As enterprises continue to play catch-up when it comes to meeting their internal demand for new software services and applications, more enterprises—but still, only a minority—are turning to low-code development platforms to try to fill the gap.
Low-code development platform provider OutSystems released its sixth annual “State of Application Development Report.” The report is based on surveys conducted in March of 3,300 IT professionals.
The report found that a sizable minority (41%) of respondents are already using low-code platforms, while another 10% stated they were about to start using a low-code development platform. For comparison, in the 2018 report, 34% of respondents said they were using low-code development platforms and 9% said they were about to start using these platforms. Clearly, interest in these platforms is rising, if not modestly.
Low-code development platforms strive to make software development more accessible. They do so by removing traditional coding interfaces with graphical user interfaces. And they typically target development toward a specific functionality, whether that be web applications, business process automation, IoT and, quite often, databases. The low-code development platform market is expected to grow to $27.2 billion by 2022 from $4.3 billion in 2017, an annual growth rate of 44%.
The demand for software has never been higher. According to the OutSystems report, 64% of IT professionals said they have an application development backlog. For 19% of respondents, that backlog is deeper than 10 apps. While 50% said their backlogs have remained the same, 39% report that their app backlogs have improved over the past year.
The time to deliver web apps and mobile apps is mixed. The 2018 OutSystems report found that 54% of respondents took four months or less to deliver a web application. This year, 61% said it takes them four months or less to deliver a web application. Mobile app development has changed a little: 55% on average said they deliver apps in four months or less.
According to OutSystems, enterprises using low-code development platforms are 12% more likely to report that their backlogs have improved year over year.
Those findings echo similar surveys. For instance, a survey released earlier this month from low-code provider Appian found that nearly 80% of its respondents believe that using low-code can free developer time to work on higher-level projects. That survey also found 86% of IT developers agree that emerging technology is increasing the pressure on the IT organization.
One thing is certain, the demand for software isn’t going to let up anytime soon. According to the OutSystems report, the number of applications respondents plan to deliver this year is 60% higher than last year. For those with more than 500 employees, 65% said they had plans to deliver 10 or more apps, 38% plan to build 25 or more apps and 15% said they plan to develop 100 or more apps this year.
Despite the high demand for enterprise software, only 36% of organizations have larger development teams than they did a year ago. However, that’s likely not due for lack of trying to hire and retain development talent. The OutSystems survey found only 15% of respondents described developer recruitment as easy. “For many organizations, retention of developer talent appears to be an equally grave challenge,” according to the report.
With conditions like that, it’s only reasonable to expect low-code development platform popularity to continue to rise.