Aligning the Right Software Solution to Your Next Business Opportunity


Exploring Options: 

Embarking on any new initiative within a business comes with an onslaught of questions and decisions to be made. Ultimately, the goal is to create value for the organization, while reducing the risks and opportunity costs of the planned initiatives. Evaluating different software solutions as part of these initiatives now comes with at least three high-level options to be evaluated. In this blog, we will look at the three options that exist and explore how they align with different projects and organizations. 

No Code vs. Low Code vs. Custom 

I alluded to three options businesses can explore when evaluating whether a software solution will create the right balance of value vs cost. In the past, only two options existed, Buy vs Build.  Businesses would have to choose between a commercial product bought off-the-shelf and developing their own custom software.  We now have a new paradigm for evaluation, and it centers around these three options: No Code, Low Code, and Custom Development. Let us explore what each means.

  • No Code: A set of tools that aims at being exactly what it sounds like; custom applications with no user-created code. They use a set of building blocks and simplified logic to empower users to build workflows, and user interfaces to accomplish tasks and activities. These platforms are powerful and getting better and better every day, but they do have limitations that may not allow for complex actions and calculations without advance knowledge or additional integrations. 
  • Low Code: These platforms try and bridge the gap between no code and custom code, allowing for configuration or extension in areas where the platform’s no code components do not cover the organization’s needs. Often these systems look to use code that users or programmers might be familiar with, such as JavaScript or excel-type functions. This allows for some additional variations on how an organization can use these types of platforms to meet their needs. 
  • Custom Development: This allows for the most customization out of all three paradigms. Unique, complex problem sets can be solved by allowing developers the opportunity to generate code with business logic that integrates multiple-source systems and data sets. If your business opportunities are unique, or not widespread practice, this, more than likely, is the way your organization solves its problems.

Looking Inward: The Organizational Perspective 

We did a brief overview of the technology solutions, but I want to make sure to emphasize the importance of looking inward at your organization’s resources and aligning the ultimate decision for one of the solutions with the company’s capabilities, priorities, and goals. To help give context, we can explore 3 of the factors that I believe have the highest influence on making that decision: 

People: The human resources that exist within your organization, and their associated skillsets, help shape which options are available to meet your organization’s needs. This helps determine if you can move toward Low Code or Custom Code, given that No Code is open to almost any organization. The small table below depicts the types of skillsets that might be aligned with each platform/toolset to meet needs within the business. 

Process: Most solutions involve integrating existing processes or replacing ones that already exist to make them more efficient, or to provide better insight into decision making about downstream activities. Given the complexity of those processes, business rules and workflows can help you understand the technology that might be most appropriate to fulfill your organizational needs. 

Time/Budget: Your final considerations are the amount of time you have to potentially capture a business opportunity and the budget you have set aside for the execution of a solution. Large, complex problems, in general, require larger amounts of time and money to make sure the solution delivers the value the business is looking to achieve.

Coming Back to Balance 

I hope this information gives you a sense of your options for tackling any challenges moving a business or organization forward with the right software solution. Striking the correct balance is critical in creating lasting value. As you explore these options in the future, be on the lookout for the next thing that could change the software solutions landscape. I know we will, as we help our clients navigate all the options discussed and look to leave each of our clients better. 


About The Author

Josh Bartels is UDig's Chief Technology Officer. He has been leading data and consulting engagements for over 10 years. Josh believes bridging the gap between business and technology departments in any organization is key to generating success and staying competitive.