Forrester predicts that the market for low-code tools will grow to $15 billion by 2020. With so many vendors in the space, it can be difficult for companies to know where to start.
Here are three tips for choosing a low code platform, according to Rymer. John Rymer is a Principal Analyst at Forrester, a Massachusetts-based research firm that analyzes technology trends. Forrester is one of America’s top analyst firms and is recognized for defining much of the low-code industry.
Low-code platforms tend to fall into two market segments: Those for developers, and those for the business side.
For developers, low-code can help deliver more software in shorter time periods—say, weeks instead of months, Rymer said. "There are just not enough developers to go around, so by going low-code, you can get a lot done with ordinary developers that you can afford," he added.
For the business side, or "citizen developers," low-code allows people without programming experience to create their own software.
Companies must decide which side they need a platform for, Rymer said. "You are trying to empower your business people. You do not want to put a tool that is designed for developers in front of them, it makes things complicated," Rymer recommended. On the flip side, developers will need more control than a product designed for business people gives them, he added.
Each tool offers different functions in different areas, Rymer said. "They're not all equal," he added. "There's a big thrust these days on workflow and business process applications. If that's what you need, pick a product that has the function there. If you're looking for a product that really helps you raise your user interface, you're going to look for a product that has deep functionality there."
It's important to remember that building and maintaining software is difficult, with or without coding. "If you're going to bring in low-code, to get the full benefits over time, you have to have a strategy," Rymer said. "Too many people view this as just a tool. But you have to have governance, and think through who is going to do the work and what they need, and how you're going to maintain it."
For example, a large US insurance provider brought in a low-code platform for its business side, and did not implement any governance. In a short period of time, they found themselves with 16,000 apps with lots of overlap, all on a version of the platform that was no longer supported, Rymer said.
A strong strategy might include a portfolio management system, which can help employees keep track of what apps have already been built in the platform, Rymer said.
"Just because you can build something doesn't necessarily mean that you should," Rymer said. "Maybe you should reuse something that somebody already built, or take something somebody already built and customize it a little bit to meet your needs."
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