Accelerate Digital Transformation With ‘No-Code’ Software Tools

User-friendly platforms are helping nontechnical employees quickly create and deploy simple apps.

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Once the pandemic’s threat became clear, many leadership teams raced to reinvent their companies through digital transformations. Many continue to focus exclusively on complex, large-scale efforts and are finding it difficult to make quick progress. Backlogs of smaller technology projects have rapidly increased as experienced software developers have prioritized digitally revamping complex core offerings.

In contrast, companies supporting their business teams by deploying so-called no-code software development platforms have been installing simpler apps faster, enabling them to keep up with changes occurring at a previously unthinkable pace. Such tools give nontechnical users the ability to build applications without writing a single line of code. For example, one financial services company recently added new digital capabilities to its customer portal about twice as fast as it had anticipated because business teams actually built most of the new capabilities on their own — without significant support from IT.

Empowering teams to be their own developers by designing and implementing applications themselves allows companies to make technological progress without hiring more technology staffers. No-code platforms provide visual, user-friendly capabilities that allow nondevelopers to design, develop, and deploy enterprise-class applications. Simultaneously, they free up professional software developers to tackle more difficult problems, like modernizing core platforms.

Most specialist platforms do one thing extremely well, like cleaning and structuring data, whereas these generalist no-code platforms — such as Amazon Honeycode, Microsoft Power Apps, Unqork, and Airtable — allow the creation of entirely new business applications. With menus of pre-built components, workflows, and automations, no-code applications can be stitched together in nearly any way that teams can dream up while remaining in compliance with enterprise technology standards.

Leaders can thus accelerate the implementation of their digital strategies, especially in critical areas such as digitizing customer support, automating internal processes, and improving data processing. These apps, in turn, allow teams empowered by no-code platforms to more effectively manage the risks that inevitably accompany digitization, like poorly designed user experiences that result in user errors. When these tools are used correctly, teams can improve the quality of deployed software applications by implementing formal, controlled software life-cycle development processes. They can also prevent the creation of poorly designed or tested software and its deployment into production by defining “guardrails,” such as standardized user menus that steer application creators to best practices by default.

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