Why developers are embracing low-code

Businesses witnessing the disruptive impact of digital technology have been galvanized into adopting new ways of doing business. Ensuing bids to identify and seize innovation opportunities more quickly than rivals have propelled demand for application development and the importance of speed and agility to unprecedented highs.

Already, the number of applications slated for delivery in 2018 is higher than ever. In The State of Application Development 2018 study published by OutSystems, 42% of IT professionals said they plan to deliver 10 or more apps this year, while 21% are delivering 25 or more apps, and 10% have pipelined 100 or more apps.

With constant innovation the key to differentiation and a sharper competitive edge, your business can no longer rely on off-the-shelf solutions or glacial, multi-year ERP-style projects. Many organizations are grappling with stubbornly high application backlogs rooted in excessive development time and lack of talent that is often hard to find or hire. 

As a sensible response to high app delivery estimates, 34% of the study respondents said their organization has begun using a low-code platform—once the domain of innovators and early adopters. A further 9% said they were about to start using one. In addition, companies using low-code are more likely to be happy with the speed of development than those who don’t.

Loving low-code

Indeed, developers have been drawn to embracing low-code by the following influencing factors:

  • Community: Low-code is supported by strong and supportive communities. For example, developers have cited the OutSystems community, with more than 167,000 members, as a source of help and open communication with the platform team.

  • Optimal code execution: Depending on the vendor and the client’s unique configuration, software built with low-code may execute on the vendor’s infrastructure, which typically optimizes CPU and memory load for fast code execution.

  • No prototyping: The drag-and-drop nature of low-code and its fast deployment capabilities enable developers to construct working features in the same amount of time taken to build a non-functional prototype.

  • Easy collaboration: Although developers use version control systems to separate their unfinished code from the deployed product, merge conflicts occasionally arise in collaborative environments where two or more developers work on the same files. Low-code provides powerful version control directly in an integrated development environment (IDE).

  • All-in-one and cross-platform: Low-code platforms generate desktop and mobile applications from a single codebase, fulfilling the promise of writing once and running everywhere.

  • Easy integration: With each integration of an open-source library, third-party API, legacy data store, et cetera, into a software product comes new boilerplate code to handle the specific requirements of each dependency. Low-code abstracts the boilerplate work by providing templates and ready-made connections to popular services and databases. 

  • Easy to get started: The showpiece feature of low-code is its visual nature and underlying web technology. Hence, developers only learn how to use a simpler, drag-and-drop IDE.

  • Fast deployment: Low-code platforms dramatically decrease deployment times. For example, the OutSystems low-code platform requires just a click of a single green button for complete, automated app deployment. It has done the majority of DevOps tasks for the developer. 

Dig deeper, and you’ll find that many of those developers embracing low-code are using OutSystems.

Surging support

Software developers and business analysts who are using the intuitive, visual interface of the highly regarded OutSystems low-code platform (instead of hand coding) are able to develop custom applications in days and weeks versus months and years, despite a shortage of skilled developers.

OutSystems now serves thousands of customers in over 50 countries, and nearly 250 partner integrators are developing with its platform. In 2017 alone, OutSystems reported 63% growth in annual recurring revenue while adding 275 enterprise customers and over 50,000 new developers.

“From streamlining internal operations to delivering new disruptive customer experiences, our customers are innovating with low-code,” said Pedro Pimenta, Chief Customer Officer at OutSystems.

One enterprise customer, Logitech, replaced more than 80 aging Lotus Notes apps with OutSystems in 18 months. Additionally, Deloitte and Prudential used OutSystems to develop an application that relies on artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things for automated risk analysis. 

Others such as Toyota, Ricoh, Schneider Electric, and GM Financial are using the OutSystems low-code platform to rapidly develop custom applications. These range from large, mission-critical solutions that replace legacy ERP/CRM systems to mobile and web apps for internal processes. 

“We were surprised that within two to three weeks, our system developers could actually come up with an app which was already covering 70% of our requirements,” said Aravind Kumar, head of Enterprise Business Systems at Surbana Jurong. The company needed an expense entry system that can work better on a mobile device or tablet, while offering a better user experience. “It is very easy to learn. You don’t need to have any previous programming background.” 

These factors underscore the top reason spurring developers to embracing low-code – speed. You spend significantly less time building and deploying product and generate code that performs well and comes bug-free. And if you choose the right low-code platform, you can begin to innovate with speed and agility unattainable with legacy non-low-code platforms. 

This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by OutSystems.