Until recently, only 0.3% of the world's population had the capacity to develop SaaS software. Today, thanks to Low-Code and No-Code (LC/NC) platforms, it is possible to create a functional SaaS tool or application without knowing how to code.
A survey by Gartner shows that the Low-Code market is set to grow by 20% by 2023.
Are Low-Code and No-Code the future of SaaS? This article explores the advantages and limitations of these platforms, as well as their future prospects.
"Low-Code" means little code and "No-Code" means without code. By code, we mean a computer language that can be used to create different computer objects.
Low-Code and No-Code are essentially two approaches to creating SaaS software, websites, applications, etc., with little knowledge of IT.
For example, Glide is a No-Code platform for creating mobile and web applications, accessible without any prior programming skills. How do you do it? By simply using Google Sheets spreadsheets.
LC and NC are both designed to enable as many people as possible to learn to develop without knowing how to code. However, they do not offer the same possibilities (of course) and their audience is not the same.
No-Code is very easy to use. It is aimed at all users who have no computer skills, but who need to develop computer programmes. No-Code tools are easy to learn, but their customisation options are limited.
Surely you've heard of Business Process Management (BPM)? Low-code tools, for example, enable businesses to automate certain time-consuming tasks quickly and simply, and to monitor reports in real time. Pretty handy!
As we saw earlier, LC/NC platforms open up new possibilities for businesses.
Take Salesforce Lightning, for example. This platform was developed in 2015 by Salesforce. Thanks to LC/NC, users can create applications without having any IT skills.
Salesforce Lightning can even be used to improve customer relations for businesses. How can this be done? You can customise your customer platform to suit your sales management or marketing needs.
Another example: Mendix. This is a low-code, cloud-based platform. It enables its users to develop websites without any prior knowledge of IT. With Mendix, you can develop applications 10 times faster, with 70% fewer resources.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of useful SaaS No-Code and Low-Code services:
→ Adalo: create web and mobile applications ;
→ Appian: automate business processes;
→ Bubble: create web applications;
→ Nintex: automate business processes;
→ Wix: develop websites;
→ Zoho creator: create applications easily...
There are several factors that can explain the growth of these platforms in recent years:
→ Every company needs to adapt to the digital transition. However, the number of developers is limited. To remedy the labour shortage, companies have turned to new solutions such as Low-Code and No-Code.
→ The pandemic has had an undeniable effect in accelerating this process. The rise of remote working has boosted the adoption of low-cost software.
The unbridled development of technologies is reinforcing the importance of these platforms. They meet an increasingly pressing need for software development.
In the past, developing an application could take months! Today, thanks to LC/NC platforms, it is possible to create an application in a few hours, or even a few minutes, without any technical skills. It's almost like magic.
With the growth of these platforms, the technology is becoming "democratised": anyone (or almost anyone) can use LC/NC.
The term "citizen developer" is even used to describe users with little IT experience who use LC/NC platforms to create software and applications for their businesses.
The advent of these "citizen developers" bridges the gap between developers and corporate stakeholders. Since any user can code using LC/NC platforms, everyone can contribute to the company's software development.
The "citizen developer" thus becomes the key contact between the CIO (Chief Information Officer) and the rest of the team.
There are many advantages to using these technologies.
For development teams, LC/NC solutions can :
→ remedy the shortage of developers: everyone (or almost everyone) can come and help out ;
→ optimise time-to-market: creating a product requires fewer skills and less time;
→ reduce shadow IT: the use of software by company employees without the approval of the IT department;
→ include "citizen developers" in the management of business processes;
Using LC/NC software also reduces costs. You no longer need to call on top-level professionals to develop an application.
In this way, LC/NC platforms encourage innovation. Easy to use by anyone, they enable you to quickly create POCs to test new concepts and iterate. Need to make a modification? It's quick and easy!
So creating, testing and developing a mobile or web SaaS becomes more accessible and easier for everyone.
Generally speaking, LC/NC platforms offer a good return on investment (ROI), by enabling you to :
→ maximise team productivity by allowing everyone to participate in software development.
→ save money on operations by avoiding the need to call in an external team.
→ reduce time to market by creating the tool more quickly.
→ reduce maintenance costs by making the software easier to use.
It should be noted, however, that the ROI of these platforms can vary: the pricing model or the features available are not necessarily the same depending on the software used.
For more specific needs, you may need to call on the services of a specialist developer.
Although LC/NC platforms are booming, they also have their drawbacks.
→ They don't allow you to carry out tasks that are too complex;
→ So you sometimes need to call in a developer to go further with these tools;
→ In the long term, these solutions are not necessarily the most cost-effective (the more complex and advanced your tool, the more you'll need to call on specialists);
→ There is a risk of vendor lock-in when a customer depends on the owner's technology to meet their needs.
→ Low-Code and No-Code can breach the security of certain data.
These tools do not meet all a company's needs. Let's take the example of an online bank. It wants to develop a trading application for its customers that enables them to trade financial assets in real time.
Trading algorithms work by managing huge amounts of data instantaneously. Real-time financial calculations are also demanding in terms of performance. In this case, you need to call in a developer to write bespoke code.
LC/NC offers new possibilities. Easy to access, these platforms allow more users to code, without IT skills. However, there are security and scalability risks to consider when choosing your software.
You can easily develop simple software. On the other hand, if you add extra functionality and make the tool more complex, you will be obliged to call in a specialist service provider.
Hence the importance of analysing the advantages and disadvantages before investing in these platforms.
More and more entrepreneurs are using LC/NC software to create SaaS. It's become so easy to develop low-cost tools and test them with users as quickly as possible!
Microsoft Power Apps, for example, has even launched a solution that integrates LC/NC functionality into a SaaS platform. Accessible from the cloud, this application makes it possible to develop tools that can be used with other products, such as Office 365.
The widespread use of these platforms should make it easier for more people to adopt the technology. This principle is at the heart of the development of LC/NC applications.
In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2026, non-developers will account for 80% of users of LC/NC tools, compared with 60% in 2021.
The democratisation of LC/NC-based SaaS does, however, pose problems in terms of data security.
→ By using a low-code or no-code platform, you run the risk of outsourcing a large proportion of the final application's lines of code to the platform. This may have consequences for the organisation's security policies or compliance with best practice.
→ You also need to be careful about updates!
→ Finally, these platforms work very quickly, and there is a considerable risk that applications will escape appropriate security controls.
Calling in a qualified developer is the best way of making sure that everything runs smoothly!
There are other trends to keep a close eye on. Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be used with LC/NC to automate certain processes or integrate predictive functions, making these platforms even more powerful.
Low-Code and No-Code platforms make programming accessible to a wider range of users. Accessible without code or with a low level of code, it is entirely possible to develop applications without going to the professionals.
These Low-Code and No-Code solutions add to an already dynamic SaaS landscape. The combination of the two makes SaaS solutions more accessible and, above all, customisable.
Are you looking for a Low-Code or No-Code solution? You've come to the right place. Use Welii's procurement service to negotiate the best deals.
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