What is the difference between low-code and no-code RPA?

What is the difference between low-code and no-code RPA?

Some of the latest hyped tools are low-code and no-code. But what does that mean from an RPA perspective?  


The definitions

Let’s start with the definitions. Low-code means that the tool requires very little or very simple coding to make it work. No-code means that the business logic is so configurable that you can do so without any code.  


No-code and RPA

So from an RPA perspective, this means that low-code and no-code solutions are easier and faster to implement. Witch of cause appeals to everybody. Who would no like to have the value of an RPA implementation without the hassle of implementing code that then needs to be maintained and managed for as long as you use the solution?  


A complex world

But the world is more complex than that. So in this article, we discuss if such solutions are realistic in an RPA context and if they are, what kind of use cases would be suitable to use them for?  


No-code RPA

No-code solutions are designed to be so simple in their management that a business person can use them. To make this possible, the RPA platform will have had to make choices on your behalf. They will have designed the platform so that all business scenarios are configurable. Both low-code and no-code platforms still have code, but they can not be configured. So a better nave for them could have been no bespoke code.  


The trade-off you will have to make

So both approaches make choices on your behalf as an end-user. They limit the options you have – because you can not do bespoke coding. This is the trade-off you make. You accept less choice because the low-code and no-code code platforms give you a fast and easy way to implement your automation tasks. We now dig a little deeper into what this means from an RPA perspective. To do this, we start by looking into what is needed to implement an RPA automation. It requires two things: integrations and automation.  



Integration means integrations into the business systems that you want to integrate. So here we are looking at APIs, webhooks, Zapier, or bespoke integrations.  



Automation is the business flows that you want to create. In its most simple for it is If then, else. On the other end of the scale is AI algorithms that learn how a user behaves and act on their behalf. So this means that we are looking into a matrix of options that looks like this.


The 6 different kinds of RPA code cases

The six solutions

As you can see, there are six theoretical solutions. A Integrations require code B Automations require code C Integrations requires low code D Automations requires low code E Integrations do not require code F Automations can be done without code The six areas are evaluated in two different criteria. Is it possible to do, and is it a valuable activity? As an example, let’s take the first quadrant. Code and integrations. It is almost always possible to code integrations between different systems. There might be limitations on the system side as to what they can expose. So a yellow score on the feasibility element. On the attractiveness, it scores red because coding is costly. So if it is possible in any way to do this in a no-code or low-code way, then it will always be more attractive.  


Low-code is the most appealing choice

So following this approach, it becomes clear that the low-code scarious looks most appealing. You could say they represent a more pragmatic approach to automation. They accept that not all integrations can be made in a no-code way, but they still focus on making as much business functionality as possible be done in an automated way.  


Business value or code complexity?


Your business choices

This brings us to your real business choice when it comes to the question of no-code vs. code. And that is: Are you willing to pay for bespoke RPA solutions with advanced features. In a way where we implement a small IT project. Or are you interested in getting automation fast, easy, and cheap but with limited influence over the actual functionality?  


The quadrant

The question can be illustrated in a quadrant like the one above. On one ax you have the business value that you seek to achieve. On the other, you have the complexity of the code that you are using to create the value.  


The 4 solution choices

The no-code alternatives operate under the premise of creating as much value and still maintaining ease of use. So they aim for the top-left position. On the other hand, are enterprise solutions that prioritize business value over code complexity. So they seek the top right quadrant. The low left quadrant is where you will find niche products that are easy to use, but they might not be classified as RPA tools as such. The last quadrant is the low right, which is the looser spot to be in. Here you have high complexity of code and low business value. So a very unattractive position.


Your low-code no-code next steps

If you are interested in knowing more about your RPA choices, then we have made some articles that might have your interest. RPA tools without coding list and evaluates five no-code or low-code RPA tools. You might also be interested in an overview of the top 25 free RPA alternatives.


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