Low-Code, No-Code — The Future of Application Development is Here

  • August 17, 2021
Two people staring at computer code on a dual screen monitor

If you haven‘t heard of low-code or no-code application development, consider this an introduction to what is taking the technology industry by storm. According to several studies, by 2024 low-code application platforms will be responsible for over 65% of application development activity. It’s not hard to understand these predictions when you consider what low- and no-code app development delivers, such as:

  • Accelerated innovation and digital transformation,
  • Less dependency on hard-to-find development skillsets,
  • Faster responsiveness,
  • Reduction in app dev backlog, and
  • Safe migration from cumbersome, code-intensive legacy applications.

While low- and no-code are often used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference. Yes, they’re playing for the same team (create applications faster and cheaper), but low-code requires some development experience; no-code requires none, just the ability to navigate a simple drag and drop interface and create simple data structures. No-code development takes abstraction to the next level. It’s similar to no-code website development through a hosting company; you drag and drop elements into a website, then populate them with your content. No coding experience required. It can be simpler than the complex spreadsheet models organizations use regularly.

Why it’s needed — now more than ever

The need for low-code and no-code application development is simple; traditional application development has difficulty keeping up with demand. Code-heavy applications simply can’t deliver results fast enough. By the time an application is developed, tested and deployed, the needs an application was created to address may have changed. Having to wait six months for an application when it is needed now isn’t a good option, but low-code/no-code app development, it was the only one. The global pandemic brought this into clearer focus as marketplaces, and buying behaviors changed overnight. Customers immediately required service that could accommodate “the new norm.” They needed to access applications and services from home and on mobile devices. Applications that worked perfectly at the office were hamstrung when accessed remotely. Agile, rapid application development was needed, and immediately. The companies that were able to nimbly address these changes not only gained a competitive advantage but often shot past their rivals.

Which one — low-code or no-code — is needed?

As with any technology, it’s important to begin with the end goal(s) in mind. Always ask yourself, “What is required to satisfy the business need?” Make sure and start there. It sounds elementary, but it’s not uncommon for technologists to do the reverse. They are often so anxious to dig into a new technology that they justify its use by shoehorning business needs into it. They utilize technology rather than use it. They utilize a spoon to dig a hole instead of using a shovel. The former may work, but the latter is a much better, smarter way to get the job done.

Low-Code — accelerated web and mobile app development to satisfy an array of needs

Yes, low-code application development does require development experience and expertise. However, it doesn’t require entire teams of highly skilled application architects and developers, who are in high demand and short supply. That gap in supply and demand can be bridged by low-code and no-code applications. That’s not to suggest it’s a panacea that is plug, play and enjoy. You’ll need a sound strategy to take advantage of a low-code application platform. The IT department needs to properly govern the development and ensure applications are secure, scalable and repeatable. Otherwise, the goal of saving time can result in security and compliance risks that far outweigh the short-term cost and time savings.

Low-code applications are great when a new web or mobile app is needed. Low-code applications can be architected for virtually any need, from improving the user experience of legacy core systems to adding custom functionality to complex commercial software to avoid lengthy upgrade cycles.

No-code — fast solutions for front-end use cases

As the name suggests, no-code application development requires zero coding. It takes low-code abstraction to the next level, handling coding complexities behind the scenes. It allows applications to quickly and easily be spun up by citizen developers, those with little or no coding experience who have an immediate need that can’t be held up by development backlogs.

It is critical to remember that, even though no coding experience is required, no-code app development should follow quality assurance guidelines established by the IT department. Without that due diligence, no-code app development can also cross the line into Shadow IT and expose the organization to security and compliance risks.

Don’t go it alone

If low-code/no-code application development sounds great, that’s because it is. But, just because little or no coding experience is required, that doesn’t mean there’s no learning curve. In fact, it can be steep. And with well over a hundred companies offering low-code and no-code platforms, deciding on the right vendor to use adds additional complexity. Small, niche players and noteworthy companies provide low-code/no-code platforms, including large cloud, commercial software, and SaaS companies. Nearly every software company is releasing low-code/no-code capabilities. With many options to choose from and a lot riding on your ability to successfully incorporate low-code/no-code application development, it’s important to turn to application experts like those at NTT DATA.

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