One thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught businesses is adaptability. With a complete year of remote working and a volatile demand curve, some enterprises have shifted to low-code platforms for an automated workflow.
Low-code and no-code entities enable users to build apps with flowcharts, boxes and arrows, accompanied by basic coding. Some platforms may require HTML and CSS for styling. These include Adalo and Blockworx where users can create simple applications without hard coding. Whereas WordPress, another low-code outfit, uses declarative programming for scaled applications.
The term ‘low-code’ had its genesis in the analytical firm Forrester Research. The organisation explains: “Platforms that enable rapid delivery of business applications with a minimum of hand-coding and minimal upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment.”
The low-code process is agile and responsive to changes in an enterprise ecosystem. For example, a low-code platform can bring changes to robotic process automation (RPA) employed by business houses.
Such a platform can unify workers (bots, people, AI) and resources of an organisation into a single workflow. As per a Forrester overview, 84% of organisations employing low-code development tools received a positive ROI. That shows a growing resonance among businesses engaging with the technology.
There’s more good news as Gartner says the global low-code technologies market is expected to reach $13.8 billion (£9.9 billion) by the end of 2021, a spike of 22.6% from last year.
Trends in the Low-Code Development Industry
The pandemic has pushed the UK towards greater digitisation. And low-code platforms are the thrust businesses need to upscale their market share and maintain a healthy input-output relationship. Gartner expects 66% of companies to use at least four low-code platforms by 2024. When combined with IT, it has the potential to initiate another digital revolution.
An oft-cited benefit of low-code is that it ensures faster time response and easy solution availability with IT supporting the governance infrastructure. It’s because of the platforms that companies now spend less time on securing user request backlog and more on safeguarding data and implementing strategies.
Here’s a hypothetical situation to consider. Suppose a small business requires a data scientist to function but cannot afford another full-timer. A low-code platform can employ machine learning to predict customer behaviour from a data set. Furthermore, the platforms fulfil the need of midsize companies to generate new ideas constantly. With a focus on growth and pipeline projects, midsize companies may not have enough time to innovate revolutionary solutions.
One enterprise in the low-code technology sector is Appian. The US company has been around since 1999 and is headquartered in Virginia. Notable UK clients include Aviva and GlaxoSmithKline. The Platform as a Service (PaaS) firm employs case management, three-step app development, business process management (BPM) and application integration techniques. For example, it provides a use case in fraud prevention, healthcare, and improving workflow between different strata of an organisation’s processes. With Appian, Payoneer reduced its fraud case handling duration by 40%.
UK-based Cyclr is a veteran player known for tackling user-integration needs. The firm embeds white-labeled integrations into its Software as a Service (SaaS) clients. While the American firm Mendix was established in 2005 and has a market share of 9% in UK-based companies.
Challenges with Low-Code Technology
The multi-billion dollar business has its own fallouts. Low-code platforms have zero answerability to data misuse and theft. It is upon companies to restrict the flow of data to low-code platforms. Moreover, the security controls employed by these firms are mostly ambiguous and questionable. A universal compliance certification or third-party audits may help the outfits to overcome the security challenge. Other pitfalls of employing the technology are low flexibility, minimal customisation options and stringent vendor lock-in policies.
Low-code technology is known for adaptability. However, these pitfalls pose a serious question to its existence. The time has come when businesses will use the technology for both back-office and customer-oriented processes. The shift will bring more non-technical operators into the workspace.
But with all that said, Gartner is not the only one to forecast growth in the industry. According to a market research study published by P&S Intelligence, global low-code development platform market revenue, which was $10.3 billion (£7.4 billion) in 2019, is predicted to witness a 31.1% CAGR during 2020–2030, and reach $187 billion (£134.5 billion) by 2030.