The interview below is a translation from an internal interview our partner Holygrow had with one of their team members, Bas Pouleijn. Some parts have been restructured for a smoother read.
Bas Pouleijn has been part of Holygrow since day one and luckily never left! Bas knows his way in the no-code era but finding the right platform was no easy task. “Several attempts to launch no-code/low-code platforms have led to poor results in the past because it just didn’t work properly. However, I loved the premise of bringing business and IT together,” says Bas.
Today we’re interrogating Bas on everything there is to know about no-code, to find out what makes him so excited about this development method.
1. Initially, you were into traditional coding. How did you experience the transition to the Betty Blocks platform?
To me personally, it felt like a natural transition. Coding was never really my thing anyway. The main reason I started as a programmer was to increase efficiency for business processes. At the time coding was the best way to realize that, but still far from an effective solution.
2. Thanks to no-code you save time and decrease workload by easing up the whole process. What's your take on this?
I fully agree. It certainly saves a whole lot of time when developing with no-code. The distance between IT and business is decreased massively, as well as the dependence of business on IT when implementing changes. Often there are many pitfalls when developing traditionally, which have been handled before.
Every now and then IT starts a long project that takes months. At the start of this project, wrong decisions are made in developing, which are only to be discovered at the end when a lot of time is lost. These are traditional development problems. When using no-code and involving your own Citizen Developers from inside your business, a problem can be discovered much sooner and intervening is easy. Eventually, it’s the business that knows how the application is supposed to be made. The shorter the process, the better!
3. No-code has claimed to be cheaper. What is your opinion on this?
Of course this differs for each project, but generally, no-code shortens the process. By shortening the process an external IT agency is barely necessary anymore, which leads to a decrease in costs. Furthermore, managing your own applications is much more efficient and there’s no need to knock on IT’s door when the application needs some tweaking.
4. Holygrow has been working with Betty Blocks for a while now. What makes this collaboration a good one and what lures your interests about Betty Blocks as a platform?
We were looking for a tech partner with features matching Holygrow. We are a company with young driven employees. When visiting Betty Blocks for the first time we noticed they have the same mentality as Holygrow. People working on their platform with the same passion and taking the issues of their partners very seriously.
Opposed to other no-code and low-code platforms, the freedom that Betty Blocks gives you is very pleasant. Many other platforms are limited in their possibilities. The user experience of a platform is of high importance to be able to build applications quicker. In the end, working with the Betty Blocks platform is just a lot of fun!
5. We’ve been talking no-code for a while now. What’s the most important reason for using no-code?
Many employees within companies are very tech-savvy nowadays, especially younger people who grew up with smartphones and desktops/laptops. Employees like these are very capable of working within a no-code platform as Citizen Developers. They have better abilities to see where improvement is needed as opposed to external IT agencies. That is the power of a no-code platform; making people able to implement improvements to the organization.
6. Is there a large technical gap between low-code and no-code?
It’s harder for a Citizen Developer to work with a low-code platform and many times it just doesn’t work. You want to offer your Citizen Developer as many possibilities as you can to work independently, so yes there is quite a gap between low-code and no-code.
7. Would you say, being as experienced as you are, everyone and anyone could use the platform?
That certainly is a possibility. With some guidance nearly anyone can. For business-critical applications, it is advised to enable an experienced IT developer to manage and direct the process.
8. The tasks of a Citizen Developer and a developer are much alike. Can we compare these roles with each other?
A Citizen Developer is often someone from within the business who wants to improve a process. Traditionally the business used to hire developers to solve the Citizen Developer’s problem. By using Betty Blocks that Citizen Developer can take on many of the tasks a developer would normally do. From that point of view, both roles are closing in. Eventually, the goal for the Citizen Developer is to take over the developer’s role.
9. How do you envision businesses being able to digitally innovate much faster using no-code?
Because you work in your own platform and environment, there’s a much lower threshold to quickly develop application and put on the market. This decreases the inhibition to test an innovative idea in the market. When setting up a traditional IT project, the process can take months and you might’ve missed your chance. With no-code that is no longer an issue.
10. Will no-code replace traditional development for good in the future?
Developers will always be necessary. Betty Blocks itself is of course created by developers. What I do think is that they won’t be as necessary as before. Nearly every development agency is looking for developers at the moment. I think Citizen Developers are going to make 80% to 90% of the work that is currently done by developers.
11. Why does no-code experience such rapid growth?
What I often experience when meeting with one of our clients is that there’s a lot of frustration between the IT department and the business. The business wants to implement adjustments as fast as possible. I get this answer a lot: “we’re too busy and can’t take it on right now, just wait”. No-code makes the business able to implement adjustments and changes on its own. This empowers the business greatly. This is one of the reasons why no-code experiences such rapid growth.
12. Is there a step ahead for no-code development or is this as good as it gets?
It’s hard to look into the future, who knows what will come. I do think there’s a lot to be done with machine learning using no-code. A no-code system can give advice based on users’ previous behavior, which makes it even faster to develop!
13. How do you see the future with the no-code platform?
My vision for organizations is to work with no-code platforms independently, so they are no longer depending on their IT departments. Combining this with rapid application development will definitely lead to some shifting within organizations.