Tech

80% of tech could be built outside IT by 2024, thanks to low-code tools

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It looks like no-code and low-code tools are here to stay. Today, Gartner released new predictions about technology products and services, specifically who will build them and the impact of AI and the pandemic. Overall, the research firm found that by 2024, 80% of tech products and services will be built by people who are not technology professionals. Gartner also expects the proliferation of high-profile announcements of technology launches from nontech companies over the next year.

“The barrier to become a technology producer is falling due to low-code and no-code development tools,” Gartner VP Rajesh Kandaswamy told VentureBeat. When asked what kinds of tech products and services these findings apply to, he said “all of them.” Overall, Kandaswamy sees enterprises increasingly treating digital business as a team sport, rather than the sole domain of the IT department.

For this research, Gartner defined technology professionals as those whose primary job function is to help build technology products and services, using specific skills like software development testing and infrastructure management. This includes IT professionals and workers with specialized expertise such as CRM, AI, blockchain, and DevOps.

But instead of tech professionals driving what’s next, Gartner predicts a democratization of technology development that includes citizen developers, data scientists, and “business technologists,” a term that encompasses a wide range of employees who modify, customize, or configure their own analytics, process automation, or solutions as part of their day-to-day work. Aside from non-IT humans, AI systems that generate software will also play a significant role, according to Gartner.

From low-code to AI

Tools used for low-code development — such as drag-and-drop editors, code-generators, and the like — allow non-technical users to achieve what was previously only possible with coding knowledge. But by automating and abstracting some of the underlying technical processes — and by making the use of coding or scripting optional — these tools now make it easier for more people to customize features and functions in various applications. What’s more, AI has the potential to automate and improve many aspects of software development, from evaluating needs to deployment.

“For instance, machine learning features for helping coding are available. One example is Microsoft’s Intellicode,” Kandaswamy told VentureBeat. “While such tools are in their infancy, we expect their sophistication to improve and [that] they’ll help reduce the barriers for those without specialized skills to develop useful technology products and services.”

Overall, this trend toward democratizing technology development is driven by a new category of buyers outside of the traditional IT enterprise, Garter says. Total business-led IT spend averages up to 36% of the formal IT budget, according to the firm’s findings.

Pandemic impact

From retail to financial services, more companies are increasing efforts to embrace digital transformation. As they do so, they’re more often entering markets related to, or in competition with, traditional technology providers. By 2042, Gartner predicts over one-third of technology providers will be competing with non-technology providers.

In driving digital transformation, the pandemic only accelerated this shift, according to Gartner. Cloud services, digital business initiatives, and remote services rapidly expanded as a direct result of the crisis, opening the door for new possibilities in integrations and optimization.

In 2023, Gartner anticipates that $30 billion in revenue will be generated by products and services that did not exist pre-pandemic.

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