Debunking the No-code Myths
Welcome to the new season of the No-code Playbook podcast, where we discuss insights and tips and examine success stories on how to leverage the no-code approach to transform businesses and deliver applications of any complexity.
The business value of no-code is real, but the benefits can be overhyped like any emerging innovation. As such, understanding the reality of no-code is essential to ensuring successful outcomes and return on investment. So what exactly is no-code? Is it hype or a new normal? Are there any risks associated with using no-code? Will no-code put software developers out of work and reduce software jobs or not?
Today’s guest, Andie Dovgan, Chief Growth Officer at Creatio, will help us to debunk the myths surrounding no-code and separate fact from fiction. Tune it in now!
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JASON MILLER: Welcome to the Creatio No-Code Playbook podcast, where we discuss insights tips, success stories, and how to leverage the no-code approach to transform business and deliver applications of any complexity. I'm your host, Jason Miller. I am the Head of Pre-Sales for Creatio in the Americas. And today, we're going to talk about the myths and debunk the myths around no-code. I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Andie Dovgan, Chief Growth Officer from Creatio. Welcome, Andie!
ANDIE DOVGAN: Nice to be here, Jason, thank you for inviting me.
JASON MILLER: No problem, I'm glad to have you. So, we're going to spend the next few minutes and we're going to talk about no-code. And some of the myths that we discussed during the recent launch of the No-Code Playbook. And I'd like to start with some basics. What exactly to you is no-code? Is it hype? Is it a new norm? What is it?
ANDIE DOVGAN: Yeah, I guess it's a good place to start. Let’s open it up with a definition of no-code. The way how we think about that is that no-code is an approach in application development or software development in general. That instead of using traditional coding, it uses visual drag-and-drop tools. With major belief in the major promise that you can equip non-technical people that don't necessarily have deep software development skills with the tools that can use to assemble applications. Right, so on purpose I'm using the term assemble versus development when you can use lots of ready-to-use components and elements which doesn’t mean that no code solutions will not have the access to code in itself, but this is not the primary purpose of those platforms. And with that in mind, there is a belief that no code platforms democratize the process of software development and make it so much more accessible for a much larger population of knowledge workers.
JASON MILLER: I think that's a good point and we're going to talk about that democratization of development here in just a little bit. I think what's interesting is we think about no-code. A lot of folks say no-code has been around for decades, making it simpler and easier for folks to meet some of the IT needs that just, frankly, haven't been able to be reached by the IT folks because of a great backlog lack of resources, etc. But what's interesting is there's a lot of chatter right now around the scalability and meeting enterprise needs for, you know, software development through the power of no-code. So, let's explore a couple of things on this if we can. Let's start with kind of the first myth that I've heard, which is that because we're scaling and we're able to enable no-coders or no-code creators. Is that going to put software developers out of jobs? Is it really, you know, impact those guys? What do you think?
ANDIE DOVGAN: Jason, I don't believe that this is true. There are a number of data points that would beat this conclusion. Like, for example, one of the most widely used is the data point regarding a number of applications that should be built within the next couple of years. According to those predictions, we are looking at around five hundred million new applications that should be deployed within the foreseeable future. And we are talking about a couple of years. If you think about the technical data and the amount of work that should be done to maintain those applications and that infrastructure that has been already created by enterprises, mid-sized organizations, or even SMBs. You understand that the amount of demand for overall business applications and software development is massive, right? And it will not go anywhere. If you think in the modern world and traditional enterprises compete and become so much more dependent on your digital capabilities. So, no matter which industry you represent, no matter which company you work for. Putting out digital workflows and digital experiences is not a matter of you trying to just be cool or do something that is extraordinary. This is just a matter of staying alive in your market. And if you think about some traditional industries like financial services or retail, the propositions are very similar. So, one of those few options that are left on the table for companies to differentiate is to equip themselves with those digital experiences and offer their customers a seamless, touchless, hyper-personalized way of engaging them. And to achieve that you have to have very strong technological competence, you need to have a very strong technology working for you, but more importantly, you need to keep up with that pace. So, taking into account that this will become a norm for so many different companies and industries, I don't believe that any software developers will be out of their jobs right. The overall gross rate of the software developer population is about 4%, if not mistaken, and certainly, this is not enough to deliver all those applications and technologies that the business expects. So, in my opinion, the only way how we can approach that and deal with that is by empowering people that are not technical and allowing them to work alongside the software developers to deliver those applications. Just to summarize, I have no doubt that software developers will be in high demand. And this profession will be highly paid and will be in high demand, and people will be fighting for software developers. Though I believe that the content of work for software developers will change with the popularization of no-code technologies and a higher level of adoption of them.
JASON MILLER: Well, you mentioned a couple of very interesting things there, Andie. And you mentioned about the number of applications that need to be developed. So, knowing what we know about the manpower and available resource pool for developers, wouldn't a low-code approach be the same? I mean, really, aren't low-code, and no-code kind of the same thing, or are they different? Can you tell us a little bit about your thoughts on that?
ANDIE DOVGAN: Yeah. I think it's one of those topics where different people will have lots of different opinions. I started this discussion on my LinkedIn yesterday and got lots of comments. And people who are kind of debating against each other about this topic. Which means that the industry is still forming, and those definitions are not written stole. The way how we at Creatio think about the difference between no-code and low-code is that no-code is mostly focused on non-technical people. The major mission of the no-code technologies is to empower people that are not technical and give in their hands technologies that will allow them to create those applications without being software developers. While low-code is, in my opinion, more focused on empowering already technical people to be much more productive. Or to decrease the bar of complexity when more junior software developers will be able to create more complex applications and complete more complex tasks because they have access to low-code tools. There is a debate that, you know, no-code tools shouldn't have any access to coding capabilities, which I don't believe is true. I think it's just a matter of like, which persona you're trying to enable and what's your primary focus. In my opinion, no-code solves a much larger problem. So, it's not just about making people, that are already technical, be more productive, but given this technology and making it available to a much larger number of people to make sure that they now can serve themselves and apply this do-it-yourself approach in the majority of cases.
JASON MILLER: So, if I had to summarize or recap what I just heard. I heard a bunch of great stuff there. Number one is that you feel like low-code is really focused on more what people traditionally have called rapid application development, empowering ways to work faster as an IT person. Whereas no-code, you're looking at that simply from the standpoint that you don't need to be a software developer. You can accelerate, and you can play as part of a fusion team. And we'll talk about fusion teams later. But it's the ability to bring those folks that have not traditionally been part of an application life cycle development and bring them into the fold by giving them a tool that they can use, that still has all that same kind of governance and controls that you would expect from an enterprise application. But realistically, it gives them the power to be able to play in this space where traditionally, they haven't been able to fit in that. Is that what I heard?
ANDIE DOVGAN: Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes people get really confused when they hear that the business will now take control over business application development. And when we say a business person or a no-code creator, we mean someone who is a natural problem solver, we mean someone who is capable of creating complex excel files or accessing a database. So, they need to be a software developer to create a complex excel file with macroses and all those kinds of more advanced features. But you certainly need to understand your process, you need to understand how different indexes are connected, and you need to have a structured way of thinking and an overall understanding of technology. The number of those people within an organization is much higher. Probably within each era you would have people that are very comfortable with that but are not comfortable with technical skills. Like think about revenue teams and function sales operations, sales ops, or revenue ops; they would have lots of people who are not developers but are super comfortable with numbers and data structure processes. And if you enable them, they can create a lot of revenue-centric applications without a lot of oversight from IT. But also, I think that governance, the one that this point that you mentioned, Jason, is extremely important because this is one the biggest fears on the market. That if you give those tools to the hands of people who don't necessarily trained and don't understand the connectivities, IT security requirements, and other types of risks, you are increasing the level of risks.
JASON MILLER: Andie, let's talk about that for a second. A lot of groups would say, look, it's great you're talking about empowering business users, that's great. But really, aren't we doing if we go that approach, is just empowering shadow IT to do more? And we're taking control and adding risk whether it's data loss prevention, or data leakage or, you know, governance from an analytic, or recording standpoint. Are we doing that? Or how does no-code really help prevent some of those concerns that have been traditionally part of shadow IT?
ANDIE DOVGAN: I think that to avoid a problem of shadow IT we need to have two things. First, we need to have enterprise-ready platforms that include all needed security and governance capabilities. And secondly, we need to follow the right process in methodology to avoid those risks. So, I think that the shadow IT risk is real, but it has nothing to do with no-code technology. Because IT leaders and digital leaders need to embrace, in my opinion, no-code tools and collaborate with business organizations within the organized framework. So that’s the reason why we have published the No-Code Playbook with the full-blown government framework and the full-blown twelve stages life cycle of the no-code process deployment. Because it brings to the table all the needed components for us to have a very accelerated pace of development, using and taking full advantage of no-code capabilities. But in the meantime, make sure that all the needed guard rails, and also needed checks and balances are in place. So, the amount of risks actually goes down, not increases.
JASON MILLER: You mentioned the No-Code Playbook there. I know that that's recently been published by Katherina and Burley, the co-authors of the book. Talk to us a little bit about what you think our listeners should know about the No-Code Playbook. And who is it for? To whom is it written to address? What are those things that everybody needs to read from the No-Code Playbook?
ANDIE DOVGAN: I think that we are very proud that the No-Code Playbook came to life and now serves a larger purpose to educate and help people that are seeking new ways to digitize their workflows and automate all sorts of different processes with the power of no-code. So, we have created this book for digital leaders, for all people that are seeking to find ways to solve digital and automatization problems, following in new modern ways. it's available for a broader set of audiences including leadership, including people that are traditional automation project managers, business analysts, and developers by their nature. The Playbook itself has been developed from an idea and lots of conversations with our customers and, of course, our partner community. When they indicated that they could see so much potential in using no-code tools, but organizations are not necessarily ready to embrace them to their full potential. Because it's always a combination of technologies, people, and processes that should be kind of coming together to be to unlock the potential of an innovation. That's why in the No-Code Playbook we have consolidated the best practices and our view on how the no-code projects should be deployed. It's a very practical guide that includes lots of different tools that are super useful for practitioners. Including key principles of no-code development, phases, and stages of the no-code life cycle, and the governance and application complexity assessment tools that allow you to understand what type of application you are building, and what type of process in government strategy should be applied. And many more. I think that it resulted in 211-pages of good stuff, and I would encourage everyone who is interested in this topic to go ahead and read it. It’s available free of charge at the Creatio website, it is available on Amazon. And it's a great piece of content that helps you to wrap your head around the new ways of delivering your digital transformation projects.
JASON MILLER: And I think a couple of keynotes to it. It's technology agnostic. We're talking about no-code here. We're talking about how to approach the world of application development in a new way. Just like back in the day, we went from Waterfall to Agile, or Agile to XD. Where we're at now is where, I think the way I understood, is we're looking to move into that next stage of application life cycle development where you're bringing fusion teams together with the no-coders, as well as the professional developers working together and synergy. Just like we did with agile working together and synergy to perform similar tasks and activities we looked at agile. But by using new digital technologies that are meant to accelerate this in specifically no-code. That's kind of how I read it when I read it the first time. And I think it's very applicable in today's day and age.
ANDIE DOVGAN: I do believe that agile serves as a great foundation for a no-code development process. But it hasn't been created for no-code development. And no-code development has a very strong differentiation and lots of specifics that should be taken into consideration if you're thinking about maximizing the impact of using the no-code technology. That's why I think that in general agile is a good way to develop and deploy projects including no-code and low-code technologies, but it doesn't have all the needed coverts to really kind of go the full speed. But also, it doesn't include a number of things that will immediately pop up in your mind when you start deploying the no-code project. Like, for example, what type of roles should be involved, what will be the breakdown of responsibilities, and how to approach complex business-critical applications versus very simple applications for departmental use. And more, and more, and more. I think that what we did with the No-Code Playbook, we took it to the next level. And when the necessary details are required to be addressed when you're dealing with practical no-code implementation.
JASON MILLER: I've got one more myth that I want to talk about. That no-code is only for simplistic apps, and it can't handle complex applications. What's your take on that?
ANDIE DOVGAN: Yeah, I've heard that, and I politely disagree. I think that with the development of no-code technology, now you see more and more no-code vendors focusing on mid-size and enterprises and they're doing an incredibly great job in that regard. I think that this myth came from a kind of historical background when initial no-code tools didn't have any access to coding, as I said earlier, and were focused on taking complex excel file and putting that into an application structure. I think that right now we have come a long way and there are lots of powerful no-code applications and platforms that solve very complex business problems. For example, I can share our story of working with the Israeli government where we have around 3,000 to 5,000 users touching this system from multiple governmental institutions. Including the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Transportation. And it's a complex countrywide deployment that engages lots of different parties and types of users, and this entire project uses a no-code technology that has been implemented by a team of 5 with very limited access to code, with heavy usage of no-code tools kit. And became a really great story for the country of Israel but also for Creatio. This is one of many examples that we can share, so that's why I think there is a lot of evidence and proof that now no-code is fully ready for the enterprise. In fact, enterprises should be the biggest beneficiaries of this type of solution because they probably have the widest set of needs for business applications, they have lots of complexities, and they have access to many knowledge workers that can become no-code creators.
JASON MILLER: That's interesting, and I know that is Israeli, I've seen the videos on the Israeli government rollout, and that is extremely complex. Never mind the fact, just the complexity of most of the world reads left to right, Israel and Hebrew run right to left, and it's just amazing some of the things the team was able to do with it. Andie, there is a lot of hype about no-code development, but the benefits are real. And thank you so much for joining us today and helping us debunk all those myths. It was a pleasure to have you on the show today.
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