Is No-Code Platform Right for Your Business?
Updated: Jul 10, 2020
By: Siddharth Wadehra, Head of Research
No-code platforms seem to have taken the software industry by storm. Almost every company seems to be subscribing to some kind of an application development platform to fast-track their digital transformation goals. It has offered an opportunity for mid-sized companies to bootstrap their digital transformation journey and has democratized technology adoption. In fact, a report by a leading research and consulting firm suggests that by 2024, application development platforms would account for more than 65% of all development activity with some of the larger enterprises using more than four platforms within their organizations to develop their connected digital ecosystem. In addition, the low/no-code application development market, valued at USD 5.6 billion, is expected to exponentially blow up to USD 52.3 billion by 2024, with an impressive annual growth rate of almost 40%.
Presently, no-code platforms are mostly used by larger enterprises with dedicated IT teams to help integrate those apps in the ecosystem. These large enterprises have a lot to gain from going no-code, especially if it means business executives at a department level could launch apps to automate their processes. With every passing day in a large enterprise, the role of IT in launching new applications is reducing and companies are finally starting to realize how best they could circumvent the problem of developing applications risk-free, at minimum cost, and in a matter of a couple of hours.
How does this change if you are a small and mid-size enterprise (SME)? Can they also get the advantages of no-code platforms? Custom software isn’t cheap, and a platform to create it is not something most SMEs can just tack onto their IT budget. While technology is supposed to be ‘The Great Leveler’, access and ability is not the same. A budget constraint and the inability to afford enterprise solutions have for long been significant barriers to an SME’s digital transformation goals. However, this isn't true anymore. With the advent of moderately priced no-code platforms, they see an immense value not just from the ROI part but also from a growth perspective in terms of catering to the new age digital consumer.
Consider the case of a typical SME with about 100 employees with an IT team of 2-3 people. As needs expand, management may be forced to consider either adding another programmer to the IT team, or consider equipping them with a no-code platform to help the same team accomplish more. Similarly, if the same company prefers making internal apps to help it function better, it can identify department heads who can build their own apps without any assistance from IT.
In fact, many smaller companies want their leaders to start building automated applications as early as possible. This does not only save money over time, but also starts to build a culture of automation and focus on technology. With digital transformation coming through every department, no leader can afford to be digitally illiterate. Creating simple apps with a
no-code platform is a great way to get started!
There is another aspect of the market which no-code platforms are fast-becoming immensely popular with- startups. Most entrepreneurs do lack the technology skillset or the time to build a product which would find a fit with the market. More often than not, in order to understand the potential of any idea, the founder would want to float a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to understand whether to proceed further. No-code application development tools provide him with the opportunity to do so without investing heavily in product development.
All this is great, but how do you decide whether a no-code platform is right for your business? With so many No-code platforms around and with almost everyone promising you the moon, how do you understand which ones would suit your needs the most? This article discusses all the key aspects you should keep in mind while making the decision to take the plunge whether to join the no-code revolution.
1. Intuitive user interface and ease of use
One of the most important aspects which your organization should look out for while selecting a no-code application platform should be an intuitive user experience and its ease of use. No-code platforms are meant for citizen developers with little or no coding experience and with the intent that they should be empowered to roll out applications using pre-built templates and simple drag-and-drop modules. However, with so many no-code platforms to choose from, the primary criteria which you should consider is the simplicity of rolling out apps using the platform. You should ideally look to explore this key aspect of your any no-code platform by signing up for the free-trial to understand whether it would allow citizen developers to work on it comfortably without little or no external support or intervention.
2. Ease of external integration
One would agree that every application depends on external tools/data to create meaningful experiences. Ideally the no-code application development platform should allow for connecting the platform to legacy systems and any other external tools which the organization is using. Also, the platform must have ability to connect with APIs or bots to fetch critical data and allow make decisions on the fly. Look for out-of-the-box integrations and verify whether custom integrations can be built and reused across apps. It would be great if the platform you choose would allow you the ability to connect to external internet of things (IoT) , artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain, and cognitive services without needing to be a domain expert.
3. The platform should allow for scalability
Ideally, the no-code application platform you should choose must allow for any scalability requirements your organization might have in the future. This implies that it should have features that allow built-in automated testing, proactive quality monitoring and real-time performance management. Check for the ability to scale applications and handle private cloud needs. Look for solutions that allow for rapid and continuous provisioning, deployment, instant scalability and maximum utilization of resources. Verify whether the platform supports building custom software stacks and deploying microservices-based apps, and orchestrates IT infrastructure effectively to ensure optimum scalability.
4. Omni-channel App development
With mobile devices and tablets increasing in popularity at the corporate workplace, it is imperative that the no code platform of your choice should sport a cross-platform functionality in standard design. Your preferred no-code application development platform should allow for a ‘build once deploy anywhere’ philosophy. This would ensure that the users could access the launched applications either from their laptops, mobiles or tablets whatever the case might be.
5. Return on investment
Perhaps one of the most important considerations in choosing your no-code platform is the return-on-investment (ROI). This becomes all the more critical in case of mid-sized companies with limited budgets and a pressing need to go digital. With no-code platforms sprouting by the dozen, each offering different features at different price points, it is important that you perform a careful analysis of the internal requirements in your organization and the future ambitions in terms of digital transformation goals. Based on your requirements, you do have to choose the platform that best suits your unique needs in terms of the users of the applications developed, the support or training offered by the platform team, or whatever you might value most.
6. Handing of security and data privacy
Enterprise applications need both coarse-grained and fine-grained security control mechanisms. The no-code platform must support flexible authentication and authorization mechanisms to secure users and various tasks within the application. There platform should enable control with your organization to restrict in-app permissions to effectively handle data privacy concerns.
Steer: The Preferred No-Code App Development Platform for Most Us Cases
Are you an enterprise looking to empower citizen developers with the superpower to roll out applications? Or a startup struggling to get our MVP in place? Or maybe a mid-sized company with no deep pockets to fund all your IT requirements in a custom development manner? Or a digital transformation professional looking to help clients close their existing technology gaps?
In all of the above cases, Steer should be your first choice. With all the desirable features listed above, Steer prides itself with a design thinking-based customer-centric approach to building applications, implying that customer experience and empathy are at the core of any applications you roll out using the Steer no-code app development platform.