Where are organizations on the low-code development journey?

Many organizations that initially used enterprise content management (ECM) systems to tackle large-scale, document-intensive processes have taken a multi-phased approach to process automation. Driven by the desire to be more agile and competitive, they are now working to re-evaluate customer and employee experiences, modernize information strategies and broaden automation throughout the enterprise. And that’s shifting the spotlight to low-code application development.

Digital business automation applications have typically taken months to build and deploy, with developers responsible for translating business requirements into designs and building user experiences and back-end integrations. By eliminating lengthy cycles of development and testing, low-code applications can typically be up and running in a fraction of the time needed before. And they are easier to deploy, adapt and scale.

In addition to delivering faster time to value, low-code development plays a critical role in addressing enterprises’ ongoing challenges with content integration. That’s important, because the amount of information continues to increase—along with the number of content systems—with vast amounts of critical business content residing outside of content management systems.

According to respondents in an Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) survey, Integrating Content Services into Low-code Applications, 92 percent of organizations believe that something needs to change, and are making it a priority to modernize their information management strategy.

So, where are organizations on their low-code journeys? Here are five findings from the AIIM that highlight what’s driving low-code development efforts, along with the top criteria for selecting low-code platforms and future investment plans.

1. Low-code application deployments are well under way

Low-code application development, as part of digital transformation initiatives, is being widely used across organizations of all sizes: 53 percent are fully engaged with low-code platforms, with 30 percent using low code for two to three years and 23 percent for at least five years.

2. Extracting context from content is a top concern

Supporting digital transformation involves a huge number of process automation requirements. And there’s a push to create applications that streamline processes to make it easier for the organization to do business. As the volume of enterprise information—much of it unstructured—continues to explode, organizations are challenged to turn content into what AIIM describes as “machine-comprehensible data.”

Seventy-six percent of organizations say the ability to turn unstructured information into structured data that’s capable of being analyzed by machines is “extremely” or “very” important to low-code development efforts.

Organizations need a deeper understanding of the context of content to support process automation. The four most important building blocks to create a modern and agile approach include:

  1. Business content and collaboration—28 percent
  2. Data recognition, extraction and standardization—28 percent
  3. Content analytics and semantics—27 percent
  4. Content integration and migration—26 percent

3. Manual approaches plague back offices 

There continues to be a need for automation within key operational processes. Manual approaches and partial automation remain the norm, and most organizations say the following are either less than 50 percent automated or remain completely manual:

  • Supplier contracts and procurement—65 percent
  • Human resources—64 percent
  • Sales proposals and contracts—61 percent
  • Manufacturing and warehousing—59 percent
  • Customer correspondence and help desk—59 percent

4. Developer needs and deployment flexibility drive choice

Addressing the needs of IT developers and business analysts is critical. These two titles rank in the top positions when organizations are asked which users will determine low-code development success.

The most important criteria in selecting a low-code platform include:

  • Packaged business solutions (e.g., finance, HR contracts)—24 percent
  • Ease of use for “citizen developers” and “professional developers”—24 percent
  • Support for on-premises and cloud environments—24 percent
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities—23 percent

For organizations with more than 1,000 employees, the primary selection criteria were based on the perceived viability of the vendor itself; the top two ranking priorities were software revenue growth and software revenue size.

5. Investment plans—more than just talk

As organizations continue to focus on modernization and digital transformation, low-code platforms will play a continued role, with spending predicted to increase.

Fifty-two percent of organizations are actively looking at low-code platforms, with investments on the horizon. Specifically, nearly 20 percent plan to increase spending by 30 percent or more over current levels, and an additional 40 percent plan to increase spending by 10 percent or more.

The OpenText AppWorks advantage

OpenText™ AppWorks™ maximizes the value of information with automated business processes, better decision making and improved employee, partner and customer experiences. The low-code application development environment—available on-premises and in the cloud—enables business and technical users to rapidly build, iterate and deploy process-centric and case management applications that improve efficiency, optimize employee skills and provide business insights. Learn more about how OpenText™ makes it easy and cost effective to implement, maintain and update digital process automation applications.


OpenText, The Information Company, enables organizations to gain insight through market-leading information management solutions, powered by OpenText Cloud Editions.

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