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A day in the life of a Decider – ROI Cost Levers to weigh the balance

Ralph Rivas
August 11, 2022

Choosing Low Code or Traditional Code for Solutions

Part 4 – ROI Cost Levers to help weigh the balance of the choice

Our series began with an understanding of the choice between Traditional Coding and using modern Low Code/No Code tools and in its course, pinned down some levers that help the decider weigh one approach over or in conjunction with the other.   It was noted in the last article that perhaps the most significant measure or metric that can make or break the case of everything else perhaps is Return on Investment or the ROI measurement. 

In this conclusion to the series (A day in the life of a Decider – Intro to the choices, Low Code/No Code and The Starting Point and A day in the life of a Decider – The Decision Levers), we will look more closely at some main issues underlying this area and note that it should not be considered the “definitive” list as it will certainly need to be adapted to specific circumstances as well as be enhanced by other ROI collection or measurement methods to suit the specific organization.   

ROI Cost – Integration

Here, we ask what it costs to integrate the solution or even the tools into the organization or the system being addressed.  Consider everything from purchasing the tools, licensing entry points, the hours needed for IT to install, configure, or set up pieces or for developers to create the “connections” (API’s etc.) into the systems that will be operated upon.      

ROI Cost – Innovation

Sitting expensive developers and consultants down in a room to “invent” something needs a very good ROI versus, say, the individual that just wants to go home early on Friday by automating Invoice input.  Both are “inventing” a solution even if it is a variation of that so-called Wheel but the cost of one over the other come into play. Usually, we can measure the former because those “rates” are documented, posted or proscribed in a contract.  More challenging would be the regular salaried worker who is not measured by the hour but whose value is seen only as part of the larger organization’s goals.

ROI Cost – Tools Licensing versus Pay-as-you-go costs

The payment models for SaaS (Software as a Service) over Self-managed services can make or break the choices and the decider really needs to understand the differences to get an idea of there will be ROI when done.  Licensing typically packages usage in convenient but not very flexible cost packages making it straight forward to forecast while “as you go” models like with the Azure, AWS or GCP services require some ability to estimate or predict the outcome or at least provide the “here is what you might have to pay for” caveats to let the user decide what things are worth for them.  Low code paths tend to come from licensed, pre-packaged system but not always, so the decision point looks to narrow the answer by understanding the impact of a specific feature.

ROI Cost – The Cost of the makersbuildersdevelopers at skill

Essentially, humans will still be at least initiating the work and doing the building.  However, they are called and whatever their abilities are important considerations to costs.  As noted previously for innovation, the “hourly rate” of the resource can be quickly assessed or use to help decide whether it was worth the mighty team to come together to put something that the individual Subject Matter Expert can whip up with tools and data on hand. 

In the current environment where the market for highly skilled technical resources is challenging, allowing options through Low Code/No Code tools becomes not just viable but perhaps critical.

ROI Cost – Overcoming Resistance

Resistance in whatever form is to be expected and something natural to solution building if not business in general.  The cost associated with this is not as clear cut without a deeper look and more metrics but like a big storm front from a distance, one could potentially forecast a cost range. 

Of resistance types out there, Governance is an important factor. 

Too little means the act of considering low code no code appropriately, efficiently, and safely requires that things get set up to mitigate management or compliance issues that may be more costly than the fix.  Too much is the cost of stifled innovation where a problem and cost continue while an inflexible or obstinate system forces a problem to remain that way like a leak in a ship’s hull that will eventually bring about a not-so-desirable consequence over time. 

Hopefully, pressing the ROI point with this matter highlighted leads to a positive outcome if not necessarily for a choice of Low Code but for any solution to be given due consideration.


I hope this series will help you and organizations like yours get a better understanding on the choices and measures that help us decide which approach to take when it comes to building solutions with Code.  We conclude with note about taking a holistic approach to the question by understanding the choices and how they are vis-à-vis where it needs to be applied.   After that, it is a case of doing what we do best at the place where we work and be open to accelerating our way to solving our problems and issues with the best is out there today.

About the author

National Solutions Architect | USA
I am a seasoned professional with nearly two decades of experience delivering quality software and solutions. My extensive background makes me an ideal resource for wide-ranging roles in many different projects.


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