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What is low-code, and how is it transforming the way we work?

by uma

 

By Simon Quinton, Senior AVP Tableau UKI at Salesforce

The events of the past two years forced organisations to digitise overnight, with increased demand for digital services across every sector, and every country. Online apps and services needed to be built faster than ever before. With this, came rising expectations from consumers and businesses alike for better digital access to the products and services we have come to rely on. 

These changes are going nowhere. But how can organisations meet these demands? One way is by embracing low-code development. Essentially, low code is a “drag and drop” approach to building applications using prewritten building blocks of code. Low-code technology has grown in prominence over recent years. In fact, according to a 2021 Gartner study, low-code development technologies are estimated to reach a valuation of £23 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of over 20%.

One of the drivers of this growth is that low-code development enables people with no coding skills to build apps, by using simple visual tools, meaning that companies no longer have to rely solely on hiring technical experts to build apps from scratch, saving businesses time and resources. 

These small changes have a big impact in transforming the future of work and innovation. So, as low-code technology moves front and centre to the future of innovation, it’s time to recognise the changes this will have on the future of work and business. 

How can businesses embrace low-code?

In the midst of a skills crisis for technical skills, and in particular, coding skills; with clicks, not code, low code is redefining what it means to be a developer. The extent of the skills crisis is so great that the UK government formally acted on recognising the need for schools and higher education to provide digital education in its 2020 Innovation Strategy. 

According to global Salesforce research, 82% of business leaders say that coding and web development capabilities are going to be important to them over the next six months. As business picks up pace, many organisations are having to address how the lack of widespread coding and web development skills amongst employees with no or little tech skills is hindering an effective digital transformation in the workplace and the ability to innovate.

As the digital economy continues to evolve, low-code development can help bridge skills gaps in the workplace, and will help teams develop new apps fast, and keep up with the latest trends. The challenge for businesses in embracing low-code technology sits in an organisation’s ability to upskill employees.

Empowering employees with low-code 

With this burgeoning skills gap, understandably, IT teams are incredibly stretched. Embracing low-code technology can support business leaders in removing the current burden placed on their IT teams and the costly investment in ad-hoc external developers who don’t add to the quality of their business on a consistent basis. 

At a time when budgets have to stretch further, with low-code, businesses can scale with confidence and without sacrificing quality. As employers expand their network of employees who can build apps, this not only provides immediate efficiency in creating and maintaining services and apps to customers frequently, but it establishes a culture of digital sustainability. 

Making low-code development accessible will directly empower employees and build a resilient workforce. Instead of looking for external, high-skilled technicians, focusing on upskilling and reskilling existing workforces with basic web development and coding skills will benefit employees and employers alike. In fact, this is why we’re leveraging natural language and augmented analytics to help all of our customers drive meaningful decisions, particularly those with no – or low – digital skill sets. Our new AI-powered data stories add automated plain-language explanations to dashboards to help customers to understand and interact with data, at speed.

Breaking down barriers with low-code training

Just as low-code tools are opening workforce reskilling opportunities, they are also breaking down barriers for communities to succeed in the digital economy. From helping to boost students’ vocabulary skills to enabling them as creators in the digital world, they’re equipping people with programming skills which tomorrow will be just as important as the ability to read and write today. 

In many ways, given the rising availability of low-code learning opportunities, development in this area is faster and more accessible than traditional methods of professional development. What’s more, apps can be built from anywhere. Now more than ever, people need access to the technologies and skills necessary to land these jobs of the future. Since the onset of the pandemic there has been a  37% increase in registrations to courses – joining over 2.2 million learners gaining technical, business, partner, and soft skills. 

As businesses continue to recover from the pandemic, the only constant will be change. Low-code technology will increasingly be a key driver in enabling businesses to become more nimble, reimagining careers, and enabling citizen developers. The speed and agility that these tools offer promises to build more efficient companies today and a more resilient society for the future.

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