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The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to No-Code Automation Platforms

A recent press release by Gartner reported that seven in ten new apps will use low-code or no-code technologies by 2025.

This data comes on the heels of an earlier Gartner study, in which 75% of big companies will be using a minimum of four low-code development tools by 2024, compared to less than 25% in 2020.

75% of big companies will be using a minimum of four low-code development tools by 2024, compared to less than 25% in 2020.

Courtesy of Gartner

But that’s not all.

Low-code and no-code automation platforms have been making headlines all over the Internet, as leading publications in the IT space — from Forbes and Digital Journal to GlobeNewswire — have reported on the sudden market boom.

As a result, concepts like “low-code,” “no-code,” and “citizen developers” are quickly entering common usage across industries and business verticals.

If you are new to the automation game, all that corporate lingo may be causing you to feel confused, overwhelmed, and out of your depth.

This is why we put together this guide. In it, we explain:

  • What low-code and no-code platforms are
  • Why everyone is raving about them
  • Why you should care
  • What it all means for the future of business

Let’s dive right in!

What Are No-Code Automation Platforms?

No-code automation tools and platforms allow you to build software applications and automate various business processes without traditional computer programming. This helps shorten development time and opens up access to automation to non-technical users, also known as citizen developers.

Image Source Gartner

Instead of writing code, you interact with the system’s graphical user interface. This usually means dragging and dropping pre-built elements on a screen to create and deploy your desired apps or automations.

Most no-code platforms come with both ready-made automatons as well as options for building custom solutions from the ground up.

No-Code vs Low-Code: What’s the Difference?

Like no-code solutions, low-code platforms make it easy for citizen developers to create apps or automations using intuitive drag-and-drop UI. The main difference is that with low-code, some programming know-how is still required, whereas no-code completely removes the need for coding.

No-Code vs Low-Code: Which Is Better?

For all the benefits of low-code platforms, no-code automation tools are the future. A no-code tool enables you to quickly build applications and set up automations in response to evolving business needs without expensive in-house (or external) developers. The ability to rapidly gather requirements, configure a solution, and deploy it in the cloud enables you to respond to day-to-day challenges and stay competitive in today’s digital economy.

The Origins and Use Cases of No-Code

Is No-Code a New Concept?

This may come as a surprise, but no-code tools have been around for decades. The history of the no-code movement dates back to 1985 when Microsoft released the first iteration of Excel.

Yes, you read that right: Good old Excel, which enables you to process, analyse, and visualise data without touching a line of code, is an early example of no-code software.

Of course, Excel had limited functionality and was mainly used offline. The technology that took no-code online in 2003 was WordPress, which empowered users to build entire websites code-free. In 2004, Shopify took things a step further by making it possible to set up an e-commerce store without coding.

Low-code and no-code tools have continued to evolve, springing up like mushrooms since. Today, we have advanced software solutions powered by AI that can build enterprise-grade applications and complex automations using nothing but a simple user interface.

Combined with Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, Natural Language Processing, and predictive analytics, today’s no-code automation platforms can even rival the capabilities of human development teams.

Use Cases for No-Code Automation 

No-code automation tools can be used in many different industries — from banking, insurance, and financial services to mortgages, operations, shared services, logistics, healthcare, and more. Whatever your workflows, they can be automated using no-code development.

According to Gartner, the most popular low/no-code use cases are:

  • Automating data collection through web forms or data-collection apps (58%)
  • Automating manual processes and workflows within existing apps (49%)
  • Replacing paper, email, or spreadsheets (42%)
  • Creating new custom UI for existing on-premise apps (22%)

What Organisations Is No-Code Automation Best Suited To?

Modern no-code tools can be used by all kinds of organisations. Unlike in the past, there are no longer barriers based on the size of the organisation or the complexity of the problem.

Benefits of No-Code Automation Platforms

Advantages of no-code solutions over conventional programming include: 

  • Low barrier to entry: Unlike traditional programming languages, a no-code platform is easy to use and requires little training time. You don’t need any special skills to get started.
  • Cost-effectiveness: You can easily set up automated processes and build apps without hiring expensive programmers or software consultants. 
  • Scalability: With a no-code platform, you can easily scale your automations up or down depending on your current business needs.
  • Speed to market: You can build and deploy apps and automate processes in minutes rather than hours or days.
  • Flexibility: No-code tools enable you to fail fast and quickly adapt to changing requirements. You can take an idea and implement and test it quickly. If it works, you move on. If it needs tweaking, you can create and test the next iteration in minutes.
  • Data collection: Modern no-code platforms can collect detailed data about your core business workflows, helping you to make better-informed decisions.
  • Integrations: Many no-code solutions support third-party app integration with other tools, so you can continue using your existing software without buying expensive new infrastructure. 
  • Efficiency: No-code technology frees your developers and other staff members to focus on higher-value tasks while the automations take care of your mundane and repetitive workflows.

For a deeper dive into this topic, check out our recent post on the 5 Surprising Benefits of a No-Code Automation Platform.

No-Code and the Rise of Citizen Developers

two female citizen developers discussing no-code automation platform

Here are some more numbers for you: Nearly 60% of apps are currently being developed outside IT departments.

20% of businesses are considering or preparing to launch citizen development initiatives, and 41% already have active initiatives underway. 

Gartner

One-third of these apps are built by staff with limited or no software development skills — the so-called citizen developers — and they are only just starting. According to Gartner, 20% of businesses are considering or preparing to launch citizen development initiatives, and 41% already have active initiatives underway. 

What explains this sudden interest in citizen developers? Two reasons:

No-Code Cost Savings

The average software developer salary in the US was $111,783 per year as of December 13, 2021.

Courtesy of Glassdoor

While no-code doesn’t replace developers fully, it frees them to focus on more complex projects and helps organisations save on hiring new engineers. This is ultimately a more cost-effective option, making no-code automation tools especially beneficial for SMEs and companies that can’t afford an IT overhead.

No-Code Bridges the Skill Gap

Even if you could afford to hire an entire software development team, there aren’t enough skilled developers to go around: 26% of businesses face potential IT skill gaps, which are second only to skill gaps in data science (43%).

Courtesy of McKinsey 

Citizen developers are the only way to close IT skill gaps and enable organisations to continue to move forward at a fast pace in a market where the competition for talent is fierce.

The Future of No-Code Automation Platforms: 3 Market Trends to Watch in 2022 and Beyond

What’s on the horizon for no-code automation platforms? Here are three industry trends to keep an eye on:

1. The Market Is Growing and Shows No Signs of Stopping

The global low-code development platform market is expected to grow at a robust CAGR of 31%, generating a whopping $187 billion in revenue by the end of the decade. Just three years ago, in 2019, that figure was a modest $10 billion.

2. Non-IT Organisations Are Becoming Increasingly Interested in Low and No-Code Tools

Gartner predicts that one in two new buyers of low-code platforms will be from outside the IT industry by the end of 2025. This is a critical change in the market, indicating two important trends. On the one hand, more organisations are looking for ways to optimise workflows and cut back on IT and development costs. On the other hand, non-technical users are getting more comfortable using citizen developer tools as the technology becomes more accessible and user-friendly. 

3. Low and No-Code Development Could Help Businesses Adjust to a Post-Pandemic Economy

A recent survey by research firm IDC found that 39.3% of companies are investing in low-code or no-code platforms due to “pandemic-related needs.” Solutions such as web forms and workflow automation facilitate remote work and help make up for a shrinking workforce in the age of the Great Resignation.

What Is Unitek’s Automation Experience Platform, and What Can It Do?

unitek no-code automation platform drag-and-drop automated workflow builder
Unitek's no-code Digital Process Automation Canvas

Unitek’s award-winning Automation Experience Platform is a powerful yet easy-to-use no-code solution specially designed for rapid ROI. You don’t need any programming knowledge to get started and reap the benefits.

Here are just some of its many use cases:

Banks, FinTechs, and Finance Teams

  • Streamline ID verification and new account onboarding
  • Accelerate loan and card applications from weeks to seconds
  • Enhance compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations
  • Stay on top of changes with continued automated monitoring

Insurance

  • Streamline customer queries, claims processing, and new applications
  • Automate customer data entry and extraction using smart web forms and next-gen Robotic Process Automation 
  • Speed up claims, applications, and renewals processing from hours, days, and weeks to seconds

Mortgage Brokers and Lenders

  • Automate multiple processes, from underwriting and loan processing to onboarding, compliance, and more
  • Drastically reduce the overall cycle of the mortgage application process
  • Connect to lender portals automatically and in seconds
  • Ensure that all required information is submitted and send automated approval or rejection emails

Learn more about our Automation Experience Platform and its various business applications here.

Does a No-Code Automation Platform Make Sense In Your Business?

Unitek’s no-code automation platform combines an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, hundreds of third-party integrations, and advanced features at the forefront of automation technology.

If you're ready to see Unitek’s Automation Experience Platform in action, book a risk-free demo.

However, if you're still exploring the benefits of a no-code automation platform in your business, grab a copy of our free eBook Making the Case For No-Code Automation in Financial Services. It's full of industry insights about the latest trends in intelligent automation.

Automation in Financial Services: Passing Fad or Lasting Trend?

From AI-powered ID verification to intelligent document processing and customer onboarding, AI automation is all the rage.
Will it last? Find out in our definitive guide.
Learn about:
· Why growing your team isn't always the answer
· Areas no-code automation makes a surprising impact
· Why low-code and no-code aren't the same
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