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Low-code: The smart IT tool for 2020?

(Image credit: Image Credit: Christina Morillo / Pexels)

In 2014, Forrester coined the term “Low-code” to describe development platforms that accelerated application delivery, reducing the amount of hand-coding required. But for those with an eye for faster development cycles will know, today’s leading platforms were offering rapid development tools from as early as the naughties.

Since then, there has been no looking back.

Given the benefits of rapid development - lower costs, faster delivery and greater accessibility - the low-code market is pushing forward to a digital revolution and is projected to reach $27.23 billion in the year 2022.

But before we get to 2022, we need to understand 2020 - the year of Coronavirus - which has ushered in a new reality: Being an adaptable, digital enterprise has never been more critical.

So, how do we adapt, and what lies ahead in 2020?

Pushing to digital can affect positive change

In this era of digital transformation, the ability to ship products quickly is a precious trait. Embracing the changes in technology and the newest innovations is no longer limited to the high-flying startups in Silicon Valley or Fortune 500s. Today, every company needs to be a technology company in some way.

Specifically for development, we have come to a place where thanks to many libraries and frameworks, what would’ve once taken many developers to build from scratch is now more often than not, replaced by very few IT pros plumbing different things together. 

And if this is the trend to follow (efficiency!), it is why we are seeing so many “no-code” or “low-code” solutions popping up all over the place. 

The truth is that in 2020, there are increasingly fewer reasons to write code. From small one or two-person businesses to unicorn startups and large multinationals, every company needs a developer or a team of developers to help with scaling digitally. The difference today is the increased demand to deliver products quickly, meaning that developers need a way to move faster. For those willing to break the model of traditional development, the solution can be found in low-code tools. 

And the benefits are apparent:

  • Speed - Instead of time-consuming code, low-code platforms use visual models, eliminating the need for knowledge of syntax or boilerplate code.
  • Flexibility – Solving unique business problems via customization, without being exorbitantly expensive (read: hours writing code), will always prevail.
  • Automation – Less time wasted in trying to get things to work, and more time spent in actually getting them done. Win-win.

Integrating digital silos 

With Covid-19 turning our world upside down, organizations need a fundamental change in how they define business as usual, including how they will need to reprioritize their IT goals and budgets in unexpected ways.

During this time of unprecedented change and uncertainty, it may be tempting to put digital transformation initiatives on hold and instead focus on more familiar and less disruptive efforts. But this is already a time of disruption. Digital transformation is precisely what’s needed to move forward in the Covid19 era - or at least to cover the gaps where workers who are physically separated, need to find new ways to interact with their customers and teams. 

Enter the simple application. They have fundamentally changed the way we organize and optimize our daily routines, from shopping, food delivery to ride-hailing and banking. 

They are also the key for organizations who are looking to use technology strategically to both optimize operational efficiency and accelerate the development speed and implementation of prototypes, MVPs and even entire applications. With this in mind, low-code platforms that offer quicker turnover in application development, can provide an agile vehicle to meet the “new normal”.

Everything as a Service and the importance of the API 

Low-code has been around for decades, with adoption often tactical (a business unit may turn to a cheap low-code platform to solve a specific problem). But today’s IT landscape is changing at a breakneck pace - progressive web apps, APIs, cloud solution etc. Add a global pandemic to the equation and now more than ever, the time for XaaS is here. 

The current environment is ideal for scaling a cloud and -as-a-Service strategy because it promotes agility. The API model is not new, either. It is only becoming more critical to rapid essential application development. Companies have access to data and functionality via APIs - and smart IT practitioners are already using them to make smarter decisions, improve customer satisfaction, drive innovation, and identify new areas of business. With the emergence of different XaaS solutions, it is now easier than ever to connect services and orchestrate, deploy new capability, link to other tools, push updates on a new platform, and consume new data.

XaaS can help us build a myriad of bridges between systems – new and legacy, and low-code tools are the key to delivery. They excel in delivering rapid POCs to determine the business validity of an idea quickly before diving into more detailed customization development.

Looking ahead

All in all, low-code can help organizations to satisfy some programming and development needs at a quick turnaround while alleviating the heavy lifting that usually comes with coding from the ground up. This makes it both efficient and extremely effective. 

So as we move through 2020 (and beyond?), companies will need to adopt a new mindset to create, iterate and release applications in a fraction of the time it would usually take with traditional methods, turning new business priorities into applications. 

Anthony Morris, Tech Marketer