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Why no-code software could be key to the post-Covid business

‘No code’ software platforms might help businesses adapt as they scramble to emerge from the SARS-CoV-2 crisis this year, according to Smartsheet‘s chief product officer Gene Farrell.

In an op-ed for CNBC‘s Technology Executive Council, Farrell explained that ‘no-code’ platforms — a step on from ‘low code’ application development — could be adopted widely as the pandemic wanes, representing a post-Covid technology boom that has so far been less talked about.

“We’re still in the early stages of the no-code story,” he wrote. “Giants such as Google and Amazon have recognised the significant use cases for this technology, with both companies launching no-code products earlier this year.

“Further, Gartner predicts that over 50% of medium to large enterprises will have adopted a no-code platform as one of their strategic application platforms by 2023.”

Farrell said that companies increasingly realise that it makes more sense to adopt platforms that staff with limited technical knowledge can use than to hire more highly-trained coders and developers.

As Covid-19 vaccines roll out, business leaders are revisiting their return-to-work plans, looking to empower employees to turn ideas into action and innovation, he adds.

“While we’re not sure exactly when or how individuals will return to the office, the new work environment won’t look like the old one. Leaders will be increasingly tasked with managing remote, asynchronous workloads and projects.”

Farrell said that he is often approached with new ideas and ways to improve product design, functions and capabilities — but it is even better when someone can take their idea and develop a functional prototype that he can then react to and provide feedback.

“First, it dramatically shortens the path from idea to impact, which is critical in the new, dynamic environment in which we’re now operating. Second, it ensures the idea won’t fall by the wayside,” he wrote.

“Once I see that something can work, I’m focused on making it better.”

Farrell noted that Smartsheet itself has already seen the impact of no-code tech. For example, during the initial days of the Covid-19 outbreak, an employee used a no-code platform to develop a dashboard to track the health status of remote workers.

“The template was so successful that we offered it for free to organisations around the world so they could build their own coronavirus response plans.

“The templates were downloaded over 10,000 times in the first 10 days alone, showing how an individual without any coding background was able to make a significant impact when given the proper tools,” Farrell wrote.

Read the full opinion piece published by CNBC here.

Manjunath Bhat, senior director and devops research analyst at Gartner, has explained that low- and no- code technologies offer key benefits for business innovation and digital transformation.

“Historically, abstracting away complexity has been the single biggest driver for all technology innovation,” he wrote in a July 2020 blog on how to predict the survival potential of different technologies.

For instance, cloud-native technologies aim to abstract away infrastructure related complexity, and managing infrastructure involves lot of repetitive work most of which does not add value. Serverless technologies also emerged from the need to abstract away the complexity involved in managing and scaling infrastructure, he wrote.

“Likewise, Low-code or no-code technologies aim to abstract away the complexity involved with application development,” Bhat explained. “Technology evolution (for the most part) is about adapting to changing requirements.”

Smartsheet is a vendor of work management software for the dynamic enterprise.

(Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash)

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