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it is (roundabout) day 2556 of when No- and Low-Code platforms appeared on earth. Companies are adapting to it and more and more people are using them. But I don't know anything about it. Can somebody explain it to me?
What is No- and Low-Code?
For anyone who doesn’t know about No-Code and Low-Code (yet).
are easy-to-use tools with features such as drag and drop, spreadsheets, and many more. Without (almost) any coding knowledge, you can create mostly small applications for internal use.
go beyond the drag-and-drop capabilities of no-code. They are more suitable for complex cross-departmental processes or applications. Besides a visual builder, you have the possibility to add individual code to customize your applications and build them based on your needs.
Those were just small definitions of the term No- and Low-Code. We have written a whole article about current No- and Low-Code definitions. Additionally, if you want to gain more insights into the differences, follow this article.
No-Code and Low-Code Use Cases
It depends on the platform, but you can use No-Code and Low-Code for almost anything you envision. It is most frequently used for:
No- and Low-Code allows users without automation background to design company fitting workflows. They improve transactional systems, email, and databases to speed up general processes.
CRM / ERP Systems
No- and Low-Code tools being used in CRM and ERP systems are getting more recognition. Large companies can replace their core systems with Low-Code solutions - it mostly starts with a smaller pilot project followed by a larger roll-out.
Through No- and Low-Code you are able to run and segregate your projects effectively and efficiently. There are several tools out there that can help you do that - most of them are having a dedicated calendar or kanban view to keep track of tasks and deadlines.
Some companies are using No-and Low-Code Applications for analytics, especially visual analytics. It is most frequently used for recurring reports that can be automated. A typical use case is the use of those solutions in the marketing department to keep track of the performance of different channels.
Benefits of No- and Low-Code
Ok, we got a short recap about what No- and Low-Code is and what those platforms are used for. But what is this hype all about?
Certain advantages of No-Code are:
Through their drag and drop interfaces. As they are easy to use and have pre-built-in modules, application creation resolves at a faster speed. In addition, with No-Code you can exchange functionalities within hours whereas for traditional development it is way harder to change something mid-coding and could take weeks to months.
Mork work can be done in less time. A boost in agility and development speed means your overhead costs will sink as well.
More Iteration Cycles
You do not rely so much on developers for building and maintaining your products anymore. That’s all up to you now which means your iteration cycles are shorter. This is especially important when it comes to idea validation through for example MVP building.
Finally, since the development of an application becomes way easier and is faster now, your workload is shortened, and the overall productivity increases too.
Limitations of No- and Low-Code
There are certain times when your No-Code tool encounters some limits. You could hypothetically use a Low-Code alternative. But even both are not all sunshine and roses compared to traditional coding. Here are some problems:
Fixed templates restrict your free development as sometimes your No-Code platform does not offer the right building block for that one particular application. You are now faced with the decision of finding a workaround that might cost even more in the long run than it would have been with just traditional coding. So always ask yourself whether your requirements fit into the constraints of one particular No-Code tool.
Potential Security Risks
When coding you exactly know every word in your code source. Whereas, working with No-Code you probably won’t know your app inside and out which raises certain security questions. What if your No-Code platform provider gets hacked or is liquidated? Well, your applications are immediately at risk too. So, you always have to have the arising security issues in mind when working with No-Code platforms. The good news: most platforms are doing really well when it comes to (data) security. You need to have in mind that people can also do mistakes by coding manually, which can create security risks as well. No-Code and Low-Code platforms create an "environment" that is usually easy and safe to use and most of them are having "fall-back" options.
If you want to leave your No-Code platform, you might have to deal with lock-in effects. Meaning you are faced with the inability to switch your No-Code provider or only if you pay high switching costs. On the bright side, there is a possibility of your vendor giving you access to your source code but the implementation of it usually is kept secret by the vendor. We know, that sounded like a lot.
But be relieved. When you look at Low-Code which (mostly) has the same perks as No-Code, there are some platforms that allow you to export the code.
No-Code and Low-Code platforms could do a lot and save you a lot of development effort and time. So, in times of change and digital transformation, No- and Low-Code provides fast and quick solutions. However, there are some limitations that you need to consider. There are a lot of No-Code and Low-Code Platforms that are enterprise-ready and allow Citizen Developers to take over, at least to some extend. One thing is for sure: all those platforms will get better and better which lowers the risk immediately. If you are deciding on a No- and Low-Code tool it would be best advised to consult an expert to avoid running into lock-in issues or other problems.
Thank you for reading!
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