You may have noticed the terms low-code or no-code showing up quite frequently in recent times. But believe it or not, these phrases have been around since the 90s and have been getting pretty popular in the last decade or so. In this blog, we’ll be looking at what exactly low-code/no-code means today, their importance in the digital transformation process, and how they differ from iPaaS.
A Quick Low-Code/No-Code Rundown
Low-code/no-code solutions deal with a specific need. These solutions enable citizen developers to drag and drop icons that represent applications onto a canvas. Then, a “click-and-configure” paradigm is used to link these icons to the matching applications. What this means is that one can quickly build a business application with little or no coding needed (aka low-code and no-code). These applications deploy on top of a runtime environment delivered by the underlying platform, so they are also entitled to platform-specific capabilities with few or minor configuration variations required.
How Do They Contribute to Digital Transformation?
Because application development organizations (ADOs) typically follow traditional, complex software development processes, they are generally resource-constrained because of the sheer effort needed to build just one application. Combined with the frequency of inbound requests by the lines of business, there is often a backlog of work that needs completing, there will be a pretty narrow bottleneck. Low-code/no-code platforms enable companies to sidestep much of this as there is no involvement of an ADO for fulfilling business requests or building a new application. This aids the process of transforming a business to meet changing industry and technological requirements; which is the very meaning of digital transformation.
Constructing new processes, or altering existing processes will need access to several systems in place to enable these kinds of changes. This greatly increases the complexity of making new or modifying existing processes to meet evolving business and market requirements. This is because, without integration, these disparate systems and their associated data silos prevent the business from making well-informed business decisions.
Gaining Data Value from Integration
Merely using raw data isn’t enough to drive new and innovative methods of interacting with your end- users. Instead, what is more, important is how that raw data is combined and leveraged, enabling an organization to make informed decisions by using insights obtained from analyzing the data the company has. There are some major challenges when trying to access the data — however, certain solutions may use exclusive protocols and data formats or require significant effort when extracting the data to a readable format.
Differences Between No Code/Low Code and iPaaS
So what are the differences between no code/low code and Platform as a Service? According to MuleSoft, an iPaaS is a cloud service for the construction and deployment of integrations within the cloud and between the cloud and enterprise. (You can find out more about iPaaS and other cloud services here.)
In the context of iPaaS and relating it to the meaning of digital transformation, an iPaaS lets you access various systems no matter the location. You can then extract their data, and combine it in ways that allow the creation or modification of new and existing processes. When you compare this with the description of what low-code/no-code does above, the differences become stark and identifiable.
Let’s take a closer look at what iPaaS does.
A good iPaaS platform has the following capabilities to access, extract, and merge. These functional capabilities include:
- Integration with many non-trivial systems: The key capability of any integration platform is to connect different systems, especially things like ERP, and financial systems.
- Self-documenting processes: Utilizing a graphically-oriented drag-and-drop paradigm generates a self-documenting process. This in turn decreases the maintenance required and the TCO in the long run.
- Easy consumption: Enabling others to easily utilize new integrations eliminates the limitation of having a couple of subject matter experts who are responsible for developing all of the interfaces to certain systems.
- Governance: Fully integrated API management capabilities are vital as they help stop your business’s information security from being pushed into the background and lower the overall operational risk to the business.
While these primary capabilities sound great, it doesn’t just end there. There are also other, non-functional capabilities that come with an iPaaS.
- Infrastructure management: An iPaaS platform can also manage the basic infrastructure for the new processes that it will host.
- Monitoring and scalability: An iPaaS platform that is in the ideal position to comprehend what is happening within itself can also monitor, alert, and have the ability to scale up or down the algorithmic resources needed to run those processes.
- Re-use: Reuse can only be achieved when it is easy to find what has been created. This can be done by providing a directory where assets can be stored and are paired with the rest of the building process.
To sum things up, low-code/no-code solutions provide amazing capabilities that allow citizen developers to easily create new applications that meet a variety of needs. These solutions are different from an iPaaS platform because they each have different goals. Both solutions help businesses transform the way they operate, thus pushing them towards digital transformation and boost their revenue. And of course, any iPaaS platform has a number of super handy capabilities that allow your business to achieve great results on the road to expansion and transformation.