When it comes to software development, top talent is not only hard to come by. It’s expensive. With developers at a premium, what if there was an easier way for organizations to build and test applications? Turns out, there is. It’s called low-code and no-code software.
Gartner predicts that by 2024, more than half of all apps created will be developed using low-code application platforms. Similarly, Forrester Research forecasts that spending on no-code software development will reach a whopping $21.2 billion by 2022, growing by 40% year-over-year.
Low-code software is precisely what it sounds like: software that can be customized with minimal hand-coding. Designed to make professional developers more productive, low-code software makes developing custom applications intuitive, fast (think hours or days instead of weeks or even months), and cheaper.
No-code software goes even further than low-code software. With no-code software, anyone, even people with zero coding experience (or “citizen developers”), can build their own applications.
Both low-code and no-code software use largely visual, drag-and-drop approach to building applications. But what impact do the two approaches have on the finance industry? Let’s take a look.
Decreased Dependency on Developers
According to the software development services company ncube, by 2021, there will be a shortage of 1.4 million software developers in the U.S. That’s a problem when you consider that many businesses, including those in the finance sector, are increasingly relying on programmers to develop customized business software.
Because building custom apps with low-code and no-code software is as easy as making a PowerPoint presentation, businesses can deploy new workflows, automate processes, and create custom apps with the resources and talent they already have.
Moreover, low-code and no-code software allow businesses to add to and maintain apps autonomously. That means that finance teams no longer need to wait around until IT professionals find the time in their busy schedule to create or update the apps they need.
This is beneficial not only for finance teams (things get done faster) but also for IT teams. For once, they can focus on higher-value tasks instead of working on a backlog of never-ending outstanding tickets. With low code development, an IT department can be proactively focused on improving business processes without increasing headcount.
Reduced Workforce and Infrastructure Costs
By eliminating the need to hire specialists, low-code and no-code can help financial companies save a lot of money. Since the demand for IT professionals far outstrips supply, most companies have no other option but to pay new hires a premium. It doesn’t help that apps typically require a lot of IT development time and are therefore expensive to build.
With low-code and no-code, pretty much anyone can build an app. Even if developer involvement is necessary, they’re likely to complete the task much faster and much more effectively with low-code software than if they had to write code from scratch. A 2018 study by 451 Research says that low-code and no-code platforms can increase developers’ efficiency by anywhere between 50% and 90%.
Similarly, with low-code and no-code, businesses no longer need to invest in costly off-the-shelf software suites. More often than not, these solutions are built for the mass market. While they offer a ton of features, none of them are likely to solve the exact pain points of a specific company or department.
Low-code and no-code software enable teams to build apps that match their workflow perfectly — at a fraction of the cost. A Forrester Consulting study claims that an enterprise’s investment in the low-code platform Mendix returned $20.52 million total quantified benefits over three years and speeded up development by 6 to 10 times.
Let’s not forget the cost of training, either. With off-the-shelf software, employees must make time for training sessions to get to grips with the new platform. Conversely, low-code and no-code place the design in users’ hands. Plus, teams are much more likely to use apps they’ve developed themselves.
Increased Productivity and Competitiveness
More than 40% of workers waste at least a quarter of their time on manual and repetitive tasks. For example, a manual accounts payable process requires someone to type in invoice details into some type of accounting system as well as review and approve invoices, among other things. If these tasks were digitized, employees would be able to dedicate more time to more important projects.
Low-code and no-code software can help create job-specific business processes and workflows. For example, with low-code, banks can stop using folders in shared drives to keep track of large volumes of applications and instead build and use tools that do it for them.
Not only can low-code and no-code applications save a lot of manual work in processing a large amount of data, but they can also help make better decisions because there’s less room for human error.
Another example of the usefulness of low-code and no-code relates to regulatory compliance. With low-code and no-code, financial businesses can quickly set up quality assurance systems that designate assignments automatically to employees and help them make the right choices when sorting through priorities.
For a real-world example of low-code and no-code practicality, look at the Dutch bank ABN AMRO. ABN AMRO built a mobile version of Pre Trade Counterparty Manager (PCMN), a pre-trade check application, in just four (!) hours.
The usefulness of low-code and no-code platforms extends far beyond back-end applications. For example, by using low-code software, the Dutch multinational banking and financial services company Rabobank was able to rebuild an online banking portal that manages over $20 (€18) billion for more than 500,000 Belgium- and German-based customers in just a few months.
By speeding up the process of app creation and deployment, businesses are less likely to be left behind in a fast-moving financial services marketplace. With low-code and no-code, traditionally lethargic companies can reduce their time to market and compete with agile, development-focused startups.
The above are just a few of the many ways that low-code and no-code software will change, or rather, is already changing, the landscape of finance — and the habits of people that work within the industry.
Going back to the Gartner study we referenced at the start, by 2024, three out of four large enterprises will have at least four low-code development tools in their arsenal to support IT application development.
There’s no doubt about it. Low-code and no-code platforms are becoming a popular trend. It’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon and reap the benefits of this new approach to building applications driving digital disruption.
This a guest post by Laura Martisiute. She is a freelance writer with Optimist. She’s a content marketing specialist and writer. Laura enjoys deep dives into the latest research on technology and writing about that intersection with business strategy, operations, and marketing.