Case study: Low code is a low-risk, high-advantage proposition

One enterprise’s low-code investment yielded $20.52 million in 3 years, including $8.1 million in application delivery savings, according to a new Forrester economic impact study.


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Traditional software development can be a long and tedious process; moreover, it frequently fails to deliver results to suit a company’s needs, a new report stated. Even pre-COVID-19, there weren’t enough developers to build software for increasingly demanding businesses, and the pandemic exacerbated the issues stemming from the lack of developers. 

SEE: 5 Internet of Things (IoT) innovations (free Pdf) (TechRepublic)

Forrester recently conducted a Total Economic Impact study. The report found low code to be a low-risk, high-advantage proposition with multimillion-dollar benefits.

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Low-code software development, Forrester found, helps developers make cloud-native applications more than 10-times faster (with 70% fewer resources) for both web and mobile with drag-and-drop components and model-driven logic, courtesy of an intuitive graphical user interface.  

“Low-code development platforms allow IT and business professionals to create business application software through graphical user interfaces, instead of traditional computer programming,” a TechRepublic article explained. “Coding is replaced by building apps visually by dragging and dropping UI components. All of the project’s components, such as frontend and backend code and configuration files, are automatically generated based on standard best practices.”

The low-code platform “widened the available talent pool of software developers, accelerated outcomes, fostered better business and IT collaboration, and automated tedious plumbing and infrastructure tasks,” Forrester reported. “As a result, firms experienced application delivery savings and operational efficiency from the introduction of new products and improvements to customer engagement.”

Why low code?

According to Forrester, key motivations for adopting a low-code platform include: Lack of IT responsiveness to business demand, unacceptable time to market for custom applications, difficulty sourcing professional development talent, the perception of IT as a cost center, rather than an enabler of change, operational inefficiency, reluctance to change an low-yield per employee, creating a negative impact on productivity, retention, recruiting, and morale.

One client’s enterprise’s low-code investment in the low-code Mendix platform, which commissioned the study, yielded the company $20.52 million over a three-year period, which includes $8.1 million in application delivery savings, $6 million in operational efficiencies from developed applications, $3.3 million from accelerated time to market for new products and services, $3.1 million in incremental revenue from improved customer engagement.

The study confirmed that a low-code platform drives economic value for large companies amid a software developer shortage, while there’s also been a strong rise in business demand for applications.

It’s a pivotal time in industries across all sectors, as they struggle with digital transformation, and, the report cites,  a “historic shortage” of developer talent up against the ever-growing demand for software to address rapidly changing needs.

Companies opt for low code to accelerate application creation. Those who have no or limited experience coding can actively participate in developing applications because of low code’s geographical interface and model-driven logic. Customization is necessary, timely, and achieved in a collaboration between business and IT departments.

Composite organization as low-code user sample

Two North American businesses and Mendix users were among four businesses interviewed for the study: An insurance company with 12,000 users (with 60 months of low-code experience), and a real estate brokerage with 26,000 users (with 102 months of low-code experience). The other two businesses were EMEA customers: A utility with 26,000 application users (48 months of low-code experience), and an insurance company with 5,700 application users (with 26 months of low-code experience).

Forrester developed a composite organization from its initial interviews and research: A company struggling to meet software demands of business units at a reasonable cost, a North America-based multinational B2B and B2C with operations in Europe and Asia, with 15,000 users of low-code created apps illustrated the quantifiable benefits (29%) and cost savings (39%) achieved by using a low-code platform. 

Prior to an adoption of low-code platforms the composite organization relied on: Traditional programming languages, frameworks, legacy systems, and required manual data verification and integration, and app development results were error-filled, data entry was low quality, the cost was high and lead times were lengthy. 

Low-code platforms benefits and future

A low-code platform enabled the enterprise of one of the companies interviewed to increase development productivity, decrease personnel costs, and reduce application operations’ cost, and reduce reliance on traditional programming, “speeding development by six to 10 times.”

The report found that 45% of interviewees reported their company had a plan or planned to adopt a low-code tool, and organizations that use a low-code platform can solve problems by enabling the collaboration of blended teams, boosting efficiency in less time. 

One interviewee, an unnamed vice president of software development at the real estate firm, claimed that what took the business up to two years to develop was now being done in six months in the first iteration and then in four months by the second iteration. Speed to market raises incremental revenue 16% of benefits and improves the company’s relationship with its customers.

Forrester’s report noted that the contributions to the acceleration of speed to market and incremental revenue are speedier testing of new ideas, more frequent low-cost experiments with emerging technologies (conversational interfaces, AI, and IoT), reduced time and effort from a team determined to achieve on-time goals, the development of an innovative culture that attracts top talent, and IT moved from a cost center to a revenue maker. 

Sept. 1 kicks off Mendix World, a free virtual low-code conference featuring 60 sessions and covers all steps of low-code application development, strategy, and practical topics, as well as hands-on platform training. 

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