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What Enterprise IT Can Learn From Startup IT

Learn how no-code can help enterprise IT departments unlock the agility, freedom, and collaborative spirit of startup IT. 

The word “startup” tends to call one of two images to mind. The first is a small, stressed-out team of employees, toiling away in a basement for little to no reward. The second is the gleaming office of a Silicon Valley unicorn, replete with hordes of 20-somethings playing office ping-pong. Unfortunately, the vast majority of startups resemble the first image. 90% of startups fail, most commonly due to an initial misreading of market demand and cash flow problems.  

However, successful startups know how to weather a volatile market with a fraction of the resources available in larger enterprises, and they have other advantages when it comes to innovation and internal operations. Here are the top three lessons enterprise IT teams can learn from successful startup IT teams—and how no-code development can help enterprises unlock these advantages for themselves.

Quicker Decision-Making Enables Innovation

One of the biggest differences between enterprises and startups is their approach to development. Large businesses tend to use the “waterfall model,” in which the IT team spends months and even years completing a project before sending it out for necessary feedback. What’s more, since large businesses often have to deal with red tape and answer to board members, their hands are somewhat tied when it comes to decision-making and taking business risks with new ideas. This critically impacts an enterprise’s ability to get innovative products to market more quickly than their competitors.

Startup IT departments, by contrast, tend to have the autonomy to make quick decisions. Consider the “Discover Weekly” team at Spotify, a small group that was able to innovate and develop in isolation like a freestanding startup. In order to encourage out-of-the-box thinking, Spotify presented a problem—users were spending more time searching for music than listening to music—and allowed the team to test out possible solutions. By empowering the team to explore without having to create cost-benefit proposals or seek approval from higher management, the “Discover Weekly” feature was tested and rolled out in a matter of weeks. 

Similarly, no-code development encourages agility by allowing users to instantly begin configuring a tangible piece of software that can be tested and reviewed for near-instant feedback. By allowing large enterprises to move away from waterfall development, no-code can encourage innovation that mirrors today’s most agile startups.

Don’t Get Bogged Down by Legacy Maintenance

Another reason startups can move so swiftly is because their IT departments are free from the burden of legacy technologies. When you’ve been in business for a long time, you’re bound to accumulate lines upon lines of code that become incompatible as your enterprise's IT systems scale and evolve. To ensure that everything still works, enterprise IT teams are forced to spend countless hours breaking down legacy code to resolve bugs and find workarounds. 

Startups avoid this problem by entering the market with a clean slate—they don’t inherit any code from previous operations. Not only does this allow early-stage startup IT teams to freely build apps without running into logjams caused by old code, but it also saves money. Technical debt, or any and all costs associated with maintaining legacy code, can bankrupt businesses of any size. In 2018, legacy maintenance cost U.S. enterprises upwards of $2.84 trillion

However, even for an early-stage startup without the same legacy burden of a large enterprise, new code becomes legacy code the moment it’s released. A no-code development platform can seamlessly integrate with your existing legacy technology and allow you to charge forward without a codebase at all. By removing this reliance on old code, enterprise IT departments can build more freely than even startups. Once businesses have shaken off the burden of legacy technology, they’ll be able to tackle the value-adding work that startups have focused on all along. 

Bridge the Gap Between IT and the Business

In many large organizations, there is a clear divide between the IT and business departments that makes it harder for everyone involved to share a clear and unified product vision. These siloed departments often form out of necessity due to the sheer size of an enterprise. Enterprise silos impact interdepartmental collaboration, reduce morale, and, perhaps most importantly, prevent IT teams from completing projects on time.

Startups, on the other hand, naturally operate with fewer silos. With businesses made up of fewer than 80 employees, there’s no room for huge gaps between teams. This affords them the luxury of being organized more like communities in which people wear various hats and contribute to multiple parts of the business. This structure provides more opportunities for collaboration and can help ensure that all involved parties share the same vision for a project, rather than requirements getting passed down a long and convoluted chain of communication. 

No-code development helps break down age-old barriers in the largest enterprises by allowing business users to directly participate in product development. While traditional development encourages the formation of strict silos by ensuring that no one outside of the IT department can touch a project’s codebase, no-code opens up the playing field and ensures that the best ideas rise to the top. Enterprises can collaborate like startups by utilizing no-code development to break down barriers, fill talent gaps, and increase productivity.

Get Started with No-Code

Startups and enterprises each have their own advantages and disadvantages in the market. By adopting no-code development, large enterprises can become more like startups in the ways that count. With Unqork’s no-code platform, you can get products to market faster, continually update your projects without generating legacy code, and allow anyone in your enterprise to play a role in the development process. 

If you want to breathe new life into your enterprise and move faster than a startup, start with no-code.