A Comprehensive Guide to Enterprise Low-Code Development

Pranay Agarwal
Posted by Pranay AgarwalPublished on Jul 07, 2024
13 min read
A Comprehensive Guide to Enterprise Low-Code

Traditional software development is slow and resource-intensive, making it difficult to adapt quickly to market changes and internal needs. 

Long development cycles, high maintenance demands, costs, and rigid legacy systems delay time to market and stifle innovation. Disconnected data sources and a lack of seamless integration hinder productivity and collaboration.

Enterprise low-code platforms offer a solution. You can build customized applications with minimal coding by simplifying and speeding up the development process.

This approach empowers you to create the custom internal tools you need quickly, breaking down data silos and improving collaboration across your organization.

What is enterprise low-code development?  

Enterprise low-code development refers to utilizing low-code platforms within large enterprises to develop and deploy customized software applications swiftly.

This approach empowers professional developers and business users within large enterprises to collaborate effectively, using intuitive visual interfaces, drag-and-drop functionalities, and declarative tools.  

With a low-code enterprise platform, you can build applications with minimal traditional coding, ensuring rapid development cycles, integration with existing enterprise systems, and scalability to meet organizational demands.

Example

Consider a large healthcare provider aiming to enhance patient care through better operational efficiency. Using enterprise low-code development, their IT team collaborates with clinical staff to create a custom patient scheduling application. 

They integrate the app with systems like electronic health records (EHR) with intuitive visual tools and minimal coding. This streamlined approach accelerates deployment across multiple clinics, improving appointment management and patient experience while maintaining stringent healthcare compliance standards.

Now,  let's discuss the common issues with traditional platforms to understand how enterprise low-code can effectively address these challenges.

Top 5 challenges faced by traditional systems in enterprise deployments

Here are the top 5 challenges enterprises face with traditional systems.

1. Difficult to scale as per business growth

Traditional systems in large enterprises frequently encounter challenges in scaling alongside business growth due to their monolithic architecture. 

Adapting to increased user bases or incorporating new functionalities often demands extensive reconfiguration and customization efforts.

This rigidity undermines agility and adaptability, delaying the deployment of critical applications and impeding responsiveness to evolving business requirements.

2. Limited integration capabilities within enterprise systems

Due to their monolithic or legacy architectures, traditional enterprise systems often struggle to integrate with  external databases like MongoDB, Postgres, MySQL or connections with third-party APIs 

These systems are often very clunky and are hosted on-premise, making deployment and maintenance difficult. 

This integration challenge delays projects, increases costs, and hampers real-time data sharing and operational efficiency within ERP systems, limiting responsiveness to dynamic business needs and innovation opportunities.

3. Lack of customization options in traditional systems

With traditional systems comes the rigid framework that requires extensive coding for customization. Such complexity requires an experienced professional developers team well-versed in various development languages to offer customized solutions. 

Consequently, businesses experience extended implementation timelines and increased costs due to reliance on specialized skills. Moreover, any change or update may complicate the maintenance efforts and result in potential disruptions and increased operational expenses. 

4. Poor user adoption rate in traditional enterprise systems 

Traditional systems are not user-friendly due to their steep learning curve for employees. Their interfaces can be cluttered, and business users require extensive training to become proficient.

This complexity results in low user adoption rates as employees struggle to navigate the system and perform their tasks efficiently.

5. Limited customization capabilities in traditional off-the-shelf platforms

Traditional enterprise platforms often offer standardized solutions that fail to meet the unique needs of businesses. 

Customizing these systems to align with specific business processes requires substantial effort and specialized expertise, leading to prolonged project timelines and increased costs.

This lack of flexibility poses significant challenges, hindering innovation and adaptation to evolving business requirements.

Transform your enterprise with low-code

Appsmith streamlines enterprise tool development, automates processes, integrates apps and data sources, and enhances legacy systems with advanced features.

How do enterprise low-code platforms help overcome the challenges of traditional platforms? 

Enterprise low-code platforms help overcome the challenges of traditional systems in several ways. By leveraging low-code automation development, these platforms offer improved efficiency, flexibility, and scalability.

1. Advanced integration solutions in enterprise

Enterprise low-code platforms are equipped with advanced integration tools tailored to enterprise needs. They feature an array of native database connectors, APIs, and tools for real-time data synchronization.

These capabilities ensure seamless data flow and interoperability across diverse systems and applications within an enterprise. By facilitating unified workflows and enhancing operational efficiency, enterprise low-code platforms enable organizations to integrate CRM systems, financial databases, and customer support platforms easily. 

This integration results in fast decision-making and operational responsiveness, which are essential for enterprises to maintain competitiveness in business.

2. Enhanced customization and flexibility

Enterprise low-code platforms empower large organizations by offering customization capabilities tailored to complex workflows and specific business requirements. 

These low-code platforms feature user-friendly interfaces and robust integration tools, enabling agile application development and rapid deployment without extensive coding. 

This capability accelerates innovation cycles, improves efficiency, and supports scalable solutions that align with enterprise-grade security and compliance standards.

3. Robust security and compliance features

An enterprise low-code tool provides robust security measures like data encryption, regulatory compliance, and multi-factor authentication. They enhance data security, ensure regulatory adherence, and centralize control over application environments, mitigating data breach risks and maintaining trust in data handling practices.

Appsmith ensures robust data security with AES-256 encryption, SSL certification, secure data-at-rest configurations, and compliant hosting on SOC 1 and SOC 2 certified AWS data centers, strengthened by strict access controls and audit logging.

Securely self-hosted for complete control, privacy, and security, Appsmith allows hosting with no telemetry, no transmission of private data over the wire, and full access to internal data sources and APIs. Appsmith's open-source platform ensures you retain full control over your apps indefinitely, eliminating concerns about vendor lock-in.

4. Comprehensive governance and control

Enterprise low-code platforms empower organizations with robust governance tools such as version control, detailed audit trails, and granular role-based access management. These capabilities enable enterprises to enforce stringent organizational policies, ensure transparent oversight of development activities, and effectively manage compliance requirements. 

These platforms support enterprise-wide governance frameworks by facilitating secure and compliant application development processes, enhancing operational efficiency, and mitigating risks associated with regulatory non-compliance.

5. Optimized performance under heavy loads

Enterprise low-code platforms integrate scalable architecture and leverage cloud-based infrastructure from AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud providers to optimize application performance under heavy workloads.

These platforms ensure seamless operation during peak usage scenarios, enhancing overall efficiency and reliability across enterprise applications.

By adopting these advanced performance capabilities, enterprises mitigate the risks of downtime and performance degradation, maintaining consistent operational excellence and effectively meeting business-critical demands.

While OutSystems and Mendix are popular examples, a variety of enterprise low-code platforms are available in the market, specifically OutSystems alternatives

6. Comprehensive user adoption and training support

Enterprise low-code offers extensive support resources, comprehensive documentation, professional services, and active user communities compared to the traditional approach. With an enterprise low-code tool, you can accelerate user adoption rates, facilitate smooth onboarding, and effectively empower business users to maximize the platform’s capabilities.

Some enterprise low-code platforms have taken up the open-source model, leading to the development of large and active communities around them. Starting with Appsmith, has a Github community of 3k+ and a Discord community of 6k+ members, whereas Budibase has 2,123 members and ToolJet has 500 open-source contributors from all around the world. 

The platforms stated above have gained significant traction in the enterprise space while also maintaining their open-source nature. These enterprise low-code platforms have benefited from the contributions made by their user communities that also provide a foundation for freelance developers to build their careers around. 

Now that we've seen the advantages of enterprise low-code, let's understand the specific features that enable these benefits.

Key features of enterprise low-code platform 

Here are the key features of the enterprise low-code platform.

Feature

Description

Advanced Security Measures

Role-based access controls (RBAC), data encryption, compliance with standards

Scalability and Performance

Ability to handle large-scale applications, load balancing, auto-scaling

Integration Capabilities

Integration with legacy systems, APIs, and third-party apps

Collaboration and Workflow Management

Visual workflow builders, team collaboration tools, version control

Analytics and Reporting

Built-in analytics dashboards, reporting tools

Customization Options

Extensive customization capabilities with the ability to write in-line code and add external libraries

Automation Tools

Workflow automation, task scheduling

DevOps Integration

CI/CD pipeline support, integration with Git

Mobile App Development

Support for mobile app development on iOS and Android devices

Real-time Updates

Real-time data synchronization and updates

Low-code AI and Machine Learning

AI-driven automation, machine learning model integration, native integration with all the major LLMs

Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Support

Deployment across multiple cloud providers, hybrid cloud integration

Enterprise-grade Support

Dedicated support channels, service level agreements (SLAs)

Performance Monitoring and Optimization

Real-time performance monitoring, optimization recommendations

Top 5 enterprise low-code platforms for enterprise solution development

An image with maroon background and the logos of 5 low-code platforms

Choosing the right enterprise low-code development platform is crucial for meeting complex app development requirements. Here is the list of the top low-code platforms for your business that help develop enterprise-based low-code solutions.

1. Appsmith 

Appsmith is an open-source, low-code application platform offering both cloud and self-hosted options. It is designed to meet the complex needs of modern enterprises. With Appsmith, you can efficiently build internal tools such as analytics dashboards, customer support, and approval apps.

Key Highlights

  • Trusted Globally

    • 100k+ users across 150 countries

    • 10,000+ teams use it daily

  • Industry Recognition

    • Featured in Zinnov Zones for Low-Code Application Development and Intelligent Automation Platforms in 2024

Regarding enterprise-grade features, Appsmith provides extensive integrations with over 18 popular enterprise tools and offers a versatile library of 45+ drag-and-drop widgets.  For deployment flexibility, enterprises can opt for Appsmith's cloud-hosted solution or self-host, leveraging full access to the platform's open-source code for extensive customization without vendor lock-in. 

HeyJobs (Talent Platform), Strapi (Headless CMS), and GSK (Pharmaceuticals Ltd) are key clients of Appsmith. Whether enhancing internal workflows or integrating complex systems, Appsmith provides the tools and flexibility necessary for modern enterprise software development.

Pricing

Free community edition offering core functionalities for individual developers and small businesses.

Usage-based pricing for business plans starts at $0.4 per hour of usage

Custom quotes for enterprises based on specific requirements

2. Mendix

Mendix is another platform that uses low-code for enterprise application development. It focuses on collaboration among the business and IT teams. CasinoSoft, Cognia, Archway Software, and LWX are a few of the top companies using Mendix to create software systems, apps, and solutions. 

Using Mendix, you can connect to data sources, third-party apps and services, and APIs to expand the ecosystem of your business apps. Mendix is designed to scale your business with minimal coding knowledge to efficiently handle large user bases and volumes.

Pricing

Free plan 

Standard plan starts from $50/month

The custom plan comes with a quote

3. OutSystems

OutSystems is a low-code development tool widely known for its enterprise-grade capabilities. The platform integrates various low-code capabilities, including full-stack development, seamless integration with legacy systems, and real-time performance monitoring. 

OutSystems is a full-stack low-code platform that offers development, integration, AI, testing and QA, cloud-native architecture, security and governance, DevOps, and an ecosystem. It is essential in high-availability deployments and manages complex apps with high user loads.

Pricing

Free plan

Developer cloud plan starts at $36,300/year

4. Retool

Retool is meant to build internal tools quickly, focusing on integration and customization. This platform offers pre-built components, a drag-and-drop interface, and extensive integrations with databases, APIs, and other services.

Retool is suitable for high-demand environments as it can handle complex apps and scale to meet the needs of large enterprises. Descript, FINN, Greenly, Neo4j, and Snowflake are a few companies that use Retool to build apps. 

If you are already using Retool for developing internal tools, applications, or other use cases, and looking to expand its capabilities or explore similar platforms, we have a ready-list for you. Check out the Retool alternatives to find out the most suitable platform for your requirements.

Pricing

Free plan

The team plan starts at $10/developer/month and $5/user/month

Business plan starts at $50/developer/month and $15/user/month

Enterprise plan with a custom quote

5. Power Apps

PowerApps is a low-code tool designed for citizen developers – i.e., non-technical people who work in software development. This platform can be easily integrated with other Microsoft services and tools, making it a great choice for enterprises already using the Microsoft ecosystem. 

With a wide range of connectors and enterprise-grade security, it can create model-driven and canvas apps. PowerApps supports large-scale applications and manages important data with Microsoft Azure integration.

Pricing

Free plan

The premium plan starts at $20/user/month

While PowerApps offers many benefits, it has limitations. Users may struggle with third-party integrations, customization for certain requirements, or scaling costs. 

If you are facing these challenges, exploring alternatives could be beneficial. To help find the perfect platform for your specific needs, consider reviewing this list of Microsoft Power Apps alternatives.

What enterprise use cases can Appsmith be used for? 

Here are the top use cases of enterprise low-code solutions.

1. Customer support dashboard

Appsmith enables the development of customer support dashboards that consolidate data from CRM systems, ticketing platforms, and real-time communication tools into a unified interface. With its drag-and-drop widgets and customizable dashboard features, support teams can access information quickly, track ticket statuses, analyze customer interactions, and prioritize responses efficiently. 

2. IT operations solution

Appsmith is a tool for IT operations to monitor and manage infrastructure, applications, and workflows. IT teams use it to build customer onboarding dashboards, monitoring dashboards, integrate tools, databases, and APIs to track system performance, detect anomalies, and ensure uptime. 

Appsmith enables real-time data visualization, automated alerting, and incident management workflows, empowering IT teams to resolve issues proactively and optimize efficiency. It also supports the development of custom IT management tools like configuration management databases or asset tracking systems tailored to organizational needs.

3. Enterprise app extension

Organizations often use multiple software solutions that may not fully meet their unique requirements. Appsmith enables enterprises to extend the functionality of existing applications or seamlessly integrate disparate systems. 

Whether enhancing CRM functionalities, extending ERP systems, or integrating with proprietary databases, Appsmith provides the flexibility to build custom interfaces and workflows. By leveraging Appsmith's low-code capabilities, enterprises can bridge gaps between applications, automate workflows, and ensure data consistency across platforms.

Ready to revolutionize your enterprise applications with Appsmith's powerful low-code platform?

Whether you need enterprise-grade security, scalability, or reliability, Appsmith provides the tools and flexibility to make it happen.

Start building your enterprise application with Appsmith

With Appsmith's intuitive drag-and-drop features, pre-built components, and seamless integrations, technical and non-technical users can collaborate effectively to build apps.

Switch to Appsmith today and bridge the gap between legacy software, SaaS apps, and various data sources.

Key highlights of Appsmith for enterprises:

  • 45+ customizable widgets 

  • Trusted by 1M+ users

  • 25k+ stars on GitHub

  • Used by 10,000+ teams globally

  • Integrates with 15+ databases and APIs

  • Self-hosting and cloud-hosting capabilities

  • Open-source with no vendor lock-in

  • Usage-based pricing

  • Developer-first product with the ability to write JS code

Transform your business operations with low-code platforms today. Book a demo to learn how Appsmith can help build custom enterprise low-code solutions.

Frequently asked questions about enterprise low-code development 

1. Are low-code platforms suitable for large-scale enterprise applications?  

Yes, low-code platforms are suitable for large-scale enterprise applications. They offer various important features like scalability, advanced security protocols, and integration capabilities to meet the needs of large organizations. A low-code solution enables enterprises to develop, customize, and deploy applications with minimal coding knowledge, making it easier to adapt to changing business needs. 

2. How do low-code platforms ensure security for enterprise applications?

Low-code platforms ensure the security of enterprise applications through comprehensive security features and adhering to industry standards. These platforms enable customers to host applications on their infrastructure, ensuring full security. 

A low-code solution maintains compliance with regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and ISO standards. It also provides detailed audit logs and monitoring tools to help track user activities and detect security threats in real-time.  

3. How do low-code platforms facilitate collaboration across different teams in an enterprise?

Low-code platforms improve collaboration across enterprise teams by empowering citizen developers across departments to build apps with minimal coding knowledge, democratizing development, and fostering cross-functional innovation. 

Low-code platforms act as a centralized hub where teams build, test, and deploy applications and encourage collaboration. Their rapid prototyping capabilities enable teams to gather feedback and iterate quickly, facilitating collaboration. 

4. How do enterprise low-code platforms ensure high availability and reliability for enterprise applications?

Enterprise low-code platforms offer robust infrastructure with various features like load balancing, automatic scaling, and disaster recovery. These platforms also offer SLAs that guarantee reliability and uptime.

5. Do enterprise low-code platforms offer air-gapped solutions?

Enterprise low-code platforms like Appsmith do offer air-gapped solutions as part of their enterprise offerings. Air-gapped instances in Appsmith are tailored for niche users operating within highly regulated industries or scenarios that require the server to be completely isolated from external internet connectivity. This concept ensures enhanced security and compliance with strict regulatory requirements.