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Low-code and no-code development platforms, which provide the means to build software without the need to write code, are exploding in popularity as enterprises become increasingly digital during the pandemic. It’s estimated that nearly 60% of all custom apps are now created outside the IT department, 30% of which are built by employees with limited development skills. Because low- and no-code solutions don’t require traditional programming skills, they have the potential to reduce app development time by 90%, a RedHat analysis found.
By 2024, Gartner predicts that low-code app development will be responsible for more than 65% of app development. And one of the vendors likely benefit is 22-year-old, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Quickbase, which offers a no- and low-code platform designed to help companies connect and automate systems, processes, and workloads.
“We lead in the market. We work with thousands of customers each and every day to help them streamline operations and drive operational agility,” Quickbase chief product and technology officer Jay Jamison said during a panel at VentureBeat’s Low-Code/No-Code Summit. “[Our platform] is about empowering experts at the edge of the business that … understand where the existing software gaps and problems are. [Quickbase] enables these subject-matter experts to safely and powerfully connect information and build the software they need … to best serve their customers.”
Above: Quickbase’s low-code app development platform.
Quickbase lets customers visually orchestrate workflows across apps and third-party tools using simple business logic, prebuilt integrations, and API-powered extensions. Leveraging the platform, employees can tweak a business app, transform data, or change the schema without having to take an app offline. Moreover, app builders and administrators have full control over who sees what information stored in Quickbase — as well as over the duration for which that information is retained.
Using Quickbase, developers, business stakeholders, and IT teams can collaborate, verifying apps in a controlled environment before they’re released to a larger user base. Moreover, they can review, publish, and discard changes to apps all while users continue to add data to them, either in development or in production.
“A lot of our customers … have these large-scale projects and lots of people, data, and workflows where they’re struggling with most of their existing tools. QuickBase provides a nice kind of glue … to connect these different systems, people, and data … [to deliver a] unified view into complex, dynamic process that lots of people can see [and] get value from,” Jamison said.
The value of no- and low-code
One of the advantages that companies adopting no- and low-code tools cite is efficiency, as well as substantial cost savings. The average business avoids hiring two IT developers by using low-code tools, reaping about $4.4 million in increased business value over three years from the apps designed, Forrester says. Whether for forms, data collection, process and workflow orchestration, or replacements for paperwork and spreadsheets, the majority of IT leaders say that they’re choosing low-code platforms to increase app output and accelerate digital transformation.
For example, one of Quickbase’s customers, Daifuku, used the platform to solve business problems specifically related to its supply chain. A Japanese material-handling equipment company, Daifuku needed an app that allowed a division to track parts from the point of entry through engineering all the way to the assembly shop.
“[The goal is] to decrease variability from project to project, because [we don’t want to] have somebody just deciding that they want to change a template today because they didn’t like this column or that column,” Daifuku VP of advanced automation Giovanni Stone said. “[Quickbase helps to] standardize the process with something as simple as automatic notifications and reminders that really add value, [as well as] historical data and the ability to look at trends and and figure out bigger-picture kind of things.”
Quickbase competes with a number of startups in the growing no- and low-code automation space. For example, Webflow offers a cloud-based no-code website development and hosting platform used by enterprises such as Allianz, Rakuten, Zendesk, and Dell. Airtable and OutSystems claims that their low-code products are employed by thousands of companies and multiple hundreds of partners. Indeed, if the current trend holds, the low- and no-code app development platform market could be worth $86.92 billion by 2027, according to Grand View Research.
But Stone emphasized Quickbase’s ease of use when it comes to publishing scalable, enterprise-class apps. “I have people from shop technicians all the way through senior-level engineers participate in [app creation — it’s really democratic in that way,” he said. “I even have customers put data in or look at data. I’ve got subcontractors who are out in the field … and construction workers who are using [Quickbase-based apps] to look at issues … There’s really no level of employee that can’t use these tools.”
By the same token, Quickbase enables “citizen developers” at Daifuku to address problems that the IT department hasn’t prioritized. Backlogs pervade the enterprise, with one survey showing that 42% of IT professionals plan to deliver 10 apps or more for their organization, but with an average development time of at least five months.
“The idea is that we get technology to help employees on the floor [so that customers can] just deal with problems and fix them” as they arise, Jamison said. “[With Quickbase,] you have a toolset that’s very, very helpful for end-users to start solving problems in their business. [It] unleashes a lot of latent potential an organization, where you can really drive outcomes [and fill] in the gap between monolithic systems.”
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