IT workers do the majority of low code work, according to The State of Low-Code/No-Code 2021 report, published by Creatio. The company surveyed 1,022 IT, digital and business leaders across industries.
Two out of every three citizen developers — those working with software though not primarily software engineers — are IT-related users such as systems administrators or software integrators, according to the report. Just 6% of low code work is performed solely by business users, and without involvement from IT workers.
A lack of experience with low code platforms is the top obstacle to low code adoption, according to six in 10 respondents.
The idea low code can serve as a companywide technology enabler comes with a caveat — not all low code tools are created equal.
"Just because something's low code doesn't mean anyone can sit down and use it without training," said John Bratincevic, senior analyst at Forrester. "There's a whole spectrum of experiences, ranging from very simple, that almost anybody can learn, to very technical, and usually very powerful."
Low code has found its footing as a tool to accelerate software development. Over the next three years, low code will drive almost two-thirds of all application development, according to Gartner projections. But tools are still working on gaining business user adoption.
"I think in a few years, there will be some products that are very good for multiple personas," said Bratincevic, and are able to equally support the professional developer and the business user. "At the moment that's pretty rare, or not even the case."
Giving people examples of the technology to iterate on can increase traction and help low code cross the business-IT gap, said Dan Robinson, CTO at Heap. Simply acquiring low-code tools and introducing them to workers won't cut it.
"That's actually a very intimidating blank slate for a person who's never been involved in software development or creating a software product before," said Robinson.
CIOs hoping to spread the use of low code for business users could find value in hosting hackathons, giving business users a safe space to experiment with the technology while working to solve business problems, said Bratincevic. "And then those people became the evangelists back into their respective teams," he said.
Initiating a center of excellence to nurture naturally curious business users can also help, said Robinson. But the tools available on the market still have room for improvement.
"Until the tech gets so good that it doesn't feel like you're building software or programming at all, then a major factor will be fear and intimidation," Robinson said.