Saturday, June 15, 2024

Trends in Low-Code/No-Code

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Coding is an in-demand skill that usually requires highly specialized knowledge. However, the rapid rise of Low-Code/No-Code (LC/NC) platforms has allowed people to engage in web and app development in a new way. People can drag and drop components in an interface and link them to create applications.

Here are some important trends about the LC/NC landscape and how people feel about it.

1. People Viewing Low-Code Solutions as Core Technologies

Not so long ago, many tech decision-makers saw LC/NC tools as niche products that grabbed their attention but weren’t necessarily critical for day-to-day business operations. However, that’s starting to change, particularly as many companies had to evolve due to challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 2022 survey from Low-Code platform provider Mendix found 94% of companies across various industries used Low-Code solutions in 2022, up from 77% in 2021. Moreover, 69% of respondents saw such offerings as crisis technologies during the pandemic but now view them as core to their business models.

Additionally, half of the respondents perceive Low-Code products as filling gaps in their IT departments, while 43% see them as able to assist with production engineering needs. Another notable takeaway was that four in 10 respondents now use Low-Code platforms for mission-critical applications. In fact, it’s estimated that 63% of app development activity will be done through Low-Code platforms.

Company leaders also find plenty of ways these platforms can help them. The Mendix survey showed 63% used such tools to address problems with logistics, the supply chain, and transportation. About 32% of retailers said Low-Code tools helped them offer curbside shopping pickups. Additionally, half of public sector respondents mentioned improved planning and management of resources and enhanced service access among the benefits.

However, such efforts sometimes come with issues that are not directly related to Low-Code products. For example, one-third of respondents felt frustrated by their company’s legacy systems. That’s why 39% have required proof that Low-Code offerings will integrate with them. That’s smart information to ask for since Low-Code products are relatively new. Getting the assurance of successful integration with legacy systems avoids surprises.

Indeed, some people have yet to try Low-Code solutions. However, this study shows adoption rates are climbing. When that happens, individuals who previously felt unsure will become more confident about exploring the possibilities.

2. LC/NC Providing an Option Beyond Hiring Developers

Since developers are in high demand, many company leaders must devote significant resources to hiring them. That’s often easier said than done, especially if there are relatively few developers in the job market or those within it have plenty of choices regarding where to work.

A 2023 study gave a closer look at the job market for developers and those who want to hire them. One finding was that 53% of developers consider salary the most important factor of a potential job. Another 38% of respondents mentioned having a good work-life balance, and 28% wanted the option to work remotely.

Another finding was that 52% of developers plan to leave their jobs within the next year. Among that group, 67% said the desire to get a higher salary was the main reason behind that decision. That finding suggests managers and human resources professionals cannot merely assume they’ll be able to retain developers after hiring them. These workers know they’re in demand, so they can afford to be picky about finding and staying at the most suitable workplaces.

On the recruitment side, 23% of tech recruiters said they plan to hire at least 50 developers this year. About 42% cited developer retention as their top priority for 2023, and 46% of recruitment professionals said they’d have bigger budgets this year than last. However, it’s not a given that all recruits will find and attract all the developers they need. This is where LC/NC platforms will prove particularly useful.

They won’t eliminate the need to hire developers, but an LC/NC tool could meet business needs and fill gaps while the hiring process is ongoing. Companies can become more nimble and able to respond to marketplace changes faster than they otherwise might.

3. An Appealing Option for Small Businesses

People who own or operate small businesses often face additional challenges related to resource usage and being able to pursue growth like larger companies can. However, LC/NC platforms could change that, and many analysts who have examined the matter believe they will.

This is not the first time coding has gone through a major change. Object-oriented programming arrived in the 1980s and allowed people to design programs with objects. Similarly, the 1990s and 2000s necessitated using different types of code to meet emerging needs. Companies of all sizes must adapt to stay competitive, but it’s often more challenging for smaller enterprises to make those changes.

An Accenture report clarified why LC/NC tools are vital for helping small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) adapt to the changing landscape and harness all their tech offerings. In the opening part of the document, the authors mention the e-commerce platform Shopify and how it was instrumental in enabling companies to keep operating once the COVID-19 pandemic closed many physical stores. They believe LC/NC tools will have an equal or bigger impact on small and medium businesses.

A statistic cited in the report mentioned that 70% of small businesses are ramping up their digitization efforts worldwide. Low-Code/No-Code tools are instrumental in allowing that to happen. Another finding was that one in five small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) began searching for LC/NC platforms because of difficulties finding digitally fluent workers.

Moreover, 47% of respondents believed enterprise-level IT solutions don’t meet their needs because those providing them don’t understand the associated challenges. They said the shift toward LC/NC among SMBs illustrates that issue. When offerings meant for larger companies fail to fill gaps, people will look elsewhere for alternative solutions.

4. Turning Shadow IT Into an Asset With LC/NC

Shadow IT occurs when people use IT products without explicit workplace approval. Many tech professionals view it as a major problem. Consider how a 2022 study revealed that 69% of tech executives view shadow IT as a primary concern related to adopting cloud or Software-as-a-Service tools. Another 52% of respondents said individual employees purchase apps for use at work without the IT department’s knowledge.

However, some advocate turning shadow IT into an asset with LC/NC apps. A McKinsey report explained how Low-Code/No-Code products could allow organizations to increase innovation and speed when business and IT teams collaborate.

The report detailed three specific ways to achieve those aims:

  • Using enterprise-grade LC/NC platforms to customize and expand a product’s out-of-the-box capabilities
  • Augmenting existing products to give them new features and capabilities
  • Prototyping new ideas to establish use cases for new business applications

Many people use shadow IT products because the approved offerings don’t meet all their needs. These individuals are frequently unaware that they’re breaking any rules at their organizations and are merely trying to keep their workflows productive.

IT decision-makers should get feedback about any shortcomings associated with the approved products for employees to use. They could use LC/NC platforms to address those weak points with new products or options that alter what existing tools can do. After all, Low-Code and No-Code products typically shorten the overall development cycle, making workforces better equipped faster than traditional methods allow.

5. Company Representatives Discussing LC/NC More Often

Low-Code and No-Code technologies have a much better chance of succeeding when business leaders understand the advantages and are open to using them. A 2023 report showed a modest but notable rise in LC/NC discussions at companies.

The data indicated an 18% year-on-year increase in such talks in 2022 versus 2021. That’s important because discussions are often critical to help people with corporate buying power determine if they want to pursue certain possibilities.

Numerous software company representatives have pondered using LC/NC tools to reach internal aims faster than they could with conventional coding. Most business leaders know the importance of watching for changes in their respective industries and responding promptly. Otherwise, people who wait too long to react could face challenges catching up with their peers.

It also helps when companies have specific individuals who champion LC/NC products. Humans naturally resist change, even when they can see some of the advantages. However, when someone they know, trust, and respect encourages them to be open to Low-Code and No-Code products, it becomes more likely they’ll eventually embrace them.

These Low-Code/No-Code Trends Matter

Low-Code and No-Code platforms are still evolving, along with people’s opinions of them. Seeing how things play out in the coming months and years will be interesting. In any case, the five trends here are important to watch because they highlight the current state of things. Even if things change later, these ongoing patterns in LC/NC adoption and usage will likely shape what’s ahead.

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