Taking The No-Code Route to New Business Apps

The burgeoning low-code and no-code platforms have been replacing traditional programming projects in enterprises, driven by the need for shorter development cycles and tighter budgets.

According to a study by Forrester, the market for no and low-code applications was expected to grow to 15.5 billion euros (roughly $17 billion) by 2020. The low-code application trend is also highlighted in the current Forrester Wave for ECM content platforms. The market research firm believes there is a market for flexible platforms with app and user interface design and development tools to tailor apps to meet user needs.

According to Gartner, enterprise low-code application platforms offer compelling gains for professional development, as well as speed-of-delivery benefits. By 2024, the analyst firm expects low-code application development will be responsible for 65% of application development activity.

Small agile teams of development talent are developing business applications up to 10 times faster using these new methods. So what exactly is low-code and no-code? Low-code and no-code do away with laborious manual coding processes. The difference between low-code and no-code platforms are quite blurred. While both use visual applications systems, low code tends to offer more developer control and is thus used for more complex applications. No code, which enables users to build apps without any coding, is often used for reporting, analytics, tracking and self-deploying apps.

A visual approach to app development

Development environments that allow IT professionals, as well as employees, to develop apps and workflows at speed, provide a clear competitive business advantage. Instead of having to deal with complex programming languages, developers can use intuitive graphical modeling methods alongside familiar drag-and-drop functions. What’s more, IT departments can improve productivity, use resources more effectively and respond to business needs faster. At the same time, employees can cooperate with IT and actively participate in the development of solutions.

It’s no surprise that app kits are gaining popularity in companies and looking to replace traditional programming languages for development. When deployed properly, no-code and low-code apps make companies more agile and ultimately more productive. Firstly, they significantly speed up the development and deployment times for business apps. Secondly, they reduce the costs of project planning, employee training and IT app development. In addition, as low code and no code are often offered as a platform as a service (PaaS), companies no longer require their own development infrastructures.

Greater agility and increased productivity

No-code tools are primarily used to map simple tasks in an app that may be needed by a single department. Typically, they cannot be rolled out across an entire organization as they aren’t scalable and open to wide integration. Often they are only available on a cloud service without an on-premises option.

With low code platforms, the scalable architectures and open interfaces (APIs) often provide flexible delivery models from the cloud and on-site. They are a boon for more complex, cross-departmental business processes that are integrated with other applications, databases or systems. Compared to no code, low code provides organizations with potentially a much wider portfolio of applications – without spending a large amount of time or budget.

Low code zones on usability and functionality

Low-code platforms basically contain a set of visualized elements and logics. They also allow professional programmers to design added features for apps or workflows. As a result, applications are ready to launch much more quickly than in a traditional software project. In addition, experts from individual departments – so-called key or power users – can be easily opted into development teams: This is down to not having to learn a programming language to configure a practical, working application.

Save time and reduce development costs

Using the low-code methodology, organizations can address business challenges with the right digital solution quickly. Traditional multi-stage software development programs are complex, slow and inherently difficult to tweak as new tests are required at every tweak. Low code, however, allows technical and power-user teams to work together to the common good, speeding up development, eliminating communication issues and reducing development costs.

Implement new ECM requirements with low code quickly

Low-code platforms can be a big asset when it comes to implementing new ECM requirements. This agile method of software development has proven it is a great route to deploying answers to user demands quickly and cost-effectively in an enterprise content management (ECM) system.

With modular components, individual ECM applications and workflows can be introduced without coding expertise. Individual departments can design their own applications to meet their needs, as usability and functionality define the development process – not the actual code itself.

Most of the elements and components are already ready for deployment and do not have to be programmed, only configured once. Typically, new applications can be ready for all devices and operating systems in just a few hours or days. This dramatically cuts back the times for testing, launch, potential modifications, and updates. Low code also has a positive impact on the bottom line, as companies no longer have to rely on expensive external development. This simplicity also reduces maintenance costs.

Furthermore, an ECM low-code platform offers up uniform management; if all core ECM applications rely on the same elements, such as metadata and permissions, compliance requirements are far easier to meet.

No code and low code in action

Take for example Raffinerie Heide, the northernmost crude oil refinery in Germany, which has developed what is known as an obligation workflow to regularly provide partners with documentation swiftly, while verifying document compliance with various regulatory requirements.  To achieve this it used a core design client for Windows, web and mobile systems that supports both no-code and low-code development, demonstrating how compliance-based reporting for financial partners can be expanded using low-code development.

No code, low code is the future

Software development by its very nature is complex and requires highly skilled developers. Low code, and its junior partner no code, make it far easier to address collaboration problems within organizations and allow business and IT to start talking together on the same level. Low-code/no-code is the way forward for organizations to quickly build and deploy specific apps to address specific business cases, providing them with the flexibility and agility they need to prosper in the digital economy.

John Juerss has lived and breathed content for over 20 years. Currently he is an ECM Expert for SER Solutions International. From the earliest days of web content management through to the latest machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities of enterprise content management platforms, he has been involved in all aspects of consultancy, software development, enablement and partner management.