Get ready for the rising tide of zero-code development

In 2016, government systems integrators continue to battle a wide-range of margin-squeezing challenges that stem from decreased federal spending.

They are tasked with developing demanding next-generation solutions in the mobile, big data and cloud computing areas.  However, it is often difficult to deliver acceptable technology solutions within budget.

The core issue is that it involves a significant investment to develop customized solutions and systems tailored to unique program requirements.  Systems integrators and their customers need to employ technical advantages that enable them to solve problems and implement field advanced technology at a similar or lower level of effort.

Fortunately, the pace of commercial innovation is such that opportunities exist for systems integrators that were not even options in the very recent past.  They can now can leverage tools such as automated application factories that produce customizable mobile applications for a fraction of the investment in coding and development required in the past.

In fact, these low-code and zero-code solutions allow companies to rapidly build and deploy fully customized applications that are tailored to meet the unique business and workflow requirements of government. End users, without software or engineering training, can literally create mobile apps with custom forms, maps and features – all from a simple, graphical interface.

This is not just a modest improvement of the status quo; rather it is a completely disruptive innovation that dramatically lowers the cost of fielding high-end, tailored software solutions. 

Enterprises can now build apps without requiring the expertise, expense and ongoing maintenance of commercial software.  Also, for service providers, it is possible to develop and private-label these apps in ways that demonstrate premium brand value without investing in mobile app development services or staff.

And, the government customer wins.

Government IT continues to face budget scrutiny at a time when their innovations are most needed for mission success. These new zero code applications allow the customer to rapidly build iOS, Android and web apps that are fully-customized to meet any need.

Zero code apps go beyond the “low code” platforms, which are becoming more common in the corporate enterprise space – especially for business process management (BPM) solutions. The challenge with these “low-code” applications is that they still require a level of software and engineering expertise to enable “citizen developers.”  Conversely, zero code applications literally do not require any coding and can be built by end users.

Of course, there will always be situations where more complex capabilities are required and extend outside the existing feature set available from zero code platforms.  But now we’ve limited the scope of systems integration and isolated engineering effort (man-hours and budget) to only those areas.   Further, as these new zero code apps continue to expand the catalog of available features, the adaptation and customization costs will continue to shrink.

Ultimately, by offering these types of zero-code applications as part of technical solutions, we can help the government customer and the system integrator.  Government stakeholders and end users get the fully-customized application they need. The IT department and the systems integrator become heroes, delivering solutions at a fraction of the cost of traditional software development.

In the end, everyone truly wins.

About the Author

John Timar serves as a vice president of worldwide sales and business development for TerraGo. For more information, visit:

Reader Comments

Fri, Aug 12, 2016 Sean Brownell UK

Nice article John. The move towards low-code is one that has potential to really empower business users. Often times IT is the barrier to process innovation but by removing the need for code (within a solid quality control framework) IT is poised to be the catalyst for it.

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