Will no-code be the end of consulting firms?

Column by Jean-Michel Durocher, CEO of TimeTonic
TimeTonic Team
November 24, 2021
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No-code is not a new trend, on the contrary, it is a mature market, whose adoption is definitely accelerating. According to Gartner, within four years, 65% of applications created will be no-code or low-code. But what impact will this massive adoption have on consulting firms, which are today the preferred partners of companies for the deployment of tools and the development of custom applications?

An approach that will change the IT landscape

The no-code approach refers to all the solutions that allow to create digital tools, applications or websites without any programming, without writing a line of computer "code". Previously the choice was limited, between buying and deploying solutions from the market - with the inherent rigidity and complexity of adapting internal processes to fit the editor's straitjacket - and traditional software development - with all that this implies in terms of cost, delay, risk of obsolescence and maintenance costs. The no-code solution allows companies to benefit from a greater freedom of choice regarding their management tools.

They can now create themselves and quickly - in a few hours or days, without any expertise in IT development - internal tools essential to their business, more flexible, better adapted to their needs and considerably reducing both time-to-market, licensing costs and integration costs.

All these advantages make no-code a very attractive approach for companies, which will eventually be able to do without both off-the-shelf software tools and standard programming.

For IT consulting firms, which derive a large part of their revenues from the integration of complex tools such as Salesforce or SAP or from custom software development, there is a great risk that they too will become obsolete. Especially with the emergence of the "citizen-developer" approach, which allows business teams to create their own tools, without going through the IT department, which is the main contact for consulting firms.

And the risk is real. TimeTonic's key accounts are increasingly rejecting projects from large consulting firms in favor of no-code projects, as the cost and lead time is literally divided by 10 or even 100.

Does no-code mean that companies will be able to completely dispense with the support of consulting firms and developers? Quite the contrary! The primary role of consulting firms is to "advise" their clients, so no-code can actually be a new growth opportunity for firms. The massive adoption of no-code will push all IT players to redefine their roles, at the dawn of this new era that will allow companies to gain in agility, innovation, internal motivation, while allowing their CIOs and developers to focus on more critical projects, especially in cybersecurity or infrastructure.

Training in the spotlight

If we can easily imagine that no-code will cause a drop in the turnover of consulting firms in software integration and application development, we can also easily predict that this technology will offer them new growth levers. At the head of which is training.

The no-code citizen-developer is a technology for development neophytes, but users will still need to master some basics and understand the tools before they can get started.

Consulting firms, if they grasp the subject head on, will be able to support companies in training their business teams, but also in monitoring, managing and securing no-code projects.

Rethinking business models

But consulting firms will also be able to use no-code internally to respond to the shortage of developers we are currently experiencing. No-code tools will allow them to diversify the profiles recruited but also to accelerate projects.

No-code development drastically reduces the time needed to create an application, compared to traditional development. By using this technology to perfection, consulting firms will be able to offer faster and more agile services to their clients. Of course, they will have to break away from traditional tools, which are real shackles for innovation, but it is likely that consulting firms will benefit from it. They will be able to develop a no-code project, tailor-made, within the framework of a customer request and then "industrialize" it in order to be able to propose it to other customers with similar needs. The result? Consulting firms will be able to accelerate their projects while offering greater satisfaction to their clients.

Consulting firms can play the role of a true digital transformation consultant, accompanying the paradigm shift for business teams as well as for HR and IT teams, and helping to lead the reflection on the new business, operational and managerial opportunities that no-code opens up for general management.

In short, no-code does not mean the end of consulting firms, but, like any new technological revolution, it represents a shift that must not be missed if we are to continue to play the role of consultant and offer a business model that is adapted to the market and offers high added value.

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