Fiercely Competitive Low-Code Space Bows to Microsoft, Salesforce

Charlotte Dunlap – Principal Analyst, Application Platforms

Summary Bullets:

• GlobalData rates as “Leader(s)”: Microsoft, Salesforce

• GlobalData rates as “Very Strong” competitors: Appian, Mendix, OutSystems, and Pegasystems

Enterprises are motivated to prioritize their modern software delivery initiatives through the high-productivity development tools of low-code platforms. Increased prominence has ensured lucrative funding, acquisitions, and profitability. Heightened importance around low-code app development platforms has been prompted by complex application architectures, a global shortage of professional software developers, and the need for business transformation delivered through meaningful back-end data integrations.

The need to remove red tape from the app modernization process has never been greater during the COVID-19 crisis, prompting executive directives for organizations to accelerate digital transformations. Whether enterprises are entrenched in new software delivery efforts or barely beginning them, COVID-19’s impact has CIOs opting for emerging technologies in order to hurry along digital projects and combat inevitable economic downturns. Many believe those efforts are best served through next-generation low-code/no-code and automation platforms.

Leading low-code vendors have been demonstrating their ability to disrupt the application platform marketspace with a model-driven visual approach, significantly speeding the app development process by enabling collaboration between business and IT stakeholders. This is achieved through high-productivity design tools, AI-injected connectors to backend systems, and process automation technologies, all of which address complex workflows including those in high-compliance industries. Solutions are able to provide best practices/recommendations during the UX process to ease complex backend data integration requirements associated with interactive B2C apps and automate workflow controls.

In Global Data’s assessment of the low-code marketplace, highest honors were awarded to vendors making the most headway in embracing this market transaction. (Please see Low-Code Platforms: Competitive Landscape Assessment, September 29, 2020).

The low-code market segment has become fiercely competitive, and Microsoft alone is widely considered as causing a tectonic shift in this space for its automation capabilities within its Power Platform. Microsoft Power Automate is highly competitive when coupled with Azure’s backend integration and storage service. Also named a Leader by GlobalData in this space, Salesforce Flow provides the ability to bridge low-code with custom app development via Heroku, addressing both professional and no-coders. Its value proposition is strengthened via the continual build out of MuleSoft Accelerators which let customers connect to various external datasets and services.

Also included in the report are Appian, Mendix, OutSystems, and Pegasystems, for showing their ability to move with the market, making significant investment in melding enterprise requirements with self-service access to low-code, analytics, and automation.

Pushing rapidly into the low-code and automation space are global public cloud platform providers Google, Microsoft, and Amazon as they begin strategies around visualization tools and automation capabilities. Earlier this year Google acquired no-code provider AppSheet, and this summer Amazon announced a low-code tool, Honeycode, with more AWS services expected. The fact that these cloud leaders also provide enterprises with underlying data integration, processing, and storage facilities means that pure-play vendors will feel increasing pressure to both integrate with and differentiate from these much larger platform rivals.

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