When it became evident to the businesses in MENA that custom IT solutions that can automate tasks and enhance customer experience (CX) are critical to survive unpredictable times, the demand for skilled IT professionals shot up. The shortage of skilled professionals and high cost of hiring talent led organizations to outsource development to professionals abroad.

While this fixed the problem in the short term, over time, this apparent cost-efficient approach led to Technical Debt, a situation which arises when companies seek quick, easily deployable solutions that cannot be optimised or scaled for complex operations due to limited functionality. For example, working with spreadsheets or off-the-shelf business apps with generic functionalities for critical business processes.

This leads to an ecosystem of multiple disparate systems that are difficult to maintain, almost impossible to completely get rid of, expensive to migrate from and over the long run unable to keep up with the evolving business needs.              

In the long run, this weighs on the company's IT resulting in a chain of poor decisions, shadow IT, security vulnerabilities, less efficiency and a rising cost for re-constructing failed systems.

The good news is, it's reversible. By making low code application development a part of their organizational IT strategy, businesses can reduce technical debt by allowing developers to create quick prototypes or minimum viable products (MVP) that can be modified easily. The creation of an MVP lets them assess customer requirements before deciding on long-term strategies regarding the IT architecture. This gives businesses much greater flexibility in terms of software development and reduces costs by ten times.

Low-code tools offer businesses the ability to quickly build future-proof and scalable solutions. It directs IT teams' efforts towards specialized areas of the job– saving them time and allowing them to innovate and make future iterations. By offering a visual interface, developers across the spectrum from professional experienced ones to those who do not have coding experience can work together to ideate, design and test out applications that can be deployed in a matter of days.

Low-code platforms can offer the flexibility to design solutions to businesses’ very specific requirements either from scratch or from pre-built templates. This can speed up the work and reduce costs by ten times in addition to offering countless API integrations, exporting and importing of large databases, having full mobility and control over data and ensuring the highest level of security. In addition, low-code platforms also provide powerful data analysis and reporting options that ultimately aid better decision making.

Not only is it a robust tool for developers, but it allows business users without programming know-how, known as citizen developers, to create powerful applications that meet their everyday work needs.

Low-code is one of the global technology trends anticipated to take the software development world by storm. Gartner predicts that low-code will account for 65% of application development by 2024. The MENA region’s market can leverage low-code to fill the gap of scarce IT skills, automate processes, optimize CX, and accelerate digital transformation.

Technical debt can be detrimental to businesses; but taking a proactive strategy to address it with the help of low-code platforms can help them address the problems arising due to the debt, and also build a strong digital foundation that would withstand the test of time.