Low-Code Solutions Make Innovation Accessible for Manufacturers
Not everyone is a computer expert. In fact, there’s a growing dearth of qualified programming experts when it comes to complex applications like manufacturing technology. This is part of the growing skills gap in manufacturing. Thankfully, it’s an easier problem to solve than the lack of some other STEM (i.e., science, technology, engineering, and math) skills. The introduction of low-to-no-code solutions is making innovation more accessible for more manufacturers — whether or not they have qualified programming personnel available to them.
What is “low-code” or “no-code” software?
Low- and no-code software solutions offer a visual programming environment. Instead of writing raw code to create integrations and actions, low- and no-code solutions offer logic programming in a more visual way. Think of it like “drag and drop” or playing connect-the-dots. These solutions use a variety of pre-built “if this, then that” rules to help manufacturers program the actions and processes they need from complex software.
Low- and no-code solutions have been around for a while, but they’ve lacked the capabilities and robust opportunities of full-code solutions. It’s not until now — driven by a lack of qualified programming experts — that they’re being offered with more capabilities and better tools to manufacturers who desperately need them.
The rise in low-code solutions
Low- and no-code products are on the rise across industry, and there’s significant market for them. With the rise of automation, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and more reliance on advanced software to keep the factory environment running, dependence on these solutions is growing.
According to a Gartner report on low- and no-code solutions, we can expect a wave of them in the future as more established technology producers begin to offer more logic-driven options for already proven software. Industry leaders like SAP have announced initiatives to ramp up their low- and no-code offerings, while Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, and a slew of others are fast-tracking low-code offerings as demand for them rises.
While full-code and more traditional offerings of essential software still exist and are still in-demand, low-code is making a case for optionality in the market. As a dearth of programmers continues, so will demand for slimmed-down versions of software.
Low-code for the future of manufacturing
According to a recent Forrester report, we’ll see more low-code solutions in the near-term, which could push demand for them even higher in markets where low-code is the solution manufacturers have been waiting for. Forrester predicts an annual growth rate of 40%, with spending forecasted to hit $21.2 billion by 2022.
The reason behind such a massive jump in low-code spending is simple: this is the gateway to innovation for many manufacturers. In an age where the IIoT and automation are essential for scalability and growth, the only thing holding many producers back is the ability to program their own solutions. Low- and no-code solutions help them surmount this barrier, creating opportunities for growth.
While low-code solutions will never supplant full-code offerings, they’re making a case as more than a stopgap measure moving forward.