- March 2, 2020
- Posted by: Tanvir
- Category: Blogs
The software development world has come a long way. From software developers using the traditional Waterfall methodology to develop code from a single location to highly dispersed teams of today that leverage concepts like Agile, DevOps, Kubernetes, and AI to build cutting-edge software products. And now, with low-code and no-code platforms gaining popularity, software development may be headed for a world where organizations might no longer require software developers! According to Forrester Research, the low-code market is expected to touch $15 billion in 2020.
But can low-code and no-code work in enterprise product development? Let’s find out!
The rise of low-code and no-code platforms
At Microsoft’s recent Ignite Enterprise Developer Conference, there was a lot of talk about the advent of low-code and no-code platforms. The narrative was all about how they are democratizing software development by putting modern software capabilities into the hands of business users. The discussion on these emerging platforms was driven by innovations that have been introduced in Microsoft Power Apps. Modern capabilities are enabling everyday users – without formal coding backgrounds – to spin up innovative products with the next level of digital intensity with a few clicks. There is furor in the app development world, as you would expect!
Enterprises are visualizing an era where software products can be developed without software developers. At a time when proficient and qualified software developers are anyway hard to find, the idea of turning everyday users into hi-tech coders has great appeal. This is probably why several companies are investing in building low-code and no-code platforms and driving this nascent but fast-growing market; platforms that allow nearly everyone to seamlessly create modern apps using simple drag and drop actions.
The benefits it brings
In a world where every company is looking to design and maintain top-notch websites, apps, and software products, finding a pool of qualified software developers with cutting-edge coding skills has become a major problem. That’s where the concept of low-code and no-code can do wonders. In addition to enabling professional developers to more quickly deliver applications and focus on programming work that is more unique and complex, low-code and no-code platforms can allow business analysts, HR personnel, office administrators – literally anyone and everyone in an organization to:
- Create new-age software products and apps using reusable visual tools that can be easily manipulated – without requiring any coding skills or technical background.
- Use simple GUI and point-and-click features to turn manual tasks into automated workflows and improve day-to-day productivity.
- Drag and drop different application components, rearrange, and integrate them together to accelerate turnaround times and solve business problems quickly.
- Build and test applications without learning about traditional programming languages, software development or the code that has gone into building the platform’s configurable components.
- Accelerate the development and delivery of applications and move fast to meet business user and customer demands (or be disrupted by those who do).
- Solve real problems and create business apps that help them do their jobs – quickly and easily – and derive value faster.
The challenges it presents
For business users looking to build apps with little or no programming experience, low-code and no-code platforms are a true blessing that could help overcome the skills gap. Because these platforms require no actual coding, everyday users can easily and quickly build, test, and deploy apps – for a range of use-cases.
Although many organizations are embracing these platforms to rapidly develop new business apps, they also have to contend with the problems and challenges that these platforms create. With low-code and no-code platforms, organizations can:
- Lose track of what their employees are building, with no visibility into the data being used or generated by these apps.
- Face issues with effectively managing, maintaining, and scaling apps which can impact the value being delivered.
- Run the risk of business users building apps for overly complex tasks that are not suited for low-code and no-code platforms – thus causing significant waste of resources.
- Reach a roadblock when it comes to code optimization due to the lack of users’ programming knowledge and witness degrading performance of apps over time.
- Be vulnerable to security and compliance risks as users have no idea of how the underlying code works and what steps are required to ensure data security.
- Face integration and interoperability challenges due to the platforms’ inability to connect with other tools and APIs and users’ inability to facilitate integrations.
A double-edged sword
As the business world looks to keep pace with fluctuating customer needs and meet the demands of the market faster, low-code and no-code development platforms hold promise.
While the platforms can help everyday users to create, test, and deploy apps to solve everyday problems, they do not serve the purpose in situations where apps have complex programming requirements or require a high degree of customization. The trick is to use the platforms only with the aim of modernizing legacy systems, improving operational efficiencies or enhancing user productivity – not as a magic wand to solve overtly complex business problems.