With a shortage of developer talent, many businesses are turning to low-code or no-code platforms to fill tech talent gaps. These tools allow tech and business professionals with no coding experience to build apps. Forrester predicts that the market for low-code tools will grow to $15 billion by 2020.
"Low-code platforms are one of several strategies that firms can employ to increase the amount of solutions or applications they're developing to widen their skills base," Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond told TechRepublic. "If a company doesn't have a deep pool of development talent, low-code tools are one way they can account for that."
We surveyed the TechRepublic CIO Jury on their organization's use of low-code or no-code tools. When asked, "Does anyone at your company use a low-code or no-code platform?", four tech leaders said yes, while eight said no.
SEE: IT Hiring Kit: Programmer (Tech Pro Research)
"We believe it's a valid tool to deploy simple business functionality much faster than with traditional methods," said Michael Hanken, vice president of IT at Multiquip Inc.
"Both internally and with our clients, we are leveraging Sharepoint very heavily, with most of the design/deployment work taking place on the department level," said Dustin Bolander, CIO of Technology Pointe. "IT just provides advice and guidance."
Mark O'Brien, CTO of Kurado, said the company uses Salesforce to ensure the development teams are not holding up sales when they need reporting or other workflow updates. However, "what we have seen is that as these no-code systems become more complex you inevitably need a dedicated specialist to navigate the intricacies of what is needed," O'Brien said. "Ultimately you are trading software developers for no-code developers."
While this is not always the case, it is a consideration to take into account when deciding on whether or not a no-code option is right for the job, O'Brien said.
In Puerto Rico, organizations face difficulties finding skilled developers due to budget cuts and a lack of talent available, said N'Gai Oliveras Arroyo, IT director of the Office of the Comptroller of Puerto Rico. "After the passage of Hurricane Maria, many of the developers and other IT resources migrated to the United States, affecting the availability of resources in that area on the island," Oliveras Arroyo said. "Due to this, we are using these types of tools to be able to develop with our existing technical resources."
Some tech leaders surveyed said that they are not currently using low-code or no-code tools, but that they are interested in them. "We are evaluating tools and will likely adopt one within the next few months," said Cory Wilburn, CIO of the Texas General Land Office.
Jerry Justice, CIO of Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP, said his firm is vetting where these tools may fit in. "It is not really about hiring or coding, but about adding agility in a specific area where you don't need (a lot of) code (i.e. - web responsive mobile UI to known datasets)," Justice said. "These 'wrappers' also have the possibility to surface and aggregate disparate datasets, add a modern layer of security, leverage cloud-enabled data services, etc."
However, not all companies are ready to jump on the low-code bandwagon. "Frankly, I find it a disturbing trend," said David Wilson, director of IT services at VectorCSP. "Code being created in that manner has no expertise behind it, and is nothing more than an attempt to fill skilled positions with lower-pay alternatives. It's just creating another layer of complexity that could come back to haunt you."
For those interested in learning more about how to choose a low-code platform, click here.
This month's CIO Jury included:
- Dustin Bolander, CIO, Technology Pointe
- Michael Hanken, vice president of IT, Multiquip Inc.
- Mark O'Brien, CTO, Kurado
- Jeff Kopp, technology coordinator, Christ the King Catholic School
- Jerry Justice, CIO, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP
- Arkadiusz Olchawa, IT director and CIO, Itaka
- Cory Wilburn, CIO, Texas General Land Office
- Dan Gallivan, director of information technology, Payette
- Shane Milam, executive director of technology infrastructure services, Mercer University
- David Wilson, director of IT services, VectorCSP
- N'Gai Oliveras Arroyo, IT director, Office of the Comptroller of Puerto Rico
- Michael R. Belote, CTO, Mercer University
Want to be part of TechRepublic's CIO Jury and have your say on the top issues for IT decision makers? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director, or equivalent at a large or small company, working in the private sector or in government, and you want to join TechRepublic's CIO Jury pool, click the Contact link below or email alison dot rayome at cbsinteractive dot com, and send your name, title, company, location, and email address.