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New Study Finds CIOs Leaning Heavily on Low-Code Platforms for Critical Applications in 2023

84% of CIOs expect low code adoption to increase as organizations struggle with business uncertainty, scale and insatiable demand for applications

WEBCON, a global leader in process automation and enterprise low-code, recently released the results of a new study conducted with market research firm Vanson Bourne, looking at how CIOs are navigating digital transformation in a post-pandemic era. Among the most significant findings, a majority of CIOs surveyed (85%) said low-code applications were either very important or mission critical for their organizations; and 84% expect importance of low-code to increase over the next 12-24 months. This comes as 64% of IT organizations struggle with constantly changing business requirements, the growing volume of software (49%) and the insatiable demand for new applications (84%).


“Low-code platforms speed development and lower costs for professionals and non-professionals alike, so it’s not surprising that cash-strapped and resource conscious companies are embracing low-code”


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the way people work and interact with technology. One trend that had been gaining ground for several years and took off during the pandemic was the rise in low-code and citizen development. With a potential recession on the horizon, companies facing tight budgets, and a shortage of skilled developers, low-code platforms have become the de facto choice for building applications quickly and efficiently.

“Low-code platforms speed development and lower costs for professionals and non-professionals alike, so it’s not surprising that cash-strapped and resource conscious companies are embracing low-code,” said Mike Fitzmaurice, VP North America, WEBCON. “What was surprising, however, is the extent to which low-code is no longer considered optional or experimental; companies are no longer considering whether to use it, but where and how to best deploy the technology.”

The new study found that the vast majority of CIOs agree that delivering low-code apps is less costly (89%) and faster (90%) than custom-code, and that applications built with low-code tend to offer greater flexibility and be better suited to meeting business needs (93%) than commercial (COTS) software.

The study also points to potential challenges and considerations companies need to consider when adopting low-code and citizen development.

  • According to the study, most companies have two or more low-code platforms in use. These systems are primarily used by professional developers (67%) followed by citizen developers (41%).

  • While a majority (70%) of companies plan on using citizen development in the future, only half (50%) of those using citizen development today believe it’s working well.

  • More than three quarters of CIOs (80%) felt that the current pace of app development is behind and needs to improve.

The study also revealed three major challenges CIOs face when it comes to implementing business applications.

  • Business requirements changing during the course of the project (64%)

  • Business requirements are imprecise (51%)

  • The increasing risk of managing a large number of applications and inability to scale (49%)

The larger the organization the more they struggle with these challenges, which are also likely driving another main hurdle: excessive cost.

The surveyed CIOs note application delivery can be a complex and time-consuming process that includes requirements analysis, implementation, coding, system configuration and end-user training, with each stage taking months to complete. CIOs are counting on a platform approach in adopting low-code to minimize both the time to complete these stages, as well as the variety of tools and applications required.

“These findings show companies needing more applications, more quickly, and we’re seeing a corresponding and extremely interesting trend of IT departments using low-code for a factory-like approach where IT partners with citizen developers to increase the volume and velocity of applications,” notes Fitzmaurice. “Given the trend of companies limiting the number of platforms in use, it is crucial to choose a low-code platform that not only accelerates app development but also facilitates requirements gathering, supports flexible change management, and enables continuous process improvement.”


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