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For Low Code Software, Keep Requirements Low



According to industry analyst companies such as Gartner and Forrester, enterprise customers are increasingly turning to no code and low code platforms as an alternative to traditional custom development (now called hand-coded to evoke a feeling of labor intensity) in order to increase their agility and reduce expense and personnel.

According to Gartner, Microsoft is a leader in enterprise low-code platforms. Microsoft embodies many of the characteristics that organizations seek in adopting a low code approach:
  • Tools that employ a drag-and-drop approach well-suited for citizen developers and business developers. 
  • A broad platform of tools for many kinds of business applications. 
  • Standardization of tools across products. 
  • Innovative features like AI and Azure services such as a low-code AI Builder for including machine learning and vision AI capabilities in applications and workflows.
  • Integration of the platform with Dynamics 365 which provides common business functions for sales, customer service, marketing, project management, and more. 
  • Wide support in the developer and implementation community.
Microsoft is calling its low code platform the Power Platform, but despite the new name the products and technologies on which the Power Platform is based are mature and widely adopted.

It seems to me that some customers get carried away in their quest for low code, at least as they reflect their requirements in solicitations.  In order to stick to a strict no code approach, you must also keep your requirements simple enough to be expressed without coding.  This may not be practical for requirements that are imposed by laws and regulations, many of which are quite complex.  

Low code requires strong governance.  If end users can change data models, workflows, and reports at will you can end up with solutions that are difficult to maintain.  Citizen developers may not be as effective as professional developers in a DevOps environment, at least without training. 

Adopting a low code approach involves tradeoffs which may even include using custom development to fill functional requirements and provide performance that cannot be achieved with today's low code platform. 

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