Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Wednesday, August 16, 2017
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Low-Code Platforms Seen Gaining Traction 

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The low-code approach to enterprise software development is gathering momentum as companies leverage the platforms for cloud and other digital initiatives along with process automation, according to an industry report.

Forrester Consulting forecasts in a survey commissioned by low-code specialist Appian that the market segment will soar to $10 billion in revenue by 2019. Among the reasons for expected growth are accelerating the delivery of business process automation along with faster applications updates.

Low-code platforms are defined as enabling faster delivery of business applications with a minimum of hand coding and little upfront investment in training and deployment.

Appian, Reston, Va., said the findings released Wednesday (Aug. 2) reinforce the assertion that DevOps teams are turning to low-code platforms as a way to speed delivery of complex distributed applications.

Along with speeding delivery of applications that scale, the Forrester survey also revealed that low-code implementation depends on aligning DevOps skills to both build applications as well as evolving platforms to keep pace with enterprise demands.

Vendors such as Appian (NASDAQ: APPN), point to security and integration concerns in promoting their low-code platforms as a way of "bringing the citizen development movement under the governance of IT to ensure security, data integrity and operational efficiencies," according to Appian CEO Matt Calkins.

Another impetus for the low-code movement is the projected shortage of qualified application developers by 2020. Hence, enterprises are looking to fill the development gap with open-source technologies such as application containers and other agile development approaches to speed deployment of secure enterprise applications.

Other market watchers also are bullish on the low-code approach. For example, Gartner predicts that at least half of new enterprise applications will be developed on low-code platforms that would be used to ensure data governance while mitigating security risks.

Meanwhile, the Forrester survey found that 79 percent of the IT executives it surveyed are either adopting or evaluating low-code platforms for digital process automation. (The survey was conducted in June.)

Those priorities were based on a range of hurdles, including a coding skills gap, insecure platforms and soaring process automation costs. Hence, the market researcher cautioned that low-code adopters must take those risk factors into account when calculating low-code priorities.

Among the technical requirements for utilizing low-code platforms for process automation are new tools that reduce the need for hand coding—a requirement cited by 83 percent of respondents—along with advanced integration features and improved security and privacy controls.

Ranking highest among IT executives were security and privacy controls for their customer-facing operations along with the ability to link deployments to public cloud platforms.

Finally, the Forrester study recommends that a low-code platform should be selected based on existing expertise and its ability to support current development processes. And, of course, the secure platform must scale to meet enterprise application requirements.

 

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 25 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as Executive Editor for Electronic Engineering Times.

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