How to Sustainably Improve Profit Margin at Your Software Development Agency
Improving your margin is an exercise in balancing costs against the tactics you are using to generate revenue while continually working to make your team more efficient.
Usually, to build scalable web applications, you first need to secure sufficient computing infrastructure resources (i.e., servers). However, physical infrastructure always had these two major issues:
The alternative is to use cloud solutions, but even then, someone has to manage the infrastructure.
This means you must pay for the DevOps team to ensure your infrastructure works and scales properly. In short, these solutions add costs to your business and take longer to develop.
What if you could achieve scalability without even trying?
Low-code technology is a paradigm shift when it comes to building scalable web applications. And this shift mostly refers to radical productivity (3-5X) without having to learn almost anything new.
Additional benefits of using low-code technology:
In order to avoid setting up your own physical architecture, cloud solutions have been your best option so far. They handled the physical part of the architecture and allowed you to focus on managing/orchestrating this infrastructure.
This made your entire project more cost-effective. You didn't have to secure the server room, manage the cables, ensure the internet connection, uninterrupted power supply, backups, and staff that kept an eye on your hardware.
All you needed was the DevOps team. Someone to operate the software side of the infrastructure. Connecting the servers, managing the resources on each of them, and making sure all the requests are evenly distributed amongst them, etc.
Back in its time, this was a great improvement in efficiency and cost reduction. Today, however, low-code technology goes a step further.
It allows you to reduce development time and infrastructure costs with more efficient use of existing technologies. In a way, low code is not a "new thing" to be learned. Instead, it's a better way to use what you already know.
And this is what makes low-code technology so powerful. It can be used by millions of software developers without learning almost anything new. Because of that, there is almost no learning curve.
A long learning curve is the enemy of usefulness. Many tools or new programming languages can raise the development efficiency, security, and stability of your app. But not before you spend an enormous amount of time learning how to use them.
The long learning process makes these (seemingly good) tools actually quite a poor choice. It doesn't matter whether those tools make you more productive if only a few people in the world know how to use them. How will you form a team around it? How will you scale?
An alternative approach (and frankly, the only practical one) is to use technologies that are easy to pick up. Something that can make developers productive within 1-2 days, even though they've never used it before.
Low-code technology falls into this category:
An additional benefit of low-code technology is increased stability. This is mostly achieved by removing the development of boilerplate code. Every project needs some of it, but in reality, it wastes developers' time who could be doing more important tasks. For example, developing business logic.
There are many elements almost every app uses. It could be argued that every app in the world uses input fields. But there are many more - labels, tables, buttons, and so on.
Low-code technology has all these elements ready to use as drag-and-drop components. All you need is your browser, and you can quickly build and design your web app's interface.
The biggest time wasters on the backend revolve around API. It requires a lot of boilerplate code to set up all the basic API endpoints.
On top of that, you need to develop a separate API endpoint for every "cocktail" of unique data requirements that the frontend might need. Otherwise, you will have too many unnecessary calls to your server.
Low code automatically builds all the necessary endpoints, so developers don't have to implement them manually. It also allows the frontend to request any combination of resources through a simple GraphQL interface.
All these attributes of low-code technology lead to fewer software bugs. For example, if you use an input component, you know it will work properly. Because it is already being used in thousands of other places across different apps. If there was any kind of issue with it - it would already be caught by many other developers (and fixed).
Compare that to raw code development. Whenever there is a bug, you need to find it. In the worst-case scenario, your users will find it and complain about bad UX. Or they will simply leave and never use your app again.
So using drag-and-drop components results in a much better-tested codebase.
The same happens with backend development. If you implement endpoints manually, there is always a possibility of a mistake. Again, it is not until someone else in your team or your users catch the error.
However, automatically generated endpoints have to work. Otherwise, there would already be thousands of complaints.
Low-code philosophy is similar to how software libraries work (just more powerful). Libraries are just a set of frequently used and well-tested functions. They save development time, and you don't have to constantly reinvent the wheel.
And if developers tried to build everything from scratch, they would soon find their productivity suffering compared to developers using software libraries.
The same applies to any web app project that does not use low-code technology.
Aside from being 3-5X more effective while having fewer bugs, low-code gives developers access to automatic scaling. This means no need for the DevOps team. So an entire project can be done faster, with fewer people, using fewer resources.
Developing with low code means unlocking the door to massive innovation because it lowers the barrier to entry, making many more projects financially viable.
Low-code technology is a game changer regarding development speed and scalability. It ensures more robust software quality with fewer bugs and produces web apps that scale automatically.
It is built on top of existing technologies, so there are very few things to learn (fast learning curve). And the additional benefits like 3-5X more effective development give an excellent case for at least giving it a try.
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