PHP code on a screen
PHP code on a screen

What Are No-Code Apps?

Not many years ago, if you wanted to take a photo, you needed a camera, a flash, and film. You snapped the picture and dropped off the film at a service for development and printing. If the photo needed to be cropped or color-corrected, you paid extra. Or, you could outsource the process to a high-cost professional photographer.

Today, we all carry smartphones with most of those capabilities built in. We can quickly and easily take pictures, modify them, add effects, share them in a variety of ways – all in a matter of seconds, from a simple device we all know how to use. And these devices are powerful enough that more advanced users can achieve professional-grade results.

That’s the beauty of no-code application development. No-code tools allow business users with no technical knowledge to quickly and easily build powerful, sophisticated applications to run your business more efficiently and effectively. Yet no-code tools are robust and flexible enough that programmers can leverage them to accelerate creation of enterprise-class software.

A Close Up Look at No-Code Development

Is no-code application development right for your organization? Here are five reasons your business can benefit from a no-code solution right now:

1. No-code has come of age.

No-code tools allow virtually any business user to create software without writing code, simply by dragging and dropping preconfigured elements to assemble business-class applications. In the early days of no-code – as with any emerging technology – many no-code tools had limited functionality. They didn’t allow business users to create highly sophisticated applications, and they didn’t give application developers the capabilities and flexibility they needed.

Today, however, leading no-code solutions provide easy functionality for non-technical users, along with customization features for programmers. So it’s no surprise that more enterprises are first experimenting with and then embracing no-code platforms.

The increasing adoption rates are reflected in market growth, with sales of no-code solutions expected to reach $21.2 billion by 2022, according to Forrester, for a five-year compound annual growth rate of more than 40%. It’s part of a broader trend in which two-thirds of all application development will be achieved through no-code or “low-code” tools by 2024, Gartner predicts.

2. No-code can empower your business users.

Business users like no-code because they can quickly and easily create new business functionality – from simple forms and workflows to function-specific productivity tools. This capability enables team members with drag-and-drop features to craft what they need, when they need it.

And let’s say a new capability doesn’t quite meet user needs, or a shift in processes dictates a change in software. Users can easily go back and fine-tune their application any time they need to, with just-in-time responsiveness to business demands.

IT departments welcome this active engagement by employees, because it increases user satisfaction while freeing up technical experts to focus on more strategic activities. The fact is, organizations need more software than application development teams have time or budget to produce. No-code development provides an ideal solution.

3. No-code can liberate your application developers.

Your application development team can also take advantage of no-code solutions. They can use no-code as the basis for the most sophisticated applications, quickly creating reusable components and easily customizing features to meet unique needs.

Preconfigured no-code components are based on best practices and tested for reliability and scalability. And in the best no-code solutions, security is already baked in. Plus, integration, through API and web services, with a range of databases and third party systems ensures interoperability and agility to work with shifting IT landscapes and evolving user needs.

It’s important to note that no-code development doesn’t replace your application development team. Rather, it frees up programmers to focus on what they do best: creating advanced industry and business specific functionality, ensuring reliability and scalability, and providing governance on how to make sure custom applications contribute to business success.

Your IT department can also leverage no-code tools to quash the proliferation of “shadow IT” in which business functions purchase unapproved software or services. This could lead to the introduction of unwanted vulnerabilities into your development processes. By empowering users with an IT approved no-code platform, IT can equip your lines of business with the functionality they need, while providing oversight to keep IT spend aligned with business needs and maintain a good security posture.

4. No-code has a place in every organization.

A no-code approach, by itself, might not be the answer for every development project. Your IT team can help you decide whether the project demands something more robust or technically complex which requires a higher level of customization that might be more suitable for a programmer’s skills and abilities.

But no-code components can still provide basic application building blocks, including user interface controls, enforceable business rules, defined workflow steps, and common reporting elements. And no-code solutions can provide a surprising array of software functionality, including database applications, portals, productivity tools, web-based applications, and mobile apps.

No-code can even be appropriate for customer-facing applications, because you can combine a no-code module that connects to corporate systems with a no-code module that presents a web interface to span the gap between front and back office.

5. No-code can reduce business risk and drive business results.

Traditional application development can be costly and time-consuming. If a new application fails to meet rapidly evolving business needs, you have to either make do with outdated software or go through another lengthy, costly build cycle. All of that adds up to significant business risks.

No-code avoids those risks through proven, easily consumable components that business users can assemble quickly and accurately. Users can continuously fine-tune their no-code applications to adapt to changing processes or business models.

Ultimately, you gain the tools to empower your in-the-trenches team members to innovate the software capabilities they need, when they need them. That makes your employees more engaged and productive, and your business more efficient and responsive to market realities.

No-code application development solutions aren’t yet as ubiquitous as smartphones. But for a growing number of organizations, they’re becoming just as indispensable. Smart businesses aren’t waiting: they’re embracing no-code apps right now.

Contact us to explore how no-code solutions can help your organization.