There is more at stake in the market than ever before. If your organization is going to succeed, it has to leverage technology to stay relevant. But that poses a problem for small and growing businesses. Building a single app can cost between roughly $38,000 to over $500,000 and can take several weeks. These high costs combined with an increasing demand for more apps make remaining competitive exponentially expensive. 

If large scale organizations struggle to keep up with the demands of a digital marketplace, how can smaller businesses hope to stand a chance? Small businesses need to deliver on customer expectations within budget. But that’s increasingly hard to do when the demand (and cost) for IT professionals only continues to grow. Luckily, low-code is an accessible alternative for businesses with smaller IT budgets looking to remain competitive by leveraging technology. 

Expectations: An Increasingly Challenging Problem 

These days, every company is a software company. There’s a need for every organization to be agile, available, and efficient. If your company can’t handle increasing customer demands, you can be certain that a more efficient competitor will. 

While competition has always been a part of business, it’s never been so fierce and demanding. More and more people have higher expectations for businesses. Influenced by platforms like Netflix and Amazon, they expect high-value, quick delivery, and a smooth process no matter the type of service you provide or product you offer.

Low-Code Offers an Affordable, Fast Solution

In an ideal world, a company would have the resources it needs to build custom applications for every workflow. But that’s simply not the case. IT departments are continuously bogged down with requests. They have to juggle maintaining current applications along with building new ones from a rapidly growing list. And that’s where low-code offers an easy solution.

A low-code platform is an interface that allows users to build software using minimal code rapidly. It’s basically an assembly line for software development, allowing staff to piece together the applications and integrations they need.

This democratizes software development, freeing up IT departments to focus on more high-level tasks while allowing “citizen developers” to create department-specific applications that help improve efficiency. And because it involves minimal code, it’s much faster and considerably cheaper than building software from scratch. 

How Low-Code Benefits Small Businesses

Small businesses do not have it easy when it comes to keeping pace with a rapidly digitizing business landscape. Mainly, they lack the necessary resources that larger companies have at their disposal to build and maintain vast application stacks. 

But that landscape may soon be changing.

Enterprise companies are starting to decrease their tech budgets due to fears of an economic downturn. Many don’t want to be caught in the middle of massive digital initiatives should the market turn. Yet, there’s still a need to invest in digital solutions to remain competitive. 

Low-code offers businesses the ability to keep up with larger companies at a lower cost. Rather than hiring new developers or outsourcing application builds, small businesses can rapidly train their own staff to develop low-code solutions.

Drawbacks of Low-Code

Low-code is not without its limitations. Vendor lock-in is an issue, as low-code applications don’t easily migrate to other providers. However, providers typically charge for use. This means you’ll only pay more as your applications scale with your business.

You need to be aware of provider limitations as well. Each low-code provider has its own application stacks with various features. You’ll need to check to see if they’re the right fit for your small business. If you can’t, it’ll have to be built from scratch at a higher cost.

There’s also the risk that as your business grows, customers will demand more features from existing applications. This can be problematic because you won’t have access to the source code, allowing for quick changes. As a result, you may need to create new applications.

DIY building can also lead to messy application sprawl that breeds concerns around security, efficiency, and cost. Here, governance is key to remaining secure and within budget.

Is Low-Code Best for Your Business?

There are plenty of manual tasks small businesses can reduce through low-code automation and integration. Low-code opens the door for small businesses to optimize workflows, streamlining their businesses through cost-cutting efficiency. But to get the most out of low-code, you need a strategy. 

Once you understand where the inefficiencies are in your business, you can target bottlenecks and time-intensive, low skilled tasks with automated solutions. By strategically optimizing workflows, you can free up the time and money necessary to grow your business, leveling the playing field in an increasingly competitive, digital marketplace. 

Kevin Shuler is the CEO of Quandary Consulting Group, a team of integration and application specialists that works with any-sized business to streamline workflows. They leverage the power of low-code to level the playing field in an increasingly digitized and competitive marketplace. @quandarycg

Low-code stock photo by Visual Generation/Shutterstock