When it comes to no-code platforms, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The right platform for your organization will depend on a variety of factors, including your specific industry needs and requirements.
In this buyer's guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about no-code platforms, including:
- The different types of no-code platforms available
- How to select a project for no-code development
- The benefits and drawbacks of no-code platforms
- Key evaluation criteria for no-code platforms
- The top no-code platforms on the market
By the end of this guide, you should have a good understanding of no-code platforms and be able to identify the right solution for your organization.
The rise of enterprise-grade no-code platforms
No-code platforms are becoming increasingly popular in enterprise environments, particularly in the banking and insurance industries. There are several reasons for this, but the most important one is that no-code platforms offer a way to quickly develop and deploy applications without the need for lengthy and expensive development projects.
Agility and speed are critical for any organization, but they are especially important in the banking and insurance industries, where competition is fierce and the landscape is constantly changing. No-code platforms offer a way to rapidly respond to changes in the market and adapt to new customer needs.
In addition, no-code platforms can be used to develop a wide range of applications, from customer-facing to internal process automations. This means that no-code platforms can be used to solve a variety of business problems, making them a versatile and valuable tool for any organization.
Finally, no-code platforms are typically a much easier and less expensive alternative to traditional development. This is because no-code platforms amplify existing resources. As a result, no-code platforms can help organizations save time and money on development projects.
Top reasons for enterprise adoption of no-code platforms:
- Reduce development costs by as much as 90% compared to traditional development methods.
- Speed up time to value (i.e., time from idea to delivery of the first working product) by as much as 70%.
- Reduce reliance on external resources and service providers by empowering internal resources and constituents to create business applications quickly and easily for a fraction of the cost.
- Empower organizations to access continuous innovation by deploying apps that automatically scale to meet changing business requirements without relying on IT teams or external service providers to customize applications.
What are the different types of no-code/low-code platforms?
No-code/low-code technology is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of products and services. At its simplest, no-code/low-code technology is any platform that allows users to create applications without writing code. No-code platforms typically include a library of pre-built components that can be dragged and dropped to create an application.
No-code/low-code platforms can be divided into two broad categories:
- Code-generation tools: These platforms generate code from a set of templates or models. This code can be edited and customized, but the platform itself handles the majority of the work.
- Visual development tools: These platforms allow users to create applications without writing code by using a drag-and-drop interface. Users can still edit and customize the code that is generated, but no coding knowledge is required to use the platform.
There are also a number of hybrid no-code/low-code platforms that offer features from both code-generation and visual development tools. These platforms usually allow users to choose which approach they want to take, giving them the flexibility to use the platform for a wide range of projects.
What unifies all no-code platforms is that they enable the development of applications without traditional coding.
[.emph]The three main types of no-code/low-code platforms are low-code platforms, zero-code platforms, and RAD (rapid application development) platforms.[.emph]
Low-code platforms are visual application development platforms that allow developers to create applications without traditional coding. Low-code platforms typically include a library of pre-built components that can be dragged and dropped to create an application.
The audience for low-code platforms are developers and power-users who want to be able to create custom applications without having to learn a traditional coding language.
Zero-code or no-code platforms
Zero-code platforms are visual application development platforms that allow anyone to create applications without any coding or technical skills. Zero-code platforms typically include a library of pre-built components that can be dragged and dropped to create an application.
The audience for no-code platforms are business users who want to be able to create custom applications without having to learn a traditional coding language or hire a developer. However, developers and IT still need to be involved to ensure quality and governance for no-code applications.
RAD (rapid application development) platforms
Rapid application development platforms are visual application development platforms that allow developers to quickly create applications with minimal coding. RAD platforms typically include a library of pre-built components that can be dragged and dropped to create an application.
The audience for RAD platforms are developers who want to be able to create custom applications quickly without having to write a lot of code.
At its core, the no-code/low code approach does not replace internal IT, but amplifies its capabilities to enable organizations to achieve more with fewer resources.
Low-code vs No-code vs RAD: Summary
No-code platforms have been around for a long time, but they have only recently started to gain adoption in enterprise environments. This is largely due to the rise of mature no-code platforms that offer enterprise-grade features and functionality.
There are many enterprise-grade no-code platforms, each with unique features and capabilities.
General purpose no-code platforms
A general purpose no-code platform is a platform that can be used to build a wide range of applications. These platforms are typically more expensive and require more training to use effectively.
However, they offer the flexibility to build any type of application that you might need. Some examples of general purpose no-code/low-code platforms are Appian, Mendix, OutSystems, and Pega.
Use-case-specific no-code platforms
A use-case-specific no-code platform is a platform that has been designed to build a specific type of application. These platforms are typically less expensive and require less training to use effectively.
However, they may be less flexible if you need to build an application outside of the intended use case. Some examples of use-case-specific no-code/low-code platforms are: Airtable (for databases), Zapier (for automation), EasySend (for customer data collection), K2 (for business process management), Nintex (for workflow and forms), and ServiceNow (for ITSM).
What kinds of applications can be developed with no-code?
No-code platforms can be used to develop a wide range of applications, from customer-facing to internal process automation. This means that no-code platforms can be used to solve a variety of business problems, making them a versatile and valuable tool for any organization.
However, there is a tradeoff between agility and complexity. The more complex the application, the more difficult it will be to develop on a no-code platform.
Therefore, no-code platforms are most suitable for developing simple and straightforward applications that do not require a lot of custom code. For example, no-code platforms are often used to develop internal process automation applications, customer-facing applications, and data collection applications.
Some common use cases for no-code platforms include:
- Customer-facing applications: These are applications that customers interact with directly, such as customer portals and self-service applications.
- Internal process automation applications. These are applications that automate internal business processes, such as expense report management and time off request management.
- Data collection applications: These are applications that collect data from users, such as customer surveys and forms for customer data and signature collection.
- Integrating disparate data sources: No-code platforms can be used to quickly integrate disparate data sources, such as customer data from a CRM and financial data from an accounting software.
- Workflow automation and decision management: No-code platforms can be used to quickly build workflow and decision management applications, such as for loan approvals or new hire onboarding.
What are the benefits of no-code platforms?
There are several benefits associated with no-code platforms. These include:
- Agility and speed: No-code platforms allow organizations to develop and deploy applications quickly, without the need for lengthy and expensive development projects. This means that organizations can rapidly respond to changes in the market and adapt to new customer needs.
- Increased efficiency and productivity: No-code platforms can be used to automate a wide range of business processes. This can free up employees' time so that they can focus on more strategic tasks, and it can help organizations run more efficiently.
- Lower costs: As no-code platforms require no coding, they are typically much less expensive than traditional development. This can help organizations save money on development projects.
- Greater accessibility: No-code platforms enable non-technical users to develop applications. Organizations do not have to rely on scarce and expensive developer resources. This can help to democratize application development and make it more accessible to a wider range of users.
- Scalability: No-code platforms can be easily scaled to meet the changing needs of organizations. This means that organizations can quickly add new features and functionality to their applications as needed without incurring the cost and time associated with traditional development.
- Ease of maintenance, updates, and change management: No-code platforms make it easy to update and change applications. This can help organizations to keep their applications up to date and ensure that they meet the changing needs of their users. By providing a centralized platform for application development, no-code platforms can also help to streamline change management processes.
- Improved collaboration: No-code platforms typically include built-in collaboration features. This can help to improve communication and collaboration between development teams and business users.
How to select a project for no-code development
Not every project is a good fit for no-code/low-code development. To increase the chances of success, select a project that is:
- Relatively simple: No-code platforms are best suited to developing relatively simple applications. If your project is complex, it may be better to develop it using traditional methods.
- Well-defined: The requirements for the no-code application should be well understood before development begins. This will help to ensure that the application meets the needs of the users and prevents scope creep.
- Likely to change: If the requirements for the project are likely to change, no-code development can be advantageous. This is because no-code applications can be easily updated and changed.
- Low risk: No-code development may not be suitable for mission-critical applications. This is because no-code platforms are relatively new and may not be as reliable as traditional development methods.
- Urgent: No-code platforms can be used to develop applications quickly. However, if the timeline is less important and you have a complex application in mind, it may be better to develop your application using a more traditional approach.
Review your roadmap and project portfolio to identify projects that meet the above criteria.
Next, consult with stakeholders to get their input on which projects would be most suitable for no-code development.
Finally, create a business case for each project to help you compare the benefits and costs of no-code development against traditional development methods.
Which no-code platform is right for you?
Once you have identified one or more projects that are good candidates for no-code development, the next step is to narrow down your no-code platform options.
Once you have selected a project, you will need to choose a no-code platform. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a no-code platform, including:
1. What kinds of applications do you need to develop?
First, you will need to consider the applications you need to develop.
- What is the use case?
- Are there any no-code platforms on the market that specialize in the kind of applications you need to develop?
- Do you need to develop mobile apps, web apps, or both?
- What kind of user interface (UI) do you need?
- What kind of features and functionality do you need?
2. How much control do you need over the applications you develop?
No-code platforms vary in the degree of control they offer over the applications you develop.
- Do you need to have full control over the code that is generated?
3. Ease of use
No-code platforms vary in terms of their user-friendliness. Select a no-code platform appropriate for your team's no-code skills.
- How easy is the platform to use?
- Does it have a graphical user interface?
- What kind of training will be required for users?
- Is there a free trial or demo available?
4. Quality of the end product
When choosing a no-code platform, you should also consider the quality of the end product.
- How well does the platform meet your organization's needs?
- How easy is it to create high-quality applications using the platform?
- Does the vendor offer top of the line UX/UI standards when it comes to pre-made components and templates?
Flexibility is another important criterion to consider when choosing a no-code platform. The platform should be able to meet all your organization's needs.
- How flexible is the platform?
- Can it be customized to meet your specific needs?
- What kind of support is available from the vendor?
Functionality is another key criterion to consider when selecting a no-code platform. The platform should offer a wide range of features and functions.
- What features and functionality are essential for your project?
- What features and functionality would be nice to have but are not essential?
- What are your technical requirements? No-code platforms run on a variety of different platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, and the web. Select a no-code platform that is compatible with your technical requirements.
- What are your data requirements? No-code platforms store data in a variety of different formats, including CSV, JSON, XML, and SQL. Select a no-code platform that is compatible with your data requirements.
- What are your integration requirements? No-code platforms integrate with a variety of different applications and services. Select a no-code platform compatible with your integration requirements with internal and third-party systems.
Security is an important criterion to consider when selecting a no-code platform. The platform should be secure and provide a way to control access to applications.
- How secure is the platform?
- What kinds of security certificates does it have?
- What kind of access control does it provide?
8. Industry experience
An important criterion to consider when choosing a no-code platform is whether it offers applications or integrations specifically tailored for your industry.
- Does the platform offer any industry-specific features?
- Do any of its applications or integrations address your specific needs?
- Does the vendor have case studies or references from companies in your industry?
- Are there any customer testimonials or reviews from companies in your industry?
Pricing is another criterion to consider when selecting a no-code platform. Generally speaking, no-code platforms can save you money in the long run by allowing you to quickly develop and iterate on applications without needing to hire developers.
- How much does the platform cost?
- Is there a free trial or demo available?
- What kind of licensing options are available?
- What kind of support is included in the price?
Support is an important criterion to consider when selecting a no-code platform.
- What is the level of support offered by the vendor?
- Do they offer white-glove service or 24/7 support?
- What kind of training is available for users?
- Is there a robust online community where you can get help from other users?
- What kind of documentation is available?
What are the challenges posed by no-code platforms?
There are a number of challenges associated with no-code platforms. However, when selecting the right project and no-code platform for your needs, these challenges can be overcome.
As no-code platforms are proprietary, organizations can become reliant on a particular vendor. This can make it difficult and expensive to switch to a different no-code platform in the future. To limit the risk of vendor lock-in, consider the following:
- Select a no-code platform that uses open standards. This will make it easier to switch to a different no-code platform in the future, if necessary.
- Select a no-code platform that offers a flexible licensing model.
- Make sure that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to develop applications on the no-code platform.
- Select a no-code vendor with a reputation for being a digital partner, not just a software vendor. Having a long-term relationship in mind from the start, instead of considering the no-code platform as a temporary patch for an immediate problem, will help to avoid vendor lock-in.
Lack of flexibility
No-code platforms can be inflexible and may not be able to meet all of an organization's needs. To address this challenge:
- Do your research: Make sure that you select a no-code platform that is fit for the purpose. Read reviews and case studies to get an idea of whether the no-code platform will be able to meet your needs.
- Fit to your use case: No-code platforms can be limited in terms of the types of applications that they can be used to develop. For example, no-code platforms may not be suitable for developing complex applications with a large number of features. To address this challenge, make sure that you select a no-code platform that is fit for your use case.
- Consider using multiple no-code platforms: Don't try to find one no-code platform that will meet all of your needs. Instead, consider using multiple no-code platforms to build a best-of-breed solution.
- Work with an experienced no-code partner: An experienced no-code partner will be able to advise you on the best no-code platform for your needs and help you to overcome any challenges you encounter.
Data security and privacy concerns
Like any external vendor, no-code platforms can present data security and privacy risks. To mitigate these risks, select a vendor that:
- Encrypts data at rest and in transit: No-code platforms should offer encryption for data at rest and in transit. This will help to protect your data if the no-code platform is hacked or breached.
- Implements security controls: Implement security controls such as user access control and data loss prevention. This will help to protect your data from unauthorized access and misuse.
- Select a no-code platform with a good reputation: Choose a no-code platform that has a good reputation for data security and privacy. Read reviews and case studies to get an idea of whether the no-code platform will be able to meet your needs.
- Select a vendor with security certifications: Select a no-code vendor that has relevant security certifications, such as ISO 27001, SOC2, HIPAA, and GDPR. This will give you confidence that the vendor takes data security and privacy seriously.
Poor quality of the application
As no-code platforms can be used by non-technical users, there is a risk that applications developed on no-code platforms will be of poor quality. This can lead to buggy and unreliable applications. To address this challenge:
- Select a no-code platform with built-in quality assurance features: Select a no-code platform that offers features such as unit testing and regression testing. This will help to ensure that applications developed on the no-code platform are of high quality.
- Make sure your internal IT is in charge: Don't allow business users to develop applications without the supervision of IT. Internal IT should be in charge of the no-code platform to make sure that applications are developed to a high standard.
- Select a vendor with expertise in UX: End-use experience is of paramount importance for the success of any application. Selecting a vendor with expertise in that area will ensure that applications developed on the no-code platform offer a good user experience.
- Get expert training: Make sure that you or your team have the necessary skills and knowledge to develop applications on the no-code platform. Getting expert training will help to ensure that applications developed on the no-code platform are of high quality.
Choosing the right platform
Enterprises are increasingly turning to no-code platforms to build applications. However, with so many no-code platforms on the market, it can be difficult to select the right one for your needs.
In this buyer's guide, we covered some of the key considerations that you need to keep in mind when selecting a no-code platform, such as:
- The use case for the application
- Types of no-code platforms
- Criteria for selecting a no-code platform
- Questions to ask no-code vendors
- The benefits and challenges of no-code platforms
Choosing the right no-code platform requires careful consideration of your specific needs. We hope that this buyer's guide has helped you to understand the key considerations that you need to keep in mind when making your decision.