Benefits and Cautions of Low-Code/ No-Code Development

Low and no-code development enables non-software engineers and developers to create software using drop-and-drag features, publish without the complexity of network or cloud services, and to make changes in nearly real-time.

Both low-code and no-code development platforms provide a number of highly attractive benefits, but they come with a few important considerations. Organizations seeking to increase business agility, reduce capital expense, and increase productivity use low-code/no-code tools to rapidly create software, without the traditional costs of software development and the dependency on expensive talent. The biggest benefit for both — non-expert use — is also a significant risk. There are plenty of good use cases for these tools including, but certainly not limited to, rapid prototyping, modeling, process automation, and lightweight application development. 

Employed for the appropriate scope and purpose these platforms produce the promised benefits with relatively low learning-curves and operational costs. Sizing up their fitness for purpose is essential to the successful use of applications and is normally a function of software design or information technology (IT) professionals. Removing a software engineer or IT professionals to lower the cost of creating an application can come at an unexpectedly high or hidden cost. In the simplest case, user needs and expectations may exceed original requirements. As needs increase, the cost to continue meeting them on systems not designed to scale can be exponential. Another potential risk of lightweight application design is that the ease-of-use of these platforms can result in many applications being designed and deployed without the benefit of common design principles for data and applications.

To manage potential risks, organizations should employ professional software experts as advisors and designers where possible, as well as individuals knowledgeable about their IT governance, and apply deliberate analysis to the investments being made.