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Low-Code Software Tools Accelerate Digital Innovation

The quest to accelerate digital transformation has advanced technologies that enable the rapid development of new applications and associated eCommerce business models. Now, CIOs and CTOs must support line of business leader demand for more open innovation and strategic commercial advantages.

As a result, the worldwide low-code development technologies market is projected to total $13.8 billion in 2021 -- that's an increase of 22.6 percent from 2020, according to the latest worldwide market study by Gartner. 

The surge in remote development during the global COVID-19 pandemic will continue to boost low-code adoption, despite ongoing IT cost optimization efforts.

Low-Code Software Market Development

"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.

Low-code, applied as a general social and technological movement, is expected to continue growing significantly. For example, low-code application platforms (LCAP) are expected to remain the largest component of the low-code development technology market through 2022, increasing nearly 30 percent from 2020 to reach $5.8 billion in 2021.

Digital business acceleration is putting pressure on IT leaders to dramatically increase application delivery speed and 'Time to Value'. The increased demand for custom software solutions in support of digital transformation has sparked the emergence of citizen developers outside of IT, which has influenced the rise in low-code tools.

According to the Gartner assessment, on average, 41 percent of employees outside of IT – also known as 'business technologists' – will customize or build data apps or digital business technology solutions.

Gartner predicts that half of all new low-code clients will come from the line of business (LoB) decisions makers and buyers that are outside the traditional IT organization by year-end 2025.

"The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have validated the low-code value proposition," said Mr. Biscotti. "Low-code capabilities that support remote work function, such as digital forms and workflow automation, will be offered with more elastic pricing since they will be required to keep the lights running."

All of the major software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors currently provide capabilities that incorporate low-code development technologies. As SaaS grows in popularity, and these vendors’ platforms are increasingly adopted, the low-code market will see growth in LCAPs and process automation tooling.

Outlook for Low-Code Software Applications Growth

Additionally, business technologists want to create and execute their own ideas to drive more automation across their business applications and workflows. The needs of business-driven hyper-automation will be one of the top three drivers for low-code adoption through 2022.

"Globally, most large organizations will have adopted multiple low-code tools in some form by year-end 2021. 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," said Mr. Biscotti.

The increased momentum in the low-code software tools marketplace will create new opportunities for forward-looking IT vendors and service providers. Other closely related technologies include rapid mobile app development (RMAD) tools and rapid application development (RAD) tools. Low-code is the evolution of RAD to cloud and SaaS models.

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