2021: The year of low code, the year of IT

2021: The year of low code, the year of IT
2021: The year of low code, the year of IT

It would not be exaggerating to say that the Covid-19 pandemic turned almost every industry on its head – and IT was no exception. But first it completely shook up our personal lives. March 2020 seems like so long ago. Remember the first lockdown? We had no real idea what was ahead of us. Would we stay home for a few weeks and then everything would go back to the way it was, or would life as we know it change completely, forever? And on a more practical level, how should we deal with the new challenges of home office, home schooling and the shutdown of stores, restaurants and culture? It was an unsettling time with lots of questions and no real answers.

After a series of ups and downs and, above all, a high degree of uncertainty, we’re finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s clear that while life will go back to normal at some point, some changes such as the rise in remote work are here to stay. And in this time we’ve learned a lot about work-life balance and are beginning as a society to reevaluate what’s truly important.


The business response: from survival to “wait and see”

Meanwhile business goes on. Although some industries like tourism and events have been grinding to a halt, most industries have remained active. How did companies handle the situation?

They coped in much the same way we all did. The early stages were pure survival: they scrambled to put together temporary IT and organizational solutions to address the immediate obstacles of remote work, supply chain breakdowns, hygiene measures and more, while facing an initial drop in productivity.

As lockdowns loosened or ended, most businesses had no idea which direction things would take, so they went into “wait and see” mode, freezing discretionary spending such as IT projects. Was remote work a temporary measure, or the new normal? And what would happen to the economy? With no clear answers it didn’t seem like a safe time to invest in anything long term.

The autumn and winter lockdowns finally got a few companies to face facts and free up the budget for IT projects. After all, the pains these companies faced at the beginning of 2020 had not just disappeared. Meanwhile a host of new challenges brought on by lockdown, supply chain disruption and the economic crisis demanded attention. Still, many companies remained in a holding pattern.

So what will happen in 2021? More and more companies are now focusing back on long-term digitalization initiatives, or pursuing new digital business models to replace lost revenue. It’s shaping up to be a big year for digital transformation, putting solutions in place that can help companies not only to survive organizational and financial difficulties but to come out on top of their industries. This is the year of IT.


The perfect storm for low code

One technology that many companies are adopting to speed up their digitalization efforts is low code development. Rather than requiring lengthy development cycles by professional software engineers, low code platforms allow people with no coding experience – so-called citizen developers – to create highly professional apps using visual development tools.

Forrester predicts that an astonishing 75% of development organizations will adopt the technology by the end of 2021, and it was recently listed on Forbes as one of “Nine Software Development Trends In 2021 To Watch For Now”. A perfect storm is brewing, and it’s set to make low code development a critical part of the upcoming wave of digital transformation.

First of all, the focus back on digitalization initiatives inspired by Covid-19 will take place to one degree or another in companies of every size all around the world. The demand for IT resources will soar, and budgets will open up.

However, demand will certainly exceed supply. For many years companies have faced a global shortage of talented software engineers. A 2019 study from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 2020 shortage of 1 million IT workers in the US alone, and that was before the pandemic. Furthermore, in KPMG’s 2019 CIO Survey, 67% of CIOs admitted that talent shortage was preventing them from keeping up with the pace of change.

Finally, companies in every industry are seeing an increasingly tech-savvy workforce beyond their IT departments. Millennials are the first true “digital natives”, having grown up with the Internet. They were among the first users of social media and the first smartphone addicts. And subsequent generations are more than just comfortable with technology; most of them played with tablets as toddlers, built their own worlds in Minecraft, and view the use and integration of multiple technologies as a given. Even though they don’t all learn to code, they do understand a variety of user interfaces and applications as well as the logic behind them, and are thus the ideal citizen developers.

So with demand for software solutions rising and the supply of software engineers unable to keep up, but a growing workforce highly capable of visual development, the problem almost solves itself. All of these factors combined could make 2021 the year of low code.

If the experts at Forrester are correct, 2021 will see an explosion of low code development, and the companies who follow this trend will benefit not only from greater efficiency but also from greater agility and the ability to adapt more quickly to changes in the market.


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