Have you designed a website in the 2000s? It may reveal my age but I did! My first website was live in 2000 👻 As a kid, I have thought myself how to design a website from scratch. Sleepless nights, a steep learning curve, endless passion, and a lot of fun! I have even earned a 100$+ check via banners, which was the first paycheck of my life ❤️
Coming back to our topic, building a website in the 2000s, required at least HTML knowledge, and had a lot to do with ASP, PHP, and CGI (I am not sure whether it still exists). You have to deploy all updates manually to an FTP server and so forth. Long story short, it required labor and a fair amount of coding knowledge. Nevertheless, the website still looked like sh*t 🤷♀️
Who codes for his/her website today? Almost nobody! The coders (software developers) code the low-code solutions, enabling us to design our websites with a little coding, if not any, needed. WordPress (I’ve built 360 Digital Transformation’s Website via WordPress), Wix.com, Shopify, and Squarespace are great examples of that. For sure, we might need some SQL, or CSS knowledge to customize the website. That’s exactly why I love low-code solutions, which provide us a good amount of freedom.
Can, what about no-code? I see no-code as a part of the low-code approach. No-code applications are great, and they allow users to create fully functioning apps without a single line of code. So in most cases, low-code tools enable no-code functionalities. Therefore I see low-code as the main concept that includes no-code tools.
What is low-code? 🤔
Let’s start with the definition, what is low-code? With low-code platforms, users can develop applications and processes with little to no coding knowledge. As I mentioned earlier, the definition of low-code includes no-code. That’s mainly provided by intuitive rule-based decisions, visual interfaces, and tools with pre-embedded codes, where users can easily drag&drop to create the outcome they want. Low-code tools enable integrations to our databases and 3rd party applications via pre-made interfaces (Rest Services, Web Services, APIs, EDIs). Depending on the complexity of the application or processes, some coding knowledge might be required.
Low-code tools not also decrease companies’ dependency on IT resources, but also provides a collaborative environment between professional developers and citizen developers. But wait, what is a citizen developer? Great question! Citizen developers are non-professional developers (like myself), who have a profound understanding of the business and are eager to develop themselves in Software Development, without going too deep into the technical aspects of coding.
In one of our clients, one eager employee from the finance department quickly learned E-Flow (a low-code BPM tool) and after one year, he was able to digitalize the majority of the finance processes. More examples are in this episode of The Digital Mittelstand.
Questions arise more questions. Can everybody be a citizen developer? How much coding knowledge is needed? Theoretically yes, everybody can be a citizen developer if they have a good understanding of the business and the processes, they are willing to learn new concepts, and dedicate enough time and patience for the development. The amount of coding knowledge required definitely depends on the complexity of the process. The more complex the higher the amount of coding needed. But you don’t start running as a new hobby, by running a marathon. Why not start with a simple expense submittal app developed on Bubble?
What can be built with low-code?
Pretty much anything. Nevertheless, let’s be more precise. HR processes, back-office processes, finance, procurement, and quality management processes, basically anything you can do with pen&paper or excel, word, and e-mail can be developed via low-code systems. Let’s give some examples from the application side, digital product catalogs, websites, customer&partner support apps, and apps based on different product categories, the opportunities are almost endless. Below is where I demonstrate how to build a COVID Test process in 20 Minutes using E-Flow.
There are various low-code platforms available in the market. OutSystems, Nintex, PowerApps, and Zoho are just to name a few. As I mentioned above, platforms like Bubble allow regular users to create their own apps or use templates that are available for everyone. So, if you are interested in the topic, why not give it a try? Maybe you create your own budget tracking app? 🤩
What about software developers?
We need and will need software developers for sure. First of all, they will develop low-code platforms, and create templates, and ready-to-use blocks for low-code tools. Then also for high-code development, where companies require high investment in their tools, if their value propositions are high-tech based, then a high-code solution might even be a better option. Needless to say, there will be always a need for software developers and to some extent high-code tools. However, the demand and usage of high-code tools will diminish.
Where does low-code fit in digital transformation?
As of now, you should have a better understanding of the low-code methodology. You, however, might not be sure about how low-code can be implemented into your digital transformation strategy. Low-code is just a technology and a tool to accelerate your digital transformation. If you have already come to that step, you should already have a good feeling about whether low-code is the right approach for your company.
If you are still not sure or have any questions about low-code technologies and how they can help your digital transformation journey, please feel free to contact us. ☝️
Can Adiguzel is the founder of 360 Digital Transformation and host of The Digital Mittelstand podcast. He is in Digital Transformation projects for more than 8 years. He is passionate about Digital Transformation for Mittelstand and helps Mittelstand to overcome their Digital Transformation challenges by optimizing, digitalizing, and automating processes.