A few weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with a prospect at a fairly large company. Let’s call him “Peter” for the sake of this story. Peter is a business leader responsible for bringing in new revenue and running his operations as efficiently as possible. His department had been thinking about starting a marketing-oriented events app for a while but just couldn’t get the darn thing started because he couldn’t get the development team he needed for quite some time. It was the usual list of reasons. IT budgets, other projects, developer priorities, etc.
After a few conversations, his company’s forward-thinking developer (let’s call him “Dave”) recommended a no-code solution. A no-code application platform allows users without any programming knowledge to quickly build an app using drag and drop capabilities.
So Peter pulled up next to the fireplace one rainy afternoon with a glass of wine in his hand and over the next 2 hours, created his app and deployed it to a field marketer for testing. The next day, Peter showed it to Dave and they decided to roll this out to a wider group.
I like this story for multiple reasons:
- Enterprise collaboration at its best. Business & IT working as partners to get a project off the ground.
- No egos with the developers’ staff. Dave understood his current situation and wanted to help Peter reach his destination.
- They didn’t sweat the small things. Too often, I hear developers wanting total customization controls to make the app just right. A little tweak here. A little tweak there and months later. Perfection, but then it’s too late.
- Minimal disruption. For both the business side as well as IT.
Digital transformation is happening now. Enterprises will take advantage of technology trends to respond faster to customer needs and will know what it means to be truly agile. What takes months of development by developers will soon be accomplished with clicks in a matter of hours. The rise of no-code will truly change what it means to be an enterprise developer.
What does this mean for a software developer like Dave?
To answer this, I had to go back and think about my own story. I was 10 years old when I wrote my first line of code in GW-Basic (anyone remember that language??). My dad, who was a COBOL programmer brought home a PC XT desktop and showed me what I could build. I was hooked. And so began a love affair with code that spanned decades. I spent a good chunk of my life working as a programmer( a really good one 😉 ) for various enterprises.
I share this background to say I get what it means to be a developer. Yet here I am – extolling the benefits of no-code and why developers are starting to embrace this revolution personally & professionally. I made a decision many years ago to shift my focus on driving real customer transformation through strategic projects and it’s the best thing I ever did for myself.
Over the past few months, I have had animated conversations with a few enterprise developers who are fairly skeptical about no-code for the following reasons:
- They love the idea of creating something from scratch and watching it be deployed with business users.
- They have spent a long time learning skills and feel it may make them irrelevant.
- They think no-code platforms can’t deliver the richness or complexity.
- For some reason or the other.. they all want no-code solutions to provide the ability to customize the app. They can’t get over the fact that you can click it to build it. I think it’s because of the reasons above.
I have also had conversations with other developers who are ready to get on board the no-code platform for reasons including:
Work on more fun projects
If you a developer, raise your hand if you enjoy making mundane changes month over month. Do you want to continue to work on those TPS reports or low – medium impact projects? Don’t you want to be the person to work on voice-enabling (AI-fying) your apps to drive new processes ( for example)? Professionally speaking, as a developer, this would expand my portfolio of skills. Imagine, you had a way to automate or operationally achieve the capability to make changes.
No-Code Platforms will still need to be Blessed by IT
Businesses have processes that are constantly evolving and will need their apps to keep up with the changes. There is a massive opportunity to empower your business users and provide a safe & trusted platform where they can manage these constant changes.
A “Citizen Developer” is a term coined for someone who creates an application and happens to sit outside of IT. The idea for the app is conceived, designed, and delivered by the users who need the functionality. These business users manage the ongoing operational changes because they want to make changes now, not a month from now.
Eliminate Shadow IT and be the hero of your organization by picking the right no-code platform that encourages collaboration by both IT and these Citizen Developers on the business side.
Take your career to another level
When I started my career as a programmer, I thought I would retire as one. Turns out it wasn’t the case. Several years ago, as a Java Developer, I was faced with a similar conundrum when the company I worked for brought in Salesforce.com to replace a lot of the apps that we had built. I thought I would be finding work elsewhere. My boss asked me to stick around and I reinvented myself. I went in front of customers more and switched my role to be outcomes-focused. I used my coding knowledge instead to recommend the best solutions. Best decision ever! I am now a happily retired programmer…but I do occasionally whip out out some code for old time’s sake.
Build Rich & Sophisticated Apps
One concern is that no-code platforms only allow simple apps. With Turbo Systems, that is no longer the case. Organizations now have the means to build out rich and sophisticated business apps with point and click. All without sacrificing depth or quality. The technology exists to a point where you don’t really need to be coding unless you have something extremely unique and ultra-specific to your organization. For those scenarios, the next point is relevant.
Code is not fully going away… at least not for a while
Organizations will still need developers to do highly specific and mission-critical things. The good thing is that it won’t be boring or mundane work, but maybe exciting new technology to explore and build. So for those that need to have their code fix, focus on delivering high-value strategic projects and let the no-code platforms handle the daily operational stuff.
If you are new to the world of no-code platforms and all its acronyms (hpaPaaS, aPaaS, SaaS, iPaaS, etc), now is the best time to roll up your sleeves and explore the full potential.
Disruptive technology is already here…in a good way! It’s a great time to be an enterprise developer. Let’s all be like Dave and be partners to the Peters of the business world.