The no code or low code platform market was worth $4 billion in 2018, according to Forrester (image above). And it’s growth is not slowing down, not at least for the next two years.
So, the question that is probably on your mind is: “why not go for no-code options then?” After all, some noticeable brands are already using it – including General Electric’s, EASA app that is used to help with data collection, analysis and generating proposals for their project management.
In this article, we explore what low code apps are, differentiate them from their low code counterparts, their pros and cons, and our view on the way forward. Let’s get started.
What are no code apps?
These are apps that have been built using no code platforms. These are basically platforms that allow for the ‘visual’ building of code.
If you need to build a form, for example, instead of going into the details of knowing all the components you need to build a form that then collects user input, how to ensure that the user input that you collect is in the correct format, and wondering how to style it in order to look appealing, you can do all that by just dragging and dropping what you need.
These drag and drop options allow basically anyone to build an application.
No code vs low code
Unlike no code software, where literally anyone can build an app, low code software requires some coding knowledge in order to build software. When compared to writing code to run a full fledged app, low code apps need a significantly less amount of code.
No code pros and cons
In the following section, we explore the advantages and disadvantages of going no code.
Pro1: Faster development
No code platforms significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to build software from scratch. Software that could take days or weeks to build is now sometimes built in hours. No code platforms have been said to reduce the time it takes to develop an app by 8 to 10 times. Even if some learning may be required in order to build a great app, the learning curve is gentle.
With no code apps, organizations do not need to add more development requests to their development teams. They can build apps to help them achieve or finish tasks on time. This means that products can go to market faster too.
Pro 2: Less expensive
No code options means that companies do not need to hire several developers to build their solutions. This makes building an app way cheaper. It is possible to reduce the cost of app development even by 60%.
Some no code platforms are actually free, so the cost here is in time invested to build the app, rather than money paid to access the platforms.
The creation of the citizen developer
When employees within an organization build tools or apps using no code or low code platforms, they become citizen developers (people who are tech savvy, and may not necessarily have any training in computer science or programming, and can build apps).
Why is the creation of the citizen developer a good thing? It helps with innovation. Employees can build solutions to solve some of the everyday problems that they face. An example may be an employee who builds an app to automate everyday mundane and repetitive tasks. In return, they have more time to focus on their core and more demanding tasks.
ShadowIT is when users within an organization use software or even hardware that is unauthorized by the IT department. The discussion on whether shadowIT is a good or bad thing has remained thorny.
An IT department headache
While like we have seen citizen developers can fasten delivery and innovate within an organization, on the other hand, managing shadow IT is becoming a headache for many IT departments. Therein lurks undocumented processes, non-compliant software, and generally software that may not necessarily adhere to organizational policy.
20%-40% of enterprise technology funding is now spent without IT’s knowledge.
In fact, 20%-40% of enterprise technology funding is now spent without IT’s knowledge. This means that the demand for smaller solutions within organizations is actually higher than the IT department can meet.
Of concern is how organizational data flows. How secure it is. How private it is. There is absolutely no way for IT departments to track and ensure that every app created by citizen developers is actually safe for the organization.
A catch 22
Worse still, some of the no code platforms may not have the required skill set to build highly secure or stable software. From time to time, an employee will run into a problem that they have no idea how to solve. If the no code platform is not able to help them, and the developers at the third party app cannot, that may become challenging.
It will also be difficult to get the internal developers/IT department to help as they may not even be aware of how the software works. They will need to study it and understand what’s going on ‘behind-the-scenes’.
How about security?
While the no code platforms may work hard to ensure that their platforms are secure, there might be a few who may not be so keen on it. This becomes the loophole that can make hackers have a field day with your organization’s data.
Worse still, find your company slapped with a lawsuit for data privacy violation (think about GDPR).
The way forward
The fact is that no code is here to stay, at least for a few years. So, what should be your response as an organization?
Refine policies around shadowIT
This may be the opportune time for your company to refine its policies around shadowIT. One way may be to give your employees a criteria or guideline to use to ensure that a no code app fits within an organization’s security policy.
Create awareness around security
Empower your employees by making them aware of the effects of shadowIT on security and data management.
Have recommended platforms
It may help to have a list of recommended platforms that employees can use. The list should be updated frequently.
Allow for transparency
Surveys have shown that employees using shadowIT are afraid to speak up for fear of consequences or getting colleagues in trouble.
Rather than punish employees for using shadowIT, encourage room for transparency. Where possible, liaise with IT if you are not sure about a particular no code platform
Work with skilled developers
While no code apps are meant to help save time and cost. It is still a worthwhile investment to actually work with skilled developers who can help oversee the no code apps. The developers know what is going on ‘behind the scenes’, while the citizen developers necessarily don’t.
This way, should anything go wrong, it can be fixed before it spirals out of control. Better still, why not get it right the first time?
The developers can even help to further customize the app to your organizations needs while remaining compliant with best practices.
If you are looking for a developer to help you in your no code journey, contact us today.
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