Buzzwords Buzzwords Buzzwords. You might have already heard about Rapid Application Development, Citizen Development, Low-Code, or No-Code but some of those words tend to be confusing. It’s time to lift the veil and shine a light on possibilities, limitations and their meanings.
In the past, the development of solutions was driven primarily by those with highly technical and explicit coding knowledge. But today, no-code and low-code platforms are changing this narrative and making application development possible for almost anyone. If you had asked me a year ago how that works, I probably wouldn’t have known the answer either.
But let me take you on a journey and explore those amazing new ways of development together.
What are no-code and low-code?
Every user, even without any programming knowledge, can develop individual business applications through visual programming, with the help of various visual templates. The concept behind this is called “low-code” or “no-code architecture”, which enables fast application development with the help of graphical user interfaces.
No-code platforms are simple tools that are ideal for creating small applications. No programming skills are required here, as it allows the user to create the application with easy-to-use functions: Drag and drop modules, picklist selection boxes, spreadsheet imports and many more. No-code platforms are most commonly used to replace simple business cases, spreadsheets or manual processes. But there are also more advanced no-code platforms such as Unqork, which is regularly used on an enterprise-level or Ninox, which is often used to build databases and automate processes within SMEs.
Low-code platforms, on the other hand, are suitable for more complex cross-departmental processes, especially those that integrate with other applications, databases or systems. Beyond the drag-and-drop capabilities of no-code, low-code also provides a mechanism for developers to create custom code to provide functionality. Low-code requires coding and scripting skills to some extent, but at a lesser scale and depth than conventional development.
Furthermore, the boundaries between no- and low-code are getting blurrier and in the future, we will probably not be able to make a clear distinction between the two.
What does it mean for companies?
Both solutions pursue a common goal, and that is to democratize advancing digitalization. Programming should also be possible without coding knowledge. These modular and drag-and-drop driven software solutions can be created and adapted by almost anyone, while the code “writes itself” in the background. With the use of such solutions, MVPs can be realized in the context of design thinking or in addition to company-wide solutions.
With this approach, you can bring all your employees onboard digitally. It is a method to modify, extend and scale applications to the entire company (or individually) at any time. Anyone can participate and edit permissions can be set up as well as transferred. You can get your ideas to the implementation stage of the application much faster. Everyone is able to formulate, develop and test ideas. Innovation is no longer the responsibility of one department, but of the entire company. The advantage is not only the breadth of ideas but also the quality.
Which software solution is the right one?
You have just decided to digitize, be it the search for a CRM system, the desire for a suitable ERP software or the creation of a website. In principle, you have a choice between customized and standard software. However, in-house development poses challenges, as developers are most likely rare. Everything that is rare is expensive. Standard software is often unfortunately inflexible and in-house development can produce uncertain results. Both investments conceal risks.
A solution is sought that combines the positive aspects of both types of software.
The answer could be a no-code or low-code solution. Please keep in mind that structure is key, especially when choosing the right software for your company, because a wrong decision will burn a lot of money and time. However, there are many factors that play a role in deciding whether to use a no-code or low-code platform. These include, for example: the size of the project, the number of users for the application, the deployment schedule, the budget for recurring license fees, the technical skills of the current team, and the overall software requirements needed to deploy the platform.
I’ll dive into those topics in another article.
The potential of these solutions is enormous. In this context, some are already talking about a second digital revolution: A paradigm shift in the way we interact with technology that allows anyone with an idea to create powerful business applications, beautiful websites and seamless integrations. If you are not already using No-Code and Low-Code solutions you should consider it.