User-friendly low-code/no-code tools democratize development — empowering employees who have deep knowledge of the business but have less programming experience to customize in-house software solutions. This lets organizations “work smarter” by reserving skilled developers for more high-value tasks and accelerating the software development cycle.
In September 2020, Rackspace Technology surveyed 1,870 senior IT decision makers in key sectors for our report, “To Build or To Buy?” Our analysis of global results revealed that when enterprise organizations make the strategic decision to build a solution instead of buying, they often deploy low-code/no-code tools to do so.
However, looking at the results on a regional level reveals a more complex picture. Adoption of low-code/no-code is uneven across regions: Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) and the U.S. are leaders, while adoption rates in Latin American (LATAM) and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) are below the global average.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at our survey results to tease out different regional attitudes toward low-code/no-code and consider what these variations mean for the future of low-code/no-code adoption.
Hesitancy with a Mix of Optimism in LATAM
LATAM is several years into a tech boom, with venture capital investments in the region doubling every year from 2016 to 2019, fueling unprecedented growth. Maybe that’s why LATAM respondents seem impatient to get more out of their low-code/no-code solutions: they expect the best is yet to come.
Overall, respondents in LATAM whose companies have deployed low-code/no-code are less satisfied with the results, compared to other regions.
A skills gap could be one thing holding back effective implementation. According to our results, it’s certainly holding back adoption. Among respondents whose companies have not adopted low-code/no-code, those in LATAM are more likely to say their teams lack the technical ability to implement it, compared to other regions. This response is tied with “low-code/no-code is not suitable for my company” as the top reason LATAM companies haven’t adopted low-code/no-code.
At the same time, however, LATAM respondents were also enthusiastic about the possibilities of low-code/no-code. They’re equally as likely as regional leaders in the U.S. and APJ to say it’s the key trend in tech for the next three years.
LATAM takeaway: LATAM companies are enthusiastic about the possibilities of low-code/no-code, but feel they lack the experience or technical expertise to get optimal results from their deployments. As that skills gap closes, expect low-code/no-code to take off across the region.
Skepticism in EMEA
Of all the regions in this study, EMEA is the most geographically diverse, spanning three continents (Europe, Africa and Asia). However, when it comes to low-code/no-code, a few trends hold them together.
Like LATAM companies, EMEA companies suffer from a skills gap. Among EMEA respondents whose companies didn’t use low-code/no-code, “My organization does not have the technical ability to implement low-code/no-code” was the No. 2 reason given.
But the biggest barrier to low-code/no-code adoption in EMEA may be skepticism of the benefits. Of all regions, EMEA is the region least likely to say low-code/no-code is a key trend (see LATAM section above). EMEA is also the only region where “the benefits are not clear” was one of the top three reasons for not adopting low-code/no-code.
It’s possible that organizations in EMEA don’t have as many models for successful low-code/no-code implementation, because EMEA organizations that have implemented low-code/no-code may not be seeing its biggest benefit. Less than half (44%) say the ability to accelerate the delivery of new software and applications is a benefit — the lowest percentage of any region
EMEA takeaway: EMEA companies have begun to adopt low-code/no-code, but the majority don’t yet see its broader benefits. This may be resulting in skepticism from other organizations that don’t see the point of adopting the technology. If more EMEA companies start to accelerate software delivery through low-code/no-code tools, the dynamic could shift, resulting in greater enthusiasm for low-code/no-code in the region.
The Early Adopters: U.S. and APJ
Of all regions, the U.S. seems to have embraced low-code/no-code most enthusiastically. That’s not surprising, given that the term “low-code” was coined by an American market research company, Forrester, in a report that defined several U.S. startups as leaders in the new sector.
Compared to other regions, lack of technical expertise is a less-common barrier to adoption in the U.S. (see LATAM section), and U.S. companies do appear to see broader benefits — like acceleration of software and application delivery (see EMEA section).
It seems likely that U.S. adoption of low-code/no-code will continue to rise. A significant percentage of U.S. organizations that haven’t adopted low-code/no-code are at least considering doing so in the future.
While APJ’s level of low-code/no-code adoption is on par with the U.S., responses from the region mirrored global averages much more closely. For example, 30% of APJ respondents without low-code/no-code say lack of technical skill is a reason for non-adoption — exactly the global average. APJ respondents also cited lower levels of satisfaction with their low-code/no-code deployment compared to U.S. respondents (see LATAM section).
U.S. and APJ takeaway: Even in regions where low-code/no-code adoption is already high, barriers remain. While the U.S. seems poised for continuing uptake, APJ companies may need to overcome a skills gap.
The Future of Low-Code/No-Code
Low-code/no-code solutions are an important part of a company’s IT toolkit. By democratizing development, these solutions can shorten the software development cycle and empower frontline employees to tailor solutions to their needs. These benefits will be key to fueling companies’ growth in the future, especially as business process automation (BPA) becomes a common method of increasing efficiency. While there’s regional variation in adoption and enthusiasm, low-code/no-code tools are on a trajectory towards widespread use around the globe.
To Buy or Build - Original Research Report
About the Authors
Chief Technical Evangelist
Jeff has 25 years of experience in IT and technology, and has worked at Rackspace Technology for over 10 years. Jeff is a proven strategic leader who has helped companies like American Express, Ralph Lauren, and Thompson Reuters create and execute against multi-year digital transformation strategies. During his time at Rackspace Technology, Jeff has launched and managed many of the products and services that Rackspace Technology offers, as well as supporting merger and acquisition activities to enhance those offerings. Jeff is the father of two young men and husband to his wife Michelle of 27 years. When not at Rackspace Technology or around San Antonio, you can find Jeff doing land restoration on his ranch in the Texas hill country.Read more about Jeff DeVerter