The low-code market is evolving rapidly, yet I still ask myself... “Are we there yet?” Anyone who has taken a family vacation that involved a long car ride knows this question well. It expresses a combination of great anticipation, but also some frustration because it is taking a long time to get to the promised land.
Many IT professionals following the low-code market have similar feelings. Are we there yet? Who are the real leaders in this space? What should my strategy be?
The good news is that recent research from Gartner and Forrester makes it easier to identify the leaders, avoid the laggards and lemmings, and learn which vendors fit into your digital strategy.
Let’s take a look at a few recent reports that highlight the state of the rapidly-evolving rapid application development, no-code, and low-code market.
On Aug 5, Lawrence Hecht from The New Stack published a great article called This Week in Numbers: Lots of Low Code Vendors Have Already Been Rejected. Citing new research from Forrester, on behalf of Appian, the article showcases the huge variance in vendor adoption across the low-code market.
Top 3 Insights
We see three big takeaways from the research. Check out The New Stack’s chart below:
Let’s start with the teal colored bars that show the overall number of low-code implementations. The big story here - the gap between the leaders and runner-ups is getting wider and that’s great news for potential buyers who want to see strong adoption and real customer success. That’s why Gartner placed such significant weight on customer adoption in their latest Magic Quadrant on mobile app development. “Reviews in Gartner Peer Insights gave OutSystems MADP above-average customer satisfaction ratings.”
But let’s look deeper at the light blue bars in the middle, where we see the second bit of exciting news among companies evaluating or planning to implement.
This increased interest in low-code platforms correlates to the challenges IT leaders face with growing app backlogs and the shortage of development skills. These pains were confirmed in our 2017 Global State of App Dev report, where we surveyed over 3200 IT professionals on their biggest challenges.
One of the most important take-aways can be seen in the purple bars, evaluated and chose not to implement.
As Lawrence Hecht from TheNewStack rightly noted, many of the low-code vendors have already been rejected. It’s clear the exploding low-code market is attracting some very early stage companies who simply can’t compete. In their latest Vendor Landscape report, Forrester identified 67 vendors who claim low-code capabilities. Clearly, only a handful have gained true adoption as documented in this report.
Having been in this market for many years (with the highest implementation rate reported), we’d like to share the top three reasons why companies have been be skeptical of low-code platforms, and customer and analyst evaluations have changed that skepticism into advocacy.
Top Reasons Why Some Low-Code Platforms Are Rejected
Scalability - One of the most common questions we get is, “how well does your platform scale?” Enterprise architects want to look “under the hood” and see how the code performs in real time. They care about things like how the dependencies between apps and component/services are managed to ensure the best user experience and instantaneous scaling of their business operations.
If you want to see a great example of extreme low-code scaling in action, check our latest report. We stress-tested OutSystems, simulating 20 million users hitting a mobile banking app. This is the equivalent of Black Friday traffic at a business the size of “Bank of America.”
Enterprise Integration - The second reason some low-code products get rejected is product heritage. Some platforms were not born as general purpose low-code platforms. They started out as a BPM or forms-based tools then added a visual development component, for example. These tools tend to play well in process design or data collection design, but they lack the secure, deep, swift integration with complex systems that is required for the enterprise market.
DBAs and Architects want hybrid integration capabilities with pre-built connectors to on-premises and SaaS services - visually assembling and maintaining structured and unstructured data sources. For a modern, life-saving example, check out Sapphire, the Hospital Management System built with OutSystems.
Security - Top of mind for any business and IT leader today, security is the third top concern for obvious reasons. Some newer low-code platforms focus mostly encrypting data at rest or in transit. But IT and security professionals know there is a lot more required. All the moving pieces in a platform need to be bullet proof against malicious attacks. User Access, Security Governance (ISO 270001), Service Organizational Controls (SOC), OWASP, and Business Continuity (ISO 22301) are many of the aspects that CISO teams wants to see thoroughly covered.
Some examples of advanced security are banks like Banco BPI, which serves millions of customers via their mobile banking app. For security professionals, our Evaluation Guide provides detailed information.
The Analysts Weigh In
Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and other analyst firms have been doing a serious job evaluating vendors in the low-code space for the past three years, with an increasing level of scrutiny.
For example, the review process for a recent Gartner Magic Quadrant involved 361 evaluation criteria (182 on Product, 78 on Execution, and 101 on Vision). The overall picture resulting from these vendor/platform evaluations is what gets depicted in a Gartner Magic Quadrant or a Forrester Wave for Low-Code Development Platforms. So, you really can benefit from the hard work the analysts did to separate the low-code platforms Leaders, Laggards and Lemmings. :-)
So, Are We There Yet?
It’s clear there’s a lot of excitement about low-code with good reason and proven customer success. But, like any hot market, there is noise to navigate. To help you with your investigation, we’d like to close with three handy resources.