3 steps to ease the transition to a no-code company

March 26, 2021

Gartner predicts low/no-code will represent 65% of all app development by 2024. Clearly, it’s the future, but what is it, and how can you turn your organization into a no-code company to get ahead of the trend?

No-code is changing how organizations build and maintain applications. It democratizes application development by creating “citizen developers” who can quickly build out applications that meet their business-facing needs in real time, realigning IT and business objectives by bringing them closer together than ever.

Anyone can now create and modify their own tools without complex coding skills using no-code’s easy-to-use visual interfaces and drag-and-drop functionality. This creates organizational flexibility and agility, addresses growing IT backlogs and budgets, and helps fill the IT gap caused by a shortage of skilled developers.

Despite the many benefits, adopting a no-code platform won’t suddenly turn you into a no-code company. It’s a process. Here are three steps to help your transition:

1. Future-proof your tech strategy

For a long time, the threat of digital disruption and the subsequent need for digital transformation has been driving IT strategy. The pandemic made this threat all the more acute. Most organizations were forced to rapidly rethink their tech strategy in the new digital normal.

This strategy has been effective for many organizations, but it’s also been largely reactive. Organizations have been fighting to keep up with the acceleration of digital trends. The opportunity with no-code, which is still in its early days, is to make that tech strategy more proactive.

We find that many organizations still think about tech strategy from a predominantly IT lens without considering organizational structural changes that could be around the corner. Think about it: Having a critical mass of citizen developers in five years could dramatically change how your organization allocates resources, organizes departments and even hires talent.

Don’t future-proof your tech strategy for a slightly evolved version of your current organization, future-proof it for a fundamentally more democratized environment where everyone can build their own applications for their own needs. That’s a profound change. 

This isn’t just a series of strategic conversations; this is a comprehensive audit that includes important stakeholders at every step of the process. The revision might highlight that there is room for improvement not only in your tech stack but also in your security or process management approach. You might find out that your company specialists lack initiative and are not invested in change or not competent enough to be high-performing.

Again, no-code is about creating citizen developers, so rethinking your tech strategy must put people and processes at the center of the conversation in addition to the technology, which, of course, enables everything.

2. Empower citizen developers

Once you have a holistic, people-centric approach to your larger IT strategy, you can begin to empower your employees to become developers.

Sometimes this is a difficult process. Some people just don’t view themselves as “techies,” and you’ll need to change mindsets as much as skill sets. You can’t expect to provide them with flexible no-code tools and then have them suddenly begin building out solutions to all their problems.

First and foremost, it starts with building a culture of ideation. Encourage anyone with an idea about optimizing their job or processes in their unit — no matter where they are in your organization — to bring it up. Build out processes that support a culture of suggestion and innovation.

The most common problem in creating a no-code company is employee fear or uncertainty of how their proactive ideas will be received by management. Furthermore, when an idea is accepted and then added to a long backlog and postponed by months, it frustrates and discourages your staff.

This is where training them to use no-code tools will be incredibly important. You should develop policies and frameworks that will explain the process everyone could follow should they decide to optimize their work and automate a business idea. Ensure that all employees have proper tools, policies, training and reference materials in place. They need to understand how to use out-of-the-box functionality as the basis of core modules, how to reuse pre-built templates, and what constitutes important potential use cases for your business.

This entire process can be somewhat concerning for your IT department, so you’ll also need to clearly define their role in this new no-code environment. They still have much to do, but more as moderators. They play a key role in the process of operations automation and take ownership of security and system administration, complex integrations and overall consistency of the IT landscape.

3. Ensure cross-departmental alignment and transparency

IT leaders have been saying it for years: Silos are bad for business. But they’re even worse in a no-code environment. There’s too much collaboration and flexibility that comes with being a no-code company for departments to not talk to each other.

No-code can erase the communication gap between professional developers and business users because they are both developing on the same platform. The boundaries between IT and non-IT are erased when using a single platform, meaning that miscommunication related to the development of needed apps are diminished significantly as everyone begins to speak the same language.

Your role as a strategic leader is to enable this shared language of collaboration to filter down throughout the organization. Focusing on facilitating alignment as a top-down initiative should be one of your central priorities in a no-code company.

With no-code software, the tools and features necessary for the entire company no longer need to be disjointed or stand-alone. In fact, no-code platforms allow for the development of these features to exist on a single platform, aligning departments and simplifying workflows. The sales team may have a completely different workflow than the service team, but with no-code, they do not need two different platforms to help automate their operations. The unifying aspect of no-code platforms helps align various business units, leading to better collaboration and communication between them.

Building a no-code future

By turning your business into a no-code company, you increase agility and strengthen the resilience of your business, which is especially important today.

The promises of no-code are potentially massive, but the success of your transition into a no-code company relies on how you strategically engage employees and key stakeholders to build a siloless culture of empowerment where anyone can automate processes in minutes.

Here is a link to the original word by TechCrunch

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