting phenomenon within this market is the provision of tools by vendors to allow migration of applications between platforms, contact us for more information.