No Code Platforms: Are They The Future?

MARCIN NOWAK
Blog

For years businesses had two choices when they needed new information systems: they could either build in-house using their own software developers or purchase a ready-made system from a vendor.

Building their own software means that a business can have a tailor-made solution that meets all of its business requirements. However, this approach translates into higher costs and a long development time.

On the other hand, software solutions from vendors are less expensive and can be quickly deployed. However, the drawback is that they usually don’t fit as well as custom-built solutions. Occasionally, businesses can configure software solutions, but it's often easier for them to change their business to accommodate the software than the other way around.

Introducing No Code Platforms

As a result, no-code development platforms were introduced with the goal of bridging the gap between developing software in-house and purchasing from vendors.

A no-code development platform can help a company develop software that better meets business requirements while significantly cutting down on both development time and costs compared to the in-house development approach.

One of the reasons for the popularity of no-code solutions is that they're presented as empowering non-technical business users without coding skills to develop software instead of programmers.

Using a drag and drop interface, users design and implement their individual software systems and apps in a matter of hours.

Benefits of No-Code Platforms

A major benefit of no-code development platforms is their ability to cut down on software development time and costs.

The intricacies of front-end and back-end development are removed by no-code development platforms, which means that users don’t have to worry about underlying technical concerns such as databases, data storage, or security.

Reduce Time to Market

No code tools offer a degree of functionality helping companies turn projects around in a fraction of the time required during a traditional development process.

The visual graphical user interfaces of no code close the gap between ideas and functional enterprise-grade applications helping businesses launch products quickly and with fewer development tools.

Improved Collaboration Among Teams

In traditional software development, there’s generally some degree of disconnect between business users and the software developers who work with them. Since software development is inaccessible to non-technical business users, they generally outline instructions and pass them on to IT teams who work to build projects that may or may not meet business goals from the jump.

Every no code platform is meant to give non-technical subject matter experts the ability to see what professional developers are doing in real-time, which means that there aren't any misunderstandings between teams.

In other words, no code application development breaks down silos by bringing business analysts without any technical knowledge and software developers together to breathe life into a project.

By increasing the number of team members who can create apps, companies can get rid of bottlenecks and project backlogs, cutting down on time and costs along the way.

Reducing Reliance on Legacy Code

Complex software development can hurt a company's bottom line, not just with regard to hiring specialized developers, but also in terms of maintaining legacy code indefinitely.

Legacy maintenance can be a huge burden on a company's resources because it requires diving deep into legacy code to carry out time-draining work. After a while, businesses end up paying expensive software developers to keep their legacy systems running.

Using a no code platform, it isn't necessary to maintain legacy code. As a result, businesses can enjoy rapid application development with no maintenance expenses, and more time for business and IT teams to focus on creating competitive products.

Problems with No Code Solutions

While the business reasons for no code platforms may sound compelling, they often fail to deliver what they advertise.

Lack of Customization

The most glaring problem with no code development is that, for complicated use cases, they are too inflexible to scale and create innovative software solutions.

This is because no code platforms operate by latching certain chunks of code onto visual components that a non-technical user can control. These building blocks of code are intrinsically more rigid than the underlying code.

For instance, many companies have tried to get their team members who have no coding skills to develop workflows using no code platforms. Unfortunately, they quickly learn that no code development platforms overpromise and underdeliver; they still require a good amount of expertise in software design, reporting, and web services.

Developers Are Needed for More Complicated Use Cases

Another problem to look out for is that even the best no-code platform actually requires professional developers for all but the most basic tasks.

Even the best no-code platform has its limits, so it's important to properly align its functionality with the company's business needs and goals.

A no code platform will often work well for simple use cases where the visual development interface with its predefined building blocks matches well the business needs or business processes.

However, no code tools fall short when it comes to more complex apps with advanced features, integrations, or automated workflows.

Typically, a company will need direct assistance from an experienced developer (or developers) if they wish to reach the full potential of a no-code platform.

When business requirements are more detailed and complicated, then companies end up including these requirements with traditional programming, which is extremely difficult and time-consuming because the customization process has to fit in with the platform.

In these cases, it takes developers the same amount of time coding in these no or low code platforms as building solutions entirely from scratch. 

Extensive Training

No code platforms are portrayed as user-friendly apps that allow non-technical users who can't write code to build powerful software solutions.

However, business users need time to learn how to use no code platforms to be able to create apps with simple use cases. What's more, companies need to take into account the fact that many employees are unwilling to spend time and energy learning to develop products using a specific platform that becomes more expensive to maintain as new use functionalities get added.

Companies should not expect that their software developers code around clunky visual elements in an obscure system and that their business users learn to code in order to fulfill business targets.

Rigid Templates

No code development platforms offer different templates that can be customized only for several use cases.

Most no code platforms have limited functionality, and at the end of the day, require dedicated developer teams when a company moves beyond simple use cases; they fail to help businesses innovate and improve their processes by fully leveraging non-technical expertise.

Moreover, when programmers are forced to create applications with these visual platforms, they experience frustration in dealing with a rigid and niche platform that doesn't have general applicability. As a result, fewer programmers know how to use the platforms or are willing to learn.

So, after investing massive resources in making an app work using the limited capabilities of a no code platform, companies are left with a piece of software more rigid and expensive than a custom solution ever would have been.

Therefore, no code tools that are used to create more complex and useful software solutions are typically a net loss to the company.

Business Rules Engines Fulfill the Promise of No Code Platforms

A balance can be struck between a no-code and a custom-made solution. There’s a way to extract a configuration to an external application, such as a rules engine. 

Especially if this rule engine has a nice structure for rules so businesses can easily navigate through them and find the rule to change the system behavior. This way users can enjoy both the benefits of a no code platform such as a short time to market and the benefits of custom software since developers can follow the company’s innovative business process.

As a result, organizations that need to scale, innovate, and grow at a fast pace are turning towards rules engines to achieve their business targets. 

Business rules engines play a critical role in the digital transformation of organizations. A business rules engine is a pluggable application that handles decision processes using conditional "if-then" statements called business rules.

Rules engines allow companies to manage their mission-critical operational decisions separately from the application code. This means that digital products can be created in mere minutes by business users without any help from software developers.

Higson is a rules engine that delivers on the promises of no code technology by enhancing internal business efficiency and enabling companies to truly leverage the expertise of their non-technical business experts.

Higson's user-friendly graphical interface allows users to create and update products immediately.

As a result, companies have a competitive advantage by instantly responding to market changes or new regulations. And since configurations in Higson are easy to navigate, companies can enjoy a streamlined collaboration between the business and the IT departments.

Schedule a FREE call with one of our experts to learn how Higson can help make your project a success.

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