No-code platforms and the future of enterprise technology
While getting the answer to the right no-code solutions and their applications is critical, CIOs have to start making this transition quickly and course correct along the way
No-code platforms today are steadily seeping into the enterprise technology jigsaw. While they make up less than 1% of the total spend on enterprise software and services, they are growing at more than 3 times the pace of growth in the traditional enterprise software and services spend. No-code platforms, while not all equal, work on the thesis that coding should be eliminated or at least reduced during the application development lifecycle. This empowers the end-user, reduces development and deployment time, reduces cost of technology ownership and most importantly allows for rapid roll-out of end-user applications and experiences.
While no-code has become the ’preferred choice’ for most CIOs, managing the transition from being a choice to becoming a reliable anchor for scaling up enterprise technology requires inevitable choices and cultural transitions for the CIO organization. No-code platforms will not only transform the enterprise technology landscape but become the base-case of the technology strategy of the enterprise. This journey will inevitably also create some wastage, rework and re-architecting of enterprise technology after making several mis-steps towards a fully no-code enabled ecosystem. While getting the answer to the right no-code solutions and their applications is critical, CIOs have to start making this transition quickly and course correct along the way.
No-code will change the size and skill composition of technology teams
27% of the workforce of some of the largest global financial institutions today comprises developers. This excludes the outsourced application maintenance and support staff they may be used from time to time. With the percolation of no-code, enterprises will be required to re-align the skill-set of this workforce to having business analysts and individuals with commercial acumen and business orientation. This will contrast starkly from the current practice of developers getting detailed specifications written by business analysts. Enterprises will require leaner development teams as the time taken, iterations and testing hops will reduce dramatically.
Break-down of silos between IT and business teams
Over the years, IT teams have built specializations such as application maintenance, development, testing, infrastructure management and support. They have rarely been required to create teams oriented towards understanding the business need and evolution in business strategy and models. As a result, IT teams operated to standards and procedures while business teams continued to lag in translating business strategy to IT defined procedures. With no-code platforms, IT organizations will be required to house more business-oriented skill sets and work more closely with business teams than before. Business teams will be required to have a better orientation towards how no-code systems work. The future of enterprise technology is likely to have an IT organization de-constructed and embedded within business and members within business teams focused purely on application development.
Cultural change in IT teams
IT teams have largely remained unquestioned on their technology choices in the enterprise. Except for business specific enterprise technology, IT teams have largely made choices on information security, identity and access management, data management, ETL tools, business intelligence tools, big data technology and reporting tools without much collaboration with business teams. The underlying and largely fair assumption was that the underlying architecture is too complex for business to understand. New generation no-code platforms are largely pre-architected thereby dispensing the need for technology choices based on complex architecture design. Changing the culture within IT teams will be critical to facilitate this adoption and realize that multiple existing technologies will become redundant in the process. Changing in culture is critical for IT teams to be ready to make technology transitions quickly instead of continuing to only support and maintain existing legacy technology. IT teams will also have to collaborate more closely with business teams to facilitate this transition of phasing out old technology. No-code platforms will also challenge the existing sacred beliefs of the software development processes, deployment times, release schedules and will introduce new ways of managing DevOps
Accelerate the transition to cloud
While many no-code platforms have taken the cloud-only approach, a successful strategy is likely to be a hybrid model or an on-premises setup with a migration roadmap to the cloud. As no-code platforms integrate cloud native services better into their framework and allow on-demand scalability into cloud services, it will accelerate cloud adoption. This will, in many cases, bring new definitions to the role of the infrastructure management teams within existing organizations centered around cloud infrastructure optimization and network reorientation.. The transition to cloud, while inevitable, is likely to be dramatically hastened with the advent of no-code.
Course correction and a multi-platform strategy
All no-code platforms are not equal. Organizations will inevitably make mistakes in early selection of no-code platforms. Being ready to accept the mistake and course correct will distinguish early adopters from successful adopters of no-code platforms. There is also no one right no-code platform for every business use case. Some no-code platforms are architected better for compute, some for process flows and some for UI enhancement. Recognizing the difference early and integrating more than one platform into the ecosystem is critical for all-round success in the no-code journey. Organizations who bet on a single platform for all use cases are likely to realize that the platform is incapacitating them and may revert back to coding where no code should be written.
No-code platforms are ushering a new wave of looking at technology by questioning the fundamentals of how enterprise technology is developed, updated, managed and serviced. The transition to no-code platforms is perhaps the most important technology transformation that enterprises will make in this decade.
Authored by Muzammil Patel, Global Head Strategy and Corporate Finance, Acies