The demand for software has never been higher in today’s fast-changing environment. Business leaders began 2021 with concerns about talent shortages, and retaining top technology talent is likely the No. 1 priority for many global organizations. Because many technology organizations are struggling to find adequate developers with so many legacy subject matter experts retiring, the enterprise low-code application platform (LCAP) market is growing rapidly. Low code is about applying automation (visual full-stack development and deploy to any touch point) to software delivery and is a natural evolution of rising abstraction levels in application development. TechTarget defines it as “a visual software development environment that allows citizen developers to drag and drop application components, connect them together and create a mobile or web app.”
The low-code development platform market is projected to grow from $13.2 billion to $45.5 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.1%. And Gartner predicts 65% of all software development will take place on low-code platforms by 2024.
Citizen developers are skilled professionals in their own right — financial analysts, business researchers, and many others who need software support for their areas of expertise. Others are general business or administrative personnel who can’t find just the right application that suits their specific needs. So, who better than them — the end user — to design software? None of this would have been possible even a few short years ago, but advanced low-code tools are making citizen development within the reach of most computer-savvy workers.
A recent, real-life low-code example is when Unisys, a partner of the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency in New Zealand, built a new driver licence theory testing system in less than six months, including user testing, market research and business change management. It reduced the time for an agent to administer a test by 20%.
In my professional experience, I’ve seen five-year total cost of ownership (TCO) increase with all the evolving processes. Following SDLC (software development life cycle) levers help reduce TCO by 10%-20%. Meanwhile, other factors that are driving low-code development are:
But how do you cut TCO by 50%? Here are some tips to help you get there:
It should be clear that low-code comes with challenges. Proper attention needs to be paid to application architecture design, quality control and security measures that are essential to managing the costs of low-code environments in the long run. Here are a few other limitations you should be aware of:
Highly scalable citizen development is changing the way most of the software delivery industry operates. Embrace the technology by establishing a low-code platform workflow decision tree and focus on business friction and pain points. Create an SDLC low-code strategy with enterprise-grade criteria integrated with your current SDLC process before jumping into yet another emerging technology and creating spaghetti code.