How much of low-code/no-code is hype and how much is reality? Where do you see low-code platforms going in the coming years? 

Tan: As companies flocked to a dizzying array of no- and low-code tools to meet their ever-expanding development needs amid the uncertainties of 2020, they will inevitably realize the limits of these platforms, and as a result will seek out more advanced platforms that go beyond to enable their development teams in new ways. 

No- and low-code tools run into walls when attempting to solve serious problems, or when attempting to iterate or manage long-term. Developers will often find that low-code only allows for a very narrow set of solutions that are limited in scope and are not adaptable, so they don’t provide the long-term value that businesses really need. While no- and low-code platforms are fine for building white labelled, minimally capable applications, they hit a wall and become obsolete when those apps become mission-critical, or when a new app outside of the narrow domain of that tool is required.

No-code or low-code tools are just not enough for the full range of needs in today’s enterprise – it takes a more complete and modern approach – like what OutSystems offers – that incorporates the full application lifecycle and supports multi-functional teams. Essentially, traditional low-code is like putting a band-aid on instead of stitching a wound. As the pressures on businesses and developers to build fast and modify existing apps grows, this sentiment holds even truer.

From it’s low-code roots 20 years ago, OutSystems evolved its platform to enable multi-disciplinary team collaboration, includes sophisticated AI-powered automation across the platform, delivers enterprise-grade security, and offers the ability to accelerate the full application lifecycle with seamless change management as a result. 

We’ll start to see companies ditch the less mature platforms they adopted as a band-aid in a moment of panic and pursue far more capable modern application platforms that enable any type of application to be built and allow them to not only build quickly but build to the scale, security, and differentiation they need for inevitable future change.

What role would AI play in application development and software innovation?

Tan: AI’s role in the future of application development has always been tantalizingly controversial, with a storm of opinions gracing many a conversation about its potential. But it is becoming very clear: AI has the power to create far more possibilities than it limits.

This year, AI-assisted development will raise the bar even more with increasingly strategic and innovative uses. Usable by both professional developers and amateurs alike to ramp up their productivity, AI delivers heightened acceleration and accuracy in application building, and will prove to boost innovation and creativity rather than hinder it. 

To meet the increasing  demands of software applications, it is critical for businesses to act fast to develop and release products with speed and accuracy. We know that traditional software development is not designed to support these needs and changes, as it involves a series of manual coding, designing and testing. With AI, it disrupts the process by enabling developers to create scalable and efficient models and work flows that will drive efficiency and productivity, and therefore help to reduce the time-to-market.

Furthermore, software developers are able to make instant decisions using real-time data provided by AI models and advanced analytics. It can also automate the process of coding and provide a more efficient, agile and scalable work model by using the data to help developers create code accurately,

The world, currently at its peak in software augmentation and automation, is undergoing a paradigm shift and developers will soon come to see that AI is an essential tool to have in their kit, one that allows them to push the creative boundaries of their jobs and innovate.