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Blog Article

How No-Code and Low-Code Enable Digital Transformation

June 27, 2024 | 4 min

Citizen Development / No-Code / Low-Code

Digital transformation, i.e. the technological adaptability of a company, is increasingly determining its chances of success. A key factor here is how quickly and to what quality it can implement technological initiatives. With IT departments almost chronically overloaded and a protracted shortage of skilled workers, there are calls for alternatives. One answer that is heard particularly frequently is “no-code and low-code”.

Overloading IT Departments

Most innovations in companies are of a technological nature, in which the IT department must be involved. At the same time, employees’ expectations of software solutions are growing, leading to the need to implement and adjust more applications in increasingly shorter cycles. This contrasts with the prevailing shortage of skilled personnel that has been ongoing for years, who are supposed to carry out these tasks. The result is overburdened IT departments and a digital transformation that feels like it is progressing far too slowly.

Working with standard solutions is no longer an option, especially in larger companies, because they are rigid, complicated to use and important specific requirements can hardly be implemented. “One size fits all” solutions have failed too often in practice.

Against this backdrop, no-code and low-code platforms are gaining in importance, as they enable specialist departments to create their own applications quickly and agilely without in-depth IT knowledge. The global market for low-code development platforms is expected to grow strongly – to almost 95 billion US dollars by 2028, according to a study. These platforms enable employees to develop their own applications quickly and without extensive programming expertise and adapt them to their own needs. They hardly need any support from the IT department, which consequently also benefits from this.

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Increase in Shadow IT

The desire for modern applications coupled with overburdened IT departments, creates an ideal breeding ground for the growth of shadow IT: tech-savvy business users simply procure their own solutions, bypassing the IT department. Good intentions, great risks: The “secretly” procured applications often do not comply with IT governance and violate data protection regulations, for example, which can result in severe fines. In addition, they are usually isolated solutions that do not make the processed data and information available company-wide.

In 1982, technology expert James Martin presented the idea of developing applications without involving programmers in his book “Application Development Without Programmers”. Although this idea was innovative at the time, it failed to catch on for various reasons.

The Rise of Modern Development Platforms

What was not yet possible in the 1980s and 1990s has fundamentally changed over the last 30 years. The emergence of modern no-code and low-code platforms revolutionized application development. Interestingly, these terms only became popular in 2014, following a market analysis by Forrester.

The advantages of these new development methods are enormous. They enable users with little or no programming knowledge to develop customized business applications tailored to their individual needs. This reduces the burden on IT departments, which no longer need to rely on expensive external providers.

It is therefore not surprising that no-code and low-code platforms have gained popularity so quickly and are revolutionizing the software industry. In particular low-code platforms have become an important differentiating factor. The value proposition is compelling: more agility, efficiency and cost savings in application development.

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No-Code and Low-Code Individual Considerations

On no-code platforms, users without technical expertise can assemble and configure applications that meet their individual requirements in a modular system. Without programming knowledge, they can combine UI components and create user-specific dashboards in a visual development environment. Specialist departments can modify and further develop applications with their own employees. The basic idea is a self-service offering for so-called citizen developers.

The low-code approach requires only little programming knowledge to create more sophisticated applications. The functions of the applications can be extended and integrated with other software used within the organization. Some low-code platforms, including cplace, are distinguished by the scalability at the enterprise level, which enhances their usefulness. Overall, they reduce the workload of IT teams and create capacity for more complex software projects.

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Governance and Security of Modern Platforms

A major challenge in using no-code and low-code platforms is ensuring the quality of the created applications: It must be guaranteed that the applications created by citizen developers meet certain quality standards and comply with company-wide policies. Modern no-code and low-code platforms have a solution to this problem: appropriate configurations define the scope within which citizen developers are allowed to modify and create their applications. For instance, guidelines for color schemes and entire layout templates can be stored.

Ideally, these platforms already include proven solution modules or templates, which are administered by the IT department. The specialist departments then have access to appropriate solutions that they can adapt to their specific requirements. In this way, the IT department remains a key authority on IT compliance considerations and ensures that all application creators in the company – whether citizen developers or not – adhere to the company’s IT guidelines.

In order to obtain a uniform, reliable database, a “Single Source of Truth”, it is crucial that all specialist departments utilize solutions provided by these platforms. Fragmented solutions such as self-built Excel sheets or small cloud apps hinder cross-functional benefits.

In this way, the benefits of no-code and low-code – such as increased agility, efficiency and cost savings – can unfold without the company losing control of its business applications or having to accept security risks. No-code and low-code platforms thus drive forward the company’s digital transformation without compromising on IT governance.

About the Author

Bastian Rang, Senior Product & Solution Architect, cplace 

Bastian Rang has more than 20 years of experience as a teacher, coach and trainer in the IT environment and in the development and architecture of IT solutions with various technologies. At cplace, he works as a coach for Citizen Developers and as a Solution Architect. His focus is on individual enterprise solutions with the help of No- and Low-Code.

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