Is No-Code - Future of Software Development, Possibilities & Pitfalls
Companies worldwide are staring at a problem. There’s a massive shortage of skilled workers globally. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2030, the global talent shortage will be as high as 85.2 million. Companies around the world would potentially lose $8.4 trillion in revenue as a result. The situation is the same for ISVs too, who rely on skilled developers to build software products.
While this is a matter of concern, let’s rewind to 2017 when Chris Wanstrath, the CEO of Github, famously said that the future of coding is no coding at all. According to Chris, coding is just a small part of the main event, which is building the software.
Turns out, Chris’ prediction was right. Companies and ISVs have started adopting no-code development platforms to build software. According to Forrester, the no-code platform market will be $21.2 billion by 2022.
What is No-Code Software Development?
A no-code software development platform is a tool that allows users to build software applications without writing any code. The advantage of this platform is that it democratizes the software development process. Users from other business functions don’t have to rely on the developers to build software applications. They can do it themselves.
But while there are endless possibilities, there are a few pitfalls in no-code development methodologies too. By harnessing the potential and avoiding the pitfalls, ISVs can build applications faster and focus more on innovations.
The Possibilities And Pitfalls of No-Code Software Development
1. Possibilities of No-Code Software Development
- Cost-effective: No-code software development is more cost-effective than traditional software development. To begin with, companies can save money on hiring and training a large and costly development team. Also, developing and maintaining an application requires a considerable amount of investment. No-code development helps to save that money. Front Range Excavating, for instance, saved thousands of dollars by building a no-code app to streamline their business processes. Even ISVs can use no-code development platforms to build cost-efficient products for their clients quickly. They can also save costs on skilling and reskilling their resources.
- Reduced Developer Dependency: No-code platforms come with standardized features and designs. This way, simple to moderate tasks can easily be completed by non-programmers. The skilled talent at companies and ISVs can focus more on building complex and innovative products.
- Enhanced Engineering Productivity: Research reveals that no-code platforms can improve productivity by
. As no-code platforms take care of the repetitive tasks and help build applications rapidly, developers can save time and complete tasks within a few hours or days. They don’t have to spend time on maintenance or check multiple lines of codes that are cumbersome to manage. Fewer codes can deliver more value in less time.
- Accelerated Software Delivery: Clients are on the lookout for new, innovative solutions all the time. ISVs need to build these solutions quickly to meet their expectations and avoid churn. No-code platforms come with reusable elements and features like a drag-and-drop interface that enables ISVs to launch products within weeks. It helps to build products 10 times faster. Less coding means they can build, test, iterate the product and start earning revenue quickly.
2. Pitfalls of No-Code Software Development
- Prone to Security Risks: No-code platforms are susceptible to security risks and could even expose mission-critical applications to vulnerabilities. ISVs need to be careful while using these platforms for building applications for clients. They may not have control over the source code, but they can ensure that the chosen platform is aligned with the security policies. They must choose a platform with in-built security capabilities and ask for security certificates if it’s to be used to build any mission-critical or data-driven application.
- Limited Scope for Customizations: The objective of using a no-code platform is to develop applications quickly without writing any code. That’s why they come with pre-built drag-and-drop elements and designs. They are ideal for building standardized applications but not bespoke ones. So, if the objective is to build advanced, custom applications, a no-code platform might not be the right option.
- Not Applicable for All Needs: No-code platforms are useful for building context-specific tools for functions such as HR or marketing and sales or to automate basic process workflows such as sending email notifications. However, it might not be the right option for all business needs. Some tasks such as advanced workflow automation or creating a data model require specialized development skillsets.
- Risk of Vendor Lock-in: Considering that ISVs do not have control over the source code, they will face the risk of vendor lock-in. This means that they may not be able to switch providers in the future or attract unplanned expenditure. The maintenance, security, and even upgrades will be dependent on the vendor.
To avoid such a situation, ISVs evaluate the platforms based on different criteria such as:
- Whether the code is open-source or licensed?
- Does it allow custom integrations and interoperability?
- Can applications be customized?
- Are there any hidden fees?
- Is there a support model?
- What is the typical bug fixing cycle?
- What is the number of open defects?
Answers to these questions will help ISVs make the right decision.
It’s true that no-code software development reduces technical debt, improves the speed of go-to-market, and reduces the reliance on specialist developers. However, it’s too premature to say that it would replace the ISVs and developers in the future. Companies would still rely on ISVs to build complex and bespoke software products. Instead of looking at it as a threat, ISVs must embrace it to build modernized products quickly and spend more time executing high-value ideas. This will help them acquire and retain more clients and stay a step ahead of the competition.
Learn how your engineering teams can build the right capabilities to ensure your software products are extensible, interoperable, and integrated using no-code development.