Top Evaluation Criteria for Selecting a Low-code Platform – Part 1

Eight Organizational & Platform Adoption Features 

So you’re thinking about taking the leap and looking into the possibilities of investing in a low-code platform for developing your business applications? Rather than the tedious process of writing line after line of code for every application you implement, you’re exploring this “low-code” option that uses model-driven development for rapid application creation. 

Smart Apps

But there are many platforms to choose from! How do you choose which one is right for your organization and what evaluation criteria should you use?

To help you, we’ve prepared a list of our top evaluation criteria for low-code platforms and Smart Apps. And to help you determine whether your perfect fit is the Mendix platform in combination with TimeSeries, we’ve also highlighted how well we meet those criteria. 

Here, in part one of this post, we are going to explore eight Organizational and Platform Adoption Criteria that you’ll want to consider. Then, in part two we’ll explore eight Technical Features and Functional Criteria that should further guide your low-code platform decision.

Organizational and Platform Adoption Criteria

When developing low-code (smart) apps, it’s about more than just platform technology and functionality. You also need to consider whether the platform supports the projects you’re planning on tackling, suits the skills of your people and your internal processes and offers access to a strong partner network. Given our combined 250 years of experience in low-code at TimeSeries, we think the following eight technical features and functional criteria are the most important to consider as you explore.

1. Skillset and Type of User

Ask yourself: How accessible is the platform to our people? Do the levels of experience and coding skills needed to build apps match our user profiles? Could our more tech-savvy business users build their own apps with the platform? To what extent are coding skills necessary and to what degree can we build apps using modules and widgets? 

The Mendix platform is unique in its ability to support both non-developers, as well as developers through the Mendix studio, Pro, and traditional code extensions. Mendix is a low-code platform with some no-code options and is made to be available to developers of any skill. With TimeSeries you can hire our expert developers to build you a robust application, or you can learn the platform yourself through our TimeSeries University, which allows you to be trained to become a Mendix developer and co-deliver Mendix apps. Our developers are the best in the field when it comes to the Mendix platform and go through rigorous training to ensure they have the ability to adapt and learn in any environment.

2. Use Cases

Ask yourself: What type of use cases and applications suit the platform well and how flexible is the platform to go beyond these use cases? Can the vendor show how the platform has been used in similar industries or use cases to our own? How does the platform handle complex use cases? 

The Mendix platform is versatile and applicable in just about any case situation, regardless of complexity. Mendix covers a broader spectrum of use cases, from legacy migration, operational efficiency, innovation (including IoT), and extending core systems of record. TimeSeries has been proud to expand even further on those items with our unmatched team of developers. Take a moment to read through some of our TimeSeries Cases to get an idea of what this platform is capable of. These cases merely scratch the surface of the potential available through Mendix. 

3. Governance

Ask yourself: Is it important that we govern app development? To what extent should our IT people be in control, enabling and collaborating with the business, i.e. does the vendor provide an IT governance dashboard and quality monitor for IT? 

Mendix offers a multitude of add-on tools including but not limited to an Application Quality Monitor (ISO 25010 standard). The platform also provides an open tool set that can scale with your projects and can be extended to help support any third-party testing tool. With TimeSeries it’s possible to connect to your applications, whether they are hosted on-premise or in the Mendix cloud and you can monitor non-Mendix components such as the availability and performance of external API endpoints. 

4. Reusability 

Ask yourself: Can widgets, modules, and parts of the application (e.g. logic and app-services) easily be shared, re-used, and published? Are there pre-built modules and widgets available, such as LDAP/Active Directory to speed up actual delivery?

Collaboration and reusability is a major component to the Mendix platform and is illustrated through the app store, appservices, collaboration project portal, and reusable microservices. The ability to reuse elements/logic creates consistency across your app landscape which can lead to increased usability, accuracy of information, and actually increases productivity while reducing development periods. TimeSeries has really jumped into this concept of reusability and that brings us to our next evaluation criteria…

5. Templates and Quick Starts 

Ask yourself: Does the platform and ecosystem offer industry or domain specific templates for quick starts? 

Mendix offers a marketplace for the whole community to contribute to. This allows you to publish company specific reusable building blocks in your private company marketplace, while at the same time leveraging components from the public marketplace to increase the speed of development. There is also an extremely valuable partner ecosystem with companies sharing their domain and industry expertise with Mendix customers. TimeSeries launched several Smart App templates that are applicable across industries, as well as some industry specific templates. Our industry templates include ones for Marine, Manufacturing, Life Sciences and Energy & Utilities. The value of any platform is truly around the quantity and quality of the content it can support. You’ll find that Mendix in partnership with TimeSeries is unmatched in terms of quality and quantity.

6. Adoption Program and Guidance 

Ask yourself: How will we adopt a low-code platform in our organization and what best practices can the vendor offer to help us succeed?

Adopting a low-code platform goes beyond implementing a technical platform. It’s not only about the platform, but the partners, the processes, and projects you decide to tackle with such a platform. Mendix offers a customer success program from start, to structure, to scale. In addition, TimeSeries offers a Mendix adoption program called TimeSeries University. With over 250 years of accumulated Mendix experience these services go well beyond Mendix app (co)delivery, and help you succeed faster. 

7. Co-Deliver and Services Partner 

Ask yourself: What does the platform vendor’s partner network look like? What skills and services do they offer? How much relevant experience do they have? Given our industry, our in-house skills and likely requirements for external services and support, can we rely on the vendor’s partner network?

Mendix has over 100 partners worldwide and each offers specific domain knowledge and expertise. You can rest assured that regardless of your need, there is a partner for you. Many large software companies like IBM and SAP have partnered with Mendix as well to offer extensions of their existing solutions.

8. Financial Stability and Security

Ask yourself: How stable and mature is the low-code platform provider? If the vendor ran into difficulties, would that expose us to any risks such as loss of services or support? 

Many companies entering the field right now are smaller or pure no-code players, offering limitations on what you can do with the platform. The Mendix platform offers a truly unique solution without many of the barriers or limitations you would get with these no-code or smaller companies. Mendix is part of Siemens, a top-5 software organization which ensures financial stability and security. At Siemens, Mendix is being applied as the flexible solution for every custom application project internally and externally. Alternative solutions don’t offer this security. In a fast-paced environment such as the one we find ourselves in, we do expect more consolidation of those smaller players to take place. Choosing the low-code leading platform from Siemens in combination with Agile and proven services partners like TimeSeries, will offer you the best of both worlds.

Now you know! 

You now know where to start in terms of choosing your low-code platform. With these eight Organizational & Platform Adoption Features criteria in mind, you should now be on the right path to make the best decision for your business. 

Next week, we’ll publish part two for the Top Technical & Functional Features to consider.

If you’re interested in discovering more about working with TimeSeries and the Mendix platform, we would love to hear from you! Watch the recording of this webinar, which we organized together with Siemens, for more information about how TimeSeries and Mendix can make you successful. 

January 21, 2021
Maggie Burnham