The latest insights from Andre Symes, UK MD at Genasys Technologies;
Blockchain? That’s so 2018. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming de rigueur. In the fast moving world of tech, it’s no surprise that the latest ‘must have’ fast becomes part and parcel of day-to-day ops and we all move on to the next big thing.
So will that be no code? Forrester seems to think so, predicting that the no code development platform market will grow to $21.2 billion in 2022.
For the uninitiated out there, no code (sometimes called zero code or low code) tools allow non-techies to build their own product, rating, workflow creation, document design without having to call upon the expertise of their software partners. It’s all about giving individual businesses control of their products and policy documents.
Like many things touted as the next big thing, it’s not that new. We introduced this functionality to our clients almost three years ago, however it has recently become the latest buzz in the insurtech world, and it’s easy to appreciate why. Because no code web application development is built visually using pre-built modules, it’s faster to build new products and workflows. As well as being a time-saver, it can be a cost-saver as it doesn’t take a skilled developer to build them – an underwriter or a broker with some very basic training can do it. And it’s just as easy for them to implement changes along the line.
What’s not to like? No code tools are most certainly a contributor to speeding up product development, doing in a matter of hours or days what it used to take months (even years depending on your software partner), and it frees up the IT department and software partners to focus on more complex projects. Another often ignored benefit is the enormous advantage that can be gained when using no code tools in integrations.
However, amidst all the buzz and hype around no code, we need a dose of realism.
There is a general perception that because anyone can access no code to build a new product fast, we’ll see a host of new amazing offerings come to the market that will become the next greatest insurance company. That’s simply not going to happen. It’s all very well making it easy for an underwriter to build their own product online – but no matter how simple no code makes it, we shouldn’t forget that underwriters need to underwrite. People that work in whatever role for their insurance company still need to do their day jobs so I think it’s more likely that in the majority of cases, the IT department or software partner will continue to do the product build but will be using no code to do it.
There’s also another point to consider. If IT vendors and software companies like mine create a whole bunch of online templates for insurance companies to build tools, in a very short space of time you’re going to have all of those companies using the same templates and churning out the same products just with different logos because they’ve used the same tech to do it.
To illustrate my point, let me turn to the world’s best toy ever – yes, I’m talking about Lego. I was a huge Star Wars fan and like many kids, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Lego box kit to build my very own X-wing fighter. It was dead easy, but when I went to show off my pride and joy to all my friends, it turned out that many of them had the same kit and had built the very same model. To create something different, I should have bought a few more custom pieces and adapted the model just like Lego master builders do. Using canonical dimensions, one of their master builder teams put together a massive X-wing some 42 times larger than the kit and weighing in at about 20 tonnes. That would have impressed my friends and stood out!
No code can be a hugely powerful tool for insurance companies – but I think all the current hype is selling its benefits in the wrong way. It’s not about software houses creating the ‘be all and end all’ and handing off all the build responsibility to the client. It’s about creating a set of tools that enable the right people to get things done quickly. Sometimes that will be the client’s business but more often than not, it will be the software house with the client benefitting from the speed of change that we can implement in their business utilising our tools.
This clearly means that the software house or IT vendor has to add value to the whole process – they have to play the role of master builder by helping their clients with greater customisation from the basic no code template. That value may be behind the scenes rather than at the front end – for example, using no code to enable the client to integrate with an eco-system partner that adds a little bit extra to their new product that will make them stand out from the crowd.
Anyone can build something out of the box quickly and easily by following the instructions, but if you want something a little different but still want it quickly then you need to combine the kit with the skills of a master builder. And there are companies out there that can help you to do both.