Even in low-code software development, IT departments still need to hold users' hands

No matter how little code is involved, nine times out of 10, IT managers need to stay on top of what users are doing with application development.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Give a user software, and you feed them for a month. Teach a user to build software, and you feed them for at least two months.

Even with the proliferation of low-code and no-code tools in today's market, it looks like IT managers will have to stay tuned into what users are doing with the technology. Low-code and no-code are seen as the tools and platforms that enable business users to build and launch applications without the involvement of IT departments. However, in more than nine out of 10 cases, IT does need to stay involved. 

That's the word coming out of a survey of 1,000 IT executives, of which 60% point to lack of experience as their prime obstacle. The survey, sponsored and released by Creatio, finds low-code/no-code as key enablers of digital transformation, but users are still stymied by a lack of experience with the solutions. Sixty percent of respondents see this as a barrier to low-code adoption.

IT departments need to provide guidance and monitor low-code situations. Only six percent of low-code development is done by business users without any IT involvement, the survey shows. "While the adoption of no-code tools by business users is higher, the low-code development approach still requires a basic understanding of underlying technologies and IT acumen," the Creatio report's authors observe. "While empowering everyone to become a developer, companies need to ensure IT staff takes ownership in security and system administration, complex integrations and overall consistency of the IT landscape."

Of course, professional developers are also consumers of low-code and no-code tools themselves. The survey also documents a trend "towards erasing the distinction between simple no-code tools for citizen developers and more comprehensive low-code tools for developers with IT backgrounds. Low-code will shift to a no-code development approach, offering no-code platforms with powerful capabilities for enterprise applications development of any complexity without coding skills or specific training."

The key benefit companies are finding in low-code adoption is accelerated time-to-market (38%), which points to direct business benefits being realized. A secondary benefit is reduced app development costs (34%) associated with low and no-code development. The areas of the business most associated with low-code tools include sales and marketing, service, human resources, and finance.

How much faster is low-code and no-code development over traditional IT-centric development? Only five percent say it moves at the same pace or slower that IT-centric development. Close to one-third, 32%, say low-code is more than 50% faster than traditional development. 

How much faster is low-code development comparing to traditional development?

  • Slower than traditional development  2%
  • Equal to traditional development      3%
  • 1-20% faster    11%
  • 21-40% faster    27%
  • 41-60% faster    29%
  • 61-80% faster     18%
  • 81-100% faster   5%
  • More than 100%    9%

In a related matter, the survey also finds only 10% of business processes are full automated. Another 30% of process are not automated at all yet. "Given complex legacy workflows in organizations from industries such as financial services, manufacturing, or professional services, the path to full-blown automation requires more intelligent solutions capable to extend the responsibility for process automation across both front and back-office teams," the report's authors state. Of what is already automated in the respondents' organizations, a majority used out-of-the-box capabilities within existing applications such as CRM, followed by out-of-the-box applications with some custom coding. "With the rise of low-code platforms for process management and CRM, we expect this trend to change in the upcoming years as more organizations will be able to manage complex process automation projects self-sufficiently."

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