In a joint Harvard Business Review and Google Cloud report 97% of business leaders surveyed believe that democratising access to data and analytics across their organisation is important to business success. The same study revealed that only 60% of these leaders believe their organisation is very effective at giving employees access to data and analytics tools.
With business leaders now seeing greater autonomy in deciding their technology directions, this may have led to the rising adoption of low-code and no-code methodologies for developing applications. Both approaches use visual programming and automation to create software solutions rather than relying on the IT team to write the code for them.
Gartner defines low-code application platforms (LCAPs) as application platforms that are used to rapidly develop and run custom applications by abstracting and minimizing the use of programming languages.
Enterprise LCAPs are a subset of this market that target a wider range of developer personas — especially enterprise developers — and provide features essential for application delivery and maintenance in midsize and large organisations.
These features include support for high performance, availability and scalability of applications, disaster recovery, security, API access to (and from) enterprise and third-party cloud services, usage monitoring, service-level agreements, and availability of technical support and training. LCAPs are the foundation for a wide range of application types, application components and process automation.
FutureCIO has covered the economic benefits of low-code and no-code back in September 2020.
Asked for his take on how AI may impact the use of low-code and no-code approaches when it comes to business applications, Leonard Tan, regional director for Singapore and Greater China at OutSystems, recalled that in 2023, there was a healthy growth of customers, irrespective of their industries, looking to adopt low-code and no-code technology to improve their business outcomes, meet their innovation needs, and drive automation, workflows, and process optimisation.
“Gartner has been advocating that 70% of new applications will utilise low-code and no-code by 2025. Over the years, the trend we are seeing has been keeping up with this prediction,” he added.
The consequences of low-code/no-code
Asked to describe the positive AND negative consequences of low-code/no-code use among the application development teams; he opined that low-code improves developer productivity and accelerates time-to-market.
“As AI-driven automation in application development expedites repetitive tasks, it can benefit markets like Hong Kong and greater China that are increasingly turning to automation,” he continued. “Low-code also lowers the barrier of entry to application development, especially with enterprises facing talent shortage necessary to drive innovation.”
He conceded that the scalability of low-code is still a perceived concern. “CIOs and decision-makers should be cognisant of the technology they adopt and ensure it is fit for purpose,’ he continued.
The future of low-code/no-code
In a Forrester blog, John Bratincevic cites a survey touting that 87% of enterprise developers use low-code development platforms for at least some of their work. He expects growth to continue to 2028 citing citizen development as a key driver of this growth.
He opined that the democratisation of development to workers outside of IT shows no signs of slowing down — and as citizen developer strategies mature, we believe that this relatively untapped use case will sustain a 21% growth rate for the next five years, growing to approximately US$30 billion in 2028.
Asked what his view is on the future of low-code/no-code use in the enterprise, Tan says AI allows a wider pool of talent to contribute to ideation with natural language, by providing a wireframe and base for enterprise citizen developers.
“For professional developers, AI alleviates tedious tasks, keeps technical debt low, and ensures that applications designed are future-proof and scalable,” he added.
“As deep learning technologies are embedded within software development platforms, security policies and standards are already embedded too. Static code analysers can use deep learning techniques to identify code patterns that create bugs and security issues.”Leonard Tan
Balancing risks vs benefits
Every new technology, and platform, brings with it risks as well as benefits. How should the CIO balance the benefits and risks of AI-powered low-code/no-code platforms?
Tan says CIOs want to know how the adoption of AI-powered low-code can provide holistic benefits for their organisations. “From their perspective, building intelligent applications means that mass quantities of data are required for the AI-powered low-code platforms to deliver insights, provide personalised recommendations, and enable decision-making,” he added.
“Data management will become a key priority for organisations. CIOs must ensure there is a proper governance structure in place to ensure data is safe, clean, and labelled properly.” Leonard Tan
Tan is convinced that low-code is here to stay and AI will be a game-changer in software development. He reasoned that the agility provided by AI-driven low-code can take business outcomes to the next level.
“CIOs would be keen to utilise the technical potential of AI-driven low-code, from automation to predictive modelling and the enhancement of the development process,” he continued. “They should also tap into the power that AI low-code provides in building applications for highly scalable, mission-critical web and mobile applications to engage with stakeholders and customers.”
Click on the PodChat player to hear more details on the low-code and no-code development in Asia.
- Where are we at as regards low-code/no-code adoption/integration in Asia in 2023?
- What have been the positive AND negative consequences of low-code/no-code use to the application development teams? [get access to this OutSystems study]
- How do you see AI impacting the future of low-code/no-code use in the enterprise? Please view from the perspective of (a) enterprise citizen developers and the IT function; from the (b) developer team to (c) security.
- How should the CIO balance the benefits and risks of AI-powered low-code/no-code platforms?
- 2024 is here. What is in store for low-code/no-code platforms, and how should the CIO and the enterprise view these developments as part of the overall business transformation?