If you haven't heard of no-code, you’re not alone. Our survey revealed 82% of people are unfamiliar with the term no-code. These respondents either do not know what the term means, or they have a different understanding of the term’s definition.
As far as familiarity with no-code software tools currently on the market, 67% of respondents are either not familiar at all or not so familiar with these tools.
This data indicates there is a large gap in knowledge about no-code within the general workforce. Because no-code is still a rising tech innovation, this is not surprising. The goal of this report is to better define what no-code is, how it can be used, how it’s shaping the world, and why your organization should invest in no-code software tools, apps, and platforms.
Before we get that far, let's start by answering a simple question: What does no-code mean?
At this point in time, if you search the term “no-code” in the online version of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, you won’t find quite the right answer.
As our survey revealed, there is an established definition of “no code,”
but it exists within the healthcare industry, not technology.
If you search the term no-code in Google, the technological definition will begin to emerge. You’ll discover many different definitions for the term, ranging from simple to complex. For this report, we decided to develop our own definition of no-code:
No-code is a type of software development that allows anyone to create digital applications without writing a single line of code. It involves using tools with an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface to create a unique solution to a problem. The resulting solution can take many forms—from building mobile, voice, or ecommerce apps and websites to automating any number of tasks or processes.
When thinking broadly about no-code, there are two ways you could consider the term: in a physical sense, such as no-code software tools, and in an ideation sense, such as a framework for thinking.
No-Code as Software
The most common way to interpret the term no-code is within the context of technology
. No-code tools are any type of software, system, or product that allows the user to build a solution without needing to know any code.
These tools allow non-technical workers, in any department, to create the processes, products, and tools they need to get work done—without needing support from IT. They help organizations become more digitally agile
, which makes it easier to edit, change, and adapt workflows with limited investment of time, money, and technical resources.
This type of software provides you a visual arena to build your process, usually with a drag-and-drop menu of options. From building websites and apps to creating digital workflows and paperless processes, no-code software tools make it extremely quick and easy to develop your own solutions to the most difficult problems.
"The no-code movement opens up the ability to create software to dramatically more people. It enables entrepreneurs, designers, and non-coding employees to solve valuable real-world problems with software – from product prototypes to workflow automations. The no-code movement will become an important catalyst of economic growth over the next decade."
“No-code is an ecosystem of tools and platforms that use a completely drag-and-drop, visual interface to create reusable software without actually writing any code. No-code has taken complicated, software-related tasks and made them accessible to the 99 percent.”
“No-code tools allow you to create apps and processes, such as really complex and sophisticated surveys and forms, without writing any code. They use a drag-drop-point-click format to design what you want, then you tell it what to do in English as opposed to some coded language.”
“No-code tools empower everyone, everywhere to be able to drive meaningful change. They enable people to work more effectively, innovate faster, and deliver better outcomes. It’s a toolset that gives confidence to the average employee to really leverage technology to be more successful, without needing technical skills or knowing how to write code.”
Essentially, no-code software tools enable anyone to become a citizen developer
; a non-technical worker who can use technology to build processes without assistance from IT or coding knowledge.
No-Code as a Mindset
Another way to interpet no-code is as a framework or mindset. It’s a way of thinking that allows people to take a step back and easily audit processes and workflows to better identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. It provides builders a way to better map out the logic needed to create mobile, voice, or ecommerce apps and websites.
A no-code mindset focuses on looking at systems and processes holistically. Instead of looking at each system or tool separately, a no-code approach looks at how to best combine tools through automation.
“No-code is more of a mindset than specific techniques and practices. It has one objective: find a way to get the most work done and deliver the most value and functionality with the smallest time investment. This mindset is why no-code is relevant to any business and entrepreneur.”
“You need to have a framework people can use when they think about solving problems. Digital transformation is a process that takes time, planning, careful consideration, and training. It isn’t as simple as implementing a bunch of flashy, new technologies—it’s about thinking through the biggest issues your organization faces and choosing the best solution.”
“It’s important to teach people how to notice when something is repetitive and could be improved—how to take a step back and realize when something is inefficient. We need buy-in from large companies who can spread this sort of framework and thinking across thousands of employees and other professionals.”
“Businesses generally look at how they can implement ‘one system to rule them all,’ which typically takes years to implement, isn’t consulted very well internally with workers, and is poorly rolled out. These businesses should look inward to their creative capacity, which is their current workforce, and invest in workers that want to level up their skills and ways of thinking. If businesses think this way, they can not only gain the respect of their workers, but potentially shift the culture in a positive way.”
At its core, the no-code mindset focuses on the best way to interweave tools and processes to make systems as efficient as possible. It’s similar to the idea behind Gestalt theory
, which emphasizes the importance of the whole versus individual parts. No-code enables non-technical workers to envision entire processes and easily connect the dots across teams, departments, and tools.
It’s hard to talk about no-code without bringing up a similar term: low-code. Although oftentimes used interchangeably, no-code and low-code have some very distinct differences. No-code and low-code technology are both meant to expedite the creation of apps, systems, and mobile applications, yet they target very different users.
While no-code tools exist as a way for anyone—regardless of skill set—to develop concepts more quickly, low-code tools are meant for users who have at least some level of technical and coding knowledge.
As stated by Forrester, low-code application development platforms
, “accelerate app delivery by dramatically reducing the amount of hand-coding required. Faster delivery is the primary benefit of these application platforms; they also help firms respond more quickly to customer feedback after initial software releases and provision mobile and multichannel apps.”
The keywords here are dramatically reducing the amount of hand-coding required
, which differentiates them from no-code software tools in a big way. Although the coding required to use low-code tools can be much less than traditional business software, technical skills are still needed to create, launch, and maintain anything developed using a low-code tool.
“Low-code platforms...are suitable for more complex cross-departmental processes, especially those that integrate with other applications, databases, or systems. Beyond the drag-and-drop capabilities of no-code, low-code also provides a mechanism for developers to create custom code to provide functionality. Low-code requires coding and scripting skills to some extent, but at a lesser scale and depth than conventional development.”
“Typically, low-code tools for me have been the most efficient simply because the time to development is so much faster. And it doesn't require getting external expertise, doesn't require me pulling valuable developers into projects. It’s better for them to be out developing proprietary technology, and let me handle the business technology in a low-code way where I can.”
“The value of low-code is more grounded in what they make possible for the already-technical. Low-code platforms enable more dynamic levels of customization. Most make developers’ jobs easier because they reduce the amount of totally original code developers often need to write. It’s helpful to think of it this way: low-code platforms enable already-technical people to do more with less.”
When processes or projects get too complex for no-code tools, low-code tools can be a great resource. They still improve the speed of development, but they can oftentimes produce more customized and sophisticated apps, systems, and processes. Low-code is generally adopted in IT departments, but non-technical workers can learn how to use low-code tools with some training and guidance.
Low-Code Versus No-Code:
What’s the Difference?
Learn more about how these two types of technology compare and contrast, plus how each can help you build a better business.Learn More