No code, no problem. “Low-code, no-code” platforms enable users to create software applications quickly without needing to write their own code. This game-changing method is a fast and efficient way to develop applications without hiring developers or writing code from scratch.
Why is this so important? The digitization of operations across all industries has created a situation in which the need to produce new software applications completely outpaces the capacity of trained developers, IT professionals, SREs (site reliability engineers) and other technical staff. However, there is a lot of untapped potential among non-technical workers, and no-code can help these employees bridge the gap of unmet software needs—while also better aligning business needs with IT strategy and implementation. Low-to-no-code tools allow enterprises to use automation to streamline their business and IT operations and take a proactive, preventative approach to digital operations across various environments.
Low-code, no-code platforms often feature drag-and-drop interfaces, allowing users to quickly create apps using prebuilt components. They can also be used to automate complex processes and tasks. IT departments can easily monitor all applications from a single controlled environment, either on premises or in the cloud. While some companies that manage an extensive internal infrastructure or sensitive financial or customer data prefer the on-premises model, cloud-based platforms allow for more fluid automation and reduced maintenance costs.
This approach is spreading like wildfire. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global low-code development platform market is projected to grow from about $14 billion in 2021 to $95 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 31.6% from 2021 to 2028.
By using low- and no-code tools to empower employees, organizations can enhance their innovative potential and ensure better harmony between business and IT by having citizen developers create applications based on their business needs, all while working in collaboration with IT. This helps reduce the workload for DevOps and IT engineers, allowing them to focus more on innovation and projects that demand sophisticated coding.
Ongoing digitization and a growing number of remote workers will further facilitate the deployment of no-code solutions. Leveraging SaaS for developer environments can help organizations overcome skill and talent shortages while offering training and support. No-code will ease the talent gap between professional developers and individuals with little to no prior experience in coding and reduce the pressure on IT—setting the stage for the future of our modern workforce.
Now we'll look at some platforms enabling the citizen developer and how they are changing the workforce.
A sampling of no-code and low-code platforms
Microsoft's Power Apps is a suite of cloud-based software services used to build custom business applications. It enables users to create data-driven apps from templates or connect to data sources such as SharePoint, Dynamics 365, Salesforce and more. Power Apps also integrates with Microsoft Flow, Office 365 and Power BI, allowing users to automate processes, build custom visualizations and create powerful workflows. It provides a graphical interface for creating apps and automating processes without writing code.
Betty Blocks is a cloud-based platform where users build applications using a drag-and-drop visual development environment. It also provides an API-driven platform with features including automation, integrations and collaboration. Companies use it to create custom applications, websites and other digital assets. It is the first no-code platform to be ISO 27001 certified, and it runs on Microsoft Azure, optimizing security and creating an enterprise-level organizational system tailored to the enterprise's needs.
SAP announced Build, a low-code solution for development and automation, at TechEd 2022. The company aims to arm executives and decision makers across organizations so that anyone can build and extend applications and automate tasks and processes on the SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP). SAP Build allows non-programmers to create enterprise apps, automate processes and design business sites without writing code. Built-in governance and lifecycle management help foster collaboration between business and development teams and prevent the technical and management conflicts that can arise from “shadow IT.” The prebuilt connectors and business content within SAP Build are compatible with both SAP and non-SAP systems, so they integrate easily.
Aligning business priorities and IT strategy
Involving employees in aligning business objectives and IT strategy drives innovation and increases employee engagement, ultimately creating more business value. In an era of digital transformation in every category, IT can no longer be siloed or considered merely utilitarian. IT and business alignment is paramount to business success. However, resource shortfalls throughout organizations make the citizen developer and low- or no-code tools increasingly critical for success.
For example, companies in all industries have stated the need to prioritize AI and machine learning (ML), yet the need for more development talent has restricted that adoption. Amazon SageMaker Canvas allows business analysts to generate accurate ML predictions with no prior machine learning experience or coding knowledge through its point-and-click graphical interface. Analysts can easily connect to, integrate and analyze various cloud and on-premise data sources through the tool. Furthermore, they can create ML models with a single click and make single or bulk predictions. Additionally, analysts can collaborate and send models to data scientists in SageMaker Studio for review and feedback.
Low- or no-code solutions allow people in the organization to test and iterate ideas quickly by building a prototype or minimum viable product (MVP) and drastically reduce the time it takes to receive feedback on a project. Instead of needing months to code and develop a prototype manually, this process can be completed in days. This swiftness saves organizations money and reduces the risk of investing in an unsuccessful project.
Most of the low and no-code platforms require little to no experience and have communities and resources to help users through the process. Even better, reskilling or upskilling employees has been shown to have significant positive effects on an organization. A recent study found that 62% of employees said that extra training and learning made them feel more motivated at work, and 45% cited having the opportunity for upskilling and reskilling as reasons for staying with their current employer.
In addition to intelligently redeploying scarce resources, companies benefit from operational efficiency when workers can automate mundane or repetitive tasks and focus on higher-level strategic work. Companies that educate and train employees not only derive additional benefits from enabling the employees to solve their technical issues themselves, but also open opportunities for employees to advance in their careers.
Low-code, no-code puts the power of efficiency into the hands of a newer generation of corporate professionals who have a greater aptitude for technology, are instinctive in their use of digital tools and want the ability to create solutions and expand their skillsets quickly. The upskilling initiative of teaching new skills is especially crucial for companies wanting to create a fairer and more equitable workforce by allowing for employee growth and opportunity. As the developer talent gap eases and tools become more user-friendly and widely available, this is an excellent opportunity for companies looking to empower their modern workforces.