Why IT should embrace low-code/no-code

By Amy Groden-Morrison

Computer Programmer
Image source: 123RF

It’s a common myth that low code is only used by citizen developers who aren’t well-versed in coding. In fact, professional developers also use low-code/no-code development platforms to write apps more quickly and efficiently. Low-code helps professional developers build apps with advanced features even faster. 

A recent survey by SlashData suggests that developers use no-code/low-code platforms for 20% of their coding. The percentage is 19% for professional developers and 21% for hobbyists. This reveals that there is not much difference among different groups of developers who trust low-code development platforms for their critical workloads. And even though only 45% of total developers use low-code tools, this percentage is significantly higher than what it was some years ago. With the rapid sophistication of low code, many developers have started using these tools for their coding. The survey also suggests that developers with three to ten years of professional experience are most likely to use low-code tools for app development (25% to 75% of their coding). 

On the other hand, the survey states that developers with over ten years of professional experience are the least likely to use low-code development platforms. This may be because these tools are considered to be suited for simple programming tasks, and therefore, the work delegated to experienced developers may not fit with low-code approaches. Further, experienced developers are usually masters in simple coding, which leaves little room for low-code tools. 

However, in a TechRepublic article, Matt Asay notes that developers with over 10 years of experience may gain the most with low-code platforms. He argues that even though low code may not be well equipped to take on coding on the level of experienced developers, it removed the “banal cruft” of coding that helped developers focus only on the most important aspects of the code. As such, low-code development platforms can add to the productivity of professional developers by equipping them with powerful tools. 

IT support for low-code applications 

IT departments need to adopt low-code/no-code app development to enable quick and effective digital transformation by tapping into the company’s potential and giving developers and citizen developers the tools to write more mobile applications to power business activities. However, citizen developers cannot facilitate digital transformation alone. They need the support of IT departments. IT departments can lead the digitization initiative by engaging citizen developers from the start. 

Engaging throughout the process will allow IT to gain visibility of the enhancements and evolution of the applications. IT can establish an application framework that fits various enhancements these app creators envision. Furthermore, early IT engagement will highlight certain apps that low-code/no-code development platforms cannot handle. That’s when IT can take over custom-building those apps or components. 

Additionally, there’s always tension between IT and business users. IT doesn’t trust other departments to produce secure apps with high performance. At the same time, business units are frustrated with IT departments that cannot develop the critical applications they need fast enough. This issue can be resolved if IT embraces low-code/no-code development applications and assists citizen developers to get apps built timely, adroitly, and securely. Low-code platforms can reduce the IT workload, so experienced developers can focus on other areas that need digitization, like networks and system security. 

Embracing low-code/no-code applications 

By embracing low-code to accelerate digital transformation, companies can:

Limit costs: IT investments are usually measured by their performance and time value. As such, IT teams must keep within their budget and provide a high level of service. For instance, applications that require a lot of upgrades, customizations, and downtime are very costly. Low-code/no-code can significantly reduce these costs and thus limit IT spending. The No-Code Census report of 2020 demonstrates that over 40% of respondents believe that low-code is at least six times more affordable than conventional programming. 

Increase productivity, speed, and efficiency: Low-code development platforms can build applications up to ten times faster than other traditional software methods, thus, accelerating digital transformation. With low-code/no-code, the internal IT teams are more productive as they spend less time on heavy coding and achieve greater user satisfaction. Low-code gives IT departments more time and space to work on major strategic issues rather than making minor tweaks in the app. 

Empowering users: With low code, things like security processes, cross-platform support, and data integration are already built into those products, giving IT departments more confidence that citizen developers can build quality apps. Business decision-makers can design apps without relying heavily on the IT department, using the highly configurable architecture of low-code/no-code to design apps. With drag-and-drop menus and pull-down interfaces, this innovative software lets business professionals design and develop mobile apps in a few hours without needing any advanced programming skills. 

Controlling shadow IT: Empowering users means controlling the development of shadow IT initiatives. Sometimes, shadow IT projects are not aligned with the proper IT security framework, governance procedures, and IT regulatory oversight. Lack of IT control can be especially damaging for some businesses. If low-code/no-code development tools are integrated with IT platforms and sanctioned by IT departments, risky shadow IT projects are reduced. 

Greater flexibility: Low-code/no-code makes upgrades and adjustments more feasible, faster, and automated, giving control to business decision-makers. IT gets more flexibility as it doesn’t need to get involved in making minor improvements and updates. At the same time, business leaders have more flexibility to act swiftly when something changes in the workflow or they want to add a new capability to the app. It’s a win-win for both business leaders and IT. Low code inevitably democratizes innovation by eliminating barriers between ideas and solutions. 

The above discussion clearly underlines the growing need for IT departments across various sectors to embrace low-code/no-code development platforms, which will cut their costs and give them more flexibility to work on strategic initiatives.

About the author

Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security, and Ziff-Davis. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Currently, she is the VP of Marketing and Sales Operation for Alpha Software.

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