Low Code Tech Enabling Businesses to Address a Critical Shortage of Experienced Developers


Gregg Aldana, Senior Global Director of Creator Workflow App Engine Solution Consulting at ServiceNow, shares his perspective on how low-code technology will empower citizen developer workforces and enable enterprises to streamline application development in 2021.

In the past year, new and innovative digital experiences became table stakes for organizations to remain operational during COVID-19. As a result, digital transformation is no longer nice to have; it’s critical for organizations to remain viable. One aspect of this transformation is how public and private sector companies embraced low-code digital platforms at a pace few predicted before the pandemic, allowing enterprises to react more quickly and efficiently. 

Using no-code and low-code application development platforms, companies can cast a wider net for resources by empowering citizen developers throughout their organizations to rapidly work in tandem with professional developers and build new applications. CIOs rely on low-code platforms to enable their often-limited team of experienced developers to increase their productivity and ability to deliver new mission-critical services rapidly. As CIOs plan their application development strategies for 2021, standardizing low-code platforms will be critical. According to the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application PlatformsOpens a new window report, over 50% of medium and large enterprises will adopt a low-code application platform as one of their strategic application platforms by 2023.

In 2021, there will be a seismic shift towards empowering a new generation of talented citizen developers to address the shortage of development talent. Companies will double down on their commitment and approach to low-code platforms and leverage them to enable hypergrowth in their organizations.

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Low-code is Driving New Business Opportunities 

This year, organizations will move from a responsive mode of using low-code development to automate manual processes to proactively opening doors for new and competitive business models. Many companies will therefore be spinning up new offerings quickly and jumping into market opportunities. 

The need to design, prototype, and deploy new apps quickly will be critical in seizing these opportunities. This is because low-code platforms not only increase the productivity of developers, they also enable organizations to address customer and employee feedback rapidly to rework and improve software solutions to deliver better experiences.  

Delivering superior experiences cannot be understated for internal purposes such as recruiting the best talent or external purposes like drawing in new customers. The most successful companies will generate newfound hypergrowth during and post-COVID-19, and CIOs will be the drivers of these investments in low-code platforms.

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Citizen Developers are Becoming Commonplace in the Workforce

In 2020, organizations with low-code platforms in place fared much better than those who didn’t. They drove their destinies by leveraging their non-IT workforce of business users to build needed applications quickly. In 2021, we will see even more companies double down on this untapped resource of citizen developers across business units. 

Every business unit has power users who know how to do creative and out-of-the-box things using spreadsheets and email. They know their business inside and out, including what new apps are needed to drive efficiency and growth. Next year, more of these employees will emerge within their business areas and work in tandem with IT, taking into consideration the governance models and security guardrails needed while introducing new apps.  

Many HR departments are already listing experience with low-code technologies as a preferred skill for non-IT positions in marketing, sales, finance, and logistics. And some expect more college graduates to enter the workforce with experience using cloud-based low-code platforms. This is creating a whole new category requirement to run businesses and perform tasks. 

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Low-code Platform Improvements are Accelerating

As companies demand greater productivity and become more reliant on low-code capabilities as part of their core business models, we will see more innovation and investment in low-code tools and platforms in the marketplace. The competition to innovate and provide productive and easy-to-use low-code tools will explode in 2021.  

With AI/ML, no-code integrations, robust security protections, and more template-driven development expanding, citizen and professional developers can build sophisticated applications quickly by intelligently leveraging best practices and code reuse. The result will be easier to use tools that make integrations, testing, and conversational interfaces more accessible. 

Citizen developers at some point hit “a wall” where they need to escalate and collaborate with more seasoned and professional IT software developers to address the needs of their applications. With increased investment in these capabilities, this will shift as more intelligent low-code toolsets are delivered into the marketplace. This will save costs and improve productivity between IT and citizen developers by removing friction and increasing rapid collaboration. 

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Low-code will Drive Digital Transformation in 2021

With the rise of low-code solutions, businesses can go from an abstract idea to an implemented app in a matter of weeks, even days. It’s easier than ever for anyone to quickly and safely build compelling app experiences that can scale from a single department to the entire enterprise. 

Instead of relying solely on professional developers to build apps, companies are expanding and accelerating app delivery by empowering citizen developers. Despite the obstacles businesses faced this past year, this emerging army of citizen developers will help enterprises enter 2021 with the ability to assemble cross-department integrations and move forward transformational business initiatives rapidly in a collaborative work environment.

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