Attribute it to whoever you feel closest to – Alan Kay, Peter Drucker, Abraham Lincoln – the quote stands true. ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’. Between the myriad posts claiming the future of software is No-Code / Low-Code programming and platforms, to those who fire a valid warning on governance, security and maintenance costs which will prove too great eventually. As I share my personal views, I want to put this in context of SAP’s biggest play on the foundation of their unified, business-centric, and open data and development platform for the entire SAP ecosystem – SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP).
With business wanting a faster turnaround of “new”, customizations on technology is not a thing for IT-alone. Innovation drives revenues, innovation enhances customer experience, and innovation accelerates the development of new products/services and business is closer to seeing this at closer quarters. With technology moving faster than IT and business can keep pace with, the rise of citizen developers (business users who are non-IT) wishing to develop and launch apps with little or no input from IT, enables a transformation in the development and expansion of organizational capabilities, reducing the IT talent gap. Yet, standard and data security, access controls, encryption, compliance etc. cannot be appreciated by an average citizen developer.
Balancing empowerment of business-users to rapidly build their own processes and applications to scale versus reducing technical debt and architectural decoupling of integrations is key. Low/No-Code platforms are built on Platform-as-a-Service cloud environments typically employing visual programming interfaces to solve business problems faster and move to a DevOps way of working. They operate in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get principle! Simple drag and drop interfaces imply no need of deep technical skills, but also open to all kinds of developers. Make no mistake though, Low/No-code platforms aren’t about UI alone, and SAP recognized this to shape a part of the SAP BTP strategy.
With several complimentary, prebuilt process content/bots and integrated low-code automation tools, like SAP Workflow Management, SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation, AppGyver, SAP Business Application Studio and strategic portfolio plays with the likes of Mendix, developers and business experts are no more tied down (to just Fiori for instance). This is a vast portfolio SAP is providing from no code to low code to pro code, to contribute to building the Intelligent Enterprise.
Low/No-Code will play a massive role in the future of application development but it’s not a binary decision. Citizen developers and professional developers will co-exist to quickly innovate, develop, test, and integrate individual applications to enterprise IT solutions. The world of (i)PaaS particularly just got more interesting!
Would like to hear your views, and let’s connect if you are evaluating SAP BTP and Low/No-Code platforms.