Check out all the on-demand sessions from the Intelligent Security Summit here.


The arguments against no-code software are, by this point, well-known. What’s discussed less is the mounting evidence testifying to no code’s utility and potential.

According to Gartner, by 2025, 70% of the applications that organizations develop will employ low-code or no-code technology — compared to just 25% in 2020. And as soon as 2024, non-tech professionals will build 80% of their organizations’ technology products and services, in large part with the help of no-code interfaces. (Already in 2017, nearly 60% of all custom apps — including automations — were built outside the IT department, according to a 2017 survey by 451 Research and FileMaker.)

The potential of all this is equally well-established. A McKinsey study found companies that empower nontechnical teams with low-code or no-code tools are 33% more innovative than their competitors. Research conducted as long ago as 2018 has found that low-code/no-code tools can cut development times by 50 to 90%

None of this is hard to understand. These changes are occurring against a backdrop of shifting market dynamics and economic realities that are rapidly changing how organizations need to think about doing business. No longer are the expenses and inefficiencies that no-code can help eliminate justifiable from an operational standpoint. To survive in a quickly materializing future, organizations must adapt. No-code is one way to do that. 

Event

Intelligent Security Summit On-Demand

Learn the critical role of AI & ML in cybersecurity and industry specific case studies. Watch on-demand sessions today.

Watch Here

The effect is clear. No-code is gaining in popularity, in large part by necessity. But this is having another impact: Across the board, the obvious need for — and increasingly proven potential of — no-code technology is voiding the formerly unimpeachable arguments against no-code adoption. 

This is something that, as a long-time champion of no-code, I’m particularly excited by. Here are a few of the most common arguments made against no-code, with explanations of why they are irrelevant or wrong. 

No-code can’t replace developers

This is a big one. It’s also irrelevant. No-code is not about replacing deeply skilled programmers with citizen developers. Organizations all over are being asked to do more with less — and to move faster than ever before. The people who are best suited to the challenge are operations professionals. The way they succeed is by building and iterating upon internal process solutions, such as automations related to email inbox triage, intake and coordination. The best way to use no-code is to empower those ops professionals for this kind of work. 

No-code technology in the hands of ops teams doesn’t replace software developers; it augments their ability to streamline menial work. 

But that’s the crux. The disconnect between proponents of no-code technology and developers who are accustomed to building software solutions from scratch shows up when organizations try to use no-code tools as a full replacement. 

This shows a misunderstanding about software in general and no-code technology in particular. 

No-code is an abstraction layer designed to give nontechnical personnel the ability to better use powerful technology to do their own work in a more efficient, agile way. No-code can also be used to take a certain amount of the custodial burden off developers and IT by enabling nontechnical employees to support themselves.

Yes, there will be edge support cases that demand the skilled hand of a coder. Guess what? That’s exactly the point. You pull those people in only for special instances, instead of tasking them with everything all the time.

It’s all about leveraging technology to empower people. And when you give ops teams the no-code tools they need, they, in turn, will empower others in your organization. 

Non-coders should not be given access to internal systems and data sources

There’s a sincere and understandable concern within IT departments about extending access to internal systems and data sources willy-nilly to all kinds of employees. 

Once you have some no-code technology in your tech stack, sometimes you still have to deal with territorial issues. Some people in the organization may want to heavily gate access to the tools, or will express displeasure at the notion of letting non-coders create solutions on their own. 

That’s not to imply you should throw caution to the wind. But you can solve a lot of problems before they start simply by adhering to best practices. And you can still gate access or permissions as far as it makes sense to keep systems secure — but not to make it difficult for your colleagues to access and use tools. For example, inside certain no-code platforms, IT can determine which systems and data sources people can access when they’re creating no-code solutions. 

The larger point here is that smart organizations don’t lock down and block their people; they get out of the way and let them bring their finest work to solving problems and making things operate better. They don’t do this flippantly. But they give them the right kind of governance structures and guardrails to set them up for success. 

No-code can’t make customer-facing applications

Another common judgment made against no-code is that it isn’t powerful enough to make customer-facing apps or products. 

This is true. But once again, it’s beside the point. 

No-code really isn’t meant for building external solutions. It’s meant for building personal, internal applications. 

Or, more broadly, no-code is ideal for helping more people in your organization use technology to be creative. It’s an abstraction layer that provides an interface which itself enables people to make things and solve problems. 

No-code technology can help your teams quickly develop solutions, customize them, test them and make changes, delivering iterative improvements over time. It enables agile development, and it fosters creativity.

With no-code technology, anyone in the organization can build and create internal solutions and tools that they need when they need them. They can also rapidly iterate on what they’ve made, thereby culling long, expensive, ungainly development cycles — especially important these days, when time is often your greatest obstacle. Your operations teams can shepherd all of those projects and workflows.

Every organization needs to be agile. No-code is a means of enabling agility. Nothing more. 

No-code creates technical debt

One of the broadest criticisms of no-code software centers around a fear of technical debt. Technical debt occurs when development teams prioritize speed over perfection. It manifests as code that needs to be rewritten or reworked.

It also creates operational debt, which you can think of as the amount of time and money required (for change management, new technology, IT support, and so on) to divorce employees from imperfect, labor-intensive or haphazardly stitched together processes and systems. 

Concerns about creating technical and operational debt are totally valid. But many such concerns become non-issues if you implement no-code software the right way with the right mindset. 

That is, don’t try to replace all of your internal software development and support. Augment them. That way, no-code software is addictive and empowering. 

As it pertains to the rest of your tech stack, no-code is about optimizing the tools you’re already using so employees can get the most out of them and use them better together.

Managing technical debt is really about balancing risks and making sound decisions. For example, vendor lock-in is a consideration any time you add to your tech stack; it’s not a problem with no-code software per se. You resolve concerns about it via a robust cost/benefit analysis. And you do your homework on the particular tool you want to bring into your organization. If it’s missing features or the templates aren’t going to work for you, then you look for a different solution. 

You should do the same when shopping for no-code. At some point, every company on the planet has to make difficult decisions about adopting a new piece of technology. Decisions pertaining to no-code software are no different. 

Bottom line: This is no time to be precious

There are always “good” reasons to not move forward on an initiative. Sometimes, we have the luxury of being picky. Sometimes, we can afford not to take a chance on a potentially game-changing innovation because the status quo is working all right. 

This is not one of those times. Today, you have to move fast and iterate quickly. You have to empower folks throughout your organization to do more with less and to operate in a more agile way. These are not nice-to-have initiatives. Investing in your organization’s ability to be more innovative, efficient and adaptive is necessary to make sure you don’t end up left behind. Organizations no longer have time to sweep the issues that no-code can solve under the rug. 

That’s not to say organizations should be careless, lax or flippant when investing in things like no-code technology. It’s always important to have guidelines around new technologies and processes to ensure compliance, maintain best security practices, and so on. But too often, these very real concerns become barriers to progress instead of guardrails to guide proper implementation and execution. 

At a time when speed and agility are paramount, no-code technology can deliver outsized results. But only if you let it. 

Sagi Eliyahu is CEO and co-founder of Tonkean.

DataDecisionMakers

Welcome to the VentureBeat community!

DataDecisionMakers is where experts, including the technical people doing data work, can share data-related insights and innovation.

If you want to read about cutting-edge ideas and up-to-date information, best practices, and the future of data and data tech, join us at DataDecisionMakers.

You might even consider contributing an article of your own!

Read More From DataDecisionMakers