The disruptive idea low-code platforms

A new concept to evolve your IT development to meet the elastic business demands of tomorrow.

Are you trying to get another 10% out of your development team? When it comes down to the wire, is development always taking the longest time to deliver? Today, I’m going to provide insights into how to get over that organizational obstacle.

Hi, I’m Peter Nichol, Data Science CIO.

One of the most significant changes in information technology is in development. Over the last decade, we’ve experienced a pivot in what’s included in corporate development teams, the state of development performance, and many questions around the future of development.

Is IT development going offshore? Will tomorrow’s development teams be comprised of hybrid and onshore models? What’s the future of development? Do we even need developers anymore?

Here’s my take on these questions. Yes, progressing companies will require in-house developers to build and expand on organizational core competencies. However, new development models are emerging in the corporate world.

We won’t be talking about the onshore, near-shore, far-shore, or off-shore models of yesteryear. Instead, IT development models need to account for changing business demands. Most specifically, conventional development time can’t be cut by 10%. Rather, it has to be chopped by 50% or 70%. That’s what’s required to keep up with the dynamic business environment of today. Technology leaders understand this, and they’re responding and changing the composition of their teams.

New IT development models need to respond faster and specifically anticipate changing business demands while the traditional costs of large development teams need to fade into the sunset.

Leaders are looking to no-code, low-code, and full-code as the future. So, let’s get into it.

As I walk through these models, consider applications in your environment today. Which applications might be more conducive to low-code versus full-code? How can you optimize your development teams to squeeze out that 10% or 50% of efficiency that’s required? What if you limit your power developers and bring up potential developers through a no-code or low-code model? It might just work and save you millions.

Let’s being with no-code. This type of technology typically consists of mainly drag-and-drop functionality. This basic functionality is leveraged for reporting or elementary transactional systems that citizen-developers can drive. You don’t need full-fledged developers to drive low-code solutions.

Here are a few solutions you can consider when exploring no-code development environments:

  • Adalo
  • Visual LANSA
  • GeneXus
  • Zoho Creator
  • Appy Pie
  • AppSheet
  • Airtable
  • Visual LANSA
  • GeneXus
  • Zoho Creator

Immediately, applications like Abby Pie, AppSheet, or Airtable come to mind.

However, if you require functionality to support a bit more complexity, we enter the low-code environment. In this environment, you may have more complicated database calls. In addition, there may be multiple integrations that don’t lend themselves so well to drag-and-drop functionality (ActionDesk, Parabola, Flow, IFTT, Zapier).

In the low-code space, there are numerous options to explore:

  • WordPress
  • Appian
  • Boomi
  • Creatio
  • GoodBarber
  • Mendix
  • Microsoft Power Fx
  • Oracle Application Express

I think of companies like Mendix, Appian, or even WordPress that are a little more plug-and-play. The benefit of low-code is you begin to have a more capable interface for drag-and-drop functionality. You also have access to include custom code, call APIs, and more complex database calls into your deployed applications.

Last, we have full-code environments. When deciding to adopt a full-code model, you want precise flexibility. You must architect a system for a given purpose. Your designs don’t support template-based architectures but are fit-for-purpose solutions that are generally viewed as highly capable—otherwise known as complex.

Typically, these applications are designed for high availability (HA) or deal with big data sets. These systems are usually highly transactional in nature and support high throughput and significant transactions per second.

There are loads of great examples of full-code environments. These languages are commonly complex and can support very prescriptive coding to address very narrow business cases:

  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • C/C++
  • JAVA
  • R Language
  • Kotlin
  • C#
  • PHP
  • Go
  • Scala

Traditional full-code environments that come to mind include Java, Python, or C++. Each of these is a full-fledged programming language.

Do you genuinely require all your developers to be full-code capable? Is there another option to segment your team’s capabilities and align them to departmental or organizational needs?

What would your future-state architecture look like if your model supported no-code, low-code, and full-code development environments? Not every business unit requires custom applications. Many are satisfied with accurate reports that are developed and published promptly.

Here are questions to consider:

  • Where is our future-state architecture headed?
  • How many full-code developers do we require on staff?
  • Which organizational needs can be met with no-code or low-code capabilities?
  • What percentage of developers are full-code?

Suppose your technology capabilities have only been focusing on full-code environments. In that case, you might be able to pull and grow some internal resources into the low-code or no-code areas to optimize outcomes. These are just a few ideas to think about as you consider your development team.

If you found this article helpful, that’s great! Check out my books, Think Lead Disrupt and Leading with Value. They were published in early in 2021 and are available on Amazon and at http://www.datsciencecio.com/shop for author-signed copies!

Hi, I’m Peter Nichol, Data Science CIO. Have a great day!

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Peter is a technology executive with 19 years of experience, dedicated to driving innovation, digital transformation, leadership, and data in business. He helps organizations connect strategy to execution to maximize company performance. He has been recognized for Digital Innovation by CIO 100, MIT Sloan, Computerworld, and the Project Management Institute. As Managing Director at OROCA Innovations, Peter leads the CXO advisory services practice, driving digital strategies. Peter was honored as an MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award Finalist in 2015 and is a regular contributor to CIO.com on innovation. Peter has led businesses through complex changes, including the adoption of data-first approaches for portfolio management, lean six sigma for operational excellence, departmental transformations, process improvements, maximizing team performance, designing new IT operating models, digitizing platforms, leading large-scale mission-critical technology deployments, product management, agile methodologies, and building high-performance teams. As Chief Information Officer, Peter was responsible for Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange’s (HIX) industry-leading digital platform transforming consumerism and retail oriented services for the health insurance industry. Peter championed the Connecticut marketplace digital implementation with a transformational cloud-based SaaS platform and mobile application recognized as a 2014 PMI Project of the Year Award finalist, CIO 100, and awards for best digital services, API, and platform. He also received a lifetime achievement award for leadership and digital transformation, honored as a 2016 Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader. Peter is the author of Learning Intelligence: Expand Thinking. Absorb Alternative. Unlock Possibilities (2017), which Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times No. 1 bestseller Triggers, calls "a must-read for any leader wanting to compete in the innovation-powered landscape of today." Peter also authored The Power of Blockchain for Healthcare: How Blockchain Will Ignite The Future of Healthcare (2017), the first book to explore the vast opportunities for blockchain to transform the patient experience. Peter has a B.S. in C.I.S from Bentley University and an MBA from Quinnipiac University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He earned his PMP® in 2001 and is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Masters in Business Relationship Management (MBRM) and Certified Scrum Master. As a Commercial Rated Aviation Pilot and Master Scuba Diver, Peter understands first hand, how to anticipate change and lead boldly.