Why Low-Code Development Requires 70 Percent Fewer Resources Than Traditional App Development

on May 3, 2017

The fundamental challenge every CIO is struggling with is that the business is ever increasingly looking for more applications to support their business process, while IT is struggling to keep up with the demand due to limited resources and capacity for innovative projects. Typically, most of their time and resources are consumed by keeping the lights on and maintaining legacy systems. Innovative new ideas and differentiated applications usually take a back seat because it is difficult to get the resources needed from IT.

The solution can’t be to just double the resources in your IT organization. As noted in a recent Gartner CIO Agenda Report, 66% of CIOs believe there is a talent crisis in the world, yet there is surprisingly little talent innovation to be found. According to a statistic cited by Gartner, through 2021, market demand for app development will grow at least five times faster than IT capacity to deliver it.

The solution to closing the capacity gap is low-code, model driven development. If you take a look at the typical app development process, there are a lot of people involved, with highly specialized roles.  Normally, you have business analysts creating functional requirements, technical analysts turning those requirements into technical specifications, a database administrator to create the database and design the database schema, UX/UI developers to create wireframes and a design, and many developers to code the application that brings all the pieces together. Then you have testers to test the app, an operations manager to deploy the app, and a project manager to oversee all the moving parts.

Traditional app development

But what if the person talking to the business about the requirements could actually build the application because he could model the entire thing, including the database, logic and user interfaces? In this scenario you wouldn’t need a dedicated database administrator or a dedicated developer/s and a UI/UX person. Instead you would have one business engineer who is a hybrid IT and business role. This person has strong technical aptitude as well as a strong understanding of the business.

With low-code, model driven development, most of the simple, repetitive development tasks that you face in traditional development are automated. Without the development team there is no need to translate the requirements into technical specifications, so you don’t need a technical analyst. Some low-code platforms, like Mendix, come out-of-the box with consistency checking and automated testing capabilities, eliminating the need for dedicated technical testers. And without all of those people, you don’t need a dedicated project manager to oversee all the moving parts and handoffs. Furthermore, with one-click deployment, you don’t need to wait on an operations person to build the environments and manually deploy the application with each release.

low-code application development

This means you need far fewer people to build an application with low-code development. The business engineer is closer to the business and requires less technical skills. The models provide a common visual language which can be understood by the business.

If you combine all of these things together, you can deliver apps with up to 70 percent fewer resources. Not only are you developing with fewer resources, but this now means you can deliver applications six times faster than with traditional development. Developing with 70 percent fewer resources means reducing the number of meetings and handoffs, as well as time spent waiting on other people to complete their tasks. Quick iterations with the business removes the need for extensive upfront documentation and requirements, visual modeling is a lot faster than manual coding, and one-click deployment means no waiting on other people to deploy your app.

With low-code development, it’s not only about building faster, but about delivering the right application that the business wants, shortening time to value. Low-code development guarantees the success of the app because the person building it and the person who needs the app can work closely together due to the common language and collaboration ability that model-driven development provides.

With the ability to create quicker time to business value with a smaller team, low-code development enables CIOs to focus more on bringing innovative ideas to life, and less on finding the right talent and organizing their team around a seemingly impossible goal.