No- and Low-Code Tools Ignite Collaboration
As a tech professional of 20 years, I’m a major advocate of no- and low-code tools to help line-of-business users and IT work better and faster together. Although the hype around “no-code” tools can often feel like a slight to coders, there’s a lot of real value in declarative tools for developers.
Back when I worked on Schema Builder at Salesforce, we were building for a more sophisticated user. Instead of a simple declarative tool, such as custom field wizard, we were creating a declarative tool for developers. Back then, the head of Developer Evangelism at Salesforce liked to introduce me as the “product manager for the fast developer tools.” I like the moniker, because the concept of eliminating code makes sense, when executed correctly. Developer time is precious. It’s sometimes much faster to use no-code tools than to write code for the same functionality. When developers get more done in less time everyone wins.
Developer-savvy no-code tools require a seamless relationship between declarative and programmatic development. Need a formula or action to do something that’s not out of the box? There should be hooks for a programmer to write that and expose it to the declarative user. If developers can pass some of their work onto skilled business analysts, they’ll be able to focus on the more complex challenges and dramatically speed up their productivity.
By using the right no-code platform, developers can radically ramp the value they deliver. There’s always work to be done at the code-heavy level. With an extensible no-code platform, IT teams will have enough time to tackle the tough challenges that only coders can handle, because they can hand off the simpler declarative stuff to business users, or “citizen developers.”
No- and Low-Code Tools Help You Build Better and Faster
When companies implement a win-win workshare between IT and business users, they move much faster and work far more efficiently. If the goal of no- and low-code tools is to help both developers and line-of-business users build whatever kind of business app they might need, these tools must intuitively understand what those needs are. If you’ve found a platform to do this, you’re well on your way to success.
After Salesforce, I joined Skuid, because I believe this new paradigm represents the future of app development, and Skuid is leading the way. As a no-code user experience platform, Skuid includes a library of components common to business applications. You can combined these components and hook them up to data sources and actions to create applications with fantastic user experiences. The biggest challenge in creating a platform like Skuid is in understanding all the possible things someone might want to create with it. Once you understand this, we have to consider how to abstract everything into a system that works well for a each type of user, whether its an experienced coder or a citizen developer.
At Skuid, we’ve been careful not to compete with specific vertical applications (like customer relationship management) and instead, to focus on higher level functions that transcend application use cases. While we connect to CRM systems and ERP systems, our components work across multiple applications and data sources.
At the same time, we know that we’ll only be able to think of a small part of overall business use cases, and that our customers and partners are also co-producers. They continue to blow us away with how they use Skuid to do stuff we never imagined. As soon as we think we’ve considered everything, someone comes up with another use case. And that’s why we never stop innovating or checking in on user needs. It’s also why Skuid is an open platform, allowing developers to build their own components, snippets, and other extensions. By providing developers with the ability to extend our declarative tooling, we open the door for others to fill the gaps and solve their specific business challenges.
Innovate at Blazing Speed
Innovation at blazing speed will continue to be critical for companies to succeed in the face of stiff competition and changing markets. Innovation isn’t an endpoint—it’s an ongoing journey. Innovation is about more than the next new idea, its about being able to respond to the change you create. Every time you create an app, you stimulate change. As a tech professional, I’ve seen that each time you deliver beneficial data to your enterprise community, they will respond with a desire for more. They want disparate data delivered in unified, practical ways, through a host of new devices and formats. And they want it faster.
As IT professionals, we need to be able to respond to this change instantly, creating a virtuous circle of ongoing innovation between IT and those who use our software. To do all of this at the speed of business, we need an enabling no-code platform to divide and delegate the work more appropriately, so we can all deliver better results, faster.