Increasingly, enterprises all over the world are embracing no-code tools. 95% of businesses surveyed by Tonkean say they have already adopted or will soon adopt no-code or low-code platforms. They’re doing so in part to better allow non-technical business users to create software solutions and automate workflows through graphical user interfaces, instead of via traditional means—such as relying on IT to custom-build such tools for them.
Speaking of IT, it’s not just for the business’s benefit that enterprises are embracing no-code. The best no-code solutions—by empowering IT to scale their ability to enable the business—help IT operate more efficiently in their own right, and in turn allow IT to spend more time on more strategic priorities.
But that’s just the beginning.
What makes no-code different?
First things first, a note: no-code is not the same thing as low-code.
Most importantly, low-code tools necessitate users know how to code—or that they at least possess some amount of programming ability and knowledge.
That’s a far cry from true no-code, which does not require any coding knowledge to use effectively. If a tool does require coding knowledge to derive value from it, it’s not no-code.
Here, we’re talking specifically about no-code tools.
How no-code tools work—or, how they should work.
Business and operations teams are constantly looking for tech solutions to increase their agility, improve their ability to create value, and streamline processes.
But these teams just can’t grab any app and infuse it into their organization’s existing tech stack on their own—at least not without creating Shadow IT, or compromising their company’s data. Instead, IT needs to lead that charge.
However, IT often lacks the resources or bandwidth to do this at scale. Both new app development and packaged-app procurement / deployment takes time… time that IT doesn’t have—especially when you consider everything else on its plate, from meeting Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to improving the company’s products.
Enterprise-grade no-code solutions, however, can help IT enable the business much more efficiently, because they allow IT to offload much of the labor required of business enablement—from solution and workflow design to ongoing solution and workflow maintenance—to the business and operations teams themselves.
Not all no-code solutions are capable of this, but some, like Tonkean, are.
Here’s how, at a high level, such platforms work.
First, they allow IT to create and compile libraries of modular, reusable technological capabilities and functionalities that exist on top of the existing tech stack. You can think of such technical components as a set of Lego blocks that business users—or, citizen developers—can use to facilitate the creation of new software simply by connecting them together in different ways.
These building blocks can assume a variety of forms to meet the varying needs of the business. They can be API connections bridging existing cloud systems or they can be RPA bots that automate interactions with legacy systems. They can be chatbots that interface with multiple communication platforms—Slack, MS Teams, email—allowing for more seamless collaboration and connections between enterprise systems and people.
The key aspect is that these building blocks offload the more innately technical demands of solution architecture so that business users don’t even have to think about that stuff. Rather, in designing and deploying their own internal solutions, built with their unique understanding of the problems they’re trying to solve, they can simply select the building block that does the function the solution calls for and go from there.
This allows for solution creation without getting into the minutiae of how those technical components are built, and allows IT to create a governance structure around these components.
The second piece there, however, is a no-code interface that allows non-technical users to actually compose and deploy their no-code solutions. This no-code interface must be able to consume all the various types of components that can exist in an enterprise, from sales platforms to email and everything in between. These interfaces must also abstract as much of the technical expertise required of development as possible, including an understanding of how to manage data relationships, variables, and complex logical constructs, among other things. They should also be drag-and-drop.
That, ultimately, is what is necessary to build solutions without active knowledge of application development best practices. Ideally, those best practices should themselves be abstracted and handled by the no-code platform.
No-code tools enable both the business and IT to operate more efficiently and effectively.
Such a no-code interface, enabling interaction with IT-provided components, allows business and operations users to focus on what they should be focusing on, which is the business logic and the particulars of the processes they’re trying to improve.
For IT, no-code saves time and labor. With no-code, IT can spend more time in the capacity of architects, rather than just act as implementers or custodians. No-code can also help empower developers to work on more strategic and valuable initiatives.
Business teams, meanwhile, can use no-code solutions to work and solve problems independently, instead of relying and waiting on IT teams. No-code tools also help business teams harness the power of things like automation technology faster and with more independence—meaning they reap the benefit of automation, say, while at the same time removing bottlenecks that today often impede upon their ability to use innovative tech effectively.
Finally, with the right kind of no-code platform in place, business and operations teams can assemble their own integrated workflow solutions and plug into the existing tech stack safely. (It’s important to reiterate that, with a no-code platform like Tonkean, business users are not creating their own integrations, but using the building blocks/components sanctioned and approved by IT. They’re also not out shopping for new apps on their own, and IT maintains full governance over the tech stack and the organization’s operational infrastructure.)
No-code promotes agility.
By empowering non-technical users to flexibly create and manage workflow solutions on their own, no-code not only increases efficiency, but business agility, as well. Before no-code, internal solutions would typically take IT six months or more to build. No-code platforms like Tonkean allow the business to get up and running with a new, powerful, and easily governable internal tool in a matter of days.
On the IT side, the work required of enabling the business becomes but a fraction of what it once was. For example, with no-code, IT only has to create a strategic set of technological capabilities, because those capabilities are modular and reusable: the business can pick and choose from them as needed when composing their own solutions.
That not only saves IT a ton of time, but it cuts down on technological and operational complexity across the board.
Operational complexity creates what is called operational debt, and slows down companies holistically. Often, such complexity is a product of companies investing in too many apps. Enterprises today are drowning in apps. According to a recent Tonkean report, 82% of IT respondents believe their organization uses too many software apps.
Both building and buying apps costs money and time. But apps, powerful as they can be, also tend to create silos and technology gaps, which need to be manually bridged or overcome in order for mission-critical processes even to run.
Today, enterprises go about increasing efficiency and innovative capacity by inefficiently sinking tons of time, effort, and money into new technology, which itself often decreases efficiency, inhibits collaboration, and hinders agility by mandating manual work.
No-code tools offer a more agile alternative. Because they allow business and operations users easy access to any integration or technical functionality they need, they effectively tear down those silos and obviate the need for manually bridging technology gaps. And because they allow non-technical users to build their own workflow solutions, companies can be much more selective and strategic about the new technology tools they do decide to invest in, focusing instead on making the most of the tools they already have. This increases agility while cutting down on operational debt, reducing both turnaround times and total costs.
Important: you need the right kind of no-code tool.
The benefits detailed above are not inherent to all no-code tools. Specifically, you need a platform that endeavors to provide as much value to IT as it does to the business. No-code should not be used to replace developers. The platform you invest in must serve your organization holistically.
That’s what we designed Tonkean to do.