Forrester publishes various reports about low-code software development. In the report “Now Tech: General Purpose Low-Code Development Platforms, Q1 2021” from John Bratincevic, Chris Gardner, Rob Koplowitz, Andrew Dobak and Kara Hartig, the research agency provides an overview of 42 general purpose low-code development platform providers. A clear distinction is made between these platforms and their no-code counterparts, which are more suitable for smaller use-cases and, in addition, offer fewer in-depth possibilities for modification and customization.
Modernize the core
From the research it appears that companies that have used a low-code platform for their business-critical applications during the COVID crisis, are far better able to cope with the changing market conditions. This in contrast with companies that relied on legacy software.
Forrester writes: “Low-code brings inherent benefits of speed and easy adaptability that apply beyond the long tail of smaller application needs. Those firms applying low-code to critical operations quickly addressed the COVID-19 crisis, while those relying on legacy software did not. COVID-19 didn’t create the problem; it just concentrated it and, in the process, exposed whether firms could adapt their software for the real world. Whether developing fully bespoke apps, starting with an accelerator, or buying a packaged application built on an underlying low-code platform, low-code as a feature of core apps and their architecture is critical going forward.”
So the well-known benefits of being able to quickly and easily customize applications applies not only to small applications, but also to the core applications on which enterprise-level organizations operate.
“By applying low-code for large business-critical applications, you achieve an extremely high speed of development and flexibility, which would be impossible with legacy software,” says Robert van der Linden, Thinkwise director. “These benefits have helped many of our customers during the crisis, but it also gives them a permanent competitive advantage in the future.”
Along with the general advice given to organizations to investigate the benefits of low-code, Forrester also provides a number of specific guidelines. For example, organizations must accelerate the digitalization of the DNA of their organization by the broad deployment of low-code to digitalize their outdated processes, which still use spreadsheets and paper documentation. This allows processes to be automated and optimized, leading to a more efficient organization.
In addition, it is important when selecting a low-code platform to consider which type of developers you currently have available. An enterprise low-code platform is the most suitable for full-time professional developers. If the objective is to primarily allow employees from the business to develop their own applications, then a low-code platform for business developers is more suitable. A combination of both is also possible.
Forrester also mentions a number of important benefits of low-code platforms for professional application developers compared to no-code platforms. Enterprise low-code is much more suitable for matters such as industrial data processing, data management, integration, reporting and AI applications. Furthermore, this low-code category is deployable in a much broader range of usage scenarios.