Impact of Low-code/No-code Platforms on Traditional Development & Gig Economy

Gartner predicts that by 2024 at least 65% of all new business applications will be created with high-productivity toolsets, such as low-code and no-code application development platforms.

There was another research done by Brandessence Market Research which stated that the Global Low-Code Development Platform Market is likely to reach USD 65.15 Billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 26.1%.  

Low-code platforms empower the developer community to build and deliver faster. However, no-code platforms empower business users having almost no coding experience to build apps to automate their routine or time-consuming manual tasks with relatively simple to medium complexity.

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It is undoubtedly becoming a challenge to acquire and retain the talent to meet the ever-growing needs of the businesses and build enterprise-level apps. Low-code/No-code development platforms provide packaged functions or components with a visual and user-friendly interface to convert ideas/workflow into a simple and easy development process. These platforms are also expected to improve the reusability aspect with the help of their common functions and prebuilt modules which can be implemented quickly in similar business problems.

The important question over here is how it impacts the current technical/semi-technical workforce, especially which forms part of the gig economy and what happens when the job gets over after the required apps are deployed. For a typical developer, the understanding of the logic and the code is expected; but how about the citizen developer who is primarily a business user. Automating the workflow for a process and ensuring that it handles the growing volume of transactions requires the technical design/architecture acumen which may not be available with the business user. However, it does not restrict a business user to acquire the required technical know-how of the development platform and the best practices. But the time and motion study is required to be performed in learning, evaluation, and implementation. There could be scenarios where a simple task has been automated by a business user using a no-code development platform, but one needs to have the analytical and agile mindset to make it work with the competing demand and change in the requirement. 

With the rise of the gig economy where the focus and scope are primarily limited to getting the job done and there is no full-time commitment between an employer and a contractor, long-term relationship building may not be possible. However, the project delivery still requires collaboration between different communities/functions, and it may not be the business user alone who can build, test, and deliver. It is also pertinent to understand that IT governance and knowledge of various policies, standards and guidelines from compliance, performance and Infosec perspective must be clearly communicated. It is also important to apply collective intelligence during the experimentation/pilot stage to choose low-risk and low-complexity use cases for implementation.  Every project requires certain skills and roles which cannot be compromised and those are over and above any type of technology. 

The full-time employees have a greater opportunity to be repurposed with re-skilling and up-skilling as compared to contract staff who are hired for a particular project/job with specific skills. Hiring short-term employees for short-term projects or tasks could be cost-effective for organizations, but for long-term projects where one needs a collaborative mindset and critical thinking, involvement from different cross-functional teams are required.

It is also predicted that no-code technology will be a huge enabler for the rise of the gig economy. The freelancer economy is rising and the number of freelancers in the United States is projected to reach 100 million by 2027. Nevertheless, this will not impact the profound skills required for building robust applications with optimal performance.  

Irrespective of the above research studies and surveys, this enabling technology for democratizing software development amongst non-technical users is not going to replace the existing developers in the market. Rather, the need for core developers for building complex automation will grow. Core developers will have more time to work on complex apps as the simple apps can be handed over to business users with the enablement of these no-code platforms. The adoption of these low-code and no-code development platforms can reduce the typical development time and create demand for more developers already equipped with the process knowledge and understanding of the business operations. However, it will not obviate the other roles and skills of SMEs, Analysts, Managers, and Testers who help in the successful delivery of the project.

It is beneficial to create the Product Vision Board and fill in the vision stating the purpose for creating a particular product, target group, needs, information about the product and the business goals. These details will enable speed, agility, and collaboration in line with the underlying objective of low-code/no-code development platforms.  

Final Thoughts

A pragmatic approach to solution delivery requires various aspects to be considered and not just automating a set of manual tasks with the bolstering development platforms. The focus should be on the outcomes that these platforms bring in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, cost, effort, and impact in the long term. The adoption and sustenance of new ways of working should be directly linked with the benefits (not only digitizing but transforming) to continuously build a culture of innovation and enhance the value creation with the improved maturity at each stage of the process life cycle.

Views expressed in this article are my own and may not necessarily be of my employer.


References and Acknowledgments:

  1. At +26.1% CAGR, Low-code Development Platform Market size is Expected to reach 65.15 Billion by 2027, says Brandessence Market Research (prnewswire.com)
  2. Democratizing software with no-code | Makerpad
  3. Project Management Institute (PMI) Citizen Development – The Handbook for Creators and Changemakers

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Gaurav Dhooper
Gaurav Dhooper is a strategic thinker, seasoned project/program management professional, Agile IT Delivery Leader, author, and a keynote speaker. His area of interest is Digital Transformation & Strategy. He is focused towards bringing business and process excellence by continuous improvement and building strong motivated teams to deliver customer value. Gaurav is an avid writer and has authored articles on Digital Transformation, Agile Transformation, Agile Project Management and Hybrid Project Management. He also writes articles on Robotic Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Personal Agility in leading online publications. Gaurav has been reviewer for PMI’s Standard for Earned Value Management and a book on Agile Contracts. Gaurav also holds the voluntary positions of President of PMO Global Alliance India Hub and Senior Official of International Association of Project Managers for Metropolitan area of Noida, India. He is also a volunteer and an active member of PMI.

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