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Covid-19 drives growth in low-code development tools

The pandemic and lockdowns have led to remote work and increased online activity, and businesses have needed to develop new applications rapidly

A surge in remote software development during the coronavirus crisis has driven growth in demand for low-code/no-coding programming tools.

Analyst Gartner’s latest forecast estimates that the worldwide low-code development technologies market will total $13.8bn in 2021, an increase of 23.2% from 2020. This increase in demand is set to continue during 2021, despite ongoing pressure in IT departments to reduce costs.

“While low-code application development is not new, a confluence of digital disruptions, hyper-automation and the rise of composable business has led to an influx of tools and rising demand,” said Fabrizio Biscotti, research vice-president at Gartner.  

Gartner predicted that low-code application platforms would remain the largest component of the low-code development tech market through to 2022, increasing by 65% from 2020 to reach $5.8bn. Other areas of growth include rapid mobile app development (RMAD) tools and rapid application development (RAD) tools.

The growth in low-code tools is being driven by businesses asking IT departments to create more software. Gartner believes the increased demand for custom software in support of digital transformation has sparked the emergence of citizen developers outside of IT, which, in turn, has influenced the rise in low code.

Gartner’s research suggests that, on average, 41% of employees outside of IT – or business technologists – customise or build data or technology solutions. Gartner said half of all new low-code clients will come from business buyers that are outside the IT organisation by the end of 2025.

Biscotti added: “The economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic have validated the low-code value proposition. Low-code capabilities that support remote work functions, such as digital forms and workflow automation, will be offered with more elastic pricing as they will be required to keep the lights on.”

Gartner believes the market for low-code tools is intricately linked to the adoption of software as a service (SaaS). The major SaaS providers currently offer capabilities that incorporate low-code development technologies.

As SaaS grows in popularity, Gartner predicted that usage of the low-code tools they offer will also grow. It said this could drive adoption of low-code application platforms and process automation tooling.

“Globally, most large organisations will have adopted multiple low-code tools in some form by year-end 2021,” said Biscotti. “In the longer term, as companies embrace the tenets of a composable enterprise, they will turn to low-code technologies that support application innovation and integration.”

Read more about low-code platforms

  • We get the lowdown on the latest low-code development tools and find out how they can help business people and traditional developers alike.
  • Some see low-code platforms as intuitive and time-saving, but security and compliance concerns could negate those benefits. See where low-code tools stand with these pros and cons.

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