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No-Code Development Platforms
No-code is the method of developing software applications without the need for programming. This is enabled by no-code development platforms which are software that allows users to use graphical user interfaces to configure functionality rather than using traditional computer coding.
No-code is distinct from low-code development platforms which still require programming and software technical experience. Low-code is targeted at IT and programming teams to help them speed up their development and delivery process. But because coding is still required, many of the challenges faced with traditional programming are still present.
In contrast, no-code development platforms enable citizen development. Citizen development is an operating model that allows non-IT users to build software applications to scale digitization and transformation.
Why is No-Code Important?
Traditionally, developing business applications could only be achieved through coding. This meant that only highly skilled IT professionals were able to build these solutions, making it impossible for users without the technical skillset to build or maintain applications to meet their business needs. And although IT teams have the means of developing these tools, technology needs frequently outpace delivery capacity.
This IT bottleneck to digital transformation leads to 4 key challenges:
- Long IT queue and development timelines
- Expensive to build and maintain business applications
- Key person or IT-dependency risk, resulting in static, legacy software that is no longer fit-for-purpose
- Inefficient process in communicating requirements from the process owner to IT for builds and changes
No-code empowers the knowledge and process owners who understand the business need the best to develop and maintain their own business applications which mitigates the challenges above.
No-Code vs Low-Code vs Full-Code
When evaluating whether a business application should be developed using no-code, low-code or traditional full-code, it is important to consider a variety of factors including initial cost, on-going cost, and operating model.
Whilst it may be attractive to develop software with full-code using developers, this is typically only desirable if the application being developed requires high levels of complex and specific customisation, and justifies an on-going team of developers to maintain and run. It is often misunderstood that building software internally is a one-time cost. In reality, cost of building and owning software is better measured by what is known as the ‘total cost of ownership’ which includes the on-going maintenance and update of the software. Even if the intention is to build a static application that doesn’t change over time, this is rarely ever the case.
|Application development||Basic and advanced functionality configured via a visual editor without any scripting||Basic functionality configured via a visual editor, but advanced operations require programming||All functionality available, but requires programming|
|Users||Technical and non-technical users||Technical users||Technical users|
|Cost to build the solution||Low cost – build is done with lower cost talent in a shorter amount of time and with little to no additional infrastructure (e.g. external database) required||Moderate cost – build is done with high-cost talent in a shorter amount of time and with little additional infrastructure (e.g. external database) required||High cost – build is done with high-cost talent over a long period of with additional infrastructure (e.g. external database) required|
|Time to value (go live)||Fast – configuration of pre-built functionality||Moderate – combination of configuring basic functionality and coding advanced functionality||Slow – coding functionality from scratch|
|Cost to maintain the solution (changes, updates, fixes)||Low cost – changes are made with lower cost talent in a shorter amount of time||Moderate cost - changes are made with high-cost talent in a moderate amount of time||High cost - changes are made with high-cost talent in a long amount of time|
|Support SLAs and uptime||Committed from the vendor||Committed from the vendor||No commitment or weak internal commitment|
|Security||Handled by the platform||Handled by the platform||Requires security specialists|
|Risk of errors and bugs||Lower – bugs are likely to be at the business logic level rather than at the code-level||Moderate – bugs can be at both the business logic code-level||High – bugs are likely to be at the code-level|
|Deployment||Rapid ‘Single-click’ deployment||Technical deployment process||Technical deployment process|
|Hosting and infrastructure||Handled by the platform||Handled by the platform or may require on-going management||Requires set-up and ongoing management|
Benefits of No-Code for IT Teams
Whilst no-code is positioned to service non-IT users, it is important to understand that it is often IT-endorsed and also plays an important role in enabling IT teams to achieve their strategic goals.
- Increased focus on high-value work: No-code platforms allow business teams to make low complexity and low risk changes quickly and effectively, allowing IT to focus on the high value, high complexity work that delivers the most impact to the organisation.
- Better collaboration with the business: No-code authoring for the business means that automation use-cases that previously could not stand up a business case due to cost or practicality is now possible. This represents a new opportunity for IT teams to collaborate with and support the business on a whole new class of use-cases.
- Support innovation: No-code platforms can be used to build prototypes to quickly validate Application ideas, ensuring business requirements are tested and addressed at the beginning.
- Reduced errors: no-code applications significantly reduce the occurrence of errors compared to typical code-based approaches.
- Faster management of change: No-code platforms allow IT teams to make changes quickly and effectively, ensuring Applications are compliant and up to date.
- Decreased time to deployment: Using visual UI and drag and drop, IT teams can collaborate easily and build applications faster, decreasing time to market.
Why The Future Is No-Code
There is no doubt that enterprise software development has become more challenging. With increasing pressure for more compliant tools in highly regulated industries, budget cuts, lack of the appropriate staff, changing requirements and increased pressure for faster deployment, IT teams are working around the clock yet still unable to keep up with the workload. Furthermore, as modern technologies emerge, the management of legacy systems is becoming time consuming and more costly than the no-code alternative. It is important to note that traditional coding practices are not going anywhere and will be needed for more complex integrations, but with business users increasing ten-fold compared to developers, IT teams can leverage no-code to build low complexity applications within minutes instead of weeks and focus on mission critical projects instead.
To try no-code for yourself, request a demo or trial of Checkbox.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is no-code automation?
No-code automation refers to the practice of enabling users to build applications and business solutions that streamline their day-to-day workflows with more speed and with less bugs than the typical code-based approach. Without having any technical skills, any business user can create a solution without having to consult the IT department.
Is no-code the future?
With increasing pressures for more compliant tools in highly regulated industries, budget cuts, lack of the appropriate staff, changing requirements and increased pressure for faster deployment, IT teams are working around the clock yet still unable to keep up with the workload. No-code platforms enable teams to do more with less, without relying on IT to create dynamic, business solutions.
Why is no-code important?
1. Reduced errors: no-code applications significantly reduce the occurrence of errors compared to typical code-based approaches. 2. Faster management of change: No-code platforms allow IT teams to make changes quickly and effectively, ensuring Applications are compliant and up to date. 3. Increased focus on high-value work: No-code platforms allow IT teams to make changes quickly and effectively, ensuring Applications are compliant and up to date. 4. Support innovation: No-code platforms can be used to build prototypes to quickly validate Application ideas, ensuring business requirements are tested and addressed at the beginning. 5. Decreased time to deployment: Using visual UI and drag and drop, IT teams can collaborate easily and build applications faster, decreasing time to market.