No-Code / Low Code Development tools

No-Code / Low Code Development tools

Abstract

Experience can act as a big differentiator beyond the mere concepts of increasing sales and service offerings. A good customer experience can lead to brand differentiation and increased loyalty by customers. After the emergence of Covid-19 pandemic, it has become even more crucial for companies to look after customer experience and backend management for their survival, especially towards digital touchpoints. This pandemic has also caused a scarcity of resources, budgets, liquidity and turnover in companies.

Speed and agility are the key measures to thrive in such a situation. A good thing that has happened is that businesses are now looking to digitize and automate their processes, develop applications and increase digital reach more than ever but now IT enterprises are facing challenges to meet this demand. In this case, keeping the development requests on waiting queue does not seem like a viable option. Here, Low code and no code application development platforms come to the rescue.

This white paper presents an overview of the low code and no code development capability. We will be exploring several aspects like fundamental concepts of low/no code development, its benefits, how it works, use cases and so on.

No-Code And Low-Code Development Space

Technology companies have had a brief history of struggle and hassle in their endeavor to provide their customers with latest seamless experience, going back to the 1950s COBOL era to developing advanced programming languages like Visual FoxPro in the 1980s, to creating business-oriented applications like Lotus notes and Microsoft Office. One such breakthrough in technology and application development in 1985 was Low/No code application development.

No Code

A very unique yet efficient approach to application development is No-Code development which enables digitalization of all sizes of organizations. These no code platforms leads to the creation of apps with a significant reduction in the development time and cost than the traditional coding based approach. The speed of development can be as fast as ten times the traditional approach.

Many people consider No-Code development and Low-Code development as one and the same thing, but they're not. Unlike No-code. low code requires some minimal level of coding to develop. Low code is better suitable for traditional developers to provide them with ease, convenience and time saving while non-technical professionals can use No Code platforms. No-code platforms handle all the tech-heavy stuff on behalf of the clients enabling them put their focus only on creating the application or website that can fulfill their needs.

Low Code

Just like No Code, Low code is also an emerging technology enabling convenient creation of applications to their user but unlike No Code, Low code only reduces the developer's need to write new codes every time they build new applications. This platform provides their users with pre-built features like the drag and drop option which is reusable, efficient and minimizes the need for coding.

Business managers with basic coding knowledge can now themselves collaborate with the subject matter experts on creating their websites to reduce development life cycle. Low code platforms are mostly used to build websites and applications that are highly complex enterprise caliber applications.

Low code vs No Code

The distinctions between no-code and low-code are never quite so simple to make or identify, especially in dynamic, emerging markets. However, the difference can be best understood with the following data:

According to an article by bmc.com:

  • Low code is a development movement where time-consuming manual processes are automated, without hand coding, using a visual IDE environment, an automation that connects to backends and some kind of application lifestyle management system. The whole unit is called a “low code platform”.
  • No code platforms, similar to low code platforms, use a visual application system that allows users to build apps without coding. Usually, this includes drag and drop processes. One example of this is Salesforce CRM, which allows people with coding skills to code, and those who don’t have those skills can create simple applications without using any code at all.

Market Size

As we see the Low code and No code market grow with each passing day, below are some facts and statistics by leading companies like Gartner and Forrester on the patterns and usage behavior of No Code and Low Code by the market.

Forrester estimates that the low-code market will see an substantial increase from $3.8 billion in 2017, to $21.2 billion in 2022, i.e. a Compounded Annual Growth Rate of 41%. The peak years among these 6 years will be 2019 and 2021.

Market Adoption

Users Experience

According to Outsystem, one of the top reasons for choosing low code and no code platforms by top IT leaders is that it accelerates digital transformation.
According to AI Multiple, the most used positive word (20%) describing the low code and no code user experience was "Ease of Use".
According to AI Multiple, the most used negative word (5%) describing the low code and no code user experience was "Clunky".

Below are the three most used answers by business operators when they were asked why they use No Code/Low Code:


Need For Low/No-Code Development

Among the numerous benefits that No Code and Low Code development platforms have, a very common one is that they allows the developer or citizen developer to be minimally dependent or completely independent, i.e. no need for additional staff support. But businesses that want to bring these developments into their operations should know other benefits too:

No Need For Developer Resources

With these development platforms, business managers can take care of many of their common applications even by themselves or with minor IT support. They no longer need to wait for the availability of developer resources now.

Faster Development/Lower Cost

Building applications, that usually takes months, can be done in mere weeks by using Low Code. But, this time can be shrunk even further to mere days in most cases, by using No Code. Since the need for coding is also bare minimum, there is no need to hire highly expensive developers and coders to develop the websites and hence, saving huge costs. Studies even show that 80% is reduced by using these platforms.

Speed Of Updating The Apps Match Speed Of Businesses

In this ever changing world, no individual stays constant even for a second, so how can businesses stay behind? Businesses, especially during their early stages, change and evolve at a super fast pace and it is necessary for their websites to match the pace of change in order for their online and offline services to stay streamlined. Well, Low Code and No Code development platforms do just that by allowing the developer or website manager to update the website regularly with ease.

Replace Shadow IT With Business IT

The IT department is given the capability to bring sensible standards and structure to build business user development by No-Code platforms. Business users introduce multiple SaaS based solutions to help in managing the business operations whenever a business does not embrace the No-Code standards. This can lead to several issues like multiple tools within an enterprise, application security issues, etc.

Long Term Sustainability Of Businesses

Low Code and No Code platforms provide all these aforementioned features which lead to the development of a very strong foundation, especially for new businesses, on which the firm grows with stability and long term sustainability. A good user experience on your website can lead your business to retain customers and their loyalty.

Challenges Faced In Low/No Code Development

It is quite apparent why business owners are now jumping to No Code and Low Code development for their websites, however, without knowing the actual problems that will be faced in their application development, they will never get the seamless experience that the development platforms want them to get. Considering the total cost of ownership in any software development from its inception is always important.

Need For Clear Understanding Of User's Needs

The need to clearly understand what the client wants is always subjective and depends upon who is doing the work. Since no two development platforms are alike, nor their limitations, the user too must try to know if his needs can be solved efficiently by the development platform. And the fact that risks, environments, businesses and individuals change too, these factors should also be kept in mind.

Flexibility Is Limited

When it comes to time and cost saving, No Code development is the thing for you, but if you want a highly coded website with advanced features and UI, No Code will probably not be the best solution. This can lead the business's focus to shift from "what do I want to build" to "what can I actually build" which, in many cases, leads to a very non-efficient website development.

Security Issues

Security is actually a state of mind. There are always some security issues, no matter how minimal, in every activity, process and development. What if the company that is providing the No Code or Low Code services is later on liquidated, bankrupted or acquired by other company and that company changes its operations totally? It would be even worse if some external hacker hacks into the system of the development service provider and steals your data. There can be countless such factors which have less than 0.0001% chances of happening but a rational client should know them.

You Don’t Own Your Source Code

In the coming future, a client may eventually want to move away from the initial service provider due to a number of reasons, then the client may face the problems of vendor lock-in, conflict in changing service provider and it usually takes up a huge chunk of business money. It all depends on how easily your current vendor lets you to leave. Again, another reason why you do a thorough research before choosing your vendor.

How Low Code And No Code Development Works

Low code and no code development work in somewhat similar way by enabling easy creation of apps by the clients themselves. No Code development is super simple with no prior knowledge of coding required for developing the application. But since Low Code development involves some level of coding, it's working is described below:

Most business personnel and staffs in business teams are unskilled in terms of coding and developing. Here, LCPDs (Low Code Development Platforms) come to the rescue by providing a common language to solve this problem ,i.e. visual building blocks - to every personnel in the organization.

A typical low code development platform LCDP has 3 components:

  • Graphical User Interface: It is a drag and drop interface feature that enables the user to define both the input and output and make necessary changes.
  • Integrations for Input/Output: Databases are used to store most businesses' data. LCPDs also offer interactive database development. Mostly, businesses expose their output via APIs. LCPDs help in development of these output functionalities with convenience.
  • Application Manager: LCPDs enable the development, deployment and maintenance of low code applications by providing relevant tools so that users can keep them updated.

Clients can build MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) by using these components to serve their processing needs. If in the coming future these programs need to be upgraded, technical experts can simply examine these MVPs to quickly get a grasp of the features and characteristics of the program and build the upgrade accordingly.

What kinds of applications should be built with no-code/low-code platforms?

No Code and Low code reduce the time of application and website delivery through visual development tools and reusable components. They eliminate operational inefficiencies, eliminate the need for traditional development approach, and streamline the smooth and complete application development life cycle.

It can be concluded that there are four types of use cases of low code and no code platforms:

Can Low-Code Build Enterprise IT Business Process Applications?

A common perception around enterprise applications in the market is that they are only related to concepts like ERP or CRM. While these concepts too are pretty large, they are only a small portion of what enterprise applications are used for. According to an article in monday.com:

"Employees use dozens of apps designed to fulfill specific, niche use cases within larger domains. For example, marketers don’t only use the CRM. They require a wide breadth of tools, including those that can monitor their specific KPIs, automate email marketing, perform data analytics and reporting, manage social media planning, track content journeys, manage campaigns and events, and much more. Each of these tools come with their own costs, training requirements, security concerns, user adoption challenges, IT administration needs, etc."

This is one reason low-code/no-code tools have arose as essential assets. As the need for new, specific applications emerges, organizations can position themselves to build highly customized, scalable, and secure solutions in-house at a low cost with low-code/no-code platforms. With them, you can empower employees and turn business ideas into functioning solutions in a short period of time.

Use Cases

Low Code Use Cases:

  • The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, famous for being a global charitable organization and a church, is an organization which is widely spread across various countries in the globe. They wanted to leverage technology from Microsoft in a way in a way that the expense stays constant, that is why they wanted to build workflow centric applications.

Converting most of their applications to low-code supported ones helped in reduction of a substantial amount of time in application development life cycle.

  • Sprint

An American telecommunication company named Sprint used a low code development platform to bring numerous digital improvements in their application development process. This lead Sprint to reduce their overall cost by introducing low cost and highly efficient solutions to their digital idea experiments

No Code Use Case:

BCLP's
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner's (BCLP), a top tier American Law firm, benefitted from using No code platform in a very efficient manner by introducing COVID Estate planning solution into their business. This new feature helped to manage many challenges that the firm's backend developers and its clients were facing during the initial days of the pandemic. A substantial number of their clients got infected by COVID-19 and hence, were either hospitalized or home isolated. BCLP created an easy-to-use and convenient online website to help them with their estates' paperwork and sign-in requirements efficiently. Due to this, the backend developers of the company also got rid of the additional task of website creation, maintenance and adding other features.

A complicated situation for clients all over the US was resolved because of this solution as in majority of states of the US, their was the monotonous problem of need of physical presence of the witnesses and wet-ink signatures on paperwork.

According to Bloomberg, in the last 20 months, Schneider Electric launched more than 60 applications, with a majority of them being delivered in last 10 weeks.
According to Bloomberg, Ricoh, a Japanese electronics company, used low code development to replace their legacy systems which lead to 253% ROI and a total payback in around 7 months.
According to Bloomberg, Thinkmoney, a UK based banking services firm, converted whole of their banking operations into digital ones in just 14 weeks.

Future Of Low/No code Development

According to Gartner, 65% of the total applications and websites by 2024 would have been developed by the use of low-code development platforms.

An estimate by GlobalNewsWire indicates that the low-code development platform industry will generate a revenue of more than $190 billion by 2030. That is a staggering increase from the $10 billion number in 2019. It is also expected to grow at 31% CAGR during this time.

According to Garner, by 2024, 75% of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code development tools for both IT application development and citizen development initiatives.

Businesses will be needing more back-end and consumer facing apps every day, and time to market them will be more crucial than ever. More and more demand for developers to develop such apps will be seen and companies will want their apps developed faster than the competition so there will be lot of pressure on developers. Developer talent is already scarce, so companies should try to provide their existing developers with the necessary tools and resources to help foster, grow and retain them and attract new ones in the process.

In this storm of demand for softwares and developers, low code and no code platforms will prove to be the most useful and profitable technologies and with newer improvements being introduced in them on a regular basis, they will bring big changes in the way application development works.







References

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  2. 2018, Low Code platforms: What developers think and want, Progress/Kinvey.
  3. Jason Bloomberg, Enterprise Low Code without limits, Appian.
  4. 2018, Low Code Development, Opentext.
  5. November 2019, Why Low Code? Why Newgen?, NewGen.
  6. Business Uncoded: An Introduction to No Code App Development, AppSheet.
  7. Is No Code suitable for your business, GW Apps.
  8. 2020, Low Code, No Code platforms: A new approach to customer experience, Hexaware.
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