Market Experts: Now is the Best Time to Go Low-Code

Tech-Savvy Business Pros Flock to Low-Code Development – Are You Falling Behind?

Empowered customers are shaping today’s business strategies. They demand consistent, high-value digital experiences, regardless of how elaborate or complex they are to build. They want results fast, and are quick to switch companies if their demands are not met.

These empowered customers are pushing enterprises to find innovative technological solutions to streamline operations and provide them with better experiences. That’s why when some of the world’s top tech innovators entered the low-code landscape in 2016, other companies took notice and asked, “What’s all the fuss about?”

The Need to Speed Up to One-Up

A customer-obsessed business strategy drives organizations to be more entrenched in the latest technologies. According to Forrester’s report, “Vendor Landscape: The Fractured, Fertile Terrain of Low-Code Application Platforms,” one of the biggest pain points facing businesses is their need to address the massive demand for fast and highly-customized solutions to acquire, serve and retain customers. However, not all companies are well equipped to accelerate their business activities.

Research by MIT Sloan Management Review found that most companies are not adequately preparing for the industry disruptions that result from an increasingly digital environment. Furthermore, only four out of every ten respondents in the survey said their organizations are nimble enough to withstand impending disruptions. Legacy systems are still common, and stability is often valued over agility. Resource limitations, lack of talent and the pull of competing priorities also hamper an organization’s movement toward digital maturity. These challenges often lead to a piecemeal approach — treating digital initiatives as individual projects rather than a holistic business strategy — thus impeding digital innovation and growth.

Doing More with Less

In the Age of Customers, businesses are flocking to low-code—an agile application development environment that is fast emerging as the solution of choice for tech-savvy business professionals who want to build custom applications to streamline operations and improve customer engagement.

First coined by Forrester, low-code platforms contain visual application builders that replace traditional programming for a wide range of development functions, allowing business professionals to build applications with visual, point-and-click tools rather than hand-coding. This drastically slashes costs throughout the application development process. Its inherent simplicity lies in its visually-based framework and model-driven design.

Low-code technology traces its roots back to the rapid application development tools of the 1990s and the early 2000s. Since then, it has continued to evolve. More robust platforms contain capabilities such as built-in cloud databases, scalability on-demand, top-level data security, compatibility with future devices and browsers and more.

Business leaders find low-code development a compelling element in their company’s digital transformation strategy because of the many benefits it provides:

  • Empowerment + Customization
    Low-code allows business leaders to build highly-customized applications that match their unique business processes. Low-code solutions also help take the pressure off IT by enabling enterprises to meet address custom application demands in a self-service capacity, empowering the person closest to the problem to solve the problem.
  • Streamlined Operations
    Low-code streamlines and automates data management workflows to improve productivity and efficiency across the organization. With low-code tools, business professionals create online reporting tools tailored to their company’s specific requirements, including business process workflows, data visualizations, dashboards, ad hoc search and data summaries. These capabilities drive proactive decision-making based on real-time data, enabling faster delivery of reports, improved data analysis and data-driven insights, and streamlined communication within the company.
  • Faster Time-to-Market
    Low-code supports a “test-and-learn” approach. It balances speed of execution with sophisticated capabilities. To demonstrate this, Forrester presented several cases that compare the results of traditional coding with low-code solutions (Figure 1).
    Figure 1. Traditional Coding Vs. Low-Code Development Timelines
  • On-Demand Scalability
    Low-code platforms allow IT professionals to make frequent changes to the capabilities of their applications without affecting performance. Low-code automatically scales these operations and optimizes performance, freeing users to focus on customizing the application to their unique needs.
  • Robust Data Security
    Powerful low-code platforms are equipped with high-level security features to meet the strict security demands and regulatory requirements of various industries.
  • Reduced IT Investment
    Low-code development cuts IT resource spending by eliminating the need to purchase expensive hardware or equipment and associated maintenance fees.
  • Long-Term ROI
    As Forrester noted in its report, the best low-code platforms are “more than just tools to solve an immediate pain point; they are platforms that can produce business value over a period of many years.”

Looking Ahead

Low-code development is attracting a lot of attention from organizations looking to become more agile and responsive to market dynamics and customer needs. In fact, Forrester sees low-code as one of the top emerging technologies to watch through 2020. According to the firm, the low-code industry earned at least $1.7 billion in 2015 alone — an indication of the rising interest for low-code solutions. This figure is forecast to balloon to $15 billion by 2020. Forrester added that many of these vendors’ revenues are growing at a rate of over 50 percent each year.

Figure 2. Forrester’s Revenue Forecast for the Low-Code Industry

Earlier trends show tech-savvy business pros using low-code platforms to build simple portals, web applications, workflows, dashboards and mobile applications. Recently though, low-code development has been used to develop mission-critical applications for back office operations, transaction-centric applications, supply chain and production tools, and logistics systems. This trend is likely to accelerate in the coming years as low-code platforms gain prominence in the application development space.

While low-code empowers business professionals with little to no coding skills to build their own solutions, it does not mean that the IT department will soon close shop. With IT budgets and skilled programming talent on the decline, IT teams are also turning to low-code platforms to rapidly deliver high-performing applications without the need for skyrocketing infrastructure, software and resource investments.

Low-code development platforms offer a tremendous opportunity for enterprises of all sizes to reduce backlogs, integrate the business management side with the IT side and be more responsive in adapting to the changes. Low-code empowers tech-savvy business professionals to develop and release solutions fit for their customer-obsessed business strategy, all while streamlining company operations.

To learn more about the latest trends in low-code development, read the latest Forrester report on low-code platforms for business developers. Better yet, request a free project consultation with a Caspio advisor, or sign up for a free trial.