Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, January 30, 2023

Software Woes Seen Fueling ‘Low-Code’ Approach 

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Access to enterprise software via the cloud or other services platforms may be booming, but the quality of code promoted as a way of streamlining daily operations falls far short, concludes a vendor survey.

Those shortfalls have driven early adoption and market gains for an emerging agile software development approach known as "low-code" application development platforms. "Vendors are not the problem," concludes the enterprise software survey released this week by low-code vendor TrackVia. "The lack of advancement in software is."

Making the case for its low-code approach, Denver-based TrackVia said its poll of about 500 IT executives and CTOs revealed that two-thirds believe the limitations of current application software have slowed company growth. "Legacy software is hindering growth," the survey concludes.

Meanwhile, more than three quarters said those shortfalls prompted them to replace software programs that could not be updated or customized by vendors.

"The last significant shift in enterprise software was the migration from on-premise to off-premise software, which addressed some of traditional software’s distribution and pricing challenges, but did comparatively little to address the needs of the people who actually use the software to do their work," Charles Var, TrackVia's marketing vice president, noted in a statement releasing the survey.

Not surprisingly, the vendor claims its low-code approach addresses many of these concerns, further claiming that its survey finds growing interest in the application development platform. According to survey findings, 29 percent of IT executives polled are already using the agile software development framework while 43 percent are "interested."

Of those using low-code approaches, most said customization was the key benefit. Others cited faster application deployment, updates and maintenance. Among the other priorities were overall IT productivity increases and compatibility with legacy software and applications.

To buttress its assertion that "low code" is moving beyond the early adoption phase to a broad enterprise embrace, the vendor cited industry analysts who predict 68 percent revenue growth for the emerging enterprise software development market by 2019. That works out to an overall market estimated to be worth $10.3 billion, according to market forecaster Forrester Research.

"The market for these [low-code] platforms is growing fast, but selecting a platform that actually delivers without creating a [fourth-generation programming language]-like orphan in the software portfolio isn't easy," Forrester noted in a vendor analysis released last year.

While low-code platforms promise to speed application delivery, risks include "dozens of small vendors selling outside of tech management, and customers with little consensus about how low-code platforms fit into their broader portfolios," Forrester added.

Low-code platforms vary from process and database applications to "request-handing" and mobile apps. Whether that's enough to sustain the emerging software development sector remains to be seen. "Vendor consolidation is inevitable," Forrester predicted.


About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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