A printer has informed me that he has further developed the functional scope of his industry software with his own team from the prepress stage in the direction of CRM and has extended his EcoSystem for a customer to include subscriber management. Does that make sense? In the course of digitization, state-of-the-art time-to-market strategies eliminate the need to wait months for special programming from software suppliers, if they offer it at all. Low-code platforms can offer a remedy. Crisp Research AG, in cooperation with several technological partners, has prepared an empirical study, which we have read in detail in relation to the topic.
Whether it is possible to create an app “single-handedly,” as the Handelsblatt headlined in its issue 53, certainly depends on individual resources and skills. Low code does not mean low knowledge. However, low code is certainly a springboard for optimizing digital processes. Digital business models and applications depend on professional developers, so-called coders, and often have long development times. More than 60 percent of all applications today take several months to complete the traditional way. This is usually because the coders have simply no expertise. “It takes forever for a programmer to understand a printer,” the CEO of a software company once told me. With low code development, the development process can be accelerated significantly, as development can possibly take place directly or in close proximity to the in-house specialist departments.
Anyone who is entrepreneurial is currently investing their time and financial resources in digital business model innovations and sales. Whether it’s the new app of a start-up on its way to becoming a disruptive unicorn, an interactive social intranet & knowledge management system for your own company, or the digital platform of an industrial group and product manufacturer, they all follow the same idea: to ensure the economic and innovative survival of the company with a good digital solution through greater efficiency or new sources of revenue, explains Dr. Carlo Velten, CEO of Crisp Research AG, in the foreword to the latest study from his company.
The study is intended to present a comprehensive picture of the current status and deployment, as well as the areas of application of low code development in companies in the DACH region. For this reason, an empirical survey was conducted with 150 IT and business decision-makers from companies of various industries and sizes. This enables the study to provide all those working on (mobile) websites and apps with insights and concrete recommendations for planning and using the new technological trend.
Six theories backed by impressive figures
- Organizations face the challenge of bringing and managing numerous new applications into the business. Developing and managing this large number is becoming a challenge. A total of 92 percent of the decision-makers surveyed say that digitization has increased the number of business-critical applications and tools. Just under half of the companies (47 percent) have seen a strong or very strong increase in business-critical digital applications as a result of digitization.
- In the course of digitization, it is important to differentiate among digital assets and secure intellectual property (IP management = is an umbrella term for all strategic and operational activities as well as management tasks that are part of the commercially oriented handling of intellectual property). For this reason, companies tend to primarily insource their digitization and application development. Companies are already taking numerous measures to drive software development in this direction. Streamlined project management (39 percent) and agile development (35 percent) are the favored methods for accelerating the success of software development today and in the future. This means that two opposing methods are leading the way. While streamlined project management follows a rather bureaucratic, linear process, agile methods favor a flexible and lean process. In practice, we have observed that a combination makes perfect sense. Above all, one must not hyper-organize, but also not remain completely without rules.
- The relevance and awareness of low code development in German companies is currently still low. Around 24 percent of German companies already program using low code. 41 percent of respondents believe that low code can be a good framework for standard apps.
- Low-code development platforms are able to reduce the difficulties of application development in terms of quality, time-to-market and management. Examples of typical use cases are info apps for employees and employee portals, which can be used to support TQM strategies. Around 40 percent of development work is done in this direction. BPM follows with around 30 percent, while CRM and customer portals take third place among the use scenarios for low-code platforms with around 25 percent each.
- Low code development and classic coded development will grow together more strongly. Low code and native code are converging – Half of the decision-makers prefer a combination of classic programming language and low code for application development in all areas of use. Two-thirds of the companies surveyed aim to develop and adapt applications quickly. Whereby, of course, “Low code & professional developers – go hand in hand!” must apply.
- Due to the technical complexity of implementing, integrating and dealing with a low-code platform, the solution will only catch on in technology-savvy companies. According to the study, it is becoming apparent that low code is, in particular, an organizational issue. A total of 50 percent of companies are not yet able to map the organizational requirements, in terms of process and corporate culture. In order to be able to establish a low-code development environment in everyday business life, above all, the previous way of communication and collaboration must be rethought. For 54 percent of companies, employee training is at the top of the to-do list for “planning for the future of low code”. Basic training includes expanding and extending low-code skills so that employees learn how to use a low-code tool efficiently. It is important here to involve employees in the introduction process from the outset and prepare them for any changes in their work process.
“Low code is associated with change and must be managed if success is to be achieved. Many companies in the printing industry first have to prepare the necessary cultural and organizational foundations. If they don’t do that, they are not only dependent on partially inert software dinos, but are left behind by new, lucrative business models.” – Bernd Zipper
Low code development is changing software development
New tools and solutions ensure that mobile apps can be “assembled” in the future thanks to prefabricated templates – this unleashes enormous potential for collaboration between development professionals and non-developers in specialist departments.
Low code can combine a new level of agility with well-organized project and organizational management. According to the study, 71 percent of the companies surveyed want to evaluate how low code can help them in the digital economy as an alternative to the traditional development process.
Decision-makers expect low-code platforms above all to offer new opportunities for generating digital revenues while at the same time reducing costs and increasing efficiency. This is also associated with increasing the possibilities in digital app development or improving the application or API architecture.
For the optimal starting point in app development, low code and classic “manual coding” need to merge. Combining the agility, speed and management capabilities of low code with the level of detail and variability of classic coding can give enterprises the winning edge.
Low-code development platforms can be deployed independently as a developer tool or as part of a suite. The leading low-code platforms are either completely focused on low code, belong to a different app development and integration interface, or are part of a collaboration and BPM platform. The area of use and the development skill level play the decisive role in the selection.
Low Code is more than a development platform. It revolutionizes application development, establishes important parts of digital business and means a new programming and organizational philosophy. All of these things have to work together in order to use it successfully. However, it is especially in the area of cultural and organizational change that half of the companies still have some catching up to do.
Having built up skills and know-how, low-code development platforms will become a popular port of call for developing numerous customer applications and digital business processes in the next few years. Half of the companies agree that more than 21 percent of all applications will be developed via low code in the future.
Whether workflow & collaboration apps for employees or simple info apps, whether business apps for ERP or sales and marketing – the areas of application are diverse. In the future, more apps will be developed via low code, especially for customers. When asked about the proportion of applications that can be built with low-code platforms by 2025, the decision-makers are quite optimistic and predict a successful future for low code. The majority (36 percent) of decision-makers estimate that eleven to 20 percent of all applications will be developed with low-code platforms in the future. A further 27 percent even assume that the proportion will be 21 to 30 percent. One fifth of the decision-makers surveyed believe that the proportion will be even higher, at over 31 percent.
Sources: crisp RESEARCH study 2019: Low Code Development / Handelsblatt article no. 53