The Low-Code development platform market is expected to reach over 45 billion by 2025!
Gartner predicts that by 2024, 75% of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code development tools. It is not hard to believe this, especially when companies like Schneider Electric, Ricoh, or thinkmoney have experienced massive ROI from their low-code initiatives.
Undeniably, low-code tools/platforms deliver a great value proposition to businesses. However, like with every technology, these platforms have noteworthy tradeoffs and downsides as well. Hence, it is prudent to exercise caution while opting for a low-code platform/tool. While appreciating the benefits associated with low-code development, you cannot overlook the hidden challenges, risks, and drawbacks of this approach.
In this post, we will take a look at the challenges of low-code adoption.
Challenges in the Adoption of Low-Code
No, low-code platforms do not compromise data security. However, in many cases, developers are required to decide about the permissions, access controls, and configurations to ensure data security. The risks (with low-code) emerge mainly due to the way data is partitioned and stored in low-code platforms. Moreover, all low-code platforms aren’t equal if we consider fine-grained controls. While some collaboration platforms have a content access mechanism that allows sharing, viewing, and editing of data. However, they may not provide advanced controls leaving more granular controls beyond base-level capability.
Before deciding to adopt low-code development, ask yourself, “Will my data be safe?”. Depending on the low-code platform you choose, you can either put some restrictions on the use of your data or the type of information being shared. A lot of enterprise-grade, top-tier platforms extend countless opportunities for modern businesses to exercise control over their data.
Lack of customization and flexibility
Most developers complain about the absence of customization and flexibility in low-code platforms. However, this isn’t true with all platforms. A lot of people who found such limitations in one platform tend to assume other platforms had similar issues too. The truth is that customization options depend on the platform you choose. Some platforms may have limited customization options while others may let you access underlying code as well. Some platforms allow users to build applications meeting their business needs whereas others don’t. It is, therefore, advisable that you check the customization limits the platform offers before choosing one.
Enterprise apps cannot exist in absolute isolation, and they must integrate with other systems to consume data and share it with those systems. Many low-code development platforms allow users to build parts of the APIs for successful integration.
For developers, it is not a challenge if the app needs to be integrated with just a few other systems. However, one cannot underestimate the complexity involved in managing APIs with countless other systems. It is important to understand the documentation that comes with the chosen low-code platform. It is important to check if the platform of your choice lets you manage your APIs as well.
This is one of the most paramount concerns about low-code platforms. Many businesses assume that they’ll be attached to the vendor they choose to work with. Quite contrarily, however, this issue may vary across vendors. Let’s understand this with the help of an example. Some vendors build apps using open frameworks and code for generating standard, clean code that works virtually everywhere. You will find these apps easy to maintain within the platform but, at the same time, they can be managed outside the platforms. Vendors may lock in businesses (like yours) in different ways. Some might produce convoluted code which is impossible to maintain (away from the platform) and others may not even let you edit your apps when you discontinue using their tool.
Hence, you must understand the policies of each vendor before licensing a tool. You must ensure that you know whether the app can be maintained outside the platform or not. Make sure you ask whether the code can be generated beforehand as that will help you check how easily it changes.
Inefficient and bloated apps
Low-code apps, if not developed well, can be bloated, and perform sluggishly when dealing with large datasets. Slow performance leads to lost productivity.
As low-code is a relatively new concept, there are limited online resources, communities, reference material, or tips available for low-code platforms. Developers, therefore, may struggle in case they get stuck with a peculiar challenge.
In the case of large-scale applications, teams may need to adopt multiple low-code platforms based on the specific needs of their applications. In such a situation, the management of the platforms, integrations of apps developed using these platforms, and the learning curve with each platform can be a tedious affair.
There are countless benefits that low-code adoption offers to businesses. But the approach brings along several challenges as well. It is always a good idea to be aware of such challenges so that those can be mitigated strategically while making the most of this new trend.