Wood tiles that say low-code.
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In the face of economic pressures and a growing application backlog, low-code tools have emerged as a powerful solution for organizations looking to optimize IT processes and reduce costs.

According to the International Monetary Fund, global growth is expected to slow down in 2023, dropping to 2.9% from 6% in 2021. This downward trend places even more pressure on IT departments to find resourceful ways of cutting costs while continuing to meet the needs of the business and its stakeholders.

A recent study conducted by Edelman Assembly on behalf of Microsoft surveyed more than 2,000 IT CIOs and IT professionals across industries including finance, healthcare, retail and transportation to discover insights into how low-code platforms are helping IT teams overcome these challenges.

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Low-code tools help reduce costs

According to Microsoft’s Low-Code Signals report, 87% of CIOs and IT professionals say low-code platforms are effective in reducing costs. By accelerating legacy application modernization and leveraging pre-built components, low-code tools like Microsoft Power Platform, Appian, Mendix, OutSystems and Quickbase can help IT departments drive efficiency gains, streamline data insights and close the app gap created by developer shortages.

The report highlights an example from professional services firm PwC, which used Microsoft’s Power Platform to build its Cyber Technology Rationalizer solution in just six weeks. According to Microsoft, this implementation achieved 85% cost savings and 30% time savings, demonstrating the potential of low-code tools in reducing overhead and expediting development efforts.

In addition, a Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact study commissioned by Microsoft in 2021 revealed that Power Platform and Azure helped reduce costs by 24% due to increased developer efficiency, increased DevOps efficiency and reduced spending on third-party solutions.

Low-code tools help compensate for staff shortages

The continually-growing demand for technical solutions has resulted in a shortage of professional developers, which has accelerated in the past few years.

Microsoft’s study found that 45% of IT professionals first adopted low-code platforms to compensate for staff shortages. By making it easier to create and deploy applications, low-code tools empower non-technical employees to contribute to app development, effectively reducing the burden on IT departments, the report found.

The same 2021 Microsoft-commissioned Forrester study found that low-code tools significantly increased developer efficiency over time, averaging 62% over three years. This efficiency gain benefits IT departments struggling to meet the increasing demands of end users and tackle the backlog of applications.

SEE: As hiring freezes and layoffs hit, tech teams struggle to do more with less (TechRepublic)

AI and automation enhance low-code capabilities

According to Microsoft’s report, 87% of CIOs and IT professionals believe increased AI and automation embedded into low-code tools would help them better leverage their organization’s full set of capabilities. Tools like Microsoft Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents have already started integrating AI features like Copilot, which streamline application development with natural language authoring and the ability to converse with AI assistants.

As low-code tools continue to incorporate AI and automation, IT professionals can expect even more efficiency gains, enabling them to build smarter, more effective applications and solve increasingly complex problems, said Microsoft.

SEE: Tech leaders: Take an AI-first approach to data strategy to accelerate transformation (TechRepublic)

Low-code tools lead to more accurate data insights

Low-code platforms can help break down data silos by centralizing data and providing easy-to-consume data visualizations.

Microsoft’s study found that 86% of CIOs and IT professionals believe low-code tools help their organizations generate more accurate insights from their data. By breaking down data silos, reducing duplication and centralizing data in “a single source of truth,” IT professionals can build more comprehensive and effective solutions for end users, the report said.

One example provided by Microsoft is EY’s Power Post application, which uses Microsoft Power Platform to automate the General Ledger posting process used internally by the EY Global Finance team. According to Microsoft, the low-code app reduced document processing lead time by 95%, reduced existing costs by 30% and eliminated emails and Excel requirements by 100%.

Low-code tools contribute to application modernization

Another benefit of low-code platforms is their ability to help organizations modernize legacy applications. In Microsoft’s survey, 87% of CIOs and IT professionals said low-code tools are very useful in helping their organizations modernize legacy systems – something many businesses are struggling with.

Low-code tools help reduce time to value by extending existing legacy core capabilities, streamlining migration projects and replacing legacy applications with low-code solutions. This in turn helps organizations to keep pace with evolving technologies and ensures their applications remain relevant and functional.

4 tips when adopting low-code tech

For organizations looking to improve efficiency, reduce costs and streamline data insights, low-code platforms offer a compelling solution. As you consider adopting low-code technology, keep the following points in mind:

  • Evaluate popular low-code tools to find the best fit for your organization.
  • Prioritize low-code tools that feature embedded AI and automation capabilities 87% of CIOs and IT professionals believe these features would help their organizations better leverage the full set of capabilities offered by low-code solutions.
  •  Consider using low-code tools to modernize legacy applications and close the app gap generated by developer shortages and traditional development timelines.
  •  Look for low-code solutions that can help streamline data insights by centralizing data in a single source of truth and reducing data duplication across databases.

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