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In the journey of digital transformation, the path to modernization could be a challenging one. When faced with technology modernization, dealing with legacy systems such as 5250-based, green screen applications, tightly coupled business logic, monolithic code base structures and limited knowledge of the application architecture, what choice do you have? You take a look at what's trending in the market. You observe that there is an increase in the spending on enterprise low-code technology (to the tune of $21.2 billion by 2022). Consequently, you decide to get on the bandwagon.

You choose a low-code development platform and begin the process of modernizing your applications. Fast forward a few months and you realize that the easy to use, drag-and-drop feature is great to build a prototype but the platform falls short in etching out the intricacies of a serious enterprise application. You also realize that when you want to scale up and build more applications and increase the number of users there is an additional cost. Added to that you have runtime dependency and added cost of deployment on infra of your choice. These among many other challenges edge you towards a reality check and it makes you wonder whether, in the urgency to modernize and be competitive, was the low-code development platform a right choice?

Every enterprise is keen to ride the low-code wave, and in line with the modernization narrative, they should. The challenge arises when low-code is adopted without learning about the ‘nuts and bolts' of the platform and understanding how it fits their requirements. This is when a reality check occurs, when there is a glaring gap between expectations and reality. More often than not, the reality of technology modernization and digital transformation is different from what is expected. It's a fact that while companies have reportedly spent $1.2 trillion on digital transformation in 2019, analysis indicates that just 1% of these efforts would actually achieve or exceed expectations.

Expectation Vs. Reality. Bridging the Gap When Adopting an Enterprise Low-Code Platform

Assume nothing. Know what to expect to mitigate reality checks 

Before adopting an enterprise low-code platform, it is important to take into account the expectations and requirements of different stakeholders. CIOs, CTOs, Application and IT Leaders expect that an investment in a low-code platform must speed up time to market of application development and delivery, reduce operational costs, address the skills gap, bridge silos between users, developers and IT teams, ensure scalability, and promote growth. IT teams expect low-code platforms to take the pressure off by enabling business-users build their own applications with minimal IT support, thereby giving them the bandwidth to innovate.  Developers are a league of their own, and assume that they “tell” the platform what the application should be. Professional development teams expect low-code platforms to automate time-consuming and mundane tasks of code generation, so that they can focus on developing application features that will provide differentiation and improve user / customer experience.

Taking into consideration these different expectations, let's take a look at some of the assumptions that create the gap between expectations and reality, and what can be done to reduce it.

Assumption 1: The platform is built for enterprise-grade application development

Assumption 2: Low-code will replace coding

Assumption 3: The platform generates quality code and testing is not required

Assumption 4: The platform is scalable and supports increasing growth

Assumption 5: You are not locked in to the platform and can customize applications after migration

Assumption 6: There is no runtime dependency and you are free to deploy on infra of your choice without separate cost for deployment.

Assumption 7: Underestimating the complexity of managing APIs during integration

Modernization, as a part of digital transformation, is an intensive affair. Through 2021, Gartner  predicts that digital transformation projects, by large and traditional enterprises, will take twice as long and at double the cost than anticipated. On the other hand, smaller and agile enterprises will be more successful in implanting modernization and digital transformation initiatives. Regardless of this factual prediction, enterprises, large and small alike, can still gain leverage by adopting emerging technology solutions, such as low-code. Solutions that constantly evolve, adapt to the challenges of technology modernization and make the journey of digital transformation smooth sailing and successful.