Many businesses are turning to low-code and no-code development platforms according to a poll conducted by Gartner. Using drag-and-drop interfaces, low code platforms give non-programmers the power to develop business workflow applications¹ and then integrate them into larger business processes.
With so much coding capability now available to so many new business users, it calls into question how business applications will be developed. This begs the question: Are no code and low code, the future of programming²?
Low-code enables users to build complete applications using a visual development approach rather than through the traditional method of writing thousands of lines of complex code.
Low-code platforms³ typically require users to have knowledge of programming, where no-code platforms are 100% drag-and-drop with no programming knowledge needed.
There is a difference between low-code and no-code platforms, and I will explore these variations in this article.
Overview of Low and No Code Movements
No-code platforms are designed to enable business users with no coding experience to assemble applications using reusable, functional building blocks. Low-code platforms require some #coding⁴ but make it far easier and faster for #developers to churn out new apps.
Both low-code and no-code platforms provide IT with full governance over which users have access to data, functionality and systems. IT maintains measures to secure the data in accordance with the company’s security policies.
No-code platforms enable rapid application development that fulfills precise business needs with the talent and resources you have today. Low-code allows IT to create new, reusable building blocks that business users can then augment and maintain autonomously without any additional coding.
Boosting Enterprise Productivity
Low-code platforms help boost the autonomy of non-development teams within large enterprises to fulfill their own need for business applications without relying on or waiting for IT to get around to it.
With these capabilities, citizen employees without development skills or expertise in data science can build functional enterprise apps⁵with modern user interfaces that can integrate into your core business systems. At the same time, these platforms empower IT developers to complete complex tasks faster and more effectively.
This alleviates a major burden on busy IT and development teams while increasing the overall pace of application development⁶. It also saves money by eliminating the need to hire specialized experts or purchase new enterprise apps every time the need arises.
However, no-code software is not a replacement for developers or data scientists. Instead, these platforms supplement and expand on existing internal capabilities to enable business functions and boost speed and #agility.
The Context of Enterprise Applications
Eenterprise software applications entail software that large organizations use to build and run core business functions, such as marketing, supply chain and business intelligence⁷. They interface or integrate with other enterprise applications, which together create a larger enterprise system.
Technology that is categorized as “enterprise-level” is designed to serve corporations that have hundreds or thousands of employees. These organizations have demand for comprehensive, robust, scalable, and secure solutions.
Low Code and No-Code Movement Constraints
Enterprise solutions often come with disruptive and lengthy implementations that require expertise to bring to life.
For example, many organizations hire consultants to help them compare vendors or determine how to fulfill needs for enterprise apps in-house. Aside from the cost of the software itself, the implementation can be expensive in terms of lost productivity. Finally, ongoing management is demanding on IT professionals, which often results in the need to expand the IT team and recruit platform-specific experts.
Enterprise business applications also usually require significant time, energy, and resources devoted to user onboarding. Let us face it, no one ever thinks of #enterpriseapps as something fun or easy to use. In fact, onboarding is one of the most challenging aspects of enterprise tech.
Without effective onboarding, users will struggle to use enterprise apps. According to a study by WalkMe, 74.1% of employees said poor software training is the biggest barrier to usability. A mere 14.5% said they are very satisfied with the usability of their workplace software.
Training and Usability
Ineffective training and usability issues contribute to low digital adoption, which means users will be unable to utilize the software’s important features and capabilities that drive business value. If users are only taking advantage of a few basic functions, the technology ROI⁸ is automatically lower.
In the worst-case scenario, employees will avoid using it altogether. For many employees, sticking to outdated or inefficient processes seems like an easier alternative than undergoing time-consuming training on a confusing new platform.
Security is another important issue to consider when implementing and using enterprise-level #software. Identity and access management is a primary concern for security teams, which are tasked with ensuring all software solutions and users are in compliance with the highest security standards.
Enterprises need the platforms they use to have granular but clear permissions to securely manage thousands of users, which makes SSO integration crucial.
Additionally, two-factor authentication has become a common requirement for many enterprises. It’s important to note that many low-code and no-code platforms still lack this capability, so it is crucial to check that the solution you are considering offers it before you buy.
The Future of Programming
Is Low Code and No Code the Future of Programming? The answer is NO.
Given the difficulty many business users have getting IT to change existing applications and workflows, the use of low-code platforms to solve point problems like tracking work-from-home laptops, makes a lot of sense. But, building large-scale, enterprise-class applications that power entire organizations still requires high-skilled programmers
It certainly has a place in the future and will be leveraged to make many applications. It will not replace other ways of creating software because low-code breaks down when the complexity of the solution increases. The same thing happened with Visual Basis.
Virtual basis was valuable and a lot of software was written in VB. In the end, it was complexity required by some applications that caused VB to break down and no longer be a good solution. #Lowcode will be the same. Makes sense?
Low Code and No Code Movements and Beyond
Just because low-code isn’t useful for building enterprise-class applications like ERP, it doesn’t mean that low-code can only be used for simple applications either.
Businesses, employees, and customers have changed irrevocably. Low-code will be part of the new support system because workers realized that value during the COVID 19 crisis. It will become a stable tool for them to draw on to be more effective inside or outside the office.
By standardizing application development across different developers, low-code can give developers the prebuilt blocks they need to create complex applications. Low-code also reduces the learning curve for training new people to maintain and modify the code.
Low-code allows businesses to be more responsive to customers by implementing new features or implementing new technologies and security protocols. This also supports a new breed of developers, who may no longer need to be low-level experts in coding or numerous #programming languages⁹.
low-code is only going to gain converts and grow in importance as business people work solve process and workflow problems the shift to work from home looks like it’s here to stay.
¹Business Workflow Applications, ²Future of Programming, ³Low-code Platforms, ⁴Coding, ⁵Enterprise Apps, ⁶Application Development, ⁷Business Intelligence, ⁸Technology ROI, ⁹Programming Languages