Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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Low-Code Market is Flying High 

Low-code development platforms that automate application development using integrated tools, visual modeling and input from domain experts are making inroads in closing the gap between insatiable enterprise demand for apps and the ability of DevOps teams to keep up with that demand.

By 2024, Gartner Inc. (NYSE: IT) estimates the visual development approach will account for fully 65 percent of enterprise application development as non-coders collaborate with DevOps to deploy applications.

Among the leading suppliers of low-code development platforms, according to Gartner, are Salesforce (NYSE: IT), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Boston-based OutSystems, which has so far raised more than $422 million in private equity funding. The low-code sector was further propelled by German industrial giant Siemens’ (ETR: SIE) 2018 acquisition of Mendix, thereby injecting the low-code sector with a veneer of industrial strength as Siemens integrated Mendix into a “digital factory” unit underpinning its industrial Internet of Things portfolio.

Mendix commissioned market analyst Forrester to conduct a “total economic impact” study examining how the Siemens unit’s customers are using its low-code platform. The results released this week found that Mendix customers achieved more than $8 million in “application delivery savings” as developers were able to get apps out the door faster. That translated into about $3.14 million in incremental revenue, Forrester found.

The Forrester study created a composite “organization” that saw a return on its estimated $696,900 investment in less than six months.

Along with slow IT response, the low-code platform was found to address several other application software challenges. Those include boosting return on heavy investment in platform services ranging from applications containers, automation tools and application management. Others included a lack of skilled application developers and the resulting longer timeframes for application development as the backlog of requests grew.

One Mendix customer told Forrester the low-code platform had reduced software release cycles from every six weeks to every two or three weeks.

For its part, Gartner’s analysis of the enterprise low-code market promotes the advantages of multiple integrated development environments based on what it said are “critical differences between the low code application platform providers.”

Along with industrial IoT, Gartner said low-code vendors are responding primarily to hurry-up software development requirements for data analytics and offline mobile computing applications.

Last year, Gartner anointed Mendix its “magic quadrant” leader among enterprise low-code application platform vendors based on “completeness of vision” and ability to execute, thereby justifying the roughly $700 million Munich-based Siemens paid for Mendix.

Another key metric used by Forrester was the ability of low-code platforms to reduce reliance on traditional programming languages via easier-to-use visual modeling across the application development stack. That, along with integrated development tools and collaboration with business process domain experts accelerated application development by as much as 10 times, Forrester concludes.

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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