Low-code - Mark - Image by Gerd Altmann from PixabayZoho has published a study that Techconsult Germany carried out. The resulting eBook is available to download without registration. The team from Zoho Creator, Zoho’s low-code platform, sponsored the eBook, which is 14 pages in length. The results are based on a survey of 300 companies from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and the Netherlands. Most respondents were IT leaders working in roughly equally sized samples from companies of 100-499, 500-999 and 1,000-4,999 employees.

The study highlights that while there are regional differences, all businesses see benefits from deploying low-code platforms. Those benefits include lower-cost development, citizen development, faster development, and a scalable and flexible environment. While there are challenges in adoption, low-code is also seen as a strategic decision rather than a short-term project-based one.

The report is short and divided into five main sections, each of which contains a description and brief analysis of the findings and at least one data visualisation. It ends in a well-thought-through conclusion but does not offer more than thought leadership; there is no call to action, for example.

Adoption is progressing

Low-code platforms are gradually becoming commonplace. Perhaps surprisingly, the smaller the company, the more likely it is to have adopted a platform. The authors speculate that this is because of the complexity of software development functions in larger firms. However, larger firms might well see faster benefits around the cost of development. Enterprise Times viewpoint is that smaller firms see the advantage that citizen development can give their firms. There is no need to hire expensive developers.

The UK leads the way with low-code adoption, with 63% already using it as a central component for development strategy. France is next with 40%, whilst the Netherlands last with only 18%.

Focus on cheaper and faster development

Low-code offers several benefits. The survey asked those using low-code what benefits they have already achieved. The top three from a list of 16 benefits were:

  1. Cost reduction (32%
  2. Faster time to solution (32%)
  3. High flexibility and scalability of the applications (29%)

The report did not highlight any regional variation on this or differences between larger and smaller companies. It might also have been interesting to see whether the length of time using low-code solutions changed perceptions—perhaps a dimension for another year.

Customization and complexity as challenges

Despite the promise of low code, there are challenges with these platforms. The top three challenges were seen as follows:

  • Not enough customization possible (UK: 80%)
  • Too complex to maintain/implement (UK:80%)
  • Difficulties in integrating to existing landscape (Spain:75%) (UK fourth 58%)

There is little analysis in the text that a qualitative interview might have pulled out. Does the UK score highly, because it is the most mature user and has worked out how to integrate? It may have stretched the low-code platform over time and reached its limits, hence the issue with customisation. The most worrying element is the complexity to maintain and implement, they are two very different aspects. It also indicates when selecting a low code platform; organisations should be aware of all the challenges contained within this report, and checking their chosen shortlist can address them all.

Fast and cost-effective software development through Low-code

This section looks and dives a little deeper into the perception that low-code delivers code faster. 83% of surveyed companies either experience or expect a significant reduction in development time. In the UK, that rises to 93%. Most see this being achieved through faster prototyping (77%) and empowering employees (76%).

Future outlook and guidelines for low-code development

Low code is not confined just to IT. 81% of respondents expect to roll it out to more departments in the future. However, only 68% in the UK, compared to 90% in Spain. Does that indicate an insular mindset from IT? Low-code platforms are not only here to stay, they are increasingly used within all departments within the business. In contrast, the respondents recognised the need for guidelines.

Finally, the survey asked about the influence of AI. Generally, and especially in the UK (74%), organisations will increasingly incorporate AI into low-code. This would indicate a broader acceptance of automation across data processing, intelligent analytics, and the optimization of decision-making processes.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

There are some interesting insights in this book from the survey, which throw up some surprising regional differences. Low code is a critical and strategic component within organisations for years to come. There are challenges and questions, not least the impact on IT and how companies adopt low-code platforms. Also, how will AI change the goalposts? Will it further democratize low-code and potentially usher in an era of no-code?

The eBook could have been strengthened with quotes from customers, industry analysts or Zoho leaders. It also lacks a qualitative element that might have elicited further insights. Finally, without actions of questions for the reader to consider, there is little for self-reflection.


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