Software Development Is Dead

Andrey Suslov/

No code required. Almost.

The greatest technological breakthrough of our lifetimes, a cherished promise as old as software development, is finally coming to fruition. Right now.

The no-code revolution is here. And nobody is paying attention.

Every day we sift through overblown promises of how blockchain, augmented reality, the internet of things, and whatever else is riding the hype cycle this month will revolutionize our lives.

Nobody has uncovered true value or utility for these buzzwords, and many of these technologies won’t survive the trough of disillusionment. Some will weather the embarrassment of being praised as mass market salvations when they were only meant for hyper-specific use cases in targeted industries.

They are sexy, though! And what I’m excited about isn’t.

I’m excited—insert drum roll—to develop custom software without custom development! I’m excited to build bespoke software solutions that can run any organization end to end—with almost no code required.

Software development is dead. Long live software development.

The new wave of enterprise platforms that support no-code software development will change both the business world and public sector but most people, even most IT people, don’t even realize it’s an option.

Twenty years of consultancy has taught me that people ask for one of two things:

  • We need to build some software that does X!
  • We need to buy some software that does X!

Both of these asks have their advantages and disadvantages. When you build software, you get exactly what you asked for (or not, as features get slashed due to time and budget overruns). Except as technologies change, custom software expires like milk. More of your software development dollars go to maintenance that produces no value for your organization. The speed and cost of conventional development have become untenable. At a time when we should be moving faster with greater agility, things are slowing down.

More and more companies are turning to buy cloud-based solutions in lieu of building their own software. Truly, the advent of APIs (the way computer programs talk to each other) in the previous decade was a boon, but it didn’t solve everything. Many find themselves spending considerable effort integrating and re-integrating all their solutions together, while still dancing with workarounds where the store-bought solution doesn’t meet a specific need. The price tags start to get out of control and the added sprawl and complexity make it tough to leave any solution without destabilizing the others.

Low-code CRM-based solutions offer the best of both worlds. These platforms empower organizations to rapidly develop, deploy, and support any internal or B2B application, with the complexity of custom development, and the speed of a prototyping tool. Unlike custom software, these platforms are maintained for you, and new enhancements and security updates are automatically added over time.

Government and non-profit organizations are starting to see the most traction with this new form of software. They often pay pennies on the dollar, making this a more flexible, more cost-effective solution to even purpose-built applications.

Don’t believe me? Disagree? I have a lightly used Segway you can purchase. I’ll even throw in a 3D printer to help you maintain it and a Google Glass for guidance.

Dustin Sitton is a principal at Incite Automation.