As organizations strive to become more agile, automate business processes, and create new web and mobile applications to meet consumer demand, tools that automate development are becoming essential — especially as the IT talent shortage continues.
According to a recent study, low-code and no-code platforms that can automate processes and empower workers to complete tasks are experiencing significant growth in the face of an ongoing IT skills gap.
In each of the past four years, sales of low-code and no-code application platforms (LCAP) have increased by more than $1 billion per year, from $3.47 billion in 2019 to an anticipated $8 billion in 2020.
Gartner predicts that the LCAP market will be the fastest-growing segment of the “hyper-automation” technologies market over the next two years. Gartner anticipates a 25% increase in LCAP to approximately $10 billion in 2023 and $12.3 billion in 2024.
Gartner’s senior market research specialist Varsha Mehta stated, “Organizations are increasingly turning to low-code development technologies to meet rising demands for [faster] application delivery and highly customized automation workflows.”
In addition to LCAP, hyper-automation technologies such as business process automation, robotic process automation, and citizen automation and development platforms (CAPD) are anticipated to reach nearly $32 billion by 2024, up from $18.5 billion in 2021.
“The high cost of tech talent and a growing hybrid or borderless workforce will contribute to the adoption of low-code technology,” said Gartner analyst Jason Wong.
By “borderless workforce,” Wong meant remote workers who are no longer constrained by a company’s physical location.
According to a report by Morgan Stanley, there are currently 26 million developers in the world, with 38 million expected by 2024.
Low-code technology is intended to address the IT skills gap because it enables nearly anyone to become a developer. Gartner forecasts that by 2025, 70 percent of newly developed enterprise applications will employ low-code or no-code technologies, up from less than 25 percent in 2020.
As the Great Resignation continues and ongoing digitization projects increase the strain on existing resources, IT departments continue to experience a shortage of IT talent.
According to a study by Salesforce, 72 percent of IT leaders report that project backlogs are currently preventing them from working on strategic projects.
Business technologists and “citizen technologists” (employees without formal IT training but with some tech savvy) are using low-code and no-code applications to meet business needs for “enhanced productivity, efficiency, and agility — frequently as fusion teams,” according to Wong.
According to a recent Gartner survey, seventy-four percent of technology purchases are funded at least in part by business units (BUs) outside of IT. Only 26% of technology investments are entirely funded by the IT department.
Even though LCAP is the largest market segment, citizen automation development platform growth is expected to be the highest, at 30.2% by 2023. According to Gartner, typical CADP use cases include automating workflows, constructing web-based forms, bridging data and content across multiple software-as-a-service applications, and generating reports and data visualizations.
Gartner predicts that by 2026, developers outside of formal IT departments will make up at least 80% of low-code development tool users, up from 60% in 2021.
IDC Research concurred. IDC stated in a research note that the global shortage of full-time developers will increase from 1.4 million in 2021 to 4 million in 2025, indicating that the full-time developer labor force, which was operating at 90.8% capacity in 2021, will be operating at only 84.9% capacity in 2025.
At the same time, that citizen developers are turning to low-code and no-code platforms, approximately one-third of professional developers are using the same tools to simplify development and accelerate build times, according to Forrester Research analyst John Bratincevic.
IDC surveyed 380 businesses in January and found that 48.6% of respondents are purchasing low-code or no-code platforms to bring innovation in-house. “Pandemic-related needs” was the second-largest reason for purchasing the software tools (39.3%).
Low-code platforms require minimal coding; instead, they use a modular set of tools (similar to Legos) to build business applications. No-code platforms, in contrast, only require text entry for formulas or simple expressions.
Zoho Creator, Microsoft PowerApps, Visual LANSA, Retool, m-Power, Appian, Mendix, OutSystems, and Google App Maker are among the most popular low-code platforms. Some low-code platforms are also pre-integrated with the platforms of other vendors, including Salesforce, QuickBooks, and Oracle.
While low-code platforms simplify the creation of business applications, they do pose some security risks because users are not always familiar with application security best practices and may be unaware of potential vulnerabilities. Additionally, low-code software can be more difficult to scale and integrate with existing CRM and ERP platforms.
As organizations embrace the “composable enterprise,” Gartner predicts that investments in low-code technologies that support innovation and composable integration will also increase. (A composable enterprise is agile and designed for real-time adaptability and resilience in the face of unpredictability.)
Wong stated, “Low-code development technologies support the composable enterprise by enabling the development of more agile and resilient software solutions.” “These technologies can be used to compose and recompose modular components and packaged business capabilities to create adaptive custom applications for fluctuating business requirements.”