No Code and Low Code are Disrupting IT and the way enterprises develop and operate.
Hitherto, IT departments have their hands full trying to connect remote workers, move applications to the cloud, and maintain existing infrastructure. Those development projects or software enhancements are so far down the list, they won’t be touched until next year. This scenario is all too familiar to many IT departments.
Unfortunately, some development projects can’t wait a year. What to do?
- Do you ask employees to put in extra hours?
- Do you hire more staff?
- Do you outsource projects?
Most IT departments are already working above and beyond to keep up with their workloads. They may not have any more hours to give. Current economic constraints may make hiring new staff financially impossible. Even if companies can afford to hire staff, there’s still onboarding, training, and ramp-up time to consider. It could be months before a new hire writes a line of code.
Outsourcing has its limitations. Someone has to manage the third party, which takes time away from other tasks. If budgets are tight, outsourcing may be cost-prohibitive. If you’re facing this frequent IT dilemma, why not try no-code or low-code platforms?
How No Code and Low Code are Disrupting IT?
No-code platforms use citizen developers with little to no coding skills to build applications. These non-technical developers can build, test, and deploy applications because no-code solutions do not require programming skills. Instead, citizen developers create applications by using visual tools to drag and drop components into a template. The graphical user interface (GUI) lets them arrange and rearrange elements until they have a working application.
No-code platforms are perfect for projects requiring a fast turnaround and limited functionality. They are best for front-facing applications that use basic transactional data. Examples of no-code platforms include Airtable, Webflow, and Zapier. Some platforms are more targeted, providing solutions for specific industries such as financial services and insurance.
Low-code enables developers at all levels to design applications with minimal hand-coding. Developers drag and drop blocks of existing code into a workflow that results in a working application. The development process mimics any other development effort. The difference is in the shortcuts or pre-existing code that developers use to reduce development time.
On the surface, low-code and no-code look the same, but low-code allows developers to create custom code. Low-code solutions integrate numerous back ends to make development faster. They can even serve as a collaborative tool that enables citizen developers to create the front-facing interface while letting developers write custom code to manipulate the data.
Why No- and Low-Code?
According to Jeff Bezos,
The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility.
Low- and no-code platforms are one way to improve development agility. No-code solutions not only reduce the time to deliver an application, but also lessen the development burden on IT. According to a recent survey, 37% of respondents who used low- or no-code platforms were satisfied with their delivery times. The survey also found that:
- 64% of platform users were delivering applications in less than four months
- 46% of users reduced their backlog of projects.
These software platforms enable IT to quickly deliver in-house solutions. They also provide a tool for non-technical individuals to create applications with little to no IT involvement. According to Forrester, these alternative coding platforms can increase development time ten-fold. As more IT departments turn to these platforms, the more agile they will become. Those organizations that do not embrace them will fail to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.
Low Code and Not Code Platforms Accelerate Development
Overwhelmed IT departments impede a company’s agility. They can’t move fast enough to deliver critical enhancements and maintain existing infrastructure. Low code can alleviate the time pressures felt by most developers through the following features:
- Visual Models. Developers use a drag-and-drop interface to put together an application flow, which is much faster than writing lines of code to do the same thing.
- Pre-built Components. Creating interface objects takes time. Using pre-designed objects speeds up the process and allows for easier updating.
- Built-in Functionality. Applications need to be portable. They need to function on different operating systems and devices. Having cross-platform functionality built-in means developers do not need to build the same application for different platforms.
- Shorter Development Cycle. Development cycles can be long, especially if segments have to go through several iterations. Low-code helps move the process from design to deployment faster by simplifying the prototype through the update process.
Accelerating the development cycle enables IT departments to contribute rather than impede a company’s agility. Instead of waiting months for an application, IT can deliver it in weeks.
It’s estimated that 65% of app development will use low- or no-code platforms by 2024. Why? Consider this example.
An accounts payable manager spends days comparing monthly data from multiple sites to identify cost trends. It takes days to pull together the information from multiple cost centers and enter them into a spreadsheet. Even then, the process doesn’t produce the graphics that would make the data meaningful. What the manager needs is a dashboard. In fact, all the accounting managers could use a dashboard. They know it could take IT weeks or months to build a solution. Do they continue to live with the process, or do they come up with something on their own?
Continuing to use the existing method is not only inefficient, but it’s also frustrating. After months of frustration, they find a solution that circumvents the IT department, which adds to the ever-growing shadow of IT. It’s estimated that companies average a little over 1,000 cloud services. IT knows about 100. The other 900 are outside the department’s control and pose a cybersecurity vulnerability as well as an operational threat.
No-code platforms are designed to help organizations provide solutions that increase efficiencies while retaining IT control of their deployment. The managers use the drag-and-drop features to establish a workflow that meets their requirements. There’s no back-and-forth of the typical development cycle because the managers can create a solution that looks and operates as they want. If citizen developers encounter problems, IT is there to help. No-code can reduce ITs development burden without losing control of the application, ensuring security and operational controls are maintained. Suddenly the number of available resources has increased exponentially.
The traditional software design process often resulted in unforeseen changes. Developers misunderstood the end-user’s requirements, or the requirements were incomplete or vague. After seeing the prototype, the end-user always wanted changes. Whatever the reason, the developer has to go back and recode the application to address the changes. Each development cycle repeats the design, code, and test process, adding to the time to deliver.
With low-code platforms, developers and business end-users can collaborate on a customized solution. The end-users manipulate the pre-designed components to create a workflow that meets their needs. They work with developers to define added requirements that need customizing. Robust platforms such as Appian, Kissflow, and QuickBase generate source code that developers can customize. Although the implementation doesn’t remove development requests from IT, it does reduce the development cycle for customized solutions.
Collaborating on development projects provides both developers and business users a better understanding of how each group operates. It also creates an environment where both parties are more invested in the outcome. Deploying no-code and low-code platforms is a way to remove silos for a more agile operation.
Low Code and No Code Enhance Agility
No- and low-code platforms help organizations remain competitive through rapid development and deployment of business applications. They free up IT departments to develop solutions that require codings such as high-performance and mission-critical applications. For companies that continue to use traditional development methods, their ability to compete will decline year after year as their delivery cycles lengthen. IT departments can remain in control, reducing opportunities for security breaches while ensuring that business users receive the customized solutions they need for operational efficiency. Businesses that embrace disruption will become more agile and better able to pivot to meet changing expectations. They will have the only sustainable competitive advantage.
How are No Code and Low Code disrupting your IT and helping innovate and leapfrog?