It’s hard to believe that over 25 years ago I was using Macromedia’s (RIP 🤗) Dreamweaver to put together a website for my record label Predicaments. As a green 23 year old, having just secured funding for my business from the Princes Trust I didn’t have a team available to execute all the stuff I wanted to do. So relying on Macromedia’s software enabled me to put together solutions with minimal technical knowledge. It was the first time I’d been exposed to a low-code or no-code environment.
Fast forward to today’s fast-paced digital landscape, start-ups face a similar challenge. They need to build robust software solutions quickly and cost-effectively but do not have the extended teams to execute using traditional software development methods. Extensive coding skills and lengthy development cycles are often the luxury of a well-funded start-up but certainly not the norm.
However, the emergence of low-code/no-code (LCNC) platforms has revolutionised the way start-ups approach software development. These platforms empower individuals with limited coding experience to build and deploy complex applications, significantly accelerating the development process. In this article, we will explore how LCNC platforms can propel your start-up’s growth, supported by success stories from renowned companies and industry experts.
LCNC platforms enable start-ups to rapidly prototype, develop, and iterate software solutions. By providing a visual interface, pre-built components, and drag-and-drop functionality, these platforms eliminate the need for extensive coding expertise. Consequently, start-ups can focus on quickly building and testing their ideas, iterating based on feedback and market demand. According to a study conducted by Forrester, LCNC platforms can reduce application development time by up to 90% .
One success story highlighting the impact of LCNC platforms is that of Airbnb. They leveraged LCNC tools like Airflow and Superset to build internal data tools, allowing non-technical team members to access and analyse complex datasets. As a result, Airbnb achieved significant time savings and empowered employees to make data-driven decisions efficiently.
Traditional software development can be expensive, especially for start-ups with limited resources. When people ask me ‘Can I run an iOS and Android team’ they are often shocked at the burn rate. Hiring developers, building infrastructure, and managing a development team or teams can drain both financial and human resources. LCNC platforms offer an attractive alternative by reducing the dependency on highly skilled developers and minimising the need for extensive coding. This translates into significant cost savings, enabling start-ups to allocate their budget towards other critical areas of growth.
One notable success story is that of Zoho, a leading cloud software suite provider. Zoho Creator, their low-code platform, empowered the company to build over 100 applications internally without the need for external developers. This saved them substantial development costs while maintaining full control over their software solutions.
Start-ups often have small teams wearing multiple hats, including non-technical team members who contribute to product development and innovation. LCNC platforms enable these individuals to actively participate in the software development process, reducing bottlenecks and fostering a culture of collaboration. Don’t underestimate the impact this can have on the team spirit of your start up – by allowing those not used to ‘code’ to deliver and execute products put in the hands of your users, you provide a real tangible connection between your team and customer. Not to mention a great spirit of ‘doing it by yourself’.
Quoting Vijay Pullur, CEO of Pramati Technologies, “With no-code tools, we are seeing a democratisation of development where business users, subject matter experts, and non-technical developers are creating their own software solutions. This enables faster time to market and drives innovation from all corners of the organisation”.
Start-ups thrive on agility and the ability to iterate quickly based on user feedback and market dynamics. LCNC platforms facilitate rapid prototyping and iterative development, allowing start-ups to test and refine their ideas without significant time and resource investment. Additionally, these platforms provide scalability, enabling start-ups to accommodate increased user demand without rebuilding their software infrastructure. Think Figma + delivery! Your prototypes that you put in front of users can now be ‘built’ and fully operational, bridging the gap between test and learn even more.
One remarkable success story is that of OutSystems, a prominent LCNC platform provider. OutSystems helped Siemens AG transform their internal application development process. Siemens adopted low-code development, which led to a 90% reduction in app delivery time and a 90% increase in the number of apps deployed.
Low-code/no-code platforms have emerged as a game-changer for start-ups, providing the tools and capabilities needed to accelerate software development, reduce costs, empower non-technical team members, and iterate rapidly. By embracing these platforms, start-ups can gain a competitive edge, achieve faster time to market, and unleash their innovation potential.
Remember – no solution is without effort, consideration and some form of learning curve. So whilst all of these platforms offer unique opportunities outside of the traditional SDLC they must be understood well in terms of compromises and expectations. Ensure that if you’re using low-code for your build then communicate these with your founders.
5 low-code game changers
OutSystems is a comprehensive low-code platform that enables developers to build web and mobile applications visually. It offers an intuitive drag-and-drop interface and supports full-stack development. You can download the Community Edition for free to get started: OutSystems
Mendix is a low-code application development platform that empowers both developers and business users to create web and mobile applications easily. It provides a visual modeling environment and supports collaborative development. You can download the free trial version here: Mendix
Microsoft Power Apps
Microsoft Power Apps is a low-code development platform that allows users to create custom business applications without writing extensive code. It integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft tools and services. You can get started with the free version of Power Apps here: Power Apps
Appian is a low-code automation platform that enables the rapid development of enterprise-grade applications. It offers a visual development environment, extensive integration capabilities, and process automation features. You can download a trial version of Appian here: Appian
Bubble is a visual programming platform that allows users to create web applications without coding. It provides a powerful and intuitive interface to design and build complex web applications. You can start building with Bubble using their free plan: Bubble