Unqork – A No-Code Software Platform for Enterprises

Software quality assurance (SQA) is a notoriously difficult occupation, even more so in startups. That’s because startups typically hire rock star developers who walk on water and know it. In SQA, your job is to point out to these prima donnas their mistakes, something they don’t take kindly to. You’ll never release a piece of software without defects, so SQA then needs to decide at what point the software has achieved an acceptable level of quality before it can be released. They’re always the last ones holding that ball.

Source: The remarkably good looking, intelligent, and funny man who doesn’t age and never sends us cease and desist letters when we use his comic strips, Scott Adams

SQA isn’t just about making sure the software product was built to specifications (internal quality), it’s making sure you built the right product in the first place (external quality). That’s why before you write a single line of code, you need to make sure the business analysts correctly captured the requirements. With no-code platform Unqork, internal quality is no longer a concern, and everything is focused on building the right product.

Can you bring the time to market that much faster by not creating code but simply thinking through the business aspects of what you’re trying to achieve?

Credit: Unqork CEO & Founder, Gary Hoberman via Diginomica

About Unqork

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Founded in 2017, New Yawk startup Unqork has taken in just over $365 million in disclosed funding from names like Blackrock, Goldman Sachs, and Hewlett-Packard. More than half that funding closed just weeks ago in the form of a $207 million Series C which propelled the company to unicorn status with a $2 billion valuation after just three years in existence. All the excitement surrounds a platform Unqork has built which allows organizations to develop enterprise applications without slinging a single line of code.

The Emergence of the No-Code Platform

In order to understand Unqork’s value proposition, we need to understand how software development has evolved over time.

A Short History of Software Development

In the beginning, there was the waterfall approach to software development which was problematic because you often figured out you built the wrong thing after 90% of the project’s budget was spent – the ultimate CLM.

The Waterfall Software Development Method – Credit: Wikipedia

Then came solutions which claimed to connect all the pieces for you. (Anyone remember the Rational Unified Process?) Still, that didn’t stop people from building the wrong thing, so then along came “agile development” which might best be described as moving fast and breaking things. (Anyone remember daily SCRUM sessions?) While agile promised greater and more frequent communication among stakeholders, it failed to live up to its promises for many organizations because it’s incredibly difficult to build good software, no matter what methodology you use. Then, we finally arrived at the fourth generation of software development – no-code. Unqork hopes it will also be the last.

The Last Tech Standing

When senior management catches wind that a strategically important software project is starting to go pear-shaped, their instinct is to throw more resources at it. Bad idea. Adding manpower to a failing software project only makes it fail worse, something referred to as ‘the mythical man month.” Adding more money also increases the likelihood of failure.

Credit: Unqork

Why? It’s because adding resources increases complexity. To make more software projects successful, you need to decrease complexity. In turn, this decreases the costs of supporting the software, something that consumes up to 75% of internal IT budgets. That includes making changes which often introduces defects. Before you release any new version of your software, the SQA team needs to run regression tests. Every time the users want something changed in the software, there’s a chance you’ll break something. It’s no surprise that large enterprises spend almost $1.5 trillion annually to build and service custom software.

According to Unqork, 90% of custom software used by enterprises could be developed on their no-code platform. The remaining 10% is what you focus on building internally – your core competency. Unqork wants to replace a vast majority of custom software built by enterprises until they’re the last tech standing. It’s a platform so powerful it can even build itself – the ultimate example of eating your own dog food.

No-Code vs. Low-Code

The difference between low-code and no-code is what it says on the tin – no-code platforms require zero coding knowledge, while low-code platforms still allow you to insert code snippets for custom functionality when you have complex requirements (there’s that complexity problem again). Earlier this year, we wrote about The Emergence of Low-Code Platforms for Enterprises, and heard low-code platform provider Outsystems argue that no-code’s limitations mean it should only be used for front-end use-cases. Maybe that was the case with early no-code solutions, but not for Unqork.

Credit: Unqork

In an eBook titled “no-code vs low-code,” Unqork describes low-code as a tool and no-code as a platform. While early manifestations of no-code were simplistic or niche-specific, Unqork is the first company to develop an enterprise no-code development platform specifically designed for the world’s most complex and regulated industries. Low-code doesn’t overcome code, so it’s still subject to the complexity problem. Unqork substitutes code with configuration, which is then translated to code behind the scenes so the platform user never sees code. The end result is a quicker time-to-market and a lower total cost of ownership:

Credit: Unqork

There’s much more to developing software than what you see in the graphical user interface. Behind the scenes you need to worry about security, vendor updates, configuration management, and the list goes on. With no-code, all of this stuff is taken care of already.

The Results

Most developers would scoff at the notion of a no-code platform which is why Unqork sells directly to the C-suite. That’s according to a great article by Diginomica which talks about how Goldman Sachs first used Unqork as a client and became so impressed they decided to invest in the company. In some cases, Unqork has managed to displace the world’s third-largest listed software company – SAP – in Fortune-100 companies.

In their ebook, Unqork relays some success stories that would raise the eyebrows of any project manager. In every case, companies are using a handful of resources to deliver sophisticated software solutions in a matter of weeks. In one case, a global-leading wealth management firm used no-code to digitize their entire client lifecycle in just twelve weeks. The digital solution fully automated client/advisor data capture, KYC, suitability, product selection, and account opening. The no-code solution was fully integrated with record keeping systems, as well as third-party services such as SFDC, DocuSign, and PLAID. The results:

  • Accelerated client onboarding times by 60%
  • Reduced operational risk by 70% with automated controls
  • Decreased cost of operations and ownership by 40%
  • Increased revenue by 20%

These sorts of metrics make Unqork an easy sell to the C-suite.

Will Unqork Replace Developers?

Successful developers are usually highly intelligent people. Intelligence is not equally distributed, a reality some people can’t accept who would rather hiring managers fill quotas instead of hiring based on competency. The nice thing about intelligent people is that you can always use them in other parts of your organization. They can very quickly slide between roles with ease, and they’ll probably be stoked to get more visibility and responsibility. It’s the whole “free them up to do more valuable things mantra,” but the reality is, you’ll probably be extremely grateful to have your developers freed up because they’re becoming increasingly difficult to find.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the demand for software developers is expected to go through the roof in the next ten years.

Credit: U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics

According to code.org, there are around 500,000 open jobs in the United States right now requiring a computing degree, yet only 65,000 students are getting degrees in this domain every year. So no, Unqork will not replace developers.

Conclusion

When you’re creating software on a no-code platform, you don’t have to worry about code defects, you only have to worry about building the right thing. That’s the way software development ought to work. Unqork has grand aspirations – a new paradigm for software development – where code becomes something you use to create a competitive advantage with. And if it means that regression testing goes away, most SQA people will probably be fine with that.

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