Times change. Technology advances. Work evolves. For most of us, these changes have been gradual. Maybe you bought an Alexa. Maybe your office switched from hard drives to Google Drive. Maybe you started sharing files in the cloud. However mundane they may seem, these small changes aren’t inconsequential—they’re symptoms of massive technological shifts. These shifts are not slowing down; technology is changing fast, and teams, individuals, and companies have to change with it.
Lack of Software Developers
American entrepreneur and Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen famously said, “Software is eating the world.” This has certainly proven to be true if one compares the top eight companies worldwide from 2008 to 2018 10 years ago, Microsoft was the only software company that made the list (it came in at number seven). Today, seven out of eight on the list are software companies.
But even as software continues to dominate the business scene, companies of every size face a growing challenge: rising demand but limited supply. The U.S. currently faces a shortage of software developers, and in 2020, the demand for software developers in the US will outstrip the supply (CS grads) by more than 1 million.
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Custom Softwares are Costly
In traditional software development, the process works much like building a custom house. The company consults with their in-house or a third-party development team to determine all the features the software should have. Once both parties agree upon a blueprint, the IT team launches into the development phase and begins writing the software. When they finish, the process moves to the testing stage; it’s here where the end users will reconnect with the software and begin trying it out.
Custom-made software can get expensive. According to Soltech, a Bay Area software development firm, “the majority of custom software projects fall somewhere between the $40,000 and $250,000 mark to design and develop the application.” The cost will change depending on the scope of the project and needs of the company, of course; an enterprise-class software for 500 users will not have the same price tag as a small company product with fewer features for a five-man team. Nevertheless, companies can expect to pay more for the slow development and feedback process. But for companies who need highly customized software that would be difficult to create using a low-code solution, the price tag may well be worth it.
Off-the-Shelf Software Only Covers Partial Needs
Oftentimes, off-the-shelf software only covers a part of a team’s need—you can’t mark up documents in a chat solution or share related files on a specific contact record in the database. Off-the-shelf SaaS solutions are usually created to solve one specific need, be it inventory management, application tracking, or manage expenses. Businesses require more to function, and teams end up buying multiple software solutions to manage a single project end to end. Teams also end up with expensive monthly bills from SaaS subscriptions, data silos, and disconnected workflows.
The Change: The Rise of Business Developers Empowered by Low-Code Platforms
In a 2017 study, researchers found that business professionals feel that IT departments—which are usually weighed down with firefighting to keep enterprise applications up and running and secure—are too slow to respond to their individual requests. To get around this, they research alternative solutions and “get their hands dirty”. At least 76% of respondents indicated that some portion of their applications were developed outside of their traditional IT department or IT service.
Low-code solutions like Kintone enable business professionals to build applications visually and get them deployed fast—lowering the barrier of entry for application development. By manipulating graphics with drag-and-drop features, business professionals are able to customize their own applications and build their own software displays.
Non-IT developers come from a range of backgrounds. For the most part, they are power users and developers embedded within line-of-business departments. As they’re at the front line of the business, they know exactly which problem or process they’d like to address with a custom solution. With the power of low-code platforms, more tech-savvy business professionals are becoming app developers.