By Olivier Maes, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer, Baserow
According to Gartner, the no-code landscape is rapidly evolving, with 70% of applications leveraging no code tools by 2024. The no-code sector is democratising tech innovation within organisations by providing non-programmers with the means to use and create software tailored to their business needs. Unlike traditional software development, no code tools do not require expensive developers and have very low adoption ramp-up time as they are intended to be user-friendly for non-technical users. No-code tools also increase the productivity of DevOps teams as they focus on integrations or extensions rather than building applications from scratch.
With only 3% of the world population having the skills to write code and most business processes, services, or products being supported by an application, the tension between business and IT keeps growing as IT budgets are still mainly consumed to maintain existing systems.
Business units must be creative to keep up with time-to-market deadlines, productivity imperatives, and innovation pressure. And they need to address their applications’ needs without going through cumbersome IT processes. That is where no code comes into play.
Why does your business need no-code tools?
First, what are no code tools? No-code is a web application, or web app, utilising web browsers and web technology to perform different functions, allowing users to interact and take logical actions. These tools offer a visual app-building experience through their drag-and-drop interface. Then, the applications are developed on forms and reports, with options to automate workflows without requiring user coding. This means that the code is already written and optimised on the backend, and automatically configured as different modules and extensions are added to the application.
Here are some real-world examples to make this more tangible. Think about a manufacturing plant where digital boards replace paper wallboards with incident management, shift schedules, production schedules, and inventory. The data they need to manage the factory floor workers and processes can be visualised and stored in a no-code database built by the users to capture precisely the information they need.
Furthermore, inventory, product lifecycle, returns, customer support tickets and other business operations can all be handled with no-code tools involving a web frontend database and some backend automation process to eliminate repetitive manual work.
Here is another example. HR departments can capture recruitment applicants’ information through the company website, store the details, and process the steps in a no-code database to manage the hiring and onboarding processes.
Finally, marketing teams can employ no-code tools to manage multi-channel campaigns involving multiple stakeholders, content types, agencies, and distribution channels. Additionally, they can easily leverage the information to pull out insights to track the progress of their campaigns and KPIs. Today, modern organisations recognise that Excel Sheets need to be replaced with collaborative no-code databases and project management tools that can do precisely what the marketing teams want.
The list of processes that benefit from applications developed and maintained by the business units is endless, as every process in every company is specific.
So what are the tangible benefits of no-code applications:
- Speed up innovation: the ability to react to an ever-changing market will separate winners from laggards. Being able to transform an idea or opportunity into a new service or product almost always involves the need to build an application, structure data, and trigger automated workflows.
- Optimize your business processes: business process owners know best what they need to optimise their productivity and customer service. User adoption will increase dramatically by giving them the tools to customise and expand specific business applications (internal or external). No code tools are designed to suit and follow established business processes and not the other way around.
- Drive productivity with automation: No code tools drive tremendous productivity as the focus shifts to the process definition and data structure, away from repetitive manual tasks that are now documented and automated in workflow tools. This means more of your team can focus on meaningful work that drives business success.
- Build an engaged workforce: The more people control the data and applications they need to do their job, the more engaged they are in the workplace. The right tool will ensure that they are at their most effective.
Which tool is right for you?
No-code is transforming IT and business operations at a critical time. A growing developer shortage and increased reliance on IT teams for business success means more businesses and entrepreneurs have to revolutionise their advanced IT processes independently without the need for sophisticated, costly, and sometimes proprietary code. In the past few years, the no-code landscape has evolved and matured considerably, offering enterprises the next-level tool to manage every process step in their customer, partner, supplier, and employee journeys.
See below a recent no-code industry map that captures the tools which are Enterprise-ready:
Image source: Baserow
Here are the things to consider when deciding on the right tool for your business.
Extensibility and Customisation:
Applications built with no-code platforms are similar to manually-coded software because they are flexible, extensible, and scalable. Developers can create any plug-ins if their organisation’s code architecture supports it. There is an excellent opportunity for the users to leverage other available extensions and applications to meet their specific needs. For instance, the modular architecture of Baserow empowers developers to create their custom fields seamlessly.
Business Continuity and Security
If a company or public sector entity uses a no-code tool to collaborate on sensitive data or builds all sorts of processes around it, they do not want to risk losing any of that work or applications in the future. An open-source no-code software alleviates that risk as the source code is in our users’ hands forever. Combined with the option to self-host, many businesses will further benefit from eliminating vendor lock-in, which future-proofs their applications.
The speed of innovation and the quality assurance from an open-source community goes well beyond the software vendors’ own developer teams. A strong user community with contributors is excellent for users who benefit from these new ideas and innovations from the broader knowledge and technical pool instead of spending the time and investment needed to develop their applications or plug-ins from scratch.
Data governance and compliance
When choosing a no-code tool, it is crucial to consider the Enterprise or Public Sector rules related to data governance, SAAS usage, and other aspects of data sovereignty. Still, many no-code tools are SaaS only and provided by US-based companies. That can be an issue for companies and governments with stringent data governance policies.