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What’s next for low-code/no-code?

By Contributor
Fri 11 Sep 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article by SnapLogic field chief technology officer Brad Drysdale.

As technology has developed, human life has become richer, more pleasurable, and ultimately, easier - large volumes of rich data have made the personalisation of products and services a reality. 

During the industrial revolution, many of the labour-intensive factory jobs common at the time became augmented and supported by machines; today’s technological revolution is no different. 

Many of the time-consuming, repetitive tasks that have plagued modern office workforces for years are now being completed by machines in a fraction of the time, driving up worker productivity and freeing them up to focus on more strategic projects that are commensurate with their skills and of higher value to the business. 

Low-code and no-code platforms are the next technological leap powering the next stage of the workplace evolution. This technology has the power to democratise technical skills and enable more workers to drive innovation. 

Jobs that were once the preserve of the IT department can now be proliferated out to the lines of business by removing the complexity, delivering a simpler user experience and faster time to value. 

The problem

Today, it is common for IT teams to spend a large amount of their time coding custom-built apps, maintaining internal tools, fixing product bugs, or integrating their organisation’s growing number of SaaS apps, all of which stifles productivity and takes focus away from strategic business activities which could help to expand and improve what a company is best at. 

Not only does building internal tools and labouring over fixes create delays and project backlogs, but in an industry grappling with a growing skills gap, recruiting, hiring, and retaining these tech experts is no easy feat. 

However, the right low- or no-code technology can improve the speed at which a problem is dealt with by giving a larger set of users, with varying technical skills, the power to take action themselves, removing bottlenecks and creating the right solutions faster and more efficiently.

The solution

Not only can no-code technology take the strain off the IT team but it can also unlock a host of other potential benefits. 

For example, it can support the integration of legacy systems within an organisation, as the people who manage these older applications and technologies understand their shortcomings or benefits, pitfalls or workarounds. 

Similarly, APIs can take the power away from computers and put it back in the hands of people, enabling a more personalised approach to the management of workflows. 

In addition, with more workers able to engage in projects that historically were the domain of only IT, there are more people to contribute new ideas, improvements, or fixes that may boost the overall productivity of the company. 

Lastly, diversifying the tasks and skillsets of a workforce and providing them with the autonomy to access systems and data directly, and make decisions or take actions themselves, can motivate employees, which can, in turn, improve productivity and lead to better business growth. 

By empowering their workforce with low- or no-code applications and systems, companies can create their own ‘citizen developers’ – individuals without a technical background who can contribute meaningfully to tech and data projects. 

Imagine the power and capability of the enterprise that can innovate freely at all levels, and not be hamstrung by core IT delays and complex legacy systems.

What’s next?

Low-code and no-code platforms have arisen as a response and solution to the repetitive and mundane processes many people face in their day-to-day work. But the real force behind the more recent advancements has been a direct result of AI.

With the introduction of AI and machine learning algorithms even the most complex backend tasks, ones that would have required someone with a deep-rooted knowledge in IT significant time to work on, can be delivered and presented in a simpler, automated way. 

As AI platforms and algorithms continue to develop, the technology will, in turn, make low- and no-code platforms smarter, resulting in these platforms taking on more and more process automation and decision making, thus accelerating the speed at which repetitive tasks are completed. 

Platforms today can make recommendations based on a huge bank of previous data or user actions. 

For example, these next-gen platforms are able to suggest the best next step for anyone looking to analyse or integrate data. Eventually, low-code and no-code platforms will take on more and more of these tasks until eventually, the AI itself becomes the implementer of subsequent fixes or actions. 

A fully automated problem-to-solution system is yet to become a reality but the proliferation of low-code and no-code is a good first step. 

Transport is a good example of an industry successfully transitioning from zero automation to autonomous vehicles. Driverless mining machinery has been in use for a number of years, augmented aircraft with autopilot capabilities exist and now fully autonomous cars which simply rely on human attention to preserve compliance, laws, and safety. 

But the direction for transport is very clearly heading towards automation. The same will be true for driving data around the enterprise. It's coming, and the tools mentioned above, in conjunction with AI bring the level of intelligent augmentation that's needed to move us along the journey towards a fully automated business.

In today’s uncertain world, no-code and low-code platforms have the power to make organisations more resilient to future disruption, ensuring that in the era of the IT skills gap and lean technology teams, businesses can enlist the full power of their workforce to keep moving at a rapid pace and offer a product or service with an edge over the competition.

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