Low-code and no-code (LC/NC) development platforms are generating high rates of return. These drag-and-drop interfaces are already common among teams creating marketing collateral, designing surveys, or building embedded forms for data capture. Because these platforms are visual, abstracted, and automated, they're also becoming essential for organizations undertaking or maintaining digital transformation (DX) projects.

Right now, low-code adopters are in the minority; in 2020, less than 25% of application development was done using low-code. But by 2025, this ratio will invert itself, with 75% of applications developed on low-code. This space is growing so popular that in 2021 Gartner placed it in the Magic Quadrant for enterprise software platforms, while forecasting it to reach revenues upwards of $30 billion by 2024.

Low-code's footprint is growing for many reasons: rapid expansion of digital business models since 2020; widespread organizational demands to deploy solutions that are usable to both in-office and digital (WFH/hybrid) employees; the push to reduce strain on IT and to leverage the abilities of tech-savvy employees across teams. These factors speak to a need for development platforms that offer fast, easy builds alongside limited maintenance costs, something LC/NC has repeatedly delivered.

Maximizing IT by minimizing the manual

Counterintuitively, IT and traditional development teams will experience the biggest benefit from widespread deployment of LC/NC platforms. By giving creators access to a library of prebuilt elements and templates, they can quickly create apps to serve specific business use-cases. Using standardized and tested components also frees up IT time by reducing maintenance tasks, decreasing the chance of errors, and speeding up the onboarding of new developers.

When skilled developers are freed from basic tech stack cleanup, they can focus on higher-stakes projects and products. Most apps are made up of reused code; with low-code, whether using SDKs (Software Development Kits) or recyclable APIs, the mundane parts of development work can be automated. This results in faster app-building with fewer errors, as well as speeding up release cycles. More importantly, low-code frees up time that developers can use to stay current on new tech advances that can support organizational goals.

Empowering every employee through LC/NC

Besides lightening the load on IT, the speed and ease of LC/NC gives amateur developers (or citizen integrators) the opportunity to make their own contributions. These amateur developers are often motivated employees in search of ways to streamline their workflows, who have taken the initiative to build some of their own basic apps. The problem is that any apps they've built via this type of "shadow IT" are untested, unapproved, and likely invisible to IT.

But with the built-in guardrails that LC/NC platforms support, employees at any level of coding skill can safely and quickly create solutions that meet organizational compliance and security needs. The visual interfaces, templates, and drag-and-drop options of LC/NC make programming proficiency an option, rather than a requirement for contributing to DX.

As software capabilities grow and barriers to entry decline, the non-IT developer is assuming an increasingly important role in the ecosystem. And when it comes to the bottom line, LC/NC apps can generate significant savings in IT resources. More than 80% of companies have already turned to low-code tools to reduce the burden on IT departments. Among those organizations, nearly half saw an increase in agility and a reduction in costs.

Giving developers (both amateur and professional) access to a pre-existing, pre-tested library of components means that all resulting code automatically obeys organizational standards and architecture. This same library can help new developers achieve full productivity faster, with AI helping guide them to create full-stack developments. This also reduces the amount of mentoring and training new employees need from senior ones. But the proof is in the data: 70% of organizations making use of their citizen developers have seen development times cut by half.

From collaboration to creation

Low-code platforms also drive cross-functional collaboration, bringing IT into conversation with users across the organization. This is beneficial to the entire enterprise: IT becomes less opaque; development teams gain deeper insight into the business and its customers; business users can provide clarity about a project's goals and needs; IT is turned into a collaborative partner offering effective problem-solving, rather than a siloed team trying to develop solutions in the dark.     

Designed to solve communication gaps, low-code platforms bring everyone into the same digital space. The shared language this creates means domain experts can translate their knowledge in ways that help developers precisely understand the issues they are trying to solve. And because everyone is working from the same space, the bottlenecks caused by missed communications no longer create the same delays. The collaboration built into this type of system means faster, and more informed, cross-departmental decision-making.  

By connecting skilled developers with domain experts and business users, LC/NC platforms encourage new ways for IT to partner with cross-functional teams, giving way to more collaborations in the future. In the long run, this close collaboration accelerates (and sustains) larger digital transformation projects. Cross-functional work can prove pivotal to creating a workplace where developers see their work as meaningfully connected to an organization's larger mission, and these fusion teams are essential to building the future-proof enterprise.

The low-code revolution

A simplistic definition of digital transformation might be "moving processes to the cloud" or "adopting new technologies." In reality, successful DX requires a fundamental shift in the ways enterprises think about (and use) technology and data. Democratizing access to both tools and information fosters a culture of data-driven decision-making, while offering employees and fusion teams the opportunity to quickly build solutions without needing to wait for developer or IT time.

Empowering teams to resolve their own problems through LC/NC apps also frees developers to engage more productively with the teams they are supporting, and fosters cross-departmental collaboration by bringing relevant parties together into a common platform with a shared vocabulary.

By giving employees the tools to make easy-to-build and easy-to-customize apps, enterprises can benefit from the skills of amateur developers while still ensuring their solutions are compliant with organizational security requirements. By creating environments that center cross-team collaboration and communication, low-code app-building platforms are fast becoming an essential element of driving and sustaining digital transformation.



Zoho offers a suite of intelligent enterprise business software, including an award-winning CRM suite, the industry's only comprehensive analytics and BI platform, and a powerful low-code development ecosystem.