Low-Code Achieves Mainstream Status According to New Ground-Breaking Research: 75% of IT Leaders Say It’s a Trend They Can’t Afford to Miss

  • Mendix State of Low-Code 2021 research finds that 77% of enterprises in six countries already use low-code to respond to fast-changing needs
  • 76% of IT professionals say demand for developers has reached a “fever pitch”

BOSTON – August 31, 2021  Mendix, a Siemens business and global leader in low-code application development for the enterprise, today announced the results of the industry’s most comprehensive study of low-code adoption among IT leaders and developers. The ground-breaking research sponsored by Mendix confirms what many in the technology industry have experienced over the last 18 months. The global pandemic dramatically accelerated the interest in and use of enterprise low-code, a technology trend that had already been well underway prior to the pandemic. The findings reveal that 77% of enterprises in six countries have already adopted low-code, and 75% of IT leaders said it’s a trend they can’t afford to miss.

As the low-code market and technology leader, Mendix pioneered the market and made low-code ready for prime time in the enterprise. Its powerful, enterprise-grade visual development platform empowers citizen and professional developers to make cloud-native applications more than 10X faster for web and mobile.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the digital business world, requiring businesses to move their activity online while responding to fast-changing needs. Although those pressures appear to suggest that IT professionals are worried about digital disruption, the Mendix report, “The State of Low-Code 2021: A Look Back, The Light Ahead,” shows that 58% of IT are actually excited by the acceleration, and among 45%, it has brought an urgency for faster and more collaborative development.

Organizations across industries are realizing that business-as-usual software development cannot meet the growing demand.

The survey findings illustrate the trend:

  • Nearly six in 10 (57%) IT professionals said the number of staff needed for software development is increasing.
  • 76% said the demand for developers has reached a fever pitch.
  • Meanwhile, the cost of software development is rising (61%).
  • Two-thirds of software projects are being delivered behind schedule.
  • Despite working tirelessly, the backlog is increasing at 62% of organizations.

The pandemic shifted low-code into high gear

The pressure to transform enterprises to be ‘digital-first’ has led to great enthusiasm among IT professionals for new solutions and different ways of working. IT departments are embracing opportunities to democratize software development beyond IT: 64% of organizations have relied on non-technical staff to relieve pressure on the IT department during COVID-19.

Low-code is central to achieving this, as reflected in the 77% of organizations that already use it.

The study also revealed that:

  • 64% of IT professionals agreed that low-code is their go-to work-around development solution
  • As many as 59% of projects using low-code are a collaboration between business and IT groups

IDC predicts that the worldwide population of low-code developers will grow with a compound annual growth rate of 40.4% from 2021 to 2025, which is approximately 3.2 times the 12.5% rate for developers generally worldwide. Implementations differ from company to company, with some standardizing on a single platform used by both developers and citizen developers.

“This study confirms what we’ve long believed,” said Derek Roos, co-founder and CEO of Mendix. “Low-code is the future of software development and Mendix is leading the way. It’s agile by design. It dramatically expands the pool of development talent. It’s built for collaboration and it’s built for rapid development. Low-code, and specifically low-code with Mendix, is fast becoming a core technology enterprises need to succeed in a digital-first world.”

Low-code is more collaborative, faster and cheaper than traditional development

IT professionals using low-code have quickly become aware of its benefits. Two out of five low-code users reported more collaboration, faster development, and lower costs. Specifically, low-code projects reduce costs by 53% and are 56% faster. Low-code has a top-line benefit, too. Customer apps built using low-code increased customer revenues by an average of 58%, according to study respondents.

“Low-code enables companies to improve customer engagement through innovative solutions and experiences,” said Roos. “One-third of the survey’s respondents said they are accelerating their use of AI, IoT and big data with low-code because low-code allows them to bring their digital-first strategies to life.”

The future of software development is here now

As the world emerges from the pandemic and its many challenges, IT professionals see low-code as a light ahead. Low-code is a tried and tested solution to ever-increasing time and cost demands in fundamental areas of business activity. Among organizations using low-code, its use for mission-critical apps (33%) is fast catching up with more traditional uses like data modeling and visualization (38%).

In organizations that use low-code, more than half (56%) of employees are now using apps built on low-code platforms. Low-code platforms free-up software development teams to work on new projects; in fact, 51% of software developers say that half of their everyday development work could be done on a low-code platform.

State of low code infographic

Low-code enables diverse talent pools

Low-code has the potential to empower more people from more diverse backgrounds to participate in software development than ever before. It opens up software development to people with a wider range of skills, and creates possibilities for more diversity in IT teams. Two out of five IT leaders said their IT department will become more diverse, with a greater range of ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds represented. According to Gartner, 80% of technology products and services will be built by non-IT professionals by 2024.

Low-code breaks software development out of its traditional IT box, so that non-technical staff can be part of the process, which has become more necessary during the pandemic. Pandemic-related pressure on IT departments has led 64% of organizations to rely on non-technical staff to help relieve that pressure – particularly in manufacturing (70%) and finance (71%). A quarter of all IT leaders and developers surveyed reported that their employer was now more likely to hire developers with no formal IT qualifications.

Two out of five IT leaders in industries of all types say their IT department will become more diverse as more people from many backgrounds enter the IT field. That number increases to 45% of IT leaders in technology companies who similarly expect an increase in diversity in their IT department, post pandemic.

This shift would not be possible without low-code. IT professionals see low-code empowering more people to break down social barriers to entering the IT field – particularly those without a college education (48%) and people of different ages (48%) and races (46%).

“Low-code is already being recognized as a means to foster greater diversity in IT. Low-code is opening doors for more people from more backgrounds. It doesn’t just benefit the business by expanding the talent pool – it paves the way for greater fairness and inclusivity in the business world,” said Roos.

The U.S. leads the low-code revolution, but watch out for China

Four-fifths of U.S. organizations have already adopted low-code, compared to 75% in China and 74% in Europe. However, 90% of Chinese IT professionals are eagerly embracing low-code. That number suggests that China could overtake the U.S. as the global low-code leader. The Chinese are also the most likely to consider low-code a trend they can’t afford to miss (84% versus 72% globally).

The greatest barrier to low-code adoption for 31% of U.S. organizations is being tied to legacy systems that are still running core and mission-critical workloads (31% compared to 23% globally). Those not yet using low-code in the U.S. also suggest that other barriers include reluctance from IT decision-makers (28% compared to 19% globally) and reluctance from business decision-makers (25% compared to 18% globally).

Mendix commissioned the research to gauge the pandemic’s impact on low-code adoption, use, and benefits. The 2,025 individuals who participated included 1,209 IT professionals and 816 software developers in the U.S., China, UK, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.  To download a complimentary copy of “The State of Low-Code 2021: A Look Back, The Light Ahead,” visit https://www.mendix.com/resources/the-state-of-low-code-report.

Coming in September: Mendix World 2021

Mendix World 2021 is on track to be the largest worldwide gathering of low-code experts, technology and business leaders, industry analysts, and software developers who will share their first-hand experiences tackling enterprise digitalization using low-code software development. Attendees focused on digital solutions across multiple economic sectors can attend live Q&As, learning tracks, demonstrations, and small group gatherings during the three-day-long virtual conference to learn how to leverage low-code to advance their own digital initiatives.

Register for Mendix World

Early registration will ensure that attendees are up-to-date about speaker announcements and other key news heading into the conference as it happens. For more information about Mendix World and to register, please visit Mendix World 2021 Registration

    About Mendix

    Mendix, a Siemens business, is the only low-code platform designed to address the full complexity of enterprise software development challenges. Deploying point solutions to departmental problems solves things at a micro level—but if you want to make a significant impact on your business, you need to go bigger and build powerful portfolios that move the needle sustainably and strategically.

    With Mendix, enterprises can take on more complex, transformational initiatives by engaging everyone in capturing requirements, forming ideas, and embedding value assessment throughout the lifecycle of the software portfolio.

    Focus on the right problems while relying on governance and control to avoid unnecessary risk. Mobilize your organization. Build the change readiness muscle. And when the next big idea drops, turn it into an outcome quicker.

    More than 4,000 organizations in 46 countries use the Mendix low-code platform. An active community of over 300,000 developers has created over 950,000 applications – and counting.