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A Microsoft VP explains how its booming low-code development business is helping customers build the right apps even if they can’t hire enough developers

  • On Tuesday Microsoft is announcing new security tools for its low-code developer platform.
  • The low-code industry is projected to boom from $10 billion in 2019 to $187 billion by 2030. 
  • A Microsoft VP says companies need new low-code security tools, and the company is making it easy.  

Companies without enough software developers must continue to update their technology, so the easy-to-use, low-code technology industry is booming – and Microsoft is doubling down with a suite of new tools

“There aren’t enough trained developers. We really do think that the future of the enterprise is going to look fundamentally different because you’re going to have all of these business users  doing development. That’s the future,” said Charles Lamanna, the Microsoft VP in charge of its low-code application platform.

On Tuesday the world’s biggest enterprise software company is releasing new tools and security upgrades to help companies easily build apps in the cloud – without highly trained developers – and protect their data in an era of increasing and costly regulation.

“This moment is really important for us. This is absolutely a big bet for Microsoft,” Lamanna said. He also said Microsoft believes apps are the new spreadsheet – they are about to explode from the specialized talent of a few to the expected tool set of most employees.

Microsoft has more than quadrupled its team working on low-code developers tools from fewer than 500 four years ago to around 1,800 today, Lamanna said. CEO Satya Nadella listed the Power Platform of low-code products as one of the companies’ four biggest pillars of products, along with Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and the Azure cloud business. T-Mobile has hundreds of employees building low-code apps on its Power Platform, Microsoft says.

Lamanna said there is huge demand for more tools on its Power Platform low-code product. “Customers are pulling this from us,” he told Insider. 

The biggest concern about letting more employees build apps – sometimes on a drag-and-drop platform – is liability about data handling. If your company lets lots more people build and update apps and you suddenly have a data breach, the privacy and data regulation penalties can come fast and furious.

So Microsoft is releasing new security tools with a reassuring message: You already use us, and trust us. “There’s always that concern in the back of a company’s mind” when they empower more employees to build apps and handle data, Lamanna said. Microsoft allows companies to simply extend their current licenses to include more low-code tools, and it automatically factors in data regulation needs to customers’ location.

Other experts say the security play in low-cost development is huge. 

“Citizen developers not only have never taken a secure development class but likely have not taken any development classes at all — therefore, common application security concepts will be even more foreign,” analyst firm Forrester wrote recently.

If the added security resonates with enterprises, the upgrades could help Microsoft in a booming area of the cloud-computing wars, where it competes with the leading Amazon Web Services and third-place Google Cloud.

The global market for easy, low-code app development platforms is growing like few sectors of tech. Research and Markets says it will boom from $10.3 billion in 2019 to $187 billion by the end of the decade – 31% annual growth. By 2024, 80% of new tech will be built by those who are not technology professionals, according to Gartner.

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