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The new generation of digital technologies and solutions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is changing how we do business and approach work processes in so many ways. Digital transformation provides organizations across the globe with new powers to achieve the level of productivity and efficiency that was unreachable even a couple of decades ago. 
But the technological race also makes it increasingly more expensive and time-consuming to develop new software solutions and modernize legacy parts of IT systems. To reap the benefits of tech innovations, companies need to invest more time, money, and energy in implementing new tools and modernizing their IT infrastructure throughout different software layers and operational processes. 
Given the above, it’s not surprising that the operational costs of IT departments have skyrocketed over the last several years. Most organizations cannot provide IT management with enough staffing and financial support to accommodate a consistently rising workload. As a result, being overburdened and failing to meet project deadlines almost became a norm for IT departments in organizations across industries today. Luckily, it seems that tech innovations can also offer a solution to this pressing problem: low-code platforms
 
Low-code development is the way to enable faster creation of software applications by reducing the need to write code and offering simplified, visually guided forms of programming. Low-code platforms allow organizations to build new applications using a visual development environment with various tools such as drag-and-drop interface modelers, pre-built components, smart services, connector templates, etc. This approach makes it possible even for people with minimal technical and coding skills to develop new apps. 
Even though low-code development has been around for some time now, it has exploded over the last few years. According to a Brandessence Market Research report [1], the volume of the global low-code development platforms market was $12.85 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach $65.15 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 26.1% over the forecast period.
Unlike high-code development, which requires highly qualified programmers specializing in different languages and tools, low-code solutions make creating and implementing new apps more accessible to companies. This is quite true for small and medium enterprises with limited IT budgets. 
 
The rise in costs is one of the main challenges of modern-day high-code enterprise development. As IT systems are getting increasingly complex and multi-layered and need more integrations and connections with other components, the costs of building and implementing new products are consistently growing. This is why more companies are looking for an alternative to high-code development, which is getting more complex, inefficient, and time-consuming. They see this alternative as stopping this uncontrollable bloating of IT costs.
Multiple factors are contributing to rising IT development expenses. Organizations need to hire more developers with specialized skills in specific niches to build new products. However, the costs of maintaining legacy IT infrastructure are also constantly increasing. 
As the pool of legacy developers specializing in programming languages such as RPG and COBOL is shrinking every year, companies must pay more to have enough people to maintain their legacy tools. At the same time, the developers with currently trending skills, such as artificial intelligence (AI) or Big Data, are also expensive to hire due to the high demand for this expertise and the widening talent gap in key tech niches like AI. 
For example, 40% of businesses surveyed [2] by Deloitte found AI technologies and expertise too expensive to implement. Despite the high demand for new technologies, the pool of qualified specialists to hire remains small. The entry threshold for these specializations is relatively high, and educational institutions cannot produce capable graduates fast enough to satisfy the business demand. 
AI experts are one of the most relevant examples. According to an MMC Ventures report [3], the demand for AI talent has more than doubled in recent years. It continues to rise, with 60% of all AI specialists absorbed by companies in the technology and financial services sectors. 
 
The rising costs of software development and maintenance are the key IT challenges companies face. And low-code platforms position themselves as precisely the remedy to this problem. These platforms allow organizations to build powerful applications, which utilize AI and other latest tech innovations quickly and without extensive financial resources. 
So how exactly does utilizing a low-code platform allow an organization to reduce operational costs of its IT department? Here are several capabilities of low-code development that enable companies to spend less on building and implementing new applications. 
 
The importance of quickly delivering a new app to the market and supporting and customizing it on time has increased over the last several years. One of the critical functions of low-code platforms is to make the development and deployment of enterprise applications a lot faster. They achieve this by making the development process accessible to users with zero-to-basic technical knowledge and programming skills. Low-code platforms’ availability of pre-built features, interfaces, and components is another major strength. It allows developers to minimize the time they spend on writing actual code. 
Thanks to all this, teams using low-code platforms typically can deliver new apps and other software solutions several times faster than high-code development approaches. 
 
Low-code platforms typically provide a user-friendly interface and allow people with no coding skills to collaboratively create and implement new apps. This makes it easier for organizations to locate developers and enables internal specialists familiar with work processes and requirements for the app to contribute their perspective to the project. This contribution often helps to deliver a more functional final product. Furthermore, any employee or IT team member can maintain and upgrade these low-code apps without needing specialized knowledge or senior experience. 
 
With the ability to build more and deliver faster, the quality of new apps built with low-code platforms also tends to be higher. Using low-code tools allows companies to reduce code errors and improve bug remediation, which increases the satisfaction rate of app users and makes apps more secure and protected against various cyber threats. 
 
Low-code platforms enable companies to create fully functional applications that support all the latest tech innovations without hiring expensive AI experts, software developers, and other technical specialists. Therefore, we significantly reduce each application’s total cost of ownership. New apps are no longer dependent on highly-qualified developers who must build and make corrections, improve, or modify the app. All these actions can be performed by any team member, allowing most experienced developers to concentrate on the most complicated and essential tasks. 
 
As you can see, adopting a low-code platform for the development of enterprise applications makes a lot of sense from the business perspective. According to a report [4] by Deloitte, by 2024, 75% of large enterprises will be using low-code development platforms, amounting to more than 65% of application development activities. 
In light of the above, choosing the right low-code platform becomes an increasingly pressing issue for organizations willing to utilize its benefits and reduce the costs of building new apps. 
 
 
According to the Brandessence Market Research report [1], some of the key players of the global low-code development market are: 
Let’s take LANSA’s solution as an example. Visual LANSA is a low-code platform that allows organizations to modernize their legacy tools and build new enterprise-grade mobile, web, and desktop applications. 
This solution incorporates several tools and services necessary for the future’s low-code platform requirements. Specifically, it includes several instruments for simple IBM i modernization, allowing companies to develop new apps, modernize old ones, or create an entire ERP without hiring IBM i systems and RPG programming language developers. Also, Visual LANSA utilizes a hybrid low-code approach that allows developers to integrate with anything and everything without creating time-consuming workarounds. It also supports deployment across several platforms, including IBM i, Windows, the Cloud, and Linux. 
 
Frequently viewed as the future of software development, low-code platforms can be a solution that companies need to cope with growing IT costs and afford the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies with a limited budget. A low-code approach to developing business apps requires fewer developer resources to build and maintain new products, resulting in increased efficiency and reduced costs with faster ROI. 
Analysts estimate that approximately 66% of large firms around the globe will use at least four different low-code application building platforms in 2024. Therefore, organizations that rely on high-code development face challenges with their IT departments’ growing operational costs. We recommend that they start incorporating low-code solutions today to minimize expenses and achieve a new level of efficiency. 
[1] https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/at-26-1-cagr-low-code-development-platform-market-size-is-expected-to-reach-65-15-billion-by-2027–says-brandessence-market-research-301243189.html
[2] https://research.aimultiple.com/ai-challenges/
[3] https://www.mmcventures.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/The-State-of-AI-2019-Divergence.pdf
[4] https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/pt/Documents/strategy/9-Shifts-Deloitte-Outsystems.pdf
 

 
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