The low-code market tends to get drowned out with other buzzy tech trends. But it shouldn’t. According to Forrester Research, the total spending on the category is forecasted to hit $21.2 billion by 2022, representing a compound annual growth rate of roughly 40%.
Low-code is focused on making it easier and quicker to develop applications, such as with a drag-and-drop interface and integrations. By comparison, traditional code development can require thousands or even millions of lines of code.
“With low-code, innovative apps can be delivered 10x faster and organizations can turn on a dime, adapting their systems at the speed of business,” said Paulo Rosado, who is the CEO at OutSystems. His firm is one of the top operators in the sector, with more than 1,000 customers.
The main use cases for low-code include the following:
- Internal Apps: These help improve a company’s core functions like HR, sales/marketing and financial reporting.
- Customer Facing Apps: The solutions can be quite sophisticated, such as with rich user experiences, security and mobile capabilities.
- Legacy App Replacement: There are huge swaths of old code across many organizations. With low-code, a company can upgrade these systems for modern approaches.
But there are certainly challenges and issues with low-code development. Interestingly enough, there can be resistance from within your company as this technology may appear to be a threat. The irony is that this could lead to “shadow IT.” In other words, this means people will use low-code tools even though there hasn’t been approval from IT! Unfortunately, there may be risks with compliance and security.
Then there is the problem of finding the right low-code tool. Consider that there are more than 100 vendors.
So here are some things to keep in mind:
- Vendor Trust: It may be difficult if not impossible to switch vendors because of the proprietary data models. This is why its important to focus on those firms that have a history of execution and commitment to the market.
- Understanding the Feature Sets: Low-code platforms usually cover specific areas, say small business or enterprise environments. Given this, you need to clearly identify your goals.
- Ease of Use: This is not just about the UI. You also want a vendor that has helpful resources – like videos and training – as well as strong customer support.
- Collaboration: Look for a low-code platform that allows for granular sharing of permissions. Consider that these types of apps usually involve teams.
- Integrations: Does the low-code platform connect to the apps you use in your organization?
The Future Of Low-Code
Low-code is likely to become a standard across many organizations. “Every business user at a company is generally given the same set of productivity tools: Email, Chat, Word Processor, Spreadsheet, and a Presentation tool,” said Tejas Gadhia, who is the Head Evangelist for Zoho Creator and the Zoho Developer Platform. “Low-code tools will sit alongside these applications for every employee of an organization as they will be considered a core productivity tool.” Zoho Creator, which was launched in 2006, is one of the top low-code tools on the market. It has over 1 million users and 3 million applications built.
If anything, low-code will probably be essential for being competitive in the years ahead. “Every day in the news, it seems, we hear about another company that is either being disrupted or going out of business completely as they weren’t able to adapt quickly enough,” said Paulo. “Organizations simply cannot spend years trying to get their IT shops in order so that they can compete. Low-code provides a real and proven way for organizations to develop new digital solutions much faster and leapfrog their competitors.”
Tom serves on the advisory boards of tech startups and can be reached at his site.