The ease of use is becoming a new trend in the development of business intelligence (BI) tools. Realizing that there are always new software tools being released, vendors have begun to look for the usability of their products, trying to hook customers to a friendly design, low-code / no-code development and customization options.
Low-code / no-code tools help customers to simplify the development of customized applications, which removes a lot of heavy-duty coding work for companies’ IT departments.
In addition, vendors that make low-code tools are providing end-users with opportunities to create their own applications (albeit still basic ones, but nonetheless). The term citizen developers is now used to refer to these users.
“To some extent, the popularity of low-code solutions is making greater power accessible to more users and less-skilled users,” said Brad Scarff, CTO of the Australian BI provider Yellowfin.
Smaller vendors joining the trend
Not that long ago, Microsoft, Tableau and a few other large software companies led the way to low-code capabilities. Their products, such as Power BI, for example, made it a lot easier for users to understand and analyze data, which led to the reduction of a constant need in IT support. The lowering of data science and IT skillset entry barriers expanded a pool of potential product users and led to the evolution of citizen data scientists.
“We’ve always tried to make BI, analytics, data, AI easier to use, which means being able to do stuff on your own that used to require a technical expert — someone from IT or a developer,” said Wayne Eckerson, a founder of Eckerson Group, one of the BI consulting firms from Massachusetts, according to Search Business Analytics.
As a reaction to Power BI’s and Tableau’s power moves in the market, other, smaller vendors are following the trend. By jumping onto the low-code / no-code bandwagon, BI vendors are enhancing their analytic application development.
The recent launch of low-code / no-code BI tools and updates by Yellowfin, Looker, and Sisense shows the increase in the popularity of the trend.
What does this mean?
The rise of low-code / no-code tools may facilitate application development and lead to a further evolution of self-service analytics. In addition to the lowering of skill entry barrier and increased awareness that business users may no longer need a constant IT support to perform their tasks, the surge in low-code / no-code tools is important for a couple of other reasons:
- More stakeholders involved. Traditionally, the realm of BI included the collaboration of business users and IT departments. Now, with the changes in BI development, companies must consider inputs from product managers, digital, development and possibly other staff involved in the process. In other words, the development of low-code / no-code applications will require more coordination among a more diverse group of users within companies, whose tasks will often overlap.
- BI governance. The first point leads to the second, which is finding a good middle ground for everyone to interact and between the balance between agility and control. With more stakeholders involved, BI governance, the term used by Forrester to describe this perfect middle ground, becomes increasingly important.
The above-mentioned factors in the development of low-code / no code tools lead to the spread of data-driven culture among companies. With more user-friendly BI tools in the market, forward-looking companies are embracing an environment that seeks to use data-driven solutions whenever possible to improve business efficiency.
At the same time, however, as much as low-code / no-code tools get easier to use, there is still a need for specialized IT professionals and developers to “govern” data, monitoring and adjusting it when needed. In an era of ever-increasing complex data from various sources, IT specialists and other BI users must interact for better efficiency.
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