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Here’s How to Make a Rational Decision about Low-Code/No-Code

Dramatically accelerated application creation, check. Iterative collaboration with business stakeholders, check. Lower costs, definite check. Streamlined integration, data modeling, even compliance – check, check, check again.

What’s not to love about Low-Code/No-Code platforms?

Apparently, in some corners, the answer is ‘quite a lot.’ Have you heard any of these?

Low-Code/No-Code disrupts the existing application development organization.

It makes managers look bad for having recommended slower, more time-consuming alternatives.

People lump today’s Low-Code/No-Code platforms in with previous generation rapid application development (RAD), computer assisted software engineering (CASE) and fourth-generation language (4GL) tools, assuming the flaws of these now-obsolete approaches must apply to modern Low-Code/No-Code.

And most significantly, Low-Code/No-Code can actually set lines of business and IT against each other, as they battle for control over the organization’s applications.

The good news: it’s possible to overcome all of these challenges. True, Low-Code/No-Code is disruptive, and disruptions generate pushback. But in the final analysis, Low-Code/No-Code drives benefit for the business and its customers – so let’s push back against the pushback.

Identifying the Sunk Cost Fallacy

In some (but not all) situations, people are arguing against Low-Code/No-Code from an irrational point of view – often without recognizing the flaws in their own internal logic. It’s usually possible to overcome such fallacies via proper communication and education.

The most common of these fallacies is the sunk cost fallacy (aka the good money after bad fallacy). Here’s how the fallacy works.

Let’s say you have a difficult challenge with two possible solutions, A and B. Either one would solve the problem equally well.

You’ve already sunk ten million dollars into A, and if you spend another million on A you’ll solve the problem.

Option B, however, you haven’t tried yet. However, you learn that you can solve the same problem by spending ten thousand dollars on option B.

Which is the better option? The correct answer, of course, is B, because it will only cost 1% as much as A to solve the problem.

In real world scenarios, however, people tend to select A – because so much money has already been spent on that option. You wouldn’t want to change horses in midstream, the argument goes. You also wouldn’t want to feel like you had wasted so much money on A, right? That would make you look bad.

Such thinking, however, is fallacious – and making the mistake of basing a decision on a sunk cost can be very expensive for your organization.

For executives who have sunk a big chunk of their budget into more expensive, time-consuming appdev approaches, resistance to switching to Low-Code/No-Code often boils down to falling into the sunk cost trap.

In reality, it doesn’t matter how much you have spent on an alternative approach. If Low-Code/No-Code will save you money and time starting today, it’s the better option.

Shining Light on the Personal vs. Organizational Risk Decision

Everybody acts out of self-interest, of course. In the corporate environment, self-interest is supposed to align with the priorities of the organization – but many times it doesn’t, in several different ways.

In practice, people are unlikely to support a decision that puts their jobs, their standing among their peers, or their likelihood of advancement at risk, even when such a decision would be in the best interests of their company.

In many IT shops, this ‘cover your assets’ (CYA) way of thinking impedes the decision to move to Low-Code/No-Code. Developers may question whether Low-Code/No-Code will put them out of a job. Ops personnel may wonder if Low-Code/No-Code is going to be difficult to manage in production. Security and compliance staff often have concerns about how Low-Code/No-Code will impact their areas as well.

Asking such questions is rational, and each of these professionals would be that much less professional for not doing so.

However, jumping to the conclusion that Low-Code/No-Code will adversely impact the individual is rarely based in fact.

For developers worried about their job security, there is another important consideration here. Low-Code/No-Code will, in fact, separate high-value appdev staff from lower-value personnel.

If you’re in the higher value camp, then you can relax. Your organization will need you more than ever as it moves to Low-Code/No-Code.

If you’re a lower-value coder, in contrast, then the shift to Low-Code/No-Code may signal that your job is on the line. But Low-Code/No-Code isn’t the cause of your job’s demise – the fact that you’re a lower-value coder is the problem.  Training yourself in these new AppDev technologies may brighten your future career options.

The Intellyx Take: Addressing the Credibility Gap

The final challenge that puts up roadblocks to rational decisions about Low-Code/No-Code is skepticism – or more precisely, ill-informed skepticism.

Such skeptics are easy to spot. They’re the ones saying that Low-Code/No-Code is nothing more than warmed over RAD/CASE/4GL (although nothing could be further from the truth). They’re also the people who grumble that the time and cost savings that Low-Code/No-Code vendors promise are ‘too good to be true.’

Now, it’s always a good idea to take any vendor promise with a grain of salt to be sure – Low-Code/No-Code or any other product category, for that matter. But don’t assume the incredible vendor proclamations are less likely to be true simply because they are harder to believe.

Low-Code/No-Code vendors know they have a credibility issue – and in fact, some of them pull their punches somewhat. They actually de-emphasize how fast customers can build applications, simply because they don’t want to elicit skepticism from their prospects.

Other vendors like Zudy, in contrast, are only too happy to proclaim the dramatic time and cost savings of its Vinyl Low-Code/No-Code platform – skepticism be damned.

It’s not my place to comment on the veracity of Zudy’s claims, as you shouldn’t take my word for it.

What matters here is to determine how well the product actually performs in real-world scenarios. Only via establishing the facts will you finally remove the roadblocks to making rational decisions about Zudy or any other Low-Code/No-Code platform. And there’s only one way to do that – try it and see.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Zudy is an Intellyx client. At the time of writing, none of the other organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx clients. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this paper. Image credit: Ozzy Delaney.

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More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

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