No-Code in 2020 and Beyond: You Asked, Our Experts Answered (Part 1 of 2)

On October 14, we ran an on-demand webinar about the future of no-code, which generated a tonne of great questions and we thought we’d share the wealth. In this first article, we answer your eight questions about applying no-code. Stay tuned for the second, where we’ll be getting technical. Now, on to your questions: 

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1. In what kind of settings/use cases are no-code applications used most often? What is possible now and in the near future?

The beauty of no-code is that it can be used to drive innovation in a multitude of settings. We’ve seen the value of no-code development across a range of sectors, including government, healthcare, insurance, and sports. Small applications can be developed to integrate with existing legacy systems.

Conversely, no-code is powerful enough to create enterprise-grade applications that can be used as the basis for your entire innovation strategy. A prime example is Univé. Innovation Manager, Bas Wit, needed a platform that would make Univé stand out in the insurance sector as a company that provides truly innovative services.

To date, Univé has developed 15 applications with Betty Blocks, and uses the platform as the foundation for testing new ideas in their Innovation Lab. In doing so, Univé has been able to decrease time-to-market for new applications from 12 to 2.5 months, and increase development speed by 75%. 

As for what’s possible in the near future, the possibilities afforded by no-code platforms are already here. But, as more organizations embrace the capabilities of no-code, more of these possibilities will become reality. 

2. How well does this technology handle really complex business requirements? 

Many of our clients have incredibly complex business needs and challenges. Remember, our no-code platform was created to develop enterprise-grade applications. No-code has the same capabilities as traditional coding but allows for faster, easier, cloud-based application development.

Bas Bolmer, Technical Data Manager at Lifelines, needed an application that would enable him to centralize data on 167,000 people, spanning 30 years. He needed an application that would integrate with Salesforce, as well as various medical hardware. Whenever a participant had a blood sample taken, the application would need to automatically notify the participant’s doctor if the results raised concerns.

In-house customizations would need to be possible in order to facilitate medical research. These are pretty complex needs. But through the power of no-code, effective communication and project management, Betty Blocks and Bas were able to develop an application that ticked all the boxes.  

3. Are no-code solutions as powerful as their coded variants? 

We get that there’s a perception that coding trumps no-code in terms of power and capabilities. But, we’re here to set the record straight. From a technical capability standpoint, no-code has come a long way from the days when it only allowed for the use of generic templates.

With Betty Blocks’ no-code platform, all blocks can be customized to your needs. Once you’ve developed a block that does exactly what you want it to do, it will be in your toolbox forever. Using it in your next application will take two clicks of the mouse! And, it doesn’t stop there. The true power of no-code is in its ability to drive innovation.

Unlike coding, it gives those on the business side the power to create solutions. It allows IT to spend its time on more complex challenges, like security, rather than on writing reams of code. Put simply, no-code has all the power of coding, with the added potential to reduce costs, save time, create more robust processes, and create new opportunities. 

4. Will this play well with existing coded material? Does it work in all environments? 

Yes. No-code and existing code can be used together —  if the solution requires it. You can connect Betty Blocks to Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, and many other tools. And if you can’t find the integration you need in the Block-Store, it’s possible to build your own API. 

5. What about testing in the future of no- and low-code?  If you are a tester at this moment, how do you prepare for a future of no- and low-code practices in agile development environments? 

Application testing will be just as necessary with no- and low-code as it is with coding. Even though errors in code are avoided by developing with blocks, it’s still possible for Citizen Developers to fail to achieve their desired solution.

Testers will be instrumental in ensuring the goals for the application are being met and that users are able to extract maximum value. It’s true that, as Citizen Developers become more skilled, there should be fewer errors. However, the purpose and value of testing won’t change. 

6. Which organizations will profit the most from no- or low-code solutions? 

The purpose of no- and low-code application development is to allow organizations of all kinds to innovate. But, the greatest value will be reserved for those that have the resources and drive to use no-code to its full potential. Our no-code platform allows the business side — with the support of IT — to develop enterprise-grade applications. Citizen Development enables the entire workforce to work towards innovative solutions. In doing so, IT is free to work on more complex maintenance and security tasks. 

It’s also worth considering that the organizations who are solution-focused, and have solid communication and project management skills, will profit the most from no- and low-code solutions. Enterprise-grade applications require enterprise-grade thinking! 

7. What is the role of business consultants in the no-code era? 

Without the need for coding, tech-savvy innovators on the business side have the power to become Citizen Developers. This means that business consultants will play a vital role in facilitating this process.

Business consultants are right in the middle of the action. They are often the people who best understand the business needs and know what solutions are needed. This way, they will be instrumental in helping Citizen Developers and IT work together effectively. They can be the glue that holds the whole project together, working to clarify roles and maintain focus. 

8. Is this also applicable for small and medium enterprises, and how secure, stable, compliant, and maintenance-free, will it become?

It’s absolutely applicable for small and medium enterprises. The great thing about smaller organizations is that they’re generally more open to change. There can be less red-tape, fewer stakeholders to convince. The challenges faced by these types of organizations tend to be based more around budget and man-power. That’s why no-code can offer the ideal solution.

Smaller enterprises can develop applications simply to replace archaic, paper-based processes. This not only frees up time but reduces the risk of human error. As for medium-sized enterprises, a perfect example is EDGE Technologies. EDGE Technologies was relying on 7 separate software providers in order to carry out its daily operations.

This was time-consuming and costly. It would all change, however, when CEO Guntis took on the role of Citizen Developer. Within 2 months, Guntis had a working version of the application that would go on to replace the 7 existing platforms. Not only was Guntis able to cut software licensing costs by 7, he says EDGE Technologies is now at least 20% more productive. 

Because our no-code platform is based entirely in the cloud, updates are automatically applied. This means debugging is constantly being taken care of, making life easier for the Citizen Developer. Moreover, the platform is ISO 27001 certified, guaranteeing data security. 

But wait, there's more!

In the next article we'll cover your questions about the technical side of no-code. Want to know where no-code is heading in 2020 and beyond? Click the image below to watch our on-demand webinar where we cover everything you need to know to get ahead of the competition.

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