COTS vs No-code

John opens his laptop and logs in for the day. As per the discussion with his team on the previous day, he needs a software to manage tasks and keep a track of all his vendors and suppliers for their upcoming project. 

As if reminiscing a terrible memory, he thinks about his buggy and constantly troubling COTS software sitting idle in his office computer as he starts dragging and dropping some boxes here and there. 

20 minutes later he messages his team saying, ”Hello team, let’s start work, our app is ready to go. As usual, no-code has got our back” 

Okay, what just happened? 

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and getting rid of software that is causing hassle. 2020 has caused us enough inconvenience and with WFH and businesses being wrecked, it’s probably best to not take on more troubles- especially software and IT hassles that come uninvited with COTS software. 

What is COTS software? Why is it inconvenient? 

Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software is a term for software applications and products that are ready-made and available for purchase in the commercial market.  Since it is ready-made, it is like a “one-size-fits-all” software that honestly cannot meet every possible customer’s needs perfectly unless customized but most COTS software provides limited customization options.

Businesses, getting majorly impacted due to the pandemic, cannot afford to restrict and stay rigid in the way they operate or the way teams function. 

Sure, few COTS vendors may offer customization beyond what is available in the product as a paid service but at a hefty cost. The hefty sum is paid too, by businesses, because the customization is required as the application doesn’t always meet the customer’s needs as-is.

With people working from home, IT is constantly burdened and software developers are in shortage. Also, with rampant digital disruption, COTS software is a risky proposition since organizations can’t afford to restrict their operational capabilities because of what the COTS software provides. In addition, COTS customization demands time, which honestly, no business can afford to waste. 

Basically, just like John, many teams and employees are tired of COTS software hassles.

We have a solution for 2021 and beyond. 

No-code apps 

No-code app development will save you from all the hassles you’ve faced until now! And you don’t even have to be into tech or know how to code! 

No-code development is exactly how it sounds – app development without the need for a single line of code. You don’t need to have an IT or programming background to develop an app using a no-code platform. It is a visual development tool that helps you build something from scratch through selections, drag & drop, imports, and other equally simple functions.

Also read: Everything you should know about No-Code Development

That’s what John did- he developed his own application for his team within 15-20 minutes because he didn’t have to sit and code! 

With no-code, users don’t need prior coding knowledge to create apps. You can easily create apps, within minutes and hours to automate all your repetitive processes and manage them. This is why you must use no-code instead of COTS. It automates and optimizes IT processes within a breeze.

According to Forrester’s latest report “by the end of 2021, one out of every four remote workers will be supported by new forms of automation”

According to Forrester’s latest report “by the end of 2021, one out of every four remote workers will be supported by new forms of automation”

In times where the demand for software far exceeds the supply of coders, no-code apps are being a boon. An increasing number of organizations are getting rid of COTS software because of the challenges that come with it.

The no-code movement has grown amazingly and exponentially during the pandemic. There currently are platforms and tools that allow you to build pretty much everything you want. 

No-code vs COTS software: Endgame 

This battle may not be as epic as the ones we see in Endgame but it is equally interesting! Let’s take a closer look.

IT Clutter

One COTS for each business case e.g. CRM, Help Desk, Accounting Software, Expense Management, etc. can create software clutter leading to maintenance issues and data redundancy.

A no-code software platform when deployed for general-purpose automation can be used to automate processes and build applications for all departments in the company on a common platform eliminating the possibility of any software clutter and data redundancy issues.

Skills

COTS products offer limited customization options. Any customization beyond what is available in the product has to be done by the vendor himself. The business users or the central IT team cannot help. Even where IT is authorized to customize the COTS product, professional developers are required for such efforts.

No-code, on the other hand, requires no special skills or even basic programming knowledge to build software. Anyone from any department or the user can develop and customize apps.

Edits and upgrades are also easier with no-code app development. COTS apps require the involvement of programmers for customization beyond what is available in the product. 

With a no-code platform, team members can simply log in and begin developing their own business software application using a “drag and drop” interface. And voila! The developer is the end-user and is no longer separated from development but instead plays a vital role in its actualization. 

Time

Typically any COTS software can be configured and deployed for use in a very short time. 

No-code apps can also be developed and deployed in a few minutes to a few days based on what is being built. A lot of no-code software platforms provide ready-to-use building blocks that can be used to quickly build and deploy software. Delays and debugging are no longer points of concern either. It all happens quickly.

Cost 

Since COTS software development requires weeks and months of development effort from experienced professional developers, the costs involved are very high. They either come for a fixed price with an annual maintenance cost or may be offered as a SaaS subscription paid on a monthly or annual basis.

No-code platforms, on the other hand, are available at must lower cost compared to COTS software.  These are typically offered as a SaaS subscription paid on a monthly or annual basis where the same subscription can be used to solve multiple business problems and build multiple solutions.

Agility

One of the heaviest disadvantages of COTS software is its restrictions on agility. They offer limited customization options. Any customization beyond what is available in the product is either not possible or has to be done by the vendor himself. This can sour customer experience and cause frustration. 

No-code apps are highly agile, allowing instant changes without interfering with the experience. In fact, they improve it by allowing the addition of features as per need and feedback.

Complexity

There are COTS software available in the market that address complex business problems. However, the limited customization options they provide remain a big challenge.

On the other hand, No-code has been riddled with myths in this case. Many users believe that no-code development is only good for simple apps. The truth is that there are multiple advanced no-code platforms that let you build simple to complex enterprise-grade apps as well. However restrictive no-code platforms may have limited capability in this area. So you must watch out during your evaluation.

Integration

Most popular COTS software provide integration options but these may be limited.

No-code platforms provide Integration capability through the use of API or ready-to-use plugins and adapters. 

But as a customer, you must validate the integration capability before you make a choice.

Innovation

No-code software platforms provide building blocks for users to innovate and build what they want to solve their unique challenges. They also free up time and provide flexibility to think and implement simultaneously.

COTS software on the other hand do not provide room for much innovation as they cannot be customized by the business users themselves.

Reusability

Another major plus point of no-code development is its reusability in the organization and pre-configured modules and functionality for apps. These modules usually have all the basic and core functions needed for several apps, and they can be reused for multiple different solutions, quickly and adapt easily. 

This is usually not possible when using COTS software.

With no-code everyone’s a developer, everyone’s a maker, everyone’s innovator.

Benefits of No-code, answer to your COTS hassles

No-code benefits

1. Automated & custom workflows

Workflow automating and modeling is not just fast; it’s much more seamless, unlike COTS software. It lets you manage all your data seamlessly without ever indulging in the language of code.

Say bye to spreadsheets and repetitive manual tasks by creating custom apps for team use.

For example, John’s task management app can record data in real-time that can be accessed from any device and create tasks for him and his teams, and customize them to be repeatable or ad–hoc.

2. Anyone can build no-code apps

That’s the beauty of them! You won’t have to wait for IT departments to customize your COTS software, and you don’t need technical experience or knowledge about code. Anyone (or as we like calling them, citizen developers) can build functional applications within minutes and hours!

Also read: 5 Reasons to Encourage Citizen Development at Work

3. Enhanced innovation

You won’t have to let go of ideas and will have the power to create your own apps, the way you aspire, and like. This encourages everyone to get their creative juices flowing, making workplace innovation a part of your company’s culture.

4. Exceptional agility

With no-code apps, change is not only adaptable but also profitable, especially in 2020. According to a McKinsey Study, agile organizations tend to be healthier, more profitable, and innovative. 

No-code apps check this box by automating everything from building to testing. The teams, thus, have more time to actually get the work done instead of wasting it preparing for work.

According to a McKinsey Study, agile organizations tend to be healthier, more profitable, and innovative. 

5. Reduced time

No-code development eases the burden on IT and builds apps in lesser time than other software. One can build, design, and deploy no-code apps within minutes and hours!

Also read: Top 10 Benefits of No-Code App Development

Quixy – For a ‘COTS-free’ zone 

As WFH becomes the new normal, companies are integrating no-code low-code development into their application development lifecycle. No-code is going to gradually become a natural and obvious part of the software ecosystem, while increasing efficiency, helping find solutions more easily, and facilitating collaboration. 

Quixy is a leading no-code app development platform that will help you through hassle-free digital transformation and leverage it without burdening your pockets, your teams, or your IT department. With Quixy, you get the flexibility to build great solutions with ease!

No matter what your business may be, Quixy can help you automate your processes 10X faster. It is also remarkably easy to use. Sign up for a free trial and lead a hassle-free digital life!

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