Low Code vs. Customized Software: What's the Difference?
September 4th, 2019 • Software development
It is undeniable that the goal of every business or entrepreneur is to make profits. This goal has never changed. What has changed and is still changing are the methods to achieve the goal. Back in the days, big companies had to take months to years to develop software before presenting it to the end-users who were very few at that time. There was not much competition and businesses could take time developing projects. These companies were taking risks of investing large amounts of time and money in a project without knowing if the end-users will accept it. On the other side of the coin, the end-users did not have many options because companies that had the resources were few and the customers just had to accept what was presented to them.
Today, it is a totally different story. With the coming of the era of digital transformation, businesses compete much more for time than ideas. The end-users have more than enough options to choose from. That is why companies are trying to build working solutions fast and to present them to customers while making them unique. The internet has made the world a global village and startups can get from 0 to 100 really quick, even competing with those that have been around for a long time. This is because the possibilities to acquire new customers have exponentially increased.
All of this funnels down to the software development approach a company decides to use. In the past, businesses had time on their side and there was no rush or not much competition. So, Custom software development was prevalent. In this era, where the need for apps is rising and businesses are required to adapt to the fast-changing environment, rapid application development (RAD) is prevalent. RAD is carried out on the low-code platforms were the users may or may not have coding skills. Now, let’s dive into the main differences between the custom development and the low code development.
Low code software development vs. custom software development
As we have mentioned above, the time for software development is a major factor in this era. With the low-code platforms, this time is significantly shortened because pre-built modules have already been created and all the users need to do is to add the features necessary for their business. It may take only days or weeks to come up with a working solution. On some platforms like the Codejig App Builder, users are able to improve or add complex business logic to the app using blocks.
On the other hand, customized software can take months and years to build. This is mainly because everything is built from scratch with strict planning and execution. Most often, the development goes overtime. The software has to go through all the stages and departments involved in its development before it is handed to the end-users.
One of the main reasons for using the low code platforms is to counter the increasing demand for software. Citizen developers and business users are now able to build software with little or no coding experience on the low-code platforms while custom solutions require a team of professional developers with years of coding experience.
It is very costly to hire custom software development companies and the price will also vary depending on the size and scope of the project. Building enterprise software for 1000 users will not cost the same as for 5 to 10 users.
Building a low code solution lies on the other end of the price spectrum. Most often, the end-users pay just to access the service or platform they will be using and not to develop the software.
Building and maintaining software can be difficult because it needs constant checking for bugs and errors, updating, and keeping up with the changing environment. But all these problems arise with customized software. Software revisions have to go through the same process as its development and that can really be lengthy and costly.
These problems do not arise with software built on the low-code platforms. Changes can be made very quickly and without difficulties. It is even easier with platforms that are aPaas (application platform as a service). This implies that all the hardware requirements and security updates are handled by the hosting company and not by the user.
Low-code and custom software solutions have their own advantages. It all depends on the needs of the company or the user. Choosing the correct software development model for your business will be a determining factor for success or failure, especially in this era of digital transformation. As John Chambers (Executive Chairman, Cisco System) says “At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years… if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies”. So, you need to choose carefully.