Whether you’re responsible for software or are a business leader whose team uses software, you know this: You need customized software, and traditional software development can’t keep up with your demands. Conventional development methods take too long and require a special set of skills that are in short supply. This has been a problem for years. The need to transform to digital business makes it acute.

Low-code development platforms are emerging as a key strategy to accelerate app delivery to support digital business transformation. And they have the potential to make software development as much as 10 times faster than traditional methods.

Low-code platforms employ visual, declarative techniques instead of traditional lines of programming. Both developers and non-developers can use these products, and they require less training to start. Common features include reusable components, drag-and-drop tools, and process modeling. Individuals or small teams can experiment, prototype, and deliver apps in days or weeks.

So instead of this:

You have this:

Source: bpm’online

Rising adoption of low-code platforms is driving about 50% annual growth in a market populated by dozens of vendors. Currently, the entire market is worth about $4 billion.

And low-code is spreading: Instead of just standalone platforms, specialized, purpose-built low-code solutions are popping up in SaaS, eCommerce, mobile, BI, IT service management — the list goes on. Think of how agile you’ll be if business users and citizen developers can make quick customizations to your commerce or BI tools, rather than waiting for your IT department to get around to it.

Low-code platforms help advance digital business in three major ways:

  1. They have the potential to greatly decrease the time needed to meet business requirements. Current usage indicates that these platforms can propel software development to 10 times the speed of traditional processes. Faster development means more leeway to focus on design.
  2. They harness the forces of shadow IT for good, not evil. To deal with gaps in app portfolios, tech-savvy business experts have long been known to take the issue into their own hands — often doing more harm than good. Low-code can harness these “rogue IT” activities by hosting them on managed platforms and adding guardrails to expand software delivery capacity.
  3. They play a vital role in automating operational processes. The key challenge in digital transformation: Automate the hundreds or thousands of operations crucial to customer experiences. Low-code platforms with strong business process features can accelerate these projects and empower the business experts who know the data and process best to lead.

Low-code won’t make coding obsolete. And it’s not a magic solution to your software problems. You’ll need a careful strategy guided by five governance policies for more than isolated successes. Read this report to learn more about the delicate balance between control and creativity required to harness and optimize the power of low-code development. We’d also love to hear about your low-code experiences in the comments below.

(Allison Vizgaitis contributed to this blog.)