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Navigating No-Code/Low-Code Future Conundrum: Overcome the hype, hunt the optimum

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No-Code/Low-Code ranks high on IT wish lists - democratizes development and delivers developer velocity. But there is more than meets the eye. Avoiding common mistakes, identifying ripe scenarios and cherry-picking implementation partner makes all the difference.

​Who can use low code to build applications? It seems that anyone with an idea can.  

In fact, Gartner estimates that the global market for low-code development technologies will reach $14 Bn - an increase of 23% over 2020. It also predicts that a staggering 65% of application development will be low code by 2024. Several executives have indicated that low-code development platforms are one of their most important automation investments since the pandemic.

The No-Code/Low-Code (NCLC) app development strategy is winning admirers across the start-up ecosystem, and why not! It fills gaps in existing ERP and SaaS applications, delivers higher speed to value, brings the best out of internal IT, accelerates legacy modernization and customer-centricity, and unleashes bottom-up automation by empowering citizen developers. 

Consider this: In today’s majority of large or medium-sized organizations, close to 60% of the applications are built by employees who are not a part of the IT Department. In fact, 30% of the applications are built by employees with no formal technical training (these are the ‘citizen developers’).

The NCLC paradigm democratizes development and promotes digital transformation, but is everything as simple as it seems in this DIY (Do It Yourself) ecosystem?

There is no question that Developer Velocity - the ability to unleash agile development talent by removing friction - is endemic to companies outperforming competition. But by itself, NCLC stands little chance of delivering those benefits. Why is that?

To begin with, Low/No code does not mean no skill. The tools and platforms often involve complex programming constructs, and developing expertise is a time-bound function. To add to that, when compared to traditional programming, NCLC’s current embryonic maturity underscores a missing solid body of best practices and the absence of robust communities, thereby forcing steep learning curves. Furthermore, fragmented NCLC use can be offsetting and would need solutions that support its top potential. And finally, for NCLC to strike organizational roots, a ‘silo-free approach’ is required- which can only be made possible through strong executive will and enterprise budgets that enhance NCLC capabilities into a center of excellence.    

Having understood the potential pitfalls of the NCLC strategy, when do organizations know they need a ‘Sensei’?

Likewise, before anything else, understanding key uses for NCLC applications is the best way to prepare for its development strategy. During this assessment stage, a development partner is the safest (and the fastest) bet to realize NCLC’s full potential in the organization’s ecosystem. Equal to knowing where NCLC can increase efficiencies, it is also critical to assess where NCLC is not the best option. 

Four specific scenarios that favor NCLC solutions:

  1. Developing green-field application: Using low code programs to create brand new tools from scratch. Applications under this category generally start with an idea. Then, they evolve with a high rate of change while relying on multiple integration points with external data feeds, web services, IoT data, geodata, etc.
  2. Improving existing client engagement: Currently serving base for most use cases, this group focuses on business and customer experience by increasing engagement and satisfaction scores. These applications often connect to core digital systems and have multi-channel connectivity.
  3. Improving overall operational efficiency: Principally, B2E (Business-to-Employee) these apps are used for workflow, case management, quality, compliance, and departmental management purposes. Often combined with B2B apps, these organization-specific apps are integrated with Systems of record, ERP, CRM solutions, Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, NetSuite, etc.
  4. Digitally transforming legacy applications or operations: In many organizations, when retiring the legacy app is not an immediate solution, a low code solution can be used to extract most out of the legacy before pulling the plug. This category is one of the biggest markets for low code to penetrate. These applications mostly interact with 3GL/4GL apps, Access, SharePoint, Excel, Core record-keeping systems, and core system extensions in enterprises.
Having surveyed the NCLC-Visibility-Landscape, let's discuss NCLC platforms that are most suitable for your organization.

Microsoft’s suite of Power products: This product suite offers an inexpensive, quick, and efficient way to create NCLC applications and, more importantly, integrating them into other systems. Products include solutions such as Power Apps, PowerBI, Power Automate, Dataverse, and Power Virtual Agent. 

Zoom Apps: Zoom apps are designed to give developers a fast and flexible web view canvas to create word of mouth and viral distribution, as well as IT deployment and manageability. This suite enables third-party developers to create and distribute apps that enrich the Zoom experience. Developers can submit apps to Zoom for testing, approval, hosting, and publishing.  

Caspio: One of the world’s leading (and inexpensive) low code platforms for building online database applications without coding, Caspio is an all-in-one platform. It provides everything needed to digitally transform business operations and workflows – integrated cloud database, visual application builder, enterprise-grade security, regulatory compliance, and scalable global infrastructure. 

HoneyCode by AWS:  This suite offers mid-level developers the power to build apps without programming by using a visual builder, managing data in tables, and using automation to replace manual steps. Optimal for use cases like project management, operations, customer pipelines, and resource tracking workflows, the application accommodates team sizes running into hundreds. Some validations, however, don’t scale well, and programming the UI with excel-like rules can become onerous. Not as strong as other NCLC platforms, but backed by AWS, HoneyCode is worth keeping tabs on. 

Microsoft provides an easy walk-through introducing the process of integrating (new or existing applications) built on any number of NCLC platforms into a collaboration and communication tool such as Microsoft Teams.

This tribe of Citizen Developers is destined to grow.
As NCLC solutions assume centerstage (less expensive to implement and faster to value), the platforms also provide required governance across business functions. This pandemic has taught us one thing: Remote employees need to have access to digital solutions that are robust, efficient, and easy to operate.
There is no doubt that no-code/low-code is a great solution for enterprise needs including: product allocation, collaboration and communication, resource management dashboards, and end-user engagement, to name a few. However, it is vitally important to choose the right implementation partner; one that can manage your scaling and customization requirements. Knowledge of ancillary apps and custom connectors that enables you to integrate the NCLC solution into your enterprise ecosystem is no small task either.

Now here’s the catch: With the ease and democratization of the NCLC revolution, after adopting these strategies, how can you set your organization apart from the rest? How can you make sure your enterprise is getting the most out of the new NCLC tools you are integrating? By bringing on a No-Code/Low-Code ninja to finish out the last mile.

At HARMAN, we use NCLC solutions in many of our engagements. By leveraging our technical expertise,skilled workforce, strong partner ecosystem(Microsoft, Amazon,…), and valuable experience from using NCLC in many of our engagements,, HARMAN can accelerate implementation and execute a successful migration. As a trusted partner we provide end-to-end implementation of a variety of NCLC solutions as an enterprise collaboration platform – thus making customization, integration, and deployment simple.

Looking for a custom NCLC solution to resolve problems and keep up with customer demand? Speak to our experts now.