In a 2014 report, New Development Platforms Emerge For Customer-Facing Applications, leading analyst firm Forrester first introduced the term low-code to describe a category of “new app-delivery thinking.” Just 2 years later, the firm surveyed the vendor landscape for the category, identified 42 vendors, and declared it was “fractured, fertile terrain.”

Fast-forward to now, and suddenly everyone and their mother is calling themselves low-code. On any given day, you can’t swing a cartoon cyber cat around a refreshed page of low-code search results without hitting another vendor who has just adopted the moniker.

Forrester analysts have been watching these developments carefully and have come to much the same conclusion, albeit with more professional terminology and less hyperbole. And so they created a new market category, which they detail in a January 2019 Now Tech report. This has had an impact on The Forrester Wave™: Low-Code Platforms for Application Development and Delivery Professionals, Q1 2019. Let’s take a look at what this means for low-code in the year it turns 5 and what the new Forrester report has to say.

Now, Tech This App Development Market Segment, Please

A recent blog article from Forrester explains that coder-strapped organizations are turning to solutions that automate customer and operations processes. As a result, they’ve noticed that low-code platform vendors have been including business process automation features in their portfolios, and business process automation vendors have turned to low-code app dev automation to bolster BPM. In that article, they also announce that they are dividing their digital process automation category into digital process automation for wide deployments and digital process automation for deep deployments.

They then explain that the result of this segmentation is a new, overarching market category called “rapid app delivery.” This should afford our CEO Paulo Rosado some satisfaction because he was using the term “rapid application delivery” to describe the OutSystems platform back in 2015.

What Does This Mean for Low-Code?

It means that companies evaluating low-code platforms can be more focused as they build their shortlists. Some vendors, who were once classified as low-code platforms, have moved to other categories. This is obvious in The Forrester Wave™: Low-Code Platforms For AD&D Pros, Q1 2019, which does not evaluate all the platforms that were in the 2017 report.

Overall, low-code vendors who have seen their segment invaded by long-time and startup business process automation platforms can only applaud how these new market segments have moved the interlopers back to their natural habitats. This is also good news for the vendors who have moved to the new categories because Forrester clients can judge them on their strengths, especially those in the newest category.

What Is the Latest Forrester Research Saying About Low-Code Platforms for AD&D Pros?

The latest research from Forrester is detailed in The Forrester Wave™: Low-Code Platforms For AD&D Pros, Q1 2019, which evaluates the top 13 vendors (out of 82) across 28 criteria. This report makes it clear that these platforms, which include OutSystems, offer new value to enterprises and sophisticated development teams: “Enterprise development teams are adopting low-code development platforms, and the market’s growth prospects appear rosy. In our survey of global developers, 23% reported using low-code platforms in 2018, and another 22% planned to do so within a year.”

The report describes web and mobile application delivery services as “table stakes” and adds, “The leading vendors have also moved into business process automation, real-time applications, and AI services, as well as large, mission-critical apps.” Another important point from the evaluation is that their research “reveals vendors removing previous limitations on low-code adoption—even by supporting coding.”

Forrester further breaks down the value to enterprises by noting that differentiated vendors add depth to the common low-code use cases and offer options for integrating coding and business expert participation. They also say that leading vendors are “adding features for enterprise AD&D teams to govern development processes and application change in large app and service portfolios, as well as provide data loading and synchronization in production apps and automated error reporting and handling.”

Want to Learn More?

If your enterprise has an ever-growing pipeline of new software demands, this latest research and analysis from Forrester can help you evaluate the top platforms and build your short list. You can download a complimentary copy of The Forrester Wave™: Low-Code Platforms For AD&D Pros, Q1 2019 to see how the vendors stack up and why OutSystems was named a Leader.