Decoding the Low-Code vs. No-Code Development Debate

January 30, 2023

low code vs no code development

Advancing technology and growing competition are in their heyday. 

You need high adaptability, flexibility, and agility – a feat nearly impossible with standard app development techniques – to survive in a fidgety business environment.

More companies are now turning to low-code and no-code solutions for a faster and more convenient alternative to developing enterprise-grade apps without writing lines of code. These platforms are flexible and agile and substantially lower development costs.

The debate around low-code vs. no-code development platforms is quite constant in the tech world. While the pros and cons of both are pretty similar, what suits you best depends on your business and application needs. Understanding the difference between the two is key to choosing the right solution.

What are low-code and no-code platforms?

The traditional app development process lowers productivity and efficiency and weeds out the competitive edge. But with low-code and no-code platforms, you can easily create custom applications by configuring pre-built templates.

The platform allows users to create and modify simple prototypes to complex applications faster and in an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) with drag-and-drop components.

The simple and visual navigation menu is easy to use, even for non-tech-savvy employees. The benefits of low-code and no-code platforms are diverse, including higher efficiency, faster time to market, increased collaboration, and enhanced employee motivation.

Low-code platforms are ideal for CRM systems, vertical-focused automation, and operational efficiency apps. Conversely, no-code platforms can create appointment scheduling apps, employee onboarding systems, and back-office (database) applications.

Why do you need low-code and no-code solutions?

The demand for application development is growing faster than traditional IT departments can support. In the current business landscape, developing software applications quickly and easily is more important than ever, which explains why many businesses are turning to low-code and no-code platforms.

By 2027, global revenue from low-code development may reach approximately $65 billion and $187 Billion by 2030. 

By accelerating the speed at which applications are developed, low-code, no-code solutions help businesses build and deploy apps in hours or days, efficiently boosting your time to market. As such, teams can adapt quickly and survive in the fast-paced business world.

Unlike traditional app development, a low-code, no-code platform empowers non-technical users to develop applications without a deep programming understanding. It increases employees' technical skills, expands your pool of potential developers, and quickens your digital transformation. 

Low-code, no-code development is often more cost-effective compared to traditional coding. Coding requires a significant upfront investment, and the ongoing costs associated with maintaining and updating code can add up. Low-code platforms require a high initial investment but are much more affordable. 

The solutions enable subject matter experts to create fully functional applications supporting the latest tech innovations. And they do it with IT oversight. This reduces each application’s total cost of ownership. Highly-qualified developers no longer build new apps. Non-developers can build and improve the apps, and the in-house developer can focus on complicated and essential enterprise solutions.

Challenges of traditional app development

The traditional app development process is fraught with challenges that can impact your project’s success.

1. Longer development cycles

When IT developers build an app from scratch, it can take weeks or months, depending on its complexity. You must design, code, and test every aspect of the app before releasing it, which can be a major drawback for businesses with a fast turnaround time.

2. A lack of business context

A clear understanding of the business context in which you’ll use the app is essential when developing it. But, with the tiresome coding process, IT developers can lose sight of the overall business goals, specific user needs, and the competitive landscape they operate in. Creating apps that truly meet your business needs is difficult without this context.

3. The looming threat of shadow IT

With traditional app development, the threat of shadow IT is always looming. Employees get frustrated with how long it takes to get much-needed apps, which lowers their productivity. To counter this, they attempt to create unauthorized apps that can pose a serious security threat to businesses and cause data breaches.

The low-code, no-code solutions to the rescue

Many organizations are adopting low- and no-code tools for the following reasons.

Anyone can be a developer

Nearly 60% of custom enterprise apps are created outside the IT department, with 50% of them built by employees with little to no technical skills. A low-code platform democratizes application development, empowering non-tech professionals to build apps.

In fact, Microsoft expects to build 450 million of the 500 million apps it needs using low code. Low and no code eliminate the need for outsourcing app development or hiring expensive developers.

Empower citizen developers

Organizations that empower citizen developers score 33% higher on innovation than those without. Low code and no code platforms primarily foster citizen developers, allowing businesses to fill the technical gap left by a scarcity of software developers. This is especially critical when a majority of companies experience challenges finding and retaining skilled IT talent.

Eliminate shadow IT

Shadow IT happens when users bypass IT departments and develop their own applications and solutions, inducing the risk of data breaches and other security issues. With low-code and no-code platforms, your employees can build apps using tools approved by IT. There's no need for business users to go around IT and get the solutions they need. This saves time and frustration and helps eliminate shadow IT.

Building a collaborative culture between IT and business users

Eighty percent of companies have reduced the strain on IT teams, freeing them up for higher-level projects. Low-code, no-code solution eliminates silos between IT and business users, fostering a more collaborative culture. By breaking down the barriers between these two groups, low-code and no-code improve the quality of apps and the speed at which you build them, enhancing efficiency.

Benefits of low-code and no-code solutions

The benefits of low-code and no-code platforms can empower organizations to tap into the collective intelligence of their entire workforce.

Increased agility

A low-code, no-code platform simplifies the exhaustive app development process, so your organization can easily meet business needs and quickly adapt to changing market conditions. It eliminates the IT bottlenecks related to custom coding, enabling your business to build more applications faster and meet changing organizational needs. 

Accelerates deployment

Low-code, no-code enables organizations to design, create, test, and deploy apps up to 10 times faster and with fewer resources. Rather than writing code to build apps, non-tech employees can use pre-built templates, drag-and-drop elements, and automated testing to reduce the manual effort needed to streamline and accelerate application development. 

Streamlines operations

Automating manual, repetitive tasks with low-code and no-code platforms eliminate redundancies, streamline your operations, and reduce security risks, making app development less stressful. It digitizes most app development and deployment tasks, minimizing human error and increasing efficiency. Low-code’s visual workflow automation tools offer the ultimate digital workspace for smarter work.

Automates more in less time

The highly-visual graphical user interface in low-code platforms uses API connectors to integrate with third-party tools, reducing the time and effort you need to develop apps and quickening app development. These platforms also offer comprehensive external cross-platform integration, extending your business functionality and letting you work from one unified platform.

Cost-effectiveness (Reduced CapEx and OpEx)

A low-code platform is more cost-effective because its initial set-up, implementation, and maintenance are less. It also increases employees’ technical understanding, helping them build custom apps with existing tools and resources and lowering expenses. Low code and no code platforms also greatly reduce the need for experts with specialized IT skills, saving your company money.

Low-code vs. no-code

Low-code and no-code are both game changers when it comes to app development. Low-code offers a way to develop apps quickly and with minimal coding effort, while no-code offers a way to build apps without coding at all.

Both options offer enormous potential for companies that want to develop applications quickly and cost-effectively. Deciding which option to choose depends on the application's specific needs, so it's important to carefully consider each option before making a decision.


Low-code platforms

No-code platforms

Primary focus

Accelerated app development and customization for IT developers

Simple app development for business users or citizen developers

Skills required

Require minimal coding skills and experience

Don't require any coding knowledge and expertise 

Application development

Used for complex, large-scale, high-demand business applications

Used for small-scale applications or prototypes

Target audience

IT developers who want to slash development expenses and time. Business users with little programming knowledge

Business users or non-technical users seeking to build apps for themselves or their business units

User interface

Fairly easy to use

Highly visual, easy to use

Coding requirement

Requires some coding expertise

No technical experience/coding required


Plenty of customization options

Customizable pre-built templates

Where to apply low-code or no-code development

Previously, companies invested heavily in on-premise infrastructure and hired skilled developers to build applications. But low and no code has drastically changed how companies develop and deploy applications. 

Most platforms are hybrid, for use on the premise and cloud, enabling businesses to build and deploy applications quickly, with minimal investment, without sacrificing app quality or security. What's more, your business can use low-code or no-code development to build robust applications without skilled developers.

Since your company has limited resources and not all applications are created equal, it's wise to adopt a tiered approach to app development and build more efficient apps. Understanding which applications are best suited for low-code vs. no-code development increases your chances of success.

Tier 1 applications are critical to your business operations and require skilled, experienced developers with maximum resources from IT. It's ill-advised to create these critical apps with citizen developers.

While tier 2 applications are equally important, they’re not as mission-critical and don't require the same level of elaborateness to build. You can use citizen developers and low-code/no-code platforms to create them. IT can provide oversight, app governance, and customization, freeing IT personnel to focus on more strategic projects.

How to kickstart low-code or no-code development

The benefits of low-code platforms cut across all organizations. But there's always a learning curve associated with using a new development platform – even if it's user-friendly. Before adopting a low-code platform to accelerate digital transformation:

  • Assess the current scenario: What type of applications does your business need? What's the level of complexity? How much time and resources can you allocate to app development?
  • Set goals and objectives: To successfully launch low-code vs. no-code development, set SMART goals and objectives. What do you want to achieve with the platform? By when? What are your overall company or departmental targets?
  • Define your application needs: Understand and define your application needs.
Here's what to consider when determining application needs:
  • Type of application you want to build and manage. Do you require simple or more complex apps for managing internal processes that interact with customers? Once you know the types of apps you need, evaluating diverse platforms is easier.
  • The allocated budget. While building apps on low-code/no-code platforms is significantly cheaper than traditional professional coding, some costs are associated with these platforms. Understand the costs of the platform you choose, plus any associated hosting or maintenance fees.
  • Any existing app development system in place. If your business already has an established app development system, evaluate how a low-code platform will fit. Are the two systems compatible? Will you need to migrate existing apps to the new platform? 
  • Estimated time frame to build the application: Low-code vs. no-code development enables businesses to build apps much faster. However, it's important to have a realistic app development timeline. Will it take you hours, days, or weeks to create the needed apps?
  • Level of coding experience required to build the apps: No-code platforms don't require users to have any coding experience, but low-code requires basic coding skills. Understand the level of coding expertise your platform requires before you get started.
  • Skill sets expected of employees to develop low-code, no-code apps: You also need to understand the types of skill sets your employees must require to run the platform. Do your employees need experience in coding? Can tech-savvy employees with little to no coding experience still be effective? 
  • Define roles and responsibilities: Who is responsible for building your applications? How about testing and deploying them? What are the boundaries for citizen developers? What is IT responsible for?
  • Build, deploy, and test: This step requires time and effort to ensure everything works properly. Do your research and select the right platform that best suits your needs for building, deploying, and testing apps.

What should be your pick, low code or no code? 

Although low-code and no-code development differ in their target audience and required programming skills, the main goal remains the same. These platforms are designed to simplify and speed up application development without sacrificing app quality and security.

So which approach is the best? This depends on the specific needs of your organization. A low-code platform is a good choice when you need a fast and easy way to develop applications with minimal coding. On the other hand, if you want citizen developers to create custom apps without coding, no code is a better option.

Regardless of your approach, the right platform should ensure your applications are secure, high-quality, and aligned with business goals.

Workflow automation is one of the key benefits of low- and no-code solutions. See how you, too, can automate your workflows and save time and money on repetitive tasks.

business process management software
Put your processes on auto-pilot

Define, automate, report, and optimize processes from the ground up with business process management software.

business process management software
Put your processes on auto-pilot

Define, automate, report, and optimize processes from the ground up with business process management software.

Decoding the Low-Code vs. No-Code Development Debate The debate about low-code vs. no-code development seems never-ending. This article will navigate the underlying concept and dispel some myths.
Dinesh Varadharajan Dinesh Varadharajan is the Chief Product Officer at Kissflow and leads the product management team. He is a hands-on executive with a wide range of experience working with bleeding-edge technologies, developing great products, and mentoring highly productive teams. He was recently named one of the Top 100 Great People Managers 2020 by Great Manager Institute & Forbes India.

Never miss a post.

Subscribe to keep your fingers on the tech pulse.

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to receive marketing communications from G2.