Low-code and no-code app development platforms proved invaluable to brands that had to digitize in a hurry when the pandemic pushed so much of daily life online in March 2020. That uptick in use may have been a tipping point of sorts, launching the snowball of adoption and usability down the proverbial hill.
In 2022, we’ll likely see continued adoption and improvements as these platforms demonstrate more and more ways they can add value. Here are four key insights for business leaders wondering whether low-code or no-code platforms might be the right solution for their organizations.
1. You May Not Need as Much Customization as You Think You Do
In my experience, most organizations tend to be more particular than they need to be when it comes to app development. While it’s true that every organization has unique needs, it’s also true that today’s low-code and no-code app platforms can often meet those needs.
Think of WordPress, a low-code website development platform. More than 30 percent of all websites on the internet are built with WordPress, as are 62 percent of the 100 fastest-growing private companies in the US (based on numbers from the Inc. 5000).
These websites don’t all look the same or deliver the same functionality. And the companies using WordPress were no doubt able to establish their web presence faster than they could have if they’d developed their sites from scratch. (It is worth acknowledging, however, that mature organizations will rarely have a “fast” website launch or relaunch, as they need to manage extensive content libraries, verify functionality, and ensure consistent brand positioning. Still, frameworks like WordPress make the ongoing work of maintaining a website easier than it would otherwise be.)
No-code platforms for app development are similar: they’re incredibly flexible, meaning they make it possible to get something up and running with relatively little overhead. Part of that flexibility is that they do allow for some customization when and where an organization truly needs it.
And because they offer basic functionalities out of the box, they can save an organization a lot of time, letting them launch their app faster than would be possible with custom development.
2. A Platform’s Utility Grows as People Use It
One reason low-code and no-code app platforms are so useful right now is that more people are using them. Here’s why:
The result is the snowball effect I mentioned earlier: wider adoption leads to greater functionality, which leads to wider adoption. If your organization looked at low-code or no-code solutions in the recent past and was underwhelmed by the possibilities, it may be worth taking a second look, as many platforms have improved since the start of the pandemic.
3. Effective Low-Code / No-Code Solutions Require Work and Expertise
As useful as low-code and no-code app platforms are, they aren’t silver bullets. The WordPress analogy applies again: while WordPress makes it much easier to build and launch a website, building and launching a website with specific functionality and a specific look and feel requires a decent amount of knowledge and experience.
What’s more, you’ll need some expertise to determine whether to build with WordPress or with another platform like Squarespace or Wix.
Low-code and no-code app platforms are similar: while they can streamline the process of building and launching an app, they’re still tools that require knowledge and skill to use effectively.
These days, it’s common for developers to build apps leveraging what’s available on low-code platforms rather than writing code entirely from scratch.
4. Consider the Build / Handoff Model for Application Development
One use case where low-code or no-code platforms can be particularly valuable is when an organization wants to take over management of an app once it’s launched.
In a case like this, they would lean on a consultant to guide them through the app development process, from determining whether their goals could be met with a low-code or no-code solution to advising them which platform best suits their needs to actually building the app to meet those needs.
Once the app was live, the consultant could then provide enough training to the business team so that they could maintain the app on their own.
It’s typically easier for non-technical folks to learn how to manage and maintain apps built with low-code and no-code platforms than it would be to learn how to manage and update something built from scratch.
(Read more about how we work with clients to assess their needs and develop solutions.)
Beyond the Hype, A Valuable Tool
While I don’t expect any dramatic changes to the world of low-code and no-code platforms in 2022, I do expect to see a continuation of the trends we’re already seeing: these platforms will become increasingly valuable tools that can be implemented to solve certain business problems.
Like any tool, they require some skill to use effectively. When you work with Apexon, our expert teams will help you understand whether implementing a low-code / no-code platform makes sense for your business case – and, if it does, choose the platform that will best meet your needs.To learn more about our process, get in touch. We’d love to hear about where you are today and where you hope to be.