Engineering the last mile

Low-code development with Virtusa and Google

Piyush Agarwal
Published: February 26, 2024

Low-code development was already on the rise when generative AI (genAI) took the world by storm. Things that weren’t possible a year ago are in the market today — the constraints of the pre-genAI era have been removed, and the pace will only accelerate.

Seeing the early impact of genAI has been eye-opening, and innovative, new opportunities are appearing at every turn. Whether you’re an early adopter or a backseat observer, it’s impossible to ignore the vast advancements, new companies, and incredible solutions being rolled out.

According to a Gartner® Press Release, “By 2026, more than 80% of enterprises will have used generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) application programming interfaces (APIs) or models, and/or deployed GenAI-enabled applications in production environments, up from less than 5% in 2023.”

There’s no denying that we’ll continue to see more innovation across the enterprise — and this begs the question of what role engineers will play as innovation continues to transform how we work. As artificial technology (AI) tools proliferate, one thing is certain: Engineers won’t become obsolete. Just the opposite: The need for highly skilled engineers who understand specific industry tasks and processes will only become more vital.

Per a summer 2023 report from McKinsey, “According to our analysis, the direct impact of AI on the productivity of software engineering could range from 20 to 45 percent of current annual spending on the function.” Elsewhere in the report, McKinsey analysts noted, “Current generative AI and other technologies have the potential to automate work activities that absorb 60 to 70 percent of employees’ time today.”

That frees up a lot of talented and experienced engineers and data scientists to handle the “last mile” or the customization required to make the application useful beyond anything available today. Low-code development platforms empower organizations to engineer the last mile of their applications efficiently. In this context, “the last mile” refers to the final stages of application development, where customization, integration, and fine-tuning are crucial. With low-code, developers can expedite this process by providing a visual interface and pre-built components, allowing for rapid application assembly and accelerating the implementation of specific functionalities and customizations without the need for extensive traditional coding.

Additionally, low-code platforms often facilitate seamless integration with existing systems and data sources, bridging the gap between the application and the diverse components of a business environment. This capability streamlines the completion of application development, ensuring a more agile and responsive approach to meeting the unique requirements of the last mile in the development life cycle.

Efficient developers understand that productivity extends beyond the time spent actively coding. It involves minimizing frequent shifts in focus between tasks such as writing code, testing, debugging, researching, collaborating, and deploying. By accelerating the coding process, genAI can push the skill sets and capabilities needed in software engineering toward code and architecture design.

Platforms like Duet AI for Google Cloud enable developers to boost productivity by automating routine tasks through AI. Developers can unlock a more efficient coding experience with accelerated development using autocomplete features across multiple programming languages and reducing debugging efforts with helpful contextual recommendations. Their efforts result in elevated coding practices with optimizations and best practices, ensuring a smoother and more productive coding journey.

The most exciting developments are happening outside the IT department, as the combination of genAI and low-code tools has accelerated the role of the citizen developer. We’re noticing that marketing teams are dragging and dropping new features and functions into campaign workflows, that sales professionals are more effective, and that the finance department isn’t waiting for data sources to be connected. 

The playing field is leveled, to a certain degree, when anyone or any company has the power of genAI and drag-and-drop functionality at their fingertips. However, using technologies to solve very specific challenges will require new skills, business models, and strategic partnerships. 

Virtusa has joined forces with Google Cloud to bring the combined power of genAI and low-code to transform how individuals and businesses operate.

Virtusa brings its digital transformation and industry expertise; Google Cloud brings Vertex AI (a machine learning platform) and Gen App Builder (a no-code app builder for search and conversational applications). Together, the two companies are empowering businesses to realize the benefits of these emerging technologies.

Earlier this year, Virtusa announced a new global Generative AI Center of Excellence (CoE) in partnership with Google Cloud. The CoE combines Virtusa's deep expertise in digital transformation and industry vertical knowledge with Google Cloud's AI technologies to accelerate the development and adoption of generative AI solutions. Collaborations like the CoE will allow engineers to focus on the last mile and the elements that require highly skilled data scientists and engineers. 

The fusion of low-code development and genAI is reshaping the world of software engineering and digital transformation. The ripple effects of genAI's capabilities are evident, with an unprecedented surge in innovation, efficiency, and new possibilities. As we navigate this transformative era, it's crucial to acknowledge that while automation takes center stage, skilled engineers remain indispensable — especially for the crucial last-mile tasks that demand industry-specific expertise. The journey ahead is paved with opportunities, and it demands new skills, innovative business models, and strategic partnerships that will harness the full potential of these emerging technologies and navigate the ever-evolving digital transformation landscape.

Learn more about the Generative AI Center of Excellence here



Gartner, “Gartner Says More Than 80% of Enterprises Will Have Used Generative AI APIs or Deployed Generative AI-Enabled Applications by 2027,” Oct. 11, 2023. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Chui, Michael, et al. “The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier.” McKinsey & Company, McKinsey & Company, June 14, 2023. Report.

Enable business transformation with the latest AI technology

Embracing the potential of generative AI

Related content