Since the COVID-19 crisis began, the number of executives naming low-code/no-code development platforms as their most important automation investment has nearly tripled. According to KPMG’s “Low Code: The Unifying Fabric of the Digital Enterprise”, 100% of respondents  who implemented a low-code development platform received a return on that investment.

 

No-code and low-code platforms can help an organization improve productivity, reduce costs, and increase employee and customer satisfaction. Here’s what you need to know.

What is No-Code?

No-code development platforms offer easy-to-use visual tools that let non-technical workers -- citizen developers -- with no coding experience create applications or automate workflows while complying with IT security standards and policies.

What is Low-Code?

Low-code tools are designed to help experienced coders build or integrate apps quickly by minimizing hand-coding.

No-Code vs. Low-Code

No-code tools require no coding experience from users. Low-code tools allow developers who do know how to code build or integrate apps quickly by minimizing hand-coding.

No-Code & Low-Code – How Do They Work?

No-code/low-code platforms evolved from Rapid Application Development (RAD) tools such as Excel, Lotus Notes, and Microsoft Access. Later, WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix facilitated no-code website development. 


Forrester analysts coined the term “low-code” in 2014 and defined it: “Low-code platforms enable rapid delivery of business applications with a minimum of hand-coding and minimal upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment”. Forrester analyst Clay Richardson, one of the report’s co-authors, said at the time the term stems from research about productivity, workflow, and process-change platforms.

No-code forms that turn submissions into workflows.

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Evolution of No-Code/Low-Code

No-code/low-code platforms evolved from Rapid Application Development (RAD) tools such as Excel, Lotus Notes, and Microsoft Access. Later, WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix facilitated no-code website development. 


Forrester analysts coined the term “low-code” in 2014 and defined it: “Low-code platforms enable rapid delivery of business applications with a minimum of hand-coding and minimal upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment”. Forrester analyst Clay Richardson, one of the report’s co-authors, said at the time the term stems from research about productivity, workflow, and process-change platforms.

No-Code vs. Low-Code: A Comparison

No-Code Low-Code
Users Business users; citizen developers Professional developers, or mixed development teams with business users and IT analysts
Use Cases
  • HR: automate employee onboarding process
  • Finance: build a workflow for the purchasing process
  • CS: automate customer onboarding process
  • Marketing: automate marketing requests
  • IT: manage remote work requests
  • Build integrations and user interfaces that tie into complex back-end systems
  • CRM and ERP platform dashboards
  • Modernize legacy apps that may need stronger security or a mobile version
  • Benefits
  • Ease of use: Apps are built quickly with no IT involved, and templates eliminate or reduce the need for testing
  • Flexibility: Easy to implement changes to apps or workflows
  • Cost-effective: No-code solutions allow highly skilled developers to focus on complex projects
  • Speed/Productivity: Helps IT teams be more productive by simplifying the app development process
  • Collaboration: Encourages collaboration between business units and developers
  • Challenges
  • Shadow IT / unsanctioned tools may create security issue
  • Customization options vary widely from platform to platform
  • Reduced code optimization in the form of larger code bases than required for some applications
  • Vendor lock-in may generate code that is difficult to maintain outside of the platform
  • Examples
  • Claris
  • Quickbase
  • Pipefy
  • Quixy
  • Appian
  • Salesforce
  • Unqork
  • WaveMaker
  • When to Use No-Code

    In general, no-code tools are ideal for the creation and deployment of apps that evolve with frequent updates and/or changes in use cases. Here are a few no-code use cases that demonstrate high value across several mission-critical systems:

     

    HR: An HR department can use no-code software to automate the hiring process and ensure employees, new hires, candidates, and internal customers have a first-class experience.

     

    Finance: Finance professionals can use no-code software to build a workflow for the purchasing/procurement process by using error-proof processes with custom integrations.

     

    Customer success: Customer success teams can use no-code software for onboarding and provide a great customer experience at scale.


    IT: IT departments can use no-code software to control IT service desk requests, collect information in a standardized format, and connect a service desk to other legacy systems.

    When to Use Low-Code

    In general, low-code tools are ideal for complex applications, or applications that are foundational to a business. Here are some low-code use cases that can benefit developers across virtually any industry:

     

    • UI design: Low-code solutions can automatically generate interface code for an application UI that can be quickly overhauled as user preferences change.
    • Platform integration: Use low-code tools to integrate business apps with less (but not zero) coding and custom configuration management.
    • API generation: Low-code API generators can automatically build APIs based on existing application code.



    NOTE: No-code or low-code development may not be ideal in some situations:

     

    • High-performance apps: It’s easier to achieve strict performance goals by hand-coding an app. Auto-generated code from a low-code platform may not be optimized for performance.
    • Accessibility: Low-code platforms may not meet accessibility requirements as well as applications purpose-built to work with screen readers, voice input, and other assistive technologies.

    No-code forms that turn submissions into workflows.

    Try Pipefy for free!

    No-Code Solutions Vendors

    Forrester’s March 2021 overview of low-code development platforms evaluated more than 40 vendors by revenue and primary target users. According to the report, “The need for speed and adaptability in software has never been higher than in the COVID-19 world… low-code platforms have been proven in even the most mission-critical use cases and will be required alongside traditional development to support this new normal”. 

     

    Forrester segmented the companies’ platforms as large, mid-size, or small based on annual revenue, and distinguished the platforms as “low-code for business developers”, (aka no-code), or “low-code for professional developers”. 

     

    The following vendors are representative of the “low-code for business developers”, aka no-code developers.

     

    • Betty Blocks is a leading citizen development platform for enterprises, and it was recognized as “visionary” by Gartner in 2020.
    • Zoho offers Zoho Creator, a platform for accelerating application development.
    • Quixy provides pre-built solutions for CRM, Project Management, and Incident Management.

    Low-Code Solutions Vendors

    In the same Forrester report, the following vendors are representative of the low-code for professional developers categories:

     

    • Appian helps organizations build apps and workflows rapidly with a low-code automation platform. Key features include case management, three-step application development, and app integration. 
    • Salesforce is a world leader in CRM technology; Salesforce offers both no-code and low-code development capabilities.
    • WaveMaker is a powerful low code platform that accelerates app development and IT modernization efforts.

    The Future of Low-Code/No-Code App Development

    Gartner estimates the global no-code/low-code development market will be worth $13.8 billion by the end of 2021, an increase of 22.6% from 2020. 

     

    KPMG called low-code platforms “the unifying fabric” of today’s digital first, digital-now environment—and suggested they may be “the key to accelerating enterprise modernization, agility, and efficiency”. Many industry pros agreed: 43% of executives surveyed expect to increase spending for process automation in the next 12 months.


    Forrester weighed in: “The need for speed and adaptability in software has never been higher than in the COVID-19 world. Low-code platforms have been proven in even the most mission-critical use cases and will be required alongside traditional development to support this new normal”.

    Get Started With Pipefy No-Code BPM Software

    Pipefy is a modern, intuitive, no-code BPM solution that provides everything a business needs to implement effective, cost-efficient business process management. It empowers all stakeholders to automate routine processes using a no-code approach. And with its robust data analytics capabilities, Pipefy helps organizations improve the processes that drive all types of business units — from HR and Finance, to Sales, Marketing, and beyond.

     

    Pipefy’s capabilities include:

    • Easy-to-set automation rules based on triggers and actions
    • Plug-and-play workflow templates
    • Customization of each step’s actions and required information
    • User-friendly interface
    • Native and custom integrations

    Request a free trial today to see for yourself how the Pipefy no-code platform enables modern BPM.

    No-code tools require no coding experience from users. Low-code tools allow developers who do know how to code build or integrate apps quickly by minimizing hand-coding.