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Low code and no code are terms that describe the latest generation of meta-language, visual, and GUI-driven development tools that enable applications to be built without deep technical knowledge of programming or integration.
While the low-code/no-code sector builds on a heritage of business-facing application tools, the tools in this report have evolved from PaaS and middleware platforms. Low-code and no-code tools meet demand for the rapid delivery of cloud-scale capabilities, taking into account the complex array of online services, data sources, and platforms on which they depend.
These tools can be aimed both at office-facing needs and at more technical systems, such as IoT or adding robotic process automation (RPA). In the latter cases, they are able to integrate with a wide variety of third-party tools, via either external APIs or out-of-the-box interfaces provided by the low-code/no-code vendor. All the tools in this report can replace most paper-based processes and common tasks, like onboarding an employee. The more advanced tools recognize the challenges of application delivery, such as building in version control and quality management.
This market is building on a dynamic foundation and the solutions are maturing fast, with time-to-business value deemed a critical metric of success. Today, these solutions are building in the use of AI and putting customer experience in the driver’s seat. Many of the tools can produce working applications in weeks, versus the months it takes for traditional application development.
Another significant trend is the addition of RPA functionality. For example, Automation Hero is an RPA vendor that adapted its technology into a low-code/no-code tool. In the past, low-code vendors tended to offer RPA as an add-on, but that is changing as approaches to system-to-system integration mature. The trend is toward RPA being an integrated feature that uses the same UI, with typical no-code and low-code functionality.
The offerings in this space range from low-cost tools with limited functionality to complex and costly solutions that require professional developers to maintain. There are tools that target internal business problems, others that live on mobile devices, and still others that support large-scale content publishing, e-commerce, and application integration across platforms. Approaches to billing vary as well, with some billing per form, others per user, and still others by usage. It is worth noting that this report does not address vendor solutions that are add-ons to the purchase of a larger enterprise-wide solution.
With regard to deployment models, solutions covered here offer one or more approaches—public cloud-only, private/hybrid cloud, and on-premises environments. Cloud solutions can empower smaller IT organizations, while all the solutions can benefit from a professional development staff to build and maintain the environment. However, to get maximum value for business users, a focus on no-code solutions is best, though many companies will need to stick with low-code solutions for years to meet the specific needs of the enterprise and address the limits of existing tools.
Looking forward, you can expect to see no-code solutions take on more of the use cases and complexity currently addressed by low-code products. The expectation is that the governance IT provides will be expressed as “policy as code,” and the better no-code solutions will apply these policies to reduce dependence on IT interaction.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.