Everyone Can't Be a Software Engineer: How the Low-Code Era is Driving Enterprise Growth
September 13, 2021

Ryan Berry
OneStream Software

For years, businesses opted for third-party software, vendors or have hired their own software engineers to innovate and set themselves apart from competitors. The realities of today's world require most every company to shift towards building software to offer services accessible anywhere on any device or to deliver data-driven intelligence used to allow management to make informed decisions anytime, anywhere. This thirst for knowledge, information, and the ability to rapidly extend services to customers drives needs for agile innovation, though, IT departments cannot do it alone. Enter citizen developers! These individuals can leverage the low-code platforms and tooling from leading software companies to drive creative innovation within the enterprise IT space.

While IT experts are still needed for expert-level application development, the low-code era is inspiring a new age of business. Today, every company, no matter its level of technical expertise, has become a technology company enabled to do more and delight customers through software. With STEM skills lacking, but efficiency needed, let's explore how businesses are empowering this new population of citizen developers to build applications that keep them connected and agile, ultimately driving stronger enterprise ROI.

The Innovation Challenge: Developer Skills Gap

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of software developers is projected to grow 22 percent over the next decade. The need for developer expertise is higher than ever because of growing needs of Enterprise customers. This demand, coupled with the shift to hybrid work environments, is creating a strain on IT departments, causing development of line-of-business applications to fall by the wayside.

These applications can help to alleviate the burden on industries ridden with manual interactions — from finance to manufacturing — by removing repetitive tasks and putting employees back to work on the areas that matter most. While less sophisticated, the development of these applications often requires some level of software development.

More advanced innovation requires heightened expertise, specifically across areas of STEM. In fact, according to Pew Research, roughly half the population of STEM educated workers are not in a STEM-related field, so these skills are not being put to use. This gap is creating a supply and demand imbalance for software engineering talent. Couple high demand for IT expertise with a widening STEM skills gap and this creates strong limitations for application development.

The Innovation Solution: Low-Code Development

The rise of low-code tools to create and roll out new applications is contributing factor to enterprise efficiency and rapid ROI. In fact, industries are already integrating this technology across the board. Recent research shows that over two-thirds (69%) of companies already use low-code development platforms and almost 20% plan to do so in the future. Further, in 2019 Gartner predicted that by 2024 65 percent of application development will be done using low-code tooling. So, what does it take to begin adopting this technology?

These new low-code tools enable users closer to the work be inventive and problem solve new and creative ways to improve productivity or to automate repetitive tasks. They allow for rapid innovation and modification without needing to work through IT to "release a new build." Low-code platforms provide pallets of controls and building blocks to take the complexity out of plumbing together complex back-end IT systems or to automate repetitive tasks. These controls and building blocks can be assembled in an infinite number of ways often surfacing the development environment through user interfaces similar to typical office productivity tools. The advent of being able to build, test and publish these applications via the cloud further accelerates time to value!

With today's hybrid workforce, driving low-code options in cloud-based environments helps to ensure that even a distributed employee base can build controlled mobile and desktop applications that benefit the entire enterprise, no matter where folks are located.

Innovation's Future: Connecting People and Technology

Low-code options are the way of the future. For always-on industries like finance, healthcare, government and manufacturing, efficiency is the backbone of operations. And even without a team of in-depth experts, this level of efficiency can still be achieved. Everyday employees can interact with and develop software for business functions via low-code technology to strengthen business functions.

Agility in a Dispersed Enterprise Environment

Configuring and optimizing business processes and generating intellectual property was once riddled with complexity. The low-code movement, however, is helping enterprises remain agile even with today's dispersed workforce. With data and software engineering skills hard to come by and demand for experts skyrocketing, equipping employees with the tools to drive innovation and move applications forward has never been more possible and important across all industries.

Ryan Berry is VP, Software Architect, at OneStream Software
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