The pandemic has had a massive impact on how we work, what tools we use, and how we coordinate as teams. And, as a result of the increased demand to support remote teams, the decreased availability of tech talent, and the rapid depreciation of legacy systems in a web 3.0 world, the need for platforms that allow people to quickly and efficiently create applications with little to no coding experience has increased.
Before we get into why passionate statisticians and big research firms like Gartner have forecasted a minimum growth of $47 billion to the global low-code platform market by 2025, let’s talk about what low-code is.
Low-code is the concept of creating a tool, app, or internal process where-in the majority of the development is completed using drag- and-drop tools paired with minimal scripting to add additional features.
No-code is exclusively a full product development cycle, done in a visual environment, without writing a single line of code.
These development approaches make it easy, quick, and efficient for non-technical users to create apps, tools, and integrations by simplifying the process for designing, connecting integrations and building custom back office automations.
And, because “easy to build automations” are now in the mix, the acronym, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is often used in relation to low-code. Combined with a no-code platform, non-technical users are now able to create “human emulating” commands that can complete data entry tasks, data extraction, and update information in legacy systems and virtual desktops.
Low-code, no-code, and RPA solutions tend to fall into the following categories:
- Web App Builders (e.g, Webflow, WordPress, Bubble)
- Sales, CRM, & Operational Tools (e.g. Copper, SmartSuite, Monday)
- Marketplace (e.g. Shopify, Teachable)
- Copy Generation (e.g. Scribe, Jasper)
- Video Generation (e.g. Elai, BannerBear)
- AI Art Generation (e.g. MidJourney, DALL-E, Stable Diffusion)
- Mobile App Builders (e.g, AppGyver, Softr, Adalo)
- Databases / Super Spreadsheets (e.g. Airtable, Xano, Ragic, Rows)
- Connectors (e.g. Make, Zapier, Tray)
- Email Marketing (e.g. MailChimp, ConvertKit, MooSend)
- Prototyping & QA (e.g. Invision, Figma, Marker)
- Chatbots (e.g. Landbot, Voiceflow)
As far back as the early 2000s, the low-code / no-code industry has boasted faster development times compared to traditional development, with respondents of one 2021 survey suggesting the former is 41-60% faster.
With the industry having existed for several decades, the rise in low-code popularity suggests a growing need for flexible agile technology to solve complex problems.
From a business perspective, low-code development helps to solve three main problems:
- Bottlenecks caused by outdated systems are alleviated by modernizing the existing tech stack, or transitioning to a new low-code tech stack that is custom tailored to business needs.
- Budget limitations for technological advancements are offset by the competitive pricing models in the low-code tool market and the ability to start development with a minimal team.
- Complicated, yet inefficient, silos and data management can be simplified and optimized with low-code tools to reduce manual work and make it easier for non-technical workers to make adjustments.
From a consumer perspective, the growing popularity of low-code tools has made it easier for organizations to adapt to trends, accelerate production, and improve customer experience, in order to stay relevant and competitive in the marketplace.
In companies where a strategy to stay competitive while reducing reliance on outdated tech has not been well communicated, employees begin to use an array of low-code tools to complete repetitive lower-value tasks. Doing so allows them to focus on innovation, collaboration, and producing higher quality output on other projects.
Seeing as the learning curve is reasonable for determined non-technical users, creating entry level automations, applications, and internal tools with no-code platforms can boost a team’s productivity and work satisfaction substantially. Likewise, when used in combination with traditional development or a low-code skillset, the end product is often delivered faster and with more robust features than using no-code alone. So essentially, the low-code / no-code space is welcoming for both seasoned developers and “citizen developers”.
Low-code can increase ROI within many industries by fine-tuning and automating processes and providing new ways to meet consumer demands with customized digital experiences. And, aside from saving upwards of 60% on project costs because of reduced development time, team size, and maintenance, being able to launch a product within a couple of weeks creates enormous opportunities for “first-movers” in the market, while allowing for agile production and weekly releases of new features.
Here are a few examples of how various sectors have boosted their ROI with low-code:
- Construction: low-code tools have been used to improve project management, automate bidding, quote generation, payment collection, and coordinate with on-site contractors. Tools can be coupled with APIs to manage data from many sources, such as automated data collection with Spot Robot.
- Law: low-code and no-code tools are helping firms go paperless while increasing efficiency and turnaround time for document reviews. The combination of document e-signing tools, coupled with CRMs, compliant intake forms, proposal generation, automatic follow ups, deposit, and automatic document filing has eliminated a substantial amount of manual data-entry tasks.
- Healthcare: following an urgent need to modernize legacy systems to accommodate telehealth, this sector has rapidly rolled out no-code tools such as appointment booking apps, virtual check-ins, symptom checkers, and niche apps have allowed both government entities, hospitals, and even solo-healthcare practitioners the ability to secure and monetize their audience. Low-code tools have integrated AI for conversation interpretation and analysis across many data points.
With so many tools on the market, and a near-constant barrage of marketing dollars at work competing for your attention, it can be hard to identify the best-fit tool for your business.
A good place to start refining the options is by defining the areas of your business that could be improved with automation or updated back-office processes. Next, consider the needs of your customer and how else you can assist them on their journey with a custom app, tool, or feature.Once these two areas are in focus, compare the available functionality offered by low-code / no-code platforms that will help you achieve your goals.
A major strength of low-code / no-code is that a lot can be accomplished without any prior development knowledge. That being said, starting a project with basic knowledge of programming concepts and languages can be instrumental in building an app, tool, or integration that is stable and scalable.
That’s where we come in. Consulting with experts in the field on which tool to use, can save you time on research. But developing with experts in the field will save you even more time bringing your idea to life.
If you found this article helpful, you might be interested in our giant map of low-code / no code tools. We use it internally to help us pick the best tool for each project. Sign up here to get the private Miro viewing link. The map is updated weekly, highlighting our favorite emerging tools.