When it comes to the rising tide of rapid application delivery platforms, it seems no two research analysts agree on precisely what defines low-code vs. RAD vs. BPM or other visual development tools. One thing is clear; there is a growing adoption of low-code strategies by businesses and IT departments that have found a way to deliver apps faster while spending less.
While some architects and developers were initially reluctant to adopt, these tools have proven to accelerate delivery of a wide variety of enterprise apps. Yet they remain so diverse that they are difficult to categorise or segment. The fractured landscape of low-code tools range from those tethered to a business platform like Salesforce.com to those producing simple, self-contained apps.
When these rapid development tools arose due to the frustration with traditional software delivery, some analysts predicted a revolution where armies of business experts or citizen developers would build complete applications without any coding, ergo without professional developers. That particular aspect of the revolution hasn’t seemed to materialise. More often, professional developers are utilising these tools alongside end users, albeit to deliver solutions much faster with less code than ever before.
Still, getting from the drawing board to the app store can take several months.
Rise of zero code
As with any new technology evolution, the underlying business strategy is fueling continued innovation and creating entirely new markets. Today, we are seeing a movement to true, absolute zero code development. These new solutions allow end users with no software skills to build cloud-based mobile and web platforms, not just self-contained content apps.
As a result, companies can rapidly build fully customised applications that are tailored to meet their unique business and workflow requirements. End users, without software or engineering training, can easily create mobile apps by leveraging a library of existing features – all from a simple graphical interface. While low-code platforms provide visual development tools that enable developers to assemble code without hand coding, the zero-code interface offers a click not code alternative.
This doesn’t necessarily mean zero code platforms will replace low code platforms in a zero sum game. Zero code solutions can augment low-code and traditional development approaches in the IT arsenal of the largest organisations. And zero code tools are creating entirely new markets by enabling small and mid-sized companies to build mobile apps – companies that were otherwise shut out of the revolution. For the first time, it is possible to design and deploy an enterprise app without investing in mobile app development services or staff.
IT as the hero
In today’s business world, IT innovation continues to be the key driver for competitive advantage. However, IT departments are continually facing budget scrutiny at a time when their innovations are needed most.
The rise of zero code applications gives IT departments a way to rapidly build apps that are customisable by design, without requiring custom code.
This enables IT teams to become the “heroes” by being able to deliver on the promise of mobile innovation with a sharpened focus. With the addition of zero code apps in the toolkit, organisations free up IT staff to focus on more strategic features or enterprise-specific systems integration. Instead of reinventing the wheel, they can select from proven features. Why develop from scratch the industry’s thousandth mobile form feature for iOS, when you can simply click and deploy an operationally proven feature?
Zero code also helps alleviate IT’s pain when it comes to recruiting, training and retention. In many cases, traditional skills development has been replaced by a dependence on a single vendor platform and its complex set of tools. Learning the process modeling and component configuration of these platforms requires extensive training.
Over time, finding skilled personnel with the required low-code platform experience can be more time-consuming and costly than traditional coding skills. With the shift to zero code, it is possible to deliver more apps without proprietary platform training and specialisation.
One of the biggest challenges in the app lifecycle is the ongoing maintenance, operations and infrastructure costs. It can be seemingly impossible to budget for future support resources, leaving companies with adverse surprises for bug fixes, security patches and mobile OS release schedules beyond their control. With a zero code platform, the full lifecycle of software delivery and infrastructure changes are eliminated; or perhaps more accurately, reduced to a click. So it’s zero code for delivery out the door, and zero DevOps down the road.
Zero code app development is a rapidly emerging technology that deserves a place on the IT strategy session agenda. It holds tremendous promise for larger organisations that have already adopted low-code playbooks and opens the door to small and mid-sized firms that are still on the sidelines.
For larger organisations, they can get an open, custom multi-purpose app for a fraction of the cost, literally in minutes, without sacrificing control of their IT architecture. For smaller players, they can overcome the traditional barriers of software development to improve operations and customer service with mobile capabilities for the first time. For innovative organisations everywhere, zero code platforms will be a game-changer, empowering end users and enabling IT to focus resources and budgets on strategic impact areas.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.