Why Now for No-Code?

No-code promises to change enterprise software development by empowering users to build quality products at reduced costs. Here's why its time has come.

Software development has come a long way since the days of COBOL and Assembla. Since the introduction of C in the 1970s, programming languages have become progressively more accessible to new developers. But even though today’s languages like Python and React are more intuitive in their syntax, their complexity still sets a high barrier to entry. 

As the demand for enterprise software grows, companies need a way to build software at a reasonable cost, and quickly. One way to do this is to make development more accessible to users from different professional backgrounds—which is why we believe no-code is the next step in the evolution of programming. 

The Enterprise Software Market 

Advancements in technology have created a world that is increasingly dependent on software. Fortune 100 companies are installing an increasing number of software packages to improve business operations and productivity, with enterprise software continuing to represent the largest chunk of global IT spending. A recent report from Gartner highlighted enterprise software as the fastest-growing market segment, recently climbing to $503 billion—a 10.5% increase from 2019.

As some enterprises negotiate the variety of off-the-shelf options and how best to tackle their needs, many are also turning to custom software solutions. Custom solutions can present an ideal way to integrate existing technology, while also addressing needs unique to the organization. In fact, custom solutions currently make up roughly 50% of total enterprise software spending. But despite widespread interest, enterprises face a myriad of challenges when building custom software with traditional programming languages. 

Manual, hard-coded processes require long initial build times, and enterprise needs often require extensive resources to translate smoothly into code. Even with carefully outlined needs, engineering teams do not always build products that reflect business requirements. Conversely, business teams may have difficulty appreciating the technical challenges inherent in what they are demanding. To make things more difficult, many companies continue to work with legacy systems that do not easily integrate with new software. Faced with these challenges, enterprises often end up with huge legacy costs and software that is neither fully customizable nor able to fulfill company requirements. 

Complex Features, Simpler Interface 

Enterprise software is representative of a larger shift in consumer expectations for software. UX improvements in industries like entertainment and e-commerce—think Uber, Warby Parker, and Netflix—have dramatically transformed what consumers expect from digital engagements. Business users and consumers alike continue to demand more complex software and features with simpler interfaces. 

Thanks in part to this shift in expectations, it now takes longer to build software now than it did in the early 2000s. After decades of a steady trend which saw the average number of hours required to build an enterprise application decrease, the 2010s saw this trend reverse itself. In short, changing consumer demand and unnecessarily complex tools are holding developers back. Something needs to change.

No-code platforms tackle this problem by bringing the user experience common to B2C solutions into a B2B environment. Instead of traditional coding environments, no-code enables developers to work in a visual environment with an intuitive user interface. Rather than writing code, developers configure the application they want to build through visual logic.

By eschewing code in favor of drag-and-drop visual interfaces, no-code platforms enable developers and end-users to better collaborate to determine what they want. The result is a better quality product that aligns more closely with enterprise needs. Instead of a multi-year development process, developers can create and launch software quickly, lowering the overall cost with reduced time-to-market. 

Why This Is No-Code’s Moment 

The confluence of two key factors is driving the current buzz around no-code platforms: 1) technical developments in microservices and cloud computing, along with 2) changing market dynamics. 

The explosion of microservices and APIs is expanding what enterprise software can do. Microservices are a piece of application functionality accessible through an API, and their rise has made integrating partner technologies easier than ever. Cloud adoption has also doubled in the last four years, opening up possibilities for innovation and new services

In an already competitive talent market, the gap is widening between the demand for engineers and the existing supply. It is up to companies to find unconventional solutions to fill the need for technical expertise. In combination with the growing complexity of and demand for software, this gap calls for new solutions with increased urgency. 

By making software development accessible to teams and users without an engineering background, no-code also makes custom solutions more accessible to a variety of organizations. No-code presents a novel solution for enterprises looking to accelerate application development, improve quality, and reduce costs.

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