How to Develop a Value-Centered Low-Code Portfolio

The adoption of low-code development in organizations globally is expanding rapidly (Gartner has predicted 20% growth in 2023 alone). This opens up a new field of possibilities for IT departments plagued by backlogs and time-consuming legacy system maintenance.

The speed of development is a large selling point for many stakeholders. But there are also other ways to measure the value of your low-code investment.

Why develop a value-centric approach?

A value-centric approach focuses on the value of the applications that you’re producing and maintaining, as well as the value of how you deliver those applications.

In Successful Digital Transformation: A Practice Makes Perfect, we describe why it is crucial to have a strong Digital Execution Practice to support your organization’s digital transformation journey.

Successful digital transformation requires much more than choosing and using the right technology.

One of the key components is to put value at the forefront by adopting a value-centric approach. Then, create simple and scalable processes for measuring the value of your application portfolio.

Being value-centric means that you measure and document the value you create. This begins at the onset of your program.

You measure the value of your low-code development platform and the applications you’re delivering.

Successful digital transformation requires much more than choosing and using the right technology.

Why is it important to measure and document your value capture?

Well, one of our goals is to help you transform your IT department from a cost center to a profit center.

If you’re like most organizations implementing a strong Digital Execution Practice, you are already creating your portfolio. You can do this through a well-established process of identifying the business case for new initiatives. Then you prioritize your roadmap.

Once you’ve built your application, it can be tempting to move on to the next item on the roadmap without taking the time to assess value. But how can you prove that you’ve become a profit center if you are not measuring your actual profit?

What kind of value can be captured?

The applications you create produce different types of business value that can be measured in a number of ways: hours shaved off of a process, customer loyalty increased, developer productivity gains, SLA uptime increased, etc.

Some of the most commonly identified business value results you can achieve building with low code include:

  • Addressable market
  • Operational efficiency
  • Infrastructure impact
  • Risk mitigation
  • Customer retention
  • Competitive capability

The value that you deliver with low-code

There’s research that backs up the value you can get from a low-code platform.

Mendix commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact ™ (TEI) study and objectively examine the potential benefits that organizations may realize by deploying the Mendix platform.

Benefits of $20,520,796 over three years with Mendix

As a part of their study, Forrester interviewed four Mendix customers and, based on those interviews and their company profiles, created a composite Organization. They averaged out the achieved results of those companies to establish the following results after a three-year run on the Mendix platform for the Organization.

Forrester’s interviews and subsequent financial analysis found that the Organization experienced net benefits of $20,520,796 over three years, plus Mendix fees.

In addition to the quantified benefits listed above, Forrester found that customers experienced several qualitative features or benefits from using Mendix including:

  • Improved ability to respond to the market and customer needs.
  • Employee access to the right data at the right time to make the best decisions.
  • Modern systems that align with business needs and are adaptable to change.
  • A single view of the customer leads to better customer service, which in turn leads to higher customer retention and repeat sales.

How to measure the value of your low-code application portfolio

To properly measure value, you need a solid starting place: The business case.

Creating a business case for your app will immediately do two things for you:

  1. It will help you define the solution you are after.
  2. It can help you define the type of value that solution will create.

This framework will help justify your investment in building the app, and point to what type of metrics to pay attention to once it goes live.

Communicating that value you are documenting should also be done on two levels: The value of the app itself as well as the value of building that app using low-code.

On top of the framework, you also need to put into place someone whose responsibility it is to follow the framework and ensure that there is value being recorded post-delivery. A lack of personnel in this function is why a lot of organizations can’t capture value as well as they should be.

(To get a more thorough idea of how to calculate both, check out the Low-Code Value Handbook, which lays this out in detail.)

Talk about the value generated

There’s a lot of potential value out there, waiting to be realized through your low-code vision and implementation.

If you take away anything from this article, let it be this: Don’t just build your apps, but measure their value. Because once you’ve measured it, you’ll need to start talking about it.

I said earlier that once you’ve built your application, it can be tempting to move on to the next item on the roadmap assessing value. Giving into this temptation also prevents you from communicating the value to the rest of your company.

How will people know you’ve become a profit center if you’re not talking about it?

Communication of value at every level is vital. When you show people that developing with Mendix is working, you eliminate doubt and reluctance; you prove that you can create more opportunities and solve more problems. In other words, measuring and communicating value drives innovation!