Will low-code development platforms fuel the region’s need for sustainable agility to recover from the pandemic? This proponent says YES.

Digital innovation has always been a key to staying relevant and ahead of the pack, and enterprise developers are pushed to the brink, straining resources and time constraints. They are overwhelmed with the demand for digitalization and under pressure to realize concepts faster than ever before without compromising on quality, all while keeping a keen eye on the overall cost. It can be a tricky balancing act.

Our latest study predicts that by 2024, 75% of the G2000 firms will be high-performance, large-scale producers of software-powered innovation. This is fueled by new market realities, increasingly demanding customers, and the ever-present threat of digital disruption—extending beyond speeding software development cycles. Now, software needs to deliver lasting business value.

The study identified that security and development integration was the biggest challenge for 58% of respondents in South-east Asia, and organizations there still struggle to adopt agile DevOps processes and practices across the software development life cycle. In Singapore and Indonesia, where efforts are more advanced, the emphasis is on fine-tuning DevOps teams and securing those processes.

Confronting problems

Enterprises face a whole new set of challenges: they need to adapt to market changes on a dime, rapidly hire and train employees, and modernize legacy systems to remain competitive.

For most companies, we understand that mission-critical legacy systems are not going anywhere and it is imperative for companies to build their innovative applications around and on top of legacy systems.

In addition to the pressures brought on by the inability to keep pace, customers have been demanding more highly-personalized products and services, creating additional pressures to rapidly extend and adapt existing systems in ways they were never built for.

To survive and thrive in the current landscape, there is a need to employ visual, model-based development platforms. Organizations all over the world are increasingly relying on low-code development tools. We see 47% of enterprise leaders in the Asia Pacific region relying on various model-driven development tools, with 39% of them relying on visually-guided development tools. Some 29% were planning to adopt low-code tools.

These platforms give organizations a way to design and develop software applications quickly, with minimal hand-coding. Using visual modelling in a graphical interface to assemble and configure applications enables developers to build new applications much quicker, while boosting scalability, consistency, security, and most importantly, agility.

These new approaches help developers meet their organizations’ needs with unprecedented speed, while empowering non-developers to create prototypes and collaborate with IT to build complex software.

Visual development platforms also create bridges between legacy and modern applications, or in some instances replace legacy systems entirely. Because these platforms use intuitive drag-and-drop mechanisms, they also provide a simpler development process, which enables end-users to be more involved in the design and development of the applications that they will be relying upon.

Going the distance

Low-code, by itself, is not enough to make an organization truly agile. Organizations require a platform that speeds every step of the Dev-Sec-Ops process. From design, development, architectural analysis, testing, deployment to monitoring.

Even then, the platform needs to be optimized so that once an application has been deployed, it is easy for rapid modifications to take place, whether those changes are being driven by strategy changes, government regulations, economic shifts or something as dramatic as a global pandemic.   

Looking at 2022 and beyond, 52% of organizations in Southeast Asia believed that cloud-native application development will be the overriding focus. To ensure agility is embedded, organizations need to understand:

  • Security is the watchword: As development cycles continue to shorten, enterprises should take care to integrate security into the planning phases if they want to proceed apace and stay ahead of change
  • Innovation first: Innovative customer experiences fuel the creation of new markets and new audiences. The incorporation of customer feedback will also feed new ideas on new platforms
  • The talent hiring crunch: start recruitment planning early, build apps for upskilling and continuous education; and ensure that developers work closely with IT to address development shortfalls.

The time to Innovate is now. This year has indeed brought about a shift in the way enterprises and tech leaders are reviewing their state of digital transformation. It is clear that in three to five years, every enterprise is going to have to be a digital innovation factory just to compete.

Whether the objective is to modernize older systems, streamline processes, or respond to new market conditions by bringing new services to market faster—visual development platforms are definitely an enabler for boosting organizational agility.