As enterprises make digital transformation their priority, faster innovation cycles are the need of the hour. To address that, enterprises are increasingly turning to ‘non-programmers’ to enable them to get products and services quicker to market.
This phenomenon in the information technology (IT) universe has given rise to the development of low-code and no-code software that enables non-programmers to churn out applications, products and services using graphical user interfaces (GUIs). What it means is that specific codes are already built into a few GUIs, which are then used as pre-configured codes that fit into the big picture.
“Fundamentally, this is a model-driven architecture that allows enterprises to bring their IT and business teams together on the same platform. It is a piece of software that allows businesses to directly input or capture objects into the system as opposed to creating a huge requirements’ document," said Suman Reddy, managing director of Pegasystems India, the local arm of the Nasdaq-listed software services company.
Globally, Pegasystems is one among several companies such as Salesforce, Outsystems, Kissflow, Appian and Zoho Creator that has been developing low-code software.
The goal of building the low-code platform, Reddy explains further, is to seamlessly create and capture all objectives onto one platform and allow for IT and businesses to use visual models to construct a logic of what is essential to achieve. "This would essentially allow IT to undergo background integrations and allow platforms to automatically generate code," Reddy said.
Pegasystems acquired business analytics and data-visualisation company Infruid Labs in February this year to bolster its low-code offerings. According to Reddy, Infruid's analytics and AI (artificial intelligence) engine help in the development of the low-code platform as it needs to go through data sets and apply AI for decision-making.
“When you have to go through data sets and decipher business logic, you can apply the AI engine logic there, which is also at the core of the decision hub. But at the fundamental level it uses HTML 5 in the front-end and JAVA 5 in the background,” Reddy explained, adding that typically low-code platforms may focus on databases, user interfaces such as web and mobile apps or a business process which may require additional coding.
Pegasystems also has no-code platforms. Considered a sibling of low-code platforms, no-code platforms allow for the creation of software without any knowledge of coding or programming expertise.
A 2017 Forrester Research predicted that low-code development could become a $15 billion market by 2021, which is a more than a three-fold jump from the forecast of $4.35 billion for 2018.
Another interesting aspect of low-code is the growth of citizen developers. Such developers could have a huge role to play in the future of software development. They could evolve into citizen app masters or even citizen data scientists who provide developers with crucial on-ground information to create the best version of the software.
“The advent of the cloud, microservices, virtualisation and containerisation allows for the involvement of citizen developers to engage and develop pieces of functionality from anywhere,” Reddy said.
According to market research firm Gartner, the market demand for app development will grow five times faster than IT’s ability to deliver talent through 2021. With the burgeoning need for more apps to be created is half the time, low-code could hold the potential to answer the scalability and deliverability issues in app development in the coming years.