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After a recent Medix report noted the widescale adoption of “low-code” by business, we look at what it is, the reasons for its growth, and the pros and cons of using it.
What Is Low Code?
Low code applications are those built using visual, model-driven tools like drag-and-drop modelers, smart services, components, and pre-built connectors rather than relying on writing code.
Why Use Low-Code?
Using low-code or no-code applications offers many advantages including:
– Increasing the speed at which applications can be built and deployed – it’s faster and easier than writing code, and can accelerate digital transformation. For example, 70 per cent of users with no development experience learned low-code in 1 month (Mendix 2022).
– Cost savings. For example, low-code drag and drop ways of building apps reduces the need for developers (and their hiring costs), as a low-code platform can make everyone in the organisation more productive.
– Improving agility. Businesses can build and change the apps they need quickly and easily.
– Being able to produce apps quickly, easily, and cheaply delivers the attractive business benefits of low risk and high ROI.
– Increasing productivity and capabilities because drag-and-drop and intuitive visual UI make it easier for professional developers to increase their productivity and for those not skilled in code-writing to build all kinds of useful of apps. More apps can be built in less time using low-code.
– Low-code enables not just the development of cross-platform apps with pre-configured modules, logic, templates, connectors, but enables components to be re-used, e.g. with some customisation. This saves time and costs plus leverages existing apps.
– Better customer experiences resulting from the agility and increased speed at which apps can be deployed. This can aid customer retention and competition
– Better risk management and governance. Using low-code enables the agility that enables businesses to continue to meet regulatory requirements and deadlines.
– Increasing the scope for app development. With visual development rather than needing to learn and write code, anyone can now build native mobile applications, web applications, APIs, microservices, and more. For example, 60 per cent of apps are now built outside of the IT department. This can bring less reliance upon IT and create a better connection between the business ‘coalface’ and IT where businesses can build value-driven enterprise business applications.
Some examples of low-code application platforms (LCAP) include:
– Microsoft Power Apps.
– Zoho Creator.
– Salesforce Lightning.
Low-Code On The Rise
The recent Mendix’s 2022 State of Low-Code report found a rise in low-code adoption from 77 per cent in 2021 to 94 per cent this year, and Gartner has predicted that by 2025, 70 per cent of apps will be built using no-code/low-code technology.
Even Mission Critical Applications
Low-code has also seen an increase in vital business elements with four in 10 businesses now using low-code for mission-critical solutions in their business operations.
The main drivers of this huge increase in low-code adoption include:
– The pandemic restrictions. This forced businesses into a fast digital transformation and validated the low-code value proposition. For example, retailers had to adopt low-code to develop, e.g. online shops and digital shopping pickup, thereby enabling them to survive, adapt quickly, and remain competitive. During the early lockdown periods, for example, many businesses turned to no-code and low-code to get more control over costs and to keep going, adopting low-code in areas like IT, production engineering, product design, and quality control.
– Businesses asking IT departments to create more software. For example, the increased demand for custom software to support digital transformation (which may have come about during the pandemic) has caused the emergence of citizen developers outside of IT.
– A skills gap in the tech world, i.e., problems finding IT/tech employees with the necessary coding/development skills. This has made businesses look at low-code options.
– The adoption and growth of software as a service (SaaS), e.g. SaaS providers offering capabilities that incorporate low-code development technologies.
– The need for integration of disparate software applications across the business into a cohesive system.
Some of the disadvantages of low-code platforms include:
– Limited customisation and limited functionality.
– The risk of vendor lock-in.
– Security risks and limitations, e.g. from not having full control over data security or access to source code.
– Using low-code still generally requires a technical background and it can still take time and effort to learn and adapt to low-code development requirements and technologies.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Low-code is experiencing a massive rise in popularity among businesses due to the many benefits it offers such as making it faster, easier, and cheaper to develop and adapt apps. This is creating greater agility and productivity and is opening up opportunities for value-driven enterprise business applications to be created, not just by IT experts but by anyone in the business. Gartner’s prediction that 70 per cent of apps will be built using no-code/low-code technology by 2025 shows that low-code adoption is to continue rising for some years yet as worries about security and limited customisation are outweighed by the many benefits that it brings.