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With the increasing realisation that Low-Code technology can break the corporate application delivery logjam, the prospects for enterprise-grade Low-Code tools are buoyant; particularly with mid-size organisations.  Low-Code platform vendor LANSA, believes that 2018 will be the year of Low-Code. Here’s why:

The Digital Momentum: The Low-Code development platform market is growing exponentially.

The Low-Code development market is currently estimated to be worth $3.8 billion and is forecast by Forrester to increase to over $15 billion by 2020. Whilst Low-code has a valuable role to play for enterprises of all sizes, there is great value to the midsize market over the coming year. This is the sector which is most hard pressed to deliver, with limited resources, balanced against the need for innovation and the desire to be competitively disruptive. Low-code helps to level the playing field with the larger players, by empowering midsize organisations to focus on innovation, integration and streamlining processes at a speeds 10 times faster than traditional development methods. This key driver will ensure that Low-Code is an integral part of many Digital Transformation strategies by the end of 2018.

Google’s ‘Mobile-First’ Index will drive the need for fully responsive Low-Code mobile sites

Whilst the push to fully responsive mobile sites is hardly new, Google’s move in early 2018 to its Mobile- First Index, will add intense pressure on businesses to take action to avoid slipping down Google’s rankings to where they can’t be ‘found’.  However, this customer facing aspect is only one of the dangers of an outdated mobile strategy.  Being able to build high quality UX applications once across mobile, desktop and web is a major contributor to productivity. But the lack of mobile skills, especially in midsize companies, causes these projects to be put on the back burner. Only a small percentage of mid-sized companies have UX/UI design expertise in-house. Low-Code transforms an organisation’s ability to develop apps across multiple formats fast and therein it negates the problems of specialist mobile skills shortages.

Low-Code solutions boost both sides of the shadow IT /citizen developer debate

In by-passing internal IT, Shadow or Citizen IT solutions can raise security and integration risks. However, they DO reflect genuine business needs. Low-Code offers an ideal solution to this dilemma, either by empowering Citizen developers to respond more quickly to demands for new disruptive apps or by enabling IT departments to take on the additional load of delivering faster against these requirements.  Low-Code means that IT no longer has to be the “department of no” when it comes to responding to business need.

Integration – It’s here to stay

Integration across departments, across the supply chain and with customers is also going to accelerate significantly in 2018, but it’s complex.  To date, gaps between these silos are often plugged with email or cobbled solutions. However, this destroys any hopes of efficiency through digital transformation.  As skills shortages hold up the streamlining of business process, so out-of-the-box Low-Code integration tools will come to the fore.  New APIs, incorporation of microservices, AI capabilities, chatbots and deep learning will only increase the integration demands on application developers.  Integrate fast, and make it maintainable; these are Low-Code specialties that make it a key ingredient for 2018.

2018 will separate enterprise class Low-Code from entry-level tools

Building the next new app on Azure is not that complex.  Moving 30 years of legacy apps from on-premise to Azure is a completely different matter.  These are high risk projects.  Enterprise level Low-Code solutions will be needed to de-risk them and enable a staged, controlled migration from the old to the new world.  Again, it’s mid-sized organisations that will need most help to get these major projects done whilst keeping the heart ticking on day to day business. Low-Code can support that managed, phased transition.

Customer self-service options increasingly the norm – meaning good UX is critical.

UX development skills are currently in short supply and very expensive.  Many outsource customer apps to design agencies at a cost that often negates the savings of making the move. Enterprise grade Low-Code systems can automate the generation of highly attractive UX easily, so this will prove to be another major driver for 2018.

30 years on – build versus buy is back

The build versus buy debate is back and Low-Code is driving the pendulum in the direction of “build”. John Cougar Mellencamp’s lyric, “I know there’s a balance because I see it when I swing past” will hit a chord with many. The ease and speed of development of Low-Code can give the freedom to build apps that truly fit the business processes and innovation goals, at a cost that makes it a wiser choice than buying packaged apps.