“Every business is a software business,” declared tech pioneer Watts S. Humphrey two decades ago. Each year, CEOs repeat Humphrey’s adage. And each year, as software winds its way deeper into every function of the business, it becomes more true. To deliver value, organizations must therefore commit to delivering new digital services to customers, employees, and partners—not just today, but over the long term.
If you have any doubts, consider the top-five largest global companies. Between 2010 and 2020, Amazon, Alphabet, and Facebook knocked behemoths Exxon, PetroChina, and ICB from the list. All three newcomers were digital-first enterprises. They captured markets early, and then continued to innovate relentlessly. The two survivors—tech giants Apple and Microsoft—stayed at the top by using deep pockets to fund similarly aggressive digital transformations, year after year.
On the other hand, incumbent enterprises, especially those in compliance-heavy sectors like financial services, healthcare, and government, have found themselves unable to keep up. Many factors contribute to their slow adoption of digital services. Their tech stacks are an increasingly complex hodgepodge of legacy systems that have stymied integration. The risk of non-compliance also slows innovation. And digital transformation is a risky affair—consider that some 85% of custom software development projects went over schedule and 70% of large-scale initiatives failed to reach their stated goals.
Digital transformation can never be seen as a one-and-done occurrence. The constant emergence of new technologies, business models, and competitive threats requires constant innovation. If, for example, virtual reality suddenly becomes the next must-have six months from now, slow-moving incumbents will fall even further behind.
And falling behind is particularly perilous these days. Digital leaders are snatching an ever-larger share of the markets in which they operate. That leaves laggards to battle each other for an ever-smaller piece of the pie. According to a recent BCG study of the telco industry, digital leaders increased market share by an average of 7% between 2012 to 2017, while laggards saw their market share drop 11%. “Digital’s continued contribution to company performance means that gap will likely grow,” conclude BCG analysts. And no industry is immune. This principle “holds true across a wide range of industries,” they write.
Fortunately, the advent of no-code is changing the economics of digital innovation. With the right no-code platform, incumbent organizations can quickly catch up with digital startups—and keep innovating over the long term. Development with the Unqork’s no-code platform, for example, is “a minimum of three times faster and three times less expensive” than the company's previous approach, says James McGlennon, CIO of Liberty Mutual.
No-code makes this possible with an all-visual building environment. Even less experienced developers can create new custom digital services quickly and easily. And with a fully configurable visual interface and modern APIs, developers—Unqork calls them Creators—can connect user-facing services with backend applications and third-party systems.
As the world’s first true enterprise no-code solution, Unqork also embeds enterprise-grade security and compliance deep in the DNA of each new digital offering. As a result, even organizations in compliance-heavy sectors can dramatically speed development.
In short, no-code is driving down the cost of digital innovation. And not just for a one-off project. Incumbents that catch the wave will quickly find themselves within striking distance of digital attackers. For this reason, Forrester expects the market for platforms like Unqork to grow at 40% a year, reaching $21.2 billion by 2022.
The ways to grow value through digital innovation are endless, vary from industry to industry, and are sure to evolve as disruptive new technologies and trends emerge. But when you are able to quickly and cost-effectively develop new digital services, change becomes an ally rather than a foe. With that in mind, let’s consider seven ways no-code helps future-proof your organization, so you can deliver long-term value.
1. Create innovative digital services without replacing existing systems
In the past, user-facing digital services required costly and time-consuming development of custom integrations to backend applications and data sources. The other unhappy solution: Ripping and replacing existing systems.
With a no-code platform like Unqork, you don’t need to make changes to underlying systems. Thanks to an extensive library of pre-built APIs, Creators can quickly and seamlessly connect front-end elements, back-end processes, and third-party integrations. Even when databases lack a “wrapper” that enables them to integrate with other systems, Unqork enables you to build one quickly. As a result, Unqork applications automatically ingest data from legacy and/or third-party sources, and then pass on critical information to other downstream systems.
And Creators can make it happen without writing a single line of code.
2. Modernize ERP and other underlying systems without disrupting user-facing services
Just as no-code enables you to quickly build applications that connect to your current tech stack, it also gives you the flexibility to evolve your infrastructure running underneath—without impacting the digital services you’ve built.
As a result, you can evolve your stack with agility, rather than become limited by ERP suites that have “complex, rigid structures,” in the words of Bain analysts. What most companies need instead are “flexible systems that allow them to respond rapidly to customer needs and new opportunities,” the analysts continue.
No-code is designed to help you achieve exactly this goal. You can build innovative digital services now, and as your stack evolves, simply integrate new tech components into existing services with the same ease with which you originally created them.
Let’s say you want to replace your legacy CRM system with a state-of-the-art solution that will help you drive new revenue. The challenge is, you have a number of critical custom applications running on top of your legacy CRM solution. In the past, the time, cost, and risk of building new integrations would offset the gains from the new solution. With no-code, you regain the ability to innovate your stack, knowing that you can connect existing digital services to new underlying systems quickly, easily, and with minimal disruption.
3. Address the growing shortage of highly skilled developers
Highly skilled developers are expensive. Even during the 2020 economic slump, their salaries kept rising. In fact, the chronic shortage of tech talent is only growing. A recent Gartner survey found that 63% percent of respondents considered the lack of tech talent a key concern for their organization.
With no-code, you can address this challenge by empowering less experienced coders and non-technical business users to perform tasks without any of the complex syntax of traditional programming languages. In the process, you free Creators up to focus on what really matters: Business logic and the flows of the applications they create. At the same time, you free experienced developers from routine tasks, so they can tackle more complex, value-add challenges.
In this regard, there is a big difference between no-code and low-code. Yes, low-code developers can reuse blocks of code in order to speed development. But ultimately, they still need some mastery of common coding languages. By contrast, no-code literally means “no code.” And whereas it can take a year or more to learn a new programming language, Creators can start building applications with Unqork in a matter of weeks.
The result: You drive down the costs of development for the long term, and free up experienced developers for critical tier-1 applications and other more strategic projects.