Thursday, July 30, 2020

Empower the Real Users of Software - with a No-Code Approach

Way back in the distant past, I used Hypercard, FileMaker, and, later, NeXT tools, to build complex expert systems, knowledge management, and financial planning tools for a diverse customer base. Applying a little bit of "MBA-powered" know-how with real-world entrepreneurialism enabled me to solve problems in the environmental sector, for small businesses, and even for the mortgage industry.

Fast forward to present day, and we see many software-as-a-service solutions that offer pre-packaged solutions to widely acknowledged challenges. My own solution for team management comes from a history of fixing broken projects for others -- I am a firm believer in the philosophy of "eat your own dogfood."

Now, we loop back to the past, with the increasing availability to low- or no-code software development solutions. Airtable, the Salesforce platform and web-based tools such as Ninox for databases are all useful tools to quickly assemble software to address highly specific problems. These are kind of the "spreadsheet" of the 21st century. One stand-out is Zapier, which has opened the door for many to integrate existing platforms with other popular web apps. Integrating applications with code can be a challenge, but Zapier makes it possible with a few clicks.

While no-code won't solve all technical challenges, having an easily accessible stack can undoubtedly help get specific jobs done faster, easier, and cheaper. Democratizing development is the overall benefit of no-code software development solutions. A few others include reducing the work load on an IT department, as such solutions enable business users to build applications without any coding knowledge. This reduces the burden on an understaffed IT department.

We can also enjoy an accelerated development cycle, so one doesn't have to wait for solution requests to be answered by theaters. Tasks that used to take months (even years) to complete can now be done in a few hours or days, depending on its complexity.

With many point-and-click user interfaces for the development of no-code solutions, one can quickly build solutions to meet exact requirements and specifications, and be updated on the fly. These aspects are important to keep the business competitive and agile. While a no-code solution allows the development of applications for immediate impact, it can also prove to be cost-efficient in the long run.

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