Why & When to Use No-Code Tools

Louis Dickinson

31 Aug 2020 · 5 mins read

Why & When to Use No-Code Tools

Pick a system in your organisation. Does it perform every single function your employees and/or customers need? The answer is nearly always no.

No matter how much you’ve spent on a major enterprise solution and how much functionality it offers, there will always be some operations that sit outside its scope. In response, departments commission their own off-the-shelf software creating risky shadow IT systems that aren’t always customisable and therefore not fit for purpose.

And there isn’t a single organisation that doesn’t supplement systems with spreadsheets. While they might fill the gaps left by imperfect enterprise solutions, spreadsheets present a major threat to business productivity and data security.

And they pose the following challenges too:

  • Lack of mobile and web accessibility - spreadsheets hosted in servers can’t be accessed outside your organisation or on mobile devices limiting their usefulness.
  • Versions are difficult to control - you know the problem; John’s updated version six while Amy has created and is working on version seven. Resulting in two sets of data, disparate versions of the truth and a lot of additional work to sort everything out. Meanwhile inaccurate data causes problems with business operations because you’re operating on outdated information.
  • File sharing - collaborating with colleagues means sharing spreadsheets, often via email. This can place sensitive data and your business at risk.
  • Permissions - only those who need to know should have access to certain data. Spreadsheets are difficult to lock down and control - it’s usually all or nothing in terms of what people can see which isn’t always GDPR compliant.

All these scenarios reintroduce the risk and limitations that software was intended to mitigate. Yet developing enterprise solutions isn’t always the right solution.

When to Use No-Code

As a rule of thumb, when your software development project will take around four weeks using a traditional development project approach, no code offers a better solution.

It’s not about creating entire enterprise-level systems, but crafting useful add-on modules that replace spreadsheets. By providing a new way forward through easy-to-use, intelligent software you’ll secure agile digitisation and iterative system development through an army of citizen developers.

To make the move to no code, you’ll need to:

  • Accept that you need a more flexible addition to enterprise software
  • Have smaller software development projects you want to get over the line that otherwise would never happen.
  • Empower your employees with no-code platforms

Do this and you’ll be ready to reap the significant benefits that no code offers.

It is important to note that there is a massive spectrum of products available, both in terms of complexity and cost – ranging from £10s per month to £10,000s per month. Some are data management tools, some are effectively very similar to the IDE’s (integrated development environments) that software developers use to write code.

The Benefits of No-Code

No code delivers many of the same benefits of any digitisation project, just much faster and far more cost effectively.

The Seven Benefits of No-Code

High degree of control

No code is several steps on from building a spreadsheet. With no code, you’ll document workflows and entity models, establish the fields that need to be included and the people who need to be involved and test the software, providing more control than setting up and sharing a spreadsheet.

Another option in IT’s toolbox

Large companies often struggle to make core system changes quickly enough to deliver ROI. When an application’s shelf life isn’t long enough to make it economically viable, no code offers IT teams another option. By empowering employees to develop the software they need, the business can move forward at speed, liberating the IT department to focus on other priorities.

Drives innovation and closes technical skills gaps

Democratising software development and opening it up to your employees gives the people who understand the work best more control over the tools they use and the outcomes they deliver.

Empowering your organisation’s employees with no-code platforms will enable them to realise creative ideas through technology. From solving problems directly related to their work to scaling up solutions to organisational problems, ideas can be rapidly formulated, tested and prototyped. Plugging the software development skills gap that many organisations struggle with.

Less risk, more functionality

Unlike offline spreadsheets, no-code developed software is backed up in the cloud and offers granular auditing, change controls, rolling back and versioning.

Permissions can be granted giving the right people access to the information they need. Decision-making workflows can be introduced providing control over the way work is completed and next steps taken. And data can be maintained in the right structure using allowable fields.

No-code platforms also offer the ability to link fields creating relationships between different types of information. Platforms are typically designed so that, if a link is broken between two fields, the other field adapts to ensure the platform is still fit for purpose.

All of these factors combine to offer a far more advanced solution to spreadsheets.

Increased productivity

Many tasks can be digitised through an application, automating processes, reducing manual intervention and streamlining work. And, with far less risk of hand-coding errors, no code is quick and easy to use - up to 10 times faster than traditional software development according to Forrester.

Data and system integration

If you have an existing platform that needs to be integrated with new functionalities, no code is a great choice. By using APIs and web extensions, you can link to multiple systems extending the scope of your new and existing software and ensuring data is always up to date.

Cost effective

Sign up for an enterprise solution and you’ll soon find the fees mount up. Monthly user licences typically cost hundreds of pounds per person which rapidly multiplies to tens of thousands each year. And with additional, complex functionality your team often won’t use, enterprise solutions aren’t always the best use of your cash.

No code is far more cost effective because of its speed and just-right build standard, giving your teams everything they need and nothing they don’t.

Key Considerations for Implementing No-Code Tools
Key Considerations for Implementing No-Code Tools