What is Low-code and No-code?

In this blog series, we’ll look at ways to build a faster, more adaptable business, followed by a look at LCNC software development. What is low-code and no-code? How do they contribute to business adaptability?

Background

For decades, enterprises have been accelerating their business with a variety of software solutions. Rigid, slow and expensive systems and software tools have progressed year by year towards faster and faster deployment. Low-code / No-code (LCNC) developers are just one logical step forward on this path.

The use of LCNC simply makes software production faster and cheaper.

Roughly ten years ago, there was a buzz about a new design model called responsive design. Today, the term is practically dead in the debate, because it’s quite obvious to design websites to adapt to different devices. However, around 2012 there was a lot of debate about whether responsiveness would become a major design and implementation method.

History has shown that in web development, the faster option always wins in the end.

The whole SaaS business logic is actually based on this. As the pace of change in the world accelerates, we need ways to keep up. If we can be 100% sure of anything, it is that service development will get faster and solutions will become more adaptable.

What is Low-code and No-code?

The terms low-code and no-code are usually lumped together, which is somewhat illogical because they are aimed at different audiences. Low-code requires some understanding of programming. The main aim of low-code development is to free professionals from the time-consuming and tedious job of making basic components over and over again. Low-code therefore reduces errors and speeds up work.

No-code, as the name suggests, refers to the creation of software without any programming at all. Of course, at first glance, one might think, why would anyone choose low-code if the alternative is no-code? One answer is customisability. A completely non-code development will not reach the same level of customisability as a low-code.

The perspective, developer role and the need determine whether it is worth choosing low-code or no-code.

Excessive expectations and fears

Significant innovations usually give rise to two phenomena. Some people expect the world to change for the better overnight and others are afraid of the change. For LCNC development, the future is most likely to be similar.

In the previous part of this blog series, I described the inexorable evolution of e-commerce towards composability, while other implementation options live alongside it. Traditional programming is not going anywhere and the world will not change overnight. However, the direction is so clearly marked that LCNC (this time) is here to stay.

In the pandemic era, organisations woke up to their digital development debt, and now this is being caught up faster.

Just as responsive design once gave customers two applications for the price of one, LCNC development delivers speed and cost benefits. Customers want more, faster and cheaper. Customer-centricity is one of the main drivers of the proliferation of low-code and no-code.

Shortage of digital development professionals

There is an acute and global shortage of skilled digital business development professionals in the market. Media attention is focused on programming, when in reality the shortage covers all aspects of development, from digitally driven business design to a range of various concepting and implementation skills.

No-code and low-code offer much-needed relief to organisations. No-code enables service development without programming skills, while low-code makes programming work much more efficient. Of course, neither will close the skills gap, but LCNC is one way to ensure the sustainability of your digital strategy in the future.

Ongoing paradigm shift in digital development

The term “hybrid” will define the 2020s and will also apply to software development. Development is no longer just the playground of senior programmers, but the industry is becoming more inclusive. Anyone who is interested and willing to learn will have the opportunity to show their skills with new tools. It is also good to note that development has not been just programming for a long time.

The best online services are the result of a collaboration between service designers, data analysts, business gurus and skilled programmers.

So-called citizen developers are people who use LCNC tools to independently solve software problems in organisations. However, this is only one side of the story.

A significant part of this phenomenon is the shift of the entire software development industry towards LCNC development. This is driven by the benefits of increased job satisfaction and greater exploitation of the potential of skills, as mentioned earlier. In my view, this is a bigger change than the waterfall model towards agility.

I wrote earlier in this blog series, in the context of composable business, that the most important change for development in the 2020s will be a more rigorous business-driven approach. Creating applications and systems will still be key, but to win you need customer loyalty, a smooth user experience and a compelling business model.

The single most important benefit of LCNC tools is their focus on business. Programming is not an end in itself, but a tool and subordinate to the business. Once the tools provide a better everyday life for developers, the big transition will begin. There is still work to be done, but fortunately the market and the tools are evolving rapidly.

This decade will see digital development leap to a new level, where business and technology will intersect in an unprecedented seamless way.

Summary

In this part of the blog series, we looked at what low-code and no-code mean. LCNC development is a driving and revolutionary force for the entire software industry. However, it is not a silver bullet for non-professionals to build complex systems on their own, making developers unemployed. On the contrary, low-code and no-code make development more meaningful and cheaper, and allow a much wider range of developers to be involved (citizen development).

Read also the other parts of this blog series:

Part 1: Adaptable business
Part 2: What is a Composable Business?
Part 3: What is a Composable Commerce?
Part 4: What is low-code and no-code? (this blog post)
Part 5: What is Culture of Experimentation?

Teemu Malinen

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

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