No-code and low-code apps are considered IT-free ways for users to bring apps to market quickly. Are they?
Why wouldn’t companies want to use pre-coded software modules that can perform the basic programming functions required in most software? In such applications, a non-programming user just needs to point and click on the various functions they need to create an application.
This ability to use prefabricated software components to build an app results in two things: it brings applications to market earlier to end users who have long been frustrated by IT’s inability to develop applications fast enough, and it has the potential to reduce IT workloads so that other IT areas can focus on digitization, systems, networking and security.
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However, adopting no-code and low-code application development also has its challenges. Not every no-code and low-code solution can solve all IT problems. Sometimes you have to use different no-code and low-code packages to achieve different application functions, and each of these packages has a learning curve.
Second, not every no-code and low-code application generator can do everything IT is. There are levels of software integration and programming that no-code and low-code tools cannot address.
The bottom line is that IT support is still needed even as end-user developers become more fluent with no-code and low-code application generators.
IT support without code
Users can build their own applications without knowing a bit of code if they use a no-code application generator.
The complication comes when users want to improve their applications.
Here’s how IT can help: By getting involved with user citizen developers upfront before developing their no-code code apps. In this way, IT has insight into where the applications are likely to evolve with improvements. It can help users develop a large enough application framework from scratch that can be easily adapted to the kinds of improvements users are likely to envision.
In other cases, application enhancements cannot all be developed with a no-code tool. IT may need to do some custom development. This customization is better if the need for it is known in advance.
Low-code IT support
Low-code applications are just that: Low-code. In other words, some custom code will likely be required in addition to the code-free work that users do.
This custom code usually comes in the form of integration code that needs to be developed by IT to interface a low-code application with other systems, or it can be a custom software routine that is very complex and cannot be developed with a low code tool.
In these situations, it is helpful for IT to work with end users to define an initial application requirement definition so that a plan can be drawn up that illustrates which parts of an app or system the user will develop and which additional features IT will develop.
Being able to ‘abstract’ application development so that you don’t have to know the native code will be a major driver for the future of IT and a major step forward for end-user citizen developers.
However, as organizations move towards developing code-less, low-code applications, it’s also important for IT to create a support strategy that can enhance end-user development of low-code, no-code applications.
This allows user citizen developers and IT to develop more robust applications faster.