No-code 2023 trends

By Olivier Maes, Baserow’s Co-founder and CRO

The no-code, low-code conversation rests on the premise that technology should empower and speed up innovation, and the development of new products consistently.

The no-code, low-code sector has grown rapidly since the pandemic. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 70% of applications will be built using low-code and no-code tools. This is clearly a growing sector.

The growing prominence of non-programmers and business users who can build secure and user-friendly custom tools, without the need to write code means no-code applications are an increasing fixture in modern businesses serious about growth, innovation, and efficiency. So, what can we expect from the sector in 2023?

As no-code and low-code tools are used for more critical application development, data security will become a priority.

Many no-code vendors have limited experience with the complexity of enterprise processes. As no-code app development continues to gain momentum, companies will need to build governance to manage data security and quality assurance of application development by citizen developers. Interestingly, a survey by Dark Reading shows that 32% of IT respondents state that, “There is no governance over how these applications are accessing and using our data”. This is clearly a major concern within the enterprise environment.

More businesses will invest in Centres of Excellence (CoE) teams to manage no-code application development and ensure the benefits of no-code apps are fully realised within organisations. The CoE team can develop the framework and competencies required for non-technical users to design and build applications safely. They can also ensure that the right data security protocols are in place to safeguard mission-critical business applications and workflows.

Additionally, IT leaders and CoE teams are better equipped to define more clearly which applications within organisations are suited for low-code, no-code, or traditional software development based on scale, business criticality, and time-to-market requirements.

As no-code vendors begin offering end-to-end solutions, companies will have to make a choice between using best-of-breed or best-of-suite no-code tools.

No-code vendors are set to expand their offerings further in 2023. As the industry introduces more end-to-end solutions for businesses to digitise their processes, more no-code applications will require the capabilities to seamlessly integrate with multiple databases and tools used within organisations. In 2023, database vendors will build application development modules for web and mobile applications, and workflow automation which will become part of web builder product suites. This means companies should evaluate the core capabilities of any no-code vendor and decide whether their team would benefit more from either best-of-breed or best-of-suite solutions.

Companies will demand no-code tools that are extensible and integrate easily with existing software.

There’s plenty to consider here. For example, vendor lock-in remains a real risk in the no-code industry, as very few providers offer open-source business models and true interoperability through APIs and plug-in capabilities.

So, no-code tools will only be adopted within companies if they are truly interoperable and integrate easily with existing company software. No-code providers will have to focus on extensive API capabilities and plugins to make integrations faster and easier. This would also mean future tools will be required to be more open and extensibility will be a prerequisite for users in the future.

Unsurprisingly, tools that require extensive organisation changes or radical new ways of working will face tougher adoption challenges within companies.

The rise of citizen developers.

As the responsibility for app development spreads across organisations, the need and priority to train and educate users will rise accordingly. In 2021, the demand for software developers doubled from the previous year, and the demand is unlikely to fall in the next 12 months.

As a result, companies will need to turn to no-code, low-code solutions to fill this gap by empowering non-tech users to build much-needed solutions - essentially becoming citizen developers. This opens opportunities for a new generation of IT professionals who will grasp the logic of software programming more easily because no-code is written in text rather than code. Thus, the necessary development skills are much easier to transfer to users who no longer need to be familiar with coding.

The democratisation of no-code tools is expected to develop the next-generation of citizen developers. It is anticipated that future talent will learn to build apps using no-code solutions rather than learning to code. On a macroeconomic level, this new shift will create new high-level roles in the IT and tech sectors while addressing the developer shortage.

No-code tools will be geared towards scalability to match business demands.

As no-code applications gain momentum, the requirements for more scalable platforms to build external-facing applications will increase. For example, a Forrester survey found that customer service and support were third in the top five priority applications for low-code use cases. This means businesses are looking to no-code and low-code solutions to create external value and better meet customer demands.

Most no-code apps today are built for internal uses or minimum viable products. Scaling horizontally and automating deployment and scaling processes will be essential to make the shift to more critical and enterprise-grade applications. Pricing models will also evolve to accommodate exponential growth in users, datasets, and a shifting feature set.

Conclusion

No-code tools have the potential to significantly augment a business’s performance and drive efficiency at a time when economic uncertainty demands budgetary prudence and innovative thinking. This means no-code and low-code platforms are set to become strategic tools that help enterprises become more agile and prepare them for whatever 2023 may bring.

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