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Low-code business applications crucial for digital transformation

In recent years we have been bombard with the term ‘digital transformation’. However, the need that underlies this trend, has been existing for much longer, namely the inhibiting effect that traditional software has on the innovation of companies. In my opinion, the final breakthrough of low-code development as an essential tool to accelerate the digital transformation of businesses has taken place in 2017.

Robert van der Linden, founder and CEO of Thinkwise

Since the early days of digitization and computerization, companies have been dependent on software suppliers and IT service providers for their business applications. However, they are rarely satisfied with the functionality of their business software, and the implementation and the maintenance are almost always too expensive. This is not surprising when you realize that many well-known software packages have been developed over a period of several decades.

They consist of millions of lines of code and are packed with numerous possibilities and configuration options. Modifying such a package, to suit a specific business situation, is a huge job, the final result of which looks suspiciously like customization. This makes it difficult to modify or update such a ‘flexible’ package after its implementation. To improve this situation, in 2002 together with Victor Klaren, I founded Thinkwise with a low-code alternative for ERP software. By specifying the processes and applications of companies in a virtual blueprint, software can subsequently be generated automatically. In fact, the software is made less technical, enabling  companies to focus exclusively on defining their processes and applications. Very fast, with minimal programming and always flexibly modifiable. This sounds like the answer to all problems, but certainly in the early years of low-code development this story was often met with disbelief.

Low-code revolution
Since 2002 several low-code developers and platforms have appeared on the market, all with their own specific approach, target group or application. However, this has gained momentum in recent years. More and more start-ups are now trying to capture a specific niche with their own low-code solution. It is with good reason that the Forrester research agency predicts that the market for low-code development platforms will grow to 15.5 billion dollars in 2020. So, the low-code revolution is in full progress, and companies are getting more and more choices to replace their traditional software packages and customized software by low-code options.

In other words:  software that does exactly what the company needs and that remains flexibly modifiable and manageable both now and in the future. In the past I often had to defend our low-code approach when talking to customers, but this is now seen as the future of business software.