Locating expert engineering talent has long been a point of contention for many businesses in the digital space. Building, scaling, and developing digital products often requires a level of technical expertise that is both hard to source and comes with a significant price tag.
Fortunately for start-ups and enterprises alike, the emergence of low code and no code solutions has stepped in to save the day. But what exactly are these solutions, how can they be applied, and what’s the catch?
No-code solutions are typically aimed at business users with very little to no coding experience. These platforms feature visual drag-and-drop interfaces, which allow users to connect certain components together to create web or mobile applications.
On the other hand, low-code solutions are more suited to users with some coding experience, or developers needing to quickly build applications. These platforms will require some level of technical knowledge, and can be a powerful aid in allowing developers to bring products to market faster.
Deliver value, quickly
As mentioned above, the hours involved in custom coding a product is drastically decreased when leveraging low/no code platforms. This can enable a decreased time to market, increasing the potential to deliver value quickly. According to a Goodfirms survey, the average time taken for companies to develop a custom-built software is around 4 and a half months.
They broke the data down like this:
With fewer programming skills required, businesses can build new digital products, or augment feature sets without having to search for high quality development talent, allowing time and valuable resources to be distributed elsewhere in the business.
According to industry research conducted by Code Submit, “The cost of hiring a software developer, especially for an in-house position, can vary from $13,000 to $41,000 or even more, and it becomes more expensive the longer [that process] takes.” [Article Link]
Free up your existing talent
For large enterprises that have internal technical talent, low/no code platforms can help innovation teams to iterate and test ideas quickly, without occupying their most valued tech experts. This can free up professional developers to worry about more strategic infrastructure concerns within their respective businesses.
In this TechRepublic article, Matt Asay outlines how the increasing pressure for technological advancements has left many developers feeling “burned out”. He goes on to say how low-code solutions have already proven to “improve employee satisfaction and reduce stress” within the software industry.
Now, looking at that you might think, how perfect! But, whats the catch? As with most things, low/no code solutions have their drawbacks. Let's look at some of the limitations of these platforms below:
Not a catch-all solution
In most instances, these platforms will still require some level of technical expertise to scale, maintain, integrate, and govern.
Integration with existing core digital infrastructure, for example, is usually complex, requiring further technical expertise, and often leading companies to expend further resources as they try to iterate on these functionalities.
If your project demands third-party integration and legacy migration, custom coding could be a better option.
When applying low code solutions, especially to outward facing applications, additional authorization/authentication mechanisms, and data encryption services could need some extra consideration. Meaning you will still need to leverage development talent to ensure your application is secure for your users.
As with scalability and security, low code platforms have certain limitations when it comes to customization of digital assets. If your project requires a high level of customization and flexibility, you might want to consider a custom coded solution for your build.
According to Statista, when looking at the global usage of low-code applications in 2021 -
“33 percent of respondents indicated that their organization is using low-code for data modeling and visualization. Other use cases for low-code among respondents are data security, automating work processes, and developing e-commerce apps.”
Let’s look at some of these examples, as well as other possible applications below.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
For evolving start-ups with no legacy technology in place, these platforms can help take fledgling founders from concept to production at a fraction of the cost. An MVP is the perfect application for this, helping both enterprises and small businesses to test and iterate ideas with minimal risk.
In a tech article for Inc.com, Joe Procopio writes in defence of no code MVP builds -
“The first time I used a no-code tool was years ago when I wanted to test a new feature without having to spend weeks standing up a server, an environment, a database, and a front end for actual customers to actually use the tech. That test resulted in a 10 percent increase to my bottom line, so I built the tech for real.” [Article Link]
Point Of Sale (POS)
The market is full of automated systems that can perform and record necessary daily routine transactions, helping sales personnel keep track of things such as sales order entries, hotel reservations, and shipping. Point of Sale software systems can speed up transactions by solving complex calculations quickly, allowing your business to reach more clients and increase revenue.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Utilizing low/no code CRM systems can allow businesses to develop better customer relationships and increase sales, maximizing company performance through automating such things as forecasting, reporting, and sales management.
In their article outlining How businesses can harness the potential of no-code platforms, Analytics Insight states -
“no code platforms are pocket friendly and based on the SaaS model. Unlike standard CRMs where companies pay 100% for using a few features, no-code platforms are easy on the pocket. Companies only build and pay what they need and then gradually add to it incrementally.”
Analytics & Marketing
Some of these platforms are purpose built to make it easier for marketers to automate specific marketing activities without having to constantly liase with technical personnel for support. This can help with website personalization, email marketing, and digital ad trafficking. This can also reduce tensions between marketing and development teams.
Creating landing pages for marketing campaigns using a no code platform could allow marketers to design, create and launch these experiences in a matter of minutes, not days, saving time and reducing dependencies from other departments.
There’s a time and a place for custom coding, and the ever increasing use of low/no code platforms is unlikely to see this requirement fade completely out of existence. As the digital evolution unfolds, sourcing high quality engineering talent will remain a key player in facilitating that development.
That said, the emergence of these tools are a necessary step forward in that evolution. Taking the pressure away from development personnel, uniting various teams and stakeholders, and keeping up with tight deadlines are just a few of the reasons why low/no code platforms are important tools for business augmentation and product development.
So, before you leave, I’ve listed a few of the top tools available in the market today and how they can be applied to your business.
An enterprise e-commerce platform built with fast growing online merchants in mind. At Crowdlinker, our team were able to leverage this platform and implement a custom built API to help reduce technical reliance without sacrificing customization for NBCs digital storefront, digitalmoviedeals.com.
An integrated CRM platform that works with a large suite of connected applications, helping businesses to manage customer relationships, build online storefronts, and scale easily using automated data tracking.
This SaaS platform helps designers to work in a familiar UI, enabling users to visualize the creation of a new website in realtime. This means that instead of punching through lines of code and refreshing your browser each time, you can get instant visual feedback to help facilitate the design, build, and launch of a custom website.
Unstack offers a full suite of marketing tools aimed at a variety of merchant businesses from start-ups to scale-ups. Their built in tools and integrations are specifically geared towards helping marketers and developers create e-commerce pages that connect with Shopify. Including shop personalization, A/B testing, and analytics reporting to boost your marketing campaign.
A powerful no code platform for building interactive, multi-user applications for desktop and mobile web browsers. Bubble handles deployment and hosting, and boasts a robust and scalable infrastructure.