Why it's time to embrace 'no-code'

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The emergence of low-code/no-code has represented a paradigm shift in the way users are interacting with software and software applications. 

Indeed, many analyst firms have already identified no-code/low-code as the ‘next big thing’ in software, seeing it as making significant inroads across multiple industries. 

Gartner, for example, has predicted that 70% of new applications will use low-code/no-code technologies by 2025, increasing by more than 50% from the previous two years. So what makes low-code/no-code such a game changer for enterprises, and why is now a good time to make the move?

Technology advances against a turbulent economic backdrop

With economic turbulence front and centre for many businesses, and IT costs representing significant overheads, many teams are experiencing budget cuts. However, with digital transformation continuing at pace, it has become increasingly important for enterprises to prioritize both speed and quality to meet customer needs while growing their business and cutting costs. DevOps teams must therefore find new ways to address this in regards to software development, even with fewer resources.

Luckily, recent developments in AI and quality engineering have helped make low-code/no-code platforms more accessible to companies of all sizes. This stands to transform DevOps teams’ capabilities by helping them deploy higher quality software and releases more quickly. Adopting an automated, no-code approach to testing helps businesses improve both the efficiency and security of their software development process. In practice, DevOps teams can do more with less.

Circumventing talent shortages

Quite simply, using low-code/no-code capabilities allows developers to gain an advantage by focusing their custom development on the unique competitive differentiated features versus spending time re-producing existing commoditized functionality. User-friendly technology for quick implementation of testing and project completion means more time for value creation.

Low-code/no-code tools allow developers to transfer the burden of maintenance from themselves to the platform. Unconfined by the systems in place, they can instead focus on more advanced deliverables for each project. This allows other more strategic initiatives to progress and further widen business goals, ultimately driving business value for the organization. Meanwhile, professional developers are free to spend more time with engaging, high-level tasks, resulting in a win-win situation for enterprise and employee alike.

But it’s not just the professional developer community that stands to benefit. Low-code/no-code software enables technical business stakeholders to build and expand enterprise-grade applications at scale with little or no prior coding experience, and without the need for large engineering teams or infrastructure. Configuring tests and instituting software bots to complete tasks that were previously handled by professional developers is greatly contributing to the removal of the skills barriers surrounding delivering technology solutions. 

With insufficient numbers of developers available to meet the increasing demand for rigorously tested and quality-built applications, low-code/no-code is helping to address the talent gap. This reduces IT backlog and overall operating costs, saving companies considerable time and money.

Low code

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Spotlight on software testing

Despite the fact that low-code applications require a less technical skillset, are easier to put into production, and represent a smaller project to develop, these applications have become even more advanced and their lifecycle development increasingly complex.

Application code must still be tested and meet the same standards as fullstack custom applications. So while a single application may not require many resources to implement, organizations that develop multiple applications build further pressure on already thin-stretched DevOps teams.

By using low-code enterprise software testing solutions that require minimal knowledge or experience in the field, DevOps teams can increase the number of employees who are able to support testing activities, bringing business and subject matter expertise to bear more effectively.

With the gap closed between DevOps teams and the rest of an organization and software and testing better aligned, developers can spend more time on the areas that can’t be covered by low-code creation and testing. This means development teams can be allocated to other tasks that will help overcome common bottlenecks in the software development lifecycle.

This streamlined process can also be applied to applications built on a platform rather than in house. Usually, the updates of those platforms are controlled by an external vendor rather than the DevOps team. Some of those adjustments can affect the functionality of the apps running on top of them, meaning that DevOps teams also have the extra workload of checking new functions and evaluating their use for the organization. But, most crucially, they must also ensure that the update did not break any of their existing customizations. The level of work created by these verification checks increases exponentially with the number of platforms in use.

Low-code automated testing solutions however can cut the time spent verifying platform updates significantly. The tests require little time to set up, meaning that risks associated with a platform update can be managed quickly and easily. By leveraging low-code/no-code technologies to cut out the complexity, teams no longer need to only depend on release notes to understand why their app may no longer work as expected. Pairing the simplicity of a platform with the inherent accessibility of low-code/no-code technologies allows DevOps teams to maintain constantly changing workflows with the same levels of high-quality software.

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Challenges identified

Although there are many advantages to adopting low-code/no-code software development, the limited functionality of low-code has proven to be an issue for some applications that require further customization. If unique functionality is necessary and isn’t available in the low-code/no-code platform, a software development team will still need to intervene and write custom code. Integrating the customized code itself can be costly and time consuming for the organization, however.

These issues pave the way for the use of code-friendly applications, where teams can employ record and script enhancement features to fix performance issues before they become a larger and more costly bottleneck, allowing them to check that the application performs correctly.

Doing more with less

Creating customized software solutions at scale has traditionally required large engineering teams to keep up with the pace of development without sacrificing quality. With the pace of digital transformation not slowing down amid today’s unstable economy and employment market, businesses are having to rely on smaller teams to scale the value of their solutions to a greater number of customers - or worse, do all this whilst also cutting back on budget.

Low-code/no-code software testing solutions now enable these thinly stretched teams to do far more with less, achieving the previously impossible concept of quality at speed. Moreover, by leveraging these user-friendly, accessible technologies, they are able to bridge the talent gap and bring expertise from other areas of the business into play for a more efficient development process.

Mav Turner, Chief Product and Strategy Officer, Tricentis.