Low-Code Report Roundup

Neil Miller

January 16th, 2019 Low Code  

As the low-code development market continues to grow, there’s a consistent source of good resources about how and why companies are using low-code. When looking for a low-code platform, Gartner and Forrester are the leading analyst companies. Gartner’s low-code reports are fewer than Forrester’s low-code details, but both provide a lot of interesting data.

In addition to reports on low-code from Forrester and Gartner, several other companies distribute interesting and insightful reports. Here’s a summary of the best ones.

low code report roundup

The Growing Importance Of Process To Digital Transformation

Published: 8 May 2018

Source: Forrester

Highlights

Previously, most process automation was focused on cost reduction. However, now the focus is more on moving towards digital transformation and a better customer experience. As customer experience becomes more important, streamlined and efficient processes (both front and backend) become high priorities for businesses.

This Forrester low-code platform report looks at these issues. Among 354 business professionals surveyed:

  • Cost reduction was listed as the top primary motivation for process improvement 2 years ago (32 percent of respondents), but that will slip to 8 percent by 2020.
  • Accelerating business transformation was the primary motivation for only 13 percent 2 years ago, but will become the top motivation by 2020 (49 percent).
  • In 2018, the primary motivation is improving the customer experience (33 percent), and will continue to be important in 2020 (28 percent).
  • How do enterprises manage their processes?
    • 71 percent use electronic manual routing (email, spreadsheets).
    • 66 percent use packaged applications
    • 53 percent use SharePoint like tool
    • 40 percent have a homegrown solution
    • 37 percent use paper-based routing
    • 25 percent use traditional BPM software
    • 12 percent use a low-code tool with process capabilities

The report also reflects on how large the issue of digital transformation is and how impossible it is for IT to handle it on their own.

“Organizations are uncovering a multitude of process elements they need to be automate or streamline. It isn’t practical, or even feasible, for one centralized IT department to tackle the enormous magnitude of the software end-to-end transformation requires, making process automation ripe for low-code tooling and business user empowerment. Decentralization prevents IT from becoming a bottleneck and spreads responsibility throughout the enterprise. Vendors are adapting to this shift with speedier, lighter-weight process solutions aimed at business professionals.”

Architecting Low-Code Cloud Applications With High-Productivity aPaaS

Published: 24 July 2018

Source: Gartner

Highlights

This Gartner low-code platform report details how enterprises can use these tools to meet growing IT demands. Many of these options are cloud based and can assist developers in significant ways.

The Gartner low-code report also details the difference between no-code and low-code and describes specific use cases for enterprises, including creating satellite applications, replacing legacy applications, making team workflows, mobile applications, and disruptions in the space. Best practices such as increasing options for citizen developers, and investing in APIs are also covered.

The 2018 State of Application Development

Published: 22 June 2018

Source: OutSystems

Highlights

OutSystems has delivered some really interesting statistics in this report. They surveyed IT leaders around the world to find out about their application development strategies.

Current Plans

  • 42% of companies have 10 or more applications planned for development in the next year.
  • 21% have 25 or more applications planned.
  • 13% of companies with employees over 10,000 have planned to roll out 100 or more applications.

Kinds of Apps

  • 63% of apps are classified as maintenance. 40% of respondents said that less than a quarter of the apps they make in the year would be related to innovation.
  • 52% of apps will be for internal business processes.

Delivery Speed

  • 41% of respondents thought their business was either happy or somewhat happy with the development time.
  • However, they also broke this stat down into those using low-code and those not. The happy number climbed to 55% if the company was using a low-code tool, and dipped to 32% for those not using one.

Backlog

  • 31% of companies using low-code had no backlog, as compared to only 11% of those who were not.
  • On the other side, 16% of those using low code had a backup of 10+ apps, while it was 41% for those not using low-code.

Why Low-Code?

The top three answers were:

  • 69% – Accelerate digital transformation
  • 55% – Reduce IT backlog
  • 38% – Reduce dependency on hard-to-hire skills

Magic Quadrant for Enterprise High-Productivity Application Platform as a Service

Published: 26 April 2018

Source: Gartner

Highlights

Here’s a mouthful for you: hpaPaaS.

This low-code platform Gartner report only covers vendors and doesn’t give a lot of insight over the spectrum as a whole, but spends more time looking at each vendor and how they compare. For the first time, OrangeScape, makes of KiSSFLOW, appear in this report. Here’s what they had to say:

KiSSFLOW is designed for citizen developers who prefer drag-and-drop creation and visual layout for designing their application flow. This is further complemented by a rich UI for development and extensions to presupplied apps, as well as an apps marketplace.

“KiSSFLOW offers simple, one-tiered competitive pricing with provision for custom bulk pricing and special pricing for education and not-for-profit organizations.

“OrangeScape has a sharp focus on customer support and claims its median response time to be approximately 34 minutes, which is good among smaller vendors. It also keeps its product roadmap transparent and prioritizes features based on its customers’ wish lists.”

It also lists out some cautions, including the (at the time) limitation of only creating workflow-based applications, the lack of appeal for professional programmers, and no industry-specific customizations.

The Rise of the Empowered Citizen Developer

Published: November 2017

Source: Kintone

This one comes as a partnership between Kintone and Unisphere research. Most of the data focuses on the prevalence of Shadow IT, or software that is created and used outside of IT’s knowledge. Here are some interesting findings:

  • At least 76% of respondents indicate that at least some portion of their applications were developed outside of their traditional IT department or IT service. A majority, 54%, turn to open source software as their first choice in building and supporting their self-built applications. Only 16% attempt to clamp down on citizen development activity — more than one in four has no policy of any kind in place, while 42% say non-IT app development is allowed, or in some cases, actively encouraged.
  • Citizen developers get applications out the door faster than large IT departments. They turn around their required applications in a matter of weeks, or a couple of months. Only 17% report turnaround times exceeding three months. The challenges to citizen development include data security and trouble learning proper programming techniques, and handling of data.
  • 35% of non-IT people are frustrated by the speed of app delivery from IT.
  • Only 21% of non-IT developers use low-code platforms. The most common is open source tools (54%) or spreadsheets (45%).

The Forrester Wave™: Low-Code Development Platforms For Application Development and Delivery Professionals, Q4 2017

Published: 12 October 2017

Source: Forrester

Highlights

Application development professionals are turning to low-code platforms to meet customer demands and provide apps that can be quickly built and edited. Low-code platforms also allow for connections to advanced technology.

This Forrester low-code platform report lists findings from a small survey of 41 application development professionals. The number one challenge in building custom applications is the difficulty in meeting business requirements on time (31 of 41 application development respondents). 21 mentioned the lack of flexibility and 20 said it took too long to update apps.

  • 51 percent said a low-code platform provided significant improvement over traditional coding
  • 46 percent said it gave a notable improvement
  • Only 2 percent said it was a marginal improvement

68 percent develop apps across the organization with their low-code platform.

Most of the vendors evaluated cater to professional developers in the features they offer, and risk overwhelming many citizen developers, although they work well when used with developers and line of business heads together.

These are general purpose low-code platforms and there are only about 5-6 vendors who dominate this marketplace.

Citizen Development Is Happening and IT Needs to Be More Engaged

Published: 28 Sep 2017

Source: Gartner

Highlights

This low-code Gartner report looks deeper at the issues around citizen development, referring to business users who are involved in creating their own applications. IT leaders will not be able to meet the demands on their own and must turn to citizen developers to reach scale and velocity.  

In this report are statistics from a small survey on the state of citizen development and how it was driving digital transformation. Insights include:

  • Which business units have active citizen development initiatives?
  • Who are the citizen developers and what are their skill sets?
  • What types of apps are being built and what tools are used?
  • How is success being measured?

In half of those companies surveyed, citizen development was already happening and others were already planning. Generally though, IT is not close at hand. Only 16 percent of respondents’ IT departments were fully involved with these efforts. 33 percent said they gave back-end support.

This report tries to make the case for IT to embrace and govern citizen development as the only viable option for digital transformation.

A Low-Code Manifesto For Speeding Up BPM Initiatives

Published: 19 July 2016

Source: Forrester

Highlights

This low-code Forrester report looks at BPM from an application development and delivery (AD&D) leader’s perspective. They are increasingly responsible for delivering apps for business process management (BPM). The are faced with the challenge of creating platforms that can deliver rapid benefits without large financial investments. It makes the case to abandon legacy platforms and use low-code approaches instead.

Low-Code Platforms–Ideal to Drive Rapid Digital Transformation

Published: June 2017

Source: MWD Advisors and Appian

Highlights

In this report, Neil Ward-Dutton, a highly respected industry analyst, lays out the reason why low-code platforms are becoming more and more popular. He links it to the “relentless pressure” on the IT department. MWD’s own report says that 81% of CIOs plan to be more involved in the digital transformation in the next two years, yet 69% say they are already struggling to keep up.

The most useful part of the report is the three distinct use cases for low-code development.

  • Application Prototyping. Low code lets developers ‘work out loud’ and show the customer exactly what is possible with technology. They can give a visual example of what they will build later on a more sophisticated system.
  • Department Applications. This is when ‘citizen developers’ (business leaders who aren’t programmers) start making their own apps. The most important aspect is ease-of-use.

Extension of Processes. This involves taking a core application and building it out through mobile apps, integrations, or new audiences.

Use A Light Touch To Govern Low-Code Development Platforms

Published: 13 February 2017

Source: Forrester

Highlights

Similar to the previous report, this Forrester low-code report says that application development professionals should be more involved in governing citizen development, but not too heavy-handed. Being too restrictive will prevent a march forward to digital transformation. But being too casual will create chaos and disorder that will be almost impossible to recover from.

Geneca

Published: 25 January 2017

Source: Geneca

Finally is this low-code report from Geneca called, “Doomed From the Start? Why a Majority of Business and IT Teams Anticipate Their Software Development Projects Will Fail”.

This one lays the foundation for why low-code is such a big need. Here are some telling stats:

  • 75% of respondents admit that their projects are either always or usually “doomed right from the start.”
  • 80% admit they spend at least half their time on rework.
  • 78% feel the business is usually or always out of sync with project requirements and business stakeholders need to be more involved and engaged in the requirements process.
  • Only 55% feel that the business objectives of their projects are clear to them.
  • Less than 20% describe the requirements process as the articulation of business need.
  • Only 23% state they are always in agreement when a project is truly done.

We’ll continue to collect the best data and resources that show why now is the best time to get into low-code development platforms!