The term “No Code” stirs a feeling that it is too good to be true. In fact, history shows that we have been down this road many times before. The last few decades worth of technological advances have failed to live up to expectations barring, perhaps, the ubiquitous spreadsheet – from Lotus123 (the grandfather of spreadsheets) to Excel, Google sheets and many more in last few years.
Business users and management consultants have raised the usefulness of spreadsheets to whole new levels that could never have been anticipated by the original designers.
Net-net, they are no longer simply a number crunching tool but instead have become a “calculation lifeline” for most consultants and managers alike.
The growth in the use of spreadsheets is completely warranted. It was the tool chest with only one tool in it, so users had no choice but to find creative ways to leverage its capabilities. Even to this day, I continually come across businesses that live entirely on spreadsheets – complete with all their faults and glories. There are many new entrants into the spreadsheet space but none have yet risen as credible challengers to the established leaders.
In the meanwhile, during the last decade, No-Code tools have been making steady, often tumultuous, but nonetheless continuous progress. At first these tools were focused on performing specific tasks (I prefer to call them “Boxed Solutions”) like project management but they failed to dethrone the spreadsheet, except for very specific use cases.
The last decade saw the growth of more general-purpose tools such as AirTable, Notion, Coda, Webflow and many more that extended and broadened the tool chest. As an example, Airtable is a web-based, easy-to-use database (with familiar spreadsheet-like look and feel) concept with ongoing improvements to simplify user interface creation. Notion is more like a free form page where you can embed many types of structures such as tables, graphics databases, and other more free-form pages. Zapier and many others like it are tackling the challenge of integration – of connecting two stand-alone programs and facilitating data transfer.
This opens up some possibilities that were only a dream a few years ago barring the expenditure of millions of dollars and months, if not years, of development time to get to a deployable solution.
The growing portfolio of No-Code tools are the basic building blocks of a new, emerging, solution to problems faced by businesspersons previously requiring a full-blown IT solution. Moreover, they are replacing increasingly antiquated, conventional tools like whiteboards, yellow pads and even spreadsheets. In the process, they are unlocking information that was previously left untapped, leading to deeper insights and more meaningful collaboration.
These solutions can be deployed in days or weeks as opposed to the months or years as was often the case with a conventional IT solution.
Finally, the time and the cost separating the discovery of a pain point and the deployment of a solution have been so reduced that for a very many businesses the question has become “Why wouldn’t you do it?” as opposed to “Why should I?”.
If the cost of deployment, time to market, collaboration among all stakeholders, automation and access to your company’s data with deeper insights is important, it behooves you to take a look at No-Code tools before deploying an off-the-shelf boxed solution or a full blown bespoke IT solution.
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You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I
find this topic to be really something that I think
I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.
I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of