In 2022, low-code adoption shot up from 77% to 94%, and according to 80% firms, citizen developers are of growing importance to their business. Why this rush towards low-code, and what are the challenges that you must not overlook? Before that, take a look at what low-code means.
What is low-code?
Low-code is a development paradigm in which users can drag and drop components of applications, and visually create connectors and application logic to get usable apps up and running rapidly. Low-code development is typically supported by low-code platforms, and these platforms free users from the need to write code line-by-line. In other words, low-code automates the process of building applications to some degree.
However, low-code doesn’t equate to low skill, and even no-code platforms require some amount of code to be written in order to build usable apps.
The demand for low-code has exploded, and 75% IT professionals say that this is a development trend that they cannot afford to miss. So what’s driving the adoption of low-code at breakneck speeds? Here are the top five reasons:
To patch the skills gap and shortage of developers
Estimates suggest that the US alone will be short of 1.2mn developers by 2026. Along with developer shortage, the digital skills gap, which currently affects 95%+ enterprises significantly impedes transformation initiatives for businesses. This is fuelling the rapid adoption of low code platforms, which enable non-technical employees outside of traditional IT to meet their business technology requirements. In addition, low-code is also enabling employees from diverse backgrounds, and without formal training in technology to enter IT – thereby mitigating the shortage of IT skills at organizations.
To support the development of products for new business initiatives
As businesses pursue digital transformation at unprecedented speeds, their existing technology talent is unable to deliver products as quickly as business sponsors expect them to. At the same time, these product initiatives are the top priorities in terms of the overall value they represent for the business at 61% of the organizations.
By empowering business users to build and deploy custom applications, low-code tools enable the users to participate in the delivery of high-impact solutions. Moreover, these tools also enable key stakeholders to directly influence the final product, thereby providing more control over the outcome of the initiative.
To achieve agility and speed in application development
Low-code tools significantly cut down on the time required to roll out a functional MVP. In fact, they can reduce the time to build applications from months to a few hours. This improves the speed-to-market and time-to-value of applications, and 84% organizations implement low-code platforms for this reason.
In addition to this, low-code platforms are also able to scale with the changing needs of an organization. This enables them to stay agile and attuned to market conditions, while reducing the strain on their IT teams. That’s why, following low-code adoption, 86% turn into a more agile organization. Finally, low-code empowers the automation of business processes and enables organizations to improve existing backlogs.
To consolidate fragmented application development tooling
The traditional application development paradigm relies on design and development teams that use a variety of tools and make multiple handoffs to build the end product. When PoCs are built, this fragmented tooling results in errors, fixes, and reworks, which ultimately delay the development.
Low-code platforms eliminate this fragmentation and provide a common platform that integrates with existing development and design systems, thereby bringing all the teams on the same page.
Challenges of adopting low-code
Despite the growing speed of adoption, not all enterprises are able to extract the forecasted RoI on low-code. One of the most common mistakes that enterprises make is to treat low-code as a tool that is implemented and provided to their workforce – when instead, they should treat it as a strategic investment. Here are the top challenges faced by organizations during and after low-code adoption.
Lack of visibility leads to application sprawl
In the absence of visibility, empowering citizen developers with low-code platforms can lead to the development of hundreds of applications and duplication of efforts. Because low-code is used by organizations to eliminate legacy processes that were using spreadsheets and paper, an organization will start accumulating a lot of applications quickly. This sprawl leads to the creation of shadow IT, which leads to unpredictability in IT budgets in addition to other challenges.
Data security guardrails are not implemented
While low-code enables faster application development, lack of oversight can also lead to compromise of data security and privacy. However, some low-code applications will need to use sensitive customer data or financials. When empowering citizen developers to build with low-code, sensitizing them on data security and privacy issues is crucial, but not enough. In some use cases, fine-grained data access controls and privacy-preserving mechanisms may need to be deployed.
Low-code platforms are acquired on unsuitable costing models
Low-code platforms are usually offered on various licensing models. These include pay per user, pay per application, pay per request, or pay per data. A pay-per-user model, for example, may work for use cases where an executive dashboard is to be built, but not for customer-facing applications. For each use case, identifying the most optimal pricing model is the key to ensuring that the application is sustainable and profitable.
Overlooking collaboration and adoption issues
While low-code platforms make it easier to roll out applications, edge cases that cannot be handled by drag-and-drop components will require collaboration with developers or technology partners. However, overlooking such issues will ultimately result in wasted effort, and subtract from the RoI on low-code adoption. Moreover, ensuring successful adoption will require user training and collaboration between IT and business teams, which requires a strategic approach to building this synergy.
Inability to incorporate low-code into the existing SDLC
Traditional software development models have been refined for years. The modern agile SDLC has a consistent way of handling errors and bugs, and refining the end product with a familiar toolset Organizations that are familiar with the traditional SDLC may have difficulty incorporating low-code tools into their existing developer toolsets and development procedures. Moreover, some organizations may find their developer teams struggling with UI customization and dynamic event handling in low-code platforms.
The secret to winning with low-code
While the benefits and opportunities offered by low-code platforms far outweigh the challenges, organizations must treat them as strategic investments rather than a tool. Bringing the power of low-code to the organization entails a number of decisions, which include identifying the right low-code platform, picking the right licensing model for each use case, user training, and ensuring that your users have access to support from low-code veterans. Having a trusted partner by your side can therefore help you chart the path to assured success with low code.
In its early years, low-code was leveraged merely to digitize simple use cases. This has changed rapidly over the last few years. Today, 40% enterprises are using low-code to build mission-critical solutions, and 100% of low-code adopters have received a positive RoI. These figures indicate that low-code will soon turn into a must-have for every organization that aims to build digital capabilities at pace and deliver delightful experiences to its stakeholders. That’s why, now is the time to empower your technical and non-technical employees with the power of low-code. Partner with a low-code expert today, and steer your business to digital success.