Saturday, 27th November 2021

The age of the software development novice: how no-code tools can inspire innovation in businesses

Philip White, Managing Director at Audacia, discusses the evolution of low-code and no-code software and how they enable users to realise creative ideas through technology.

  • 06 Jan 2021 Posted in

One of the greatest challenges for businesses today is balancing the need for essential digital transformation with smaller budgets, less time and fewer internal software development skills.

Even though internal IT departments are usually the ones to turn to for this level of digital development, accelerated demand paired with significant skills shortages in the UK technology sector [1] means they are unable to keep up or are simply saying no. Fortunately, there is an alternative solution.

No-code platforms enable end-users without coding skills to build cloud-based software. With the help of no-code platforms, users can build a completely bespoke interface with functionality tailored to solve or address a specific business requirement.

Depending on the size or resource of individual businesses, leaders must consider whether a no-code or low-code platform is best suited to their needs as both types of platforms serve different purposes and meet diverse requirements.

No-code exists on one end of a spectrum, with no manual coding or developer required, whereas low-code development speeds up the production of software but still requires intervention by a programmer due to the degree of coding required. In fact, some low-code platforms require such a degree of manual programming skill to deliver complete products that they require full – and sometimes very expensive – development programmes.

The low learning curve associated with no-code development means it can be applied to most businesses at all ages and for employees with different ranges of technical abilities. Most notably, no-code development is great for new business or SMEs because it removes the costly, exhaustive software development process and places the project in the hands of the business. There are, however, actions and decisions businesses still need to take when introducing a no-code platform into their business operations. These include:

  • Making a definite decision to move towards more flexible enterprise software
  • Planning smaller software development projects you want to get over the line that otherwise would never happen
  • Empowering your employees with no-code platforms

    Once businesses have embraced these, they will be able to target and improve a number of areas within the business.

    The first area of improvement affected by no-code applications is internal operations. Back office applications bolster internal operations because they provide the functionality to streamline your business’ data for internal use. Some no-code platforms allow larger companies with several departments to tailor operations functionality to suit their specific needs. For example, finance departments can build interfaces with filter/search and import/export functionalities embedded and analytics departments are able to build grids, forms, and workflows into their no-code platforms.

    No-code platforms provide end-users with the ability to tailor user interfaces, delivering a fit-for-purpose, appropriate customer experience. With off-the-shelf software, businesses must factor in training sessions to learn about the platform and its functions, as well as allocating additional time following the sessions to get acquainted with the software. Placing the design in the user’s hands removes the need for this extra time spent and improves overall employee sentiment when using the application.

    Business transformation and overall scalability is also supported by implementing no-code platforms. Adaptability is a key factor in achieving business growth and, with some businesses still turning to internal IT departments updating legacy systems, these same businesses often run the risk of being left behind and becoming obsolete. Utilising no-code platforms allows businesses to accelerate app creation and deployment – while not falling behind in an ever-evolving market.

    From a project management standpoint, no-code delivers many of the same benefits as any digitisation project, just a lot faster and far more cost-effective. There are many benefits to using a no-code platform, these include:

1. Higher degree of control

No-code platforms offer more control than setting up and sharing a spreadsheet by allowing the user to document workflows and entity models, establish the fields that need to be included and invite the people who need to be involved.

2. Relieves capacity in the IT department
Empowering employees to develop the software they need enables your business to move forward at speed, allowing the IT department to focus on other priorities.

3. Drives innovation and closes technical skills gaps
Empowering your organisation's employees with no-code platforms will enable them to realise creative ideas through technology. Examples of these include solving problems directly related to their work or scaling-up solutions to organisational problems; ideas can be rapidly formulated, tested, and prototyped, further plugging the software development skills gap with which many organisations struggle.

4. Less risk, more functionality
Unlike offline spreadsheets, no-code developed software is backed-up in the cloud and offers granular auditing, change controls, rolling back and versioning.
Permissions can also be granted giving the right people access to the information they need, and decision-making workflows can be introduced providing control over the way work is completed and next steps taken. All these factors combine to offer a far more advanced solution to spreadsheets.

5. Increased productivity
Many tasks can be digitised through an application, automating processes, reducing manual intervention, and streamlining work. With far less risk of hand-coding errors, no-code is also a quick and easy option to use – up to 10 times faster[2] than traditional software development according to Forrester.

6. Data and system integration
If you have an existing platform that needs to be integrated with new functionalities, no-code is a great choice. By using APIs and web extensions, you can link to multiple systems extending the scope of your new and existing software and ensuring data is always up to date.

7. Cost effective

While monthly user licences typically cost hundreds of pounds per person, no-code is far more cost effective because of its speed and build standard, giving your teams everything they need and stripping out the elements they don’t need.

No-code platforms not only empower employees to learn a new skill and take control of their workplace outputs through innovation, but they also prove to be beneficial in increasing company security and productivity while lowering company costs. As awareness increases, no-code and low-code platforms are becoming a popular trend in the wider ‘digital transformation’ movement.

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