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3 tips for purchasing a low-code platform

Research firm Gartner recently predicted that by 2024, three-quarters of large companies will be using at least four low-code tools for application development and other citizen development initiatives. We can therefore safely speak of a strong growth of low-code in organisations. But what should all these organisations that want to purchase a low-code platform pay attention to?

Many companies are struggling with this issue. Contrary to popular belief, a low-code platform is not the solution to every IT problem. The decision to start using low-code in your organisation is therefore not simply a matter of making a shortlist, selecting the cheapest provider and starting application development. It must be well-considered and organisations should realise that low-code is not just a simple product that you buy. A low-code platform enables a completely different way of working. If organisations don’t realise this, they run the risk that low-code will not live up to their expectations.

These 3 tips cover the main topics that organisations that want to purchase a low-code platform should pay attention to and can help you in purchasing the right solution for your organisation:

‘By getting a good picture of what your organisation wants to achieve with low-code first, you can create a shortlist of the technology providers that can help you best much faster’ 

Tip 1: Determine the goal of using low-code in the organisation first

Before you approach a low-code provider, make sure you first have a good idea of ​​what the organisation wants to achieve with low-code. Dries Ausems, Merchant of Progress at Bizzomate: “It is important to carefully consider what the main goal of using low-code in the organisation is. Do you want to improve the collaboration between business and IT, do you want to have a larger development team with citizen developers at your disposal or is your main objective increasing the speed of development of the current development team? By getting a good picture of what your organisation wants to achieve with low-code first, you can create a shortlist of the technology providers that can help you best much faster.”

Tip 2: Look beyond the technical details of the new technology

When organisations are comparing low-code platforms, it is important that they realise that, besides the technical specifications of low-code solutions, there are other important factors to consider. Ausems: “Companies often make long lists of all technical specifications that the solution must meet. They will then compare these lists on the smallest technical details. The risk of focusing too much on the technical specifications is that the company loses sight of the issues they really want to tackle with the low-code solution and which supplier is able to do this best.”

New way of working
“We often see that organisations put 80 percent of their energy into checking the technical requirements that the platform must meet and less than 20 percent on other important aspects. Mendix, one of our technology partners developed a digital execution manual to help organisation look beyond the technical aspects. This manual describes exactly which aspects, besides platform technology, you should pay attention to: portfolio, people, and process. Ausems: “When it comes to people, the choice for low-code sometimes has a major impact on the content of their job. Also consider your future application portfolio. How do you decide whether to buy out-of-the-box software or solve a problem with low-code? How are you going to set up the process of delivering apps if the development process is accelerating rapidly? The 4 aspects: Platform, Portfolio, Process and People must be all in balance.”

Tip 3: Use an agile purchasing process

According to Forrester, 37 percent of organisations are now using low-code. A good way to find out which low-code platform suits your organisation best is to get in touch with a company that uses the low-code solution from a provider that you are considering. They already know the best practices and they can tell you what works and what doesn’t.

Consider starting a pilot project
You can even start a pilot project with one or two potential low-code providers. Give these providers a framed problem that you want to solve within a month and ask them to solve this problem with their technology. This way you will find out much faster which technology solves your organisation’s problem in the best possible way and you also discover whether the people from the low-code provider have a good match with the people from your organisation.

Our experience is that companies often only find out exactly what they need during the low-code purchase process’ 

Opt for an agile purchasing process
The advice for organisations is to set up an agile purchasing process for low-code. Ausems: “Our experience is that companies often only find out exactly what they need during the low-code purchase process. This is not surprising, because low-code requires a whole new way of working. This makes it difficult to write down all requirements in detail in advance. By organising the purchasing process in an agile way, you will be working directly with a possible low-code supplier. The result is that you ultimately obtain precisely the custom license you need.”

Consider what value the low-code investment should yield in advance
Purchasing a low-code platform often requires a significant investment,
but try to look beyond that and also consider the additional value that low-code must deliver to the organisation.

The value of low-code
Working with a low-code platform is a strategic decision. Working with a low-code platform could help you solve problems that have been around for decades, such as improving the collaboration between business and IT. Also, consider the value of empowering a larger group of people who are very talented, but unable to write code to assist in developing applications (citizen developers). Or the time that is saved because you can develop a lot faster. By thinking carefully about all these matters first, you will make a well-considered decision and ultimately choose the low-code supplier that suits your organisation best.

Are you considering purchasing a low-code solution for your organisation? Download the checklist for purchasing low-code down below.

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