EMPOWERING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION WITH NO-CODE
Embark on a digital transformation journey in an illuminating conversation with Karl Dixon, Director at CVM People.
In this episode, explore the game-changing potential of no-code technology and its role in reshaping businesses for the future. Discover how no-code empowers both developers and business experts to collaboratively create, iterate, and implement solutions rapidly. And learn real-world success stories on how to embrace no-code technology to drive meaningful change for your organization
Tune it on now and delve into the dynamic world of digital transformation and the game-changing impact of no-code technology.
JASON MILLER: Welcome to the Creatio No-Code Playbook podcast, where we discuss insights, tips, and success stories on how to leverage the no-code approach to transform business and deliver applications of any complexity. I'm your host, Jason Miller, No-Code Evangelist and Vice President of Revenue Operations here at Creatio. Today, I am happy to be joined by Karl Dixon. He is a director at CVM People, a leading technology consulting and business strategy consulting firm that is a partner with Creatio out of the UK. Welcome Karl.
KARL DIXON: Hi Jason, thank you for having me.
JASON MILLER: Now, where in the UK are you located, if you don't mind telling everybody?
KARL DIXON: Sure, so we are in Hampshire, about an hour west of London. We have an office in Basingstoke, and most of our people are kind of spread out as things tend to be now. We've got a team of people that are in Basingstoke, we've got people kind of up north and over in the west country and all over the joint. They all tend to sort of coalesce around the client site when they're needed.
JASON MILLER: When we think about all of the work that you guys do, specifically in the strategic consulting area, what are some of the most common challenges or questions that you're hearing from customers as they think about digital transformation?
KARL DIXON: I think these are probably things that people in our space will be quite familiar with hearing. We tend to come across, it comes in various sorts of permutations, but really companies worrying about customer profitability. I think there's an element to that, which is around service and experience. But also an element particularly where we tend to see there's a lot of work required around data monetization, understanding of data, and then maximizing the investment in their technology. So if we think about that customer interaction layer – marketing, sales, and service, quite often that is either missing big chunks. That's quite common or it's kind of ossified. It's a large, difficult piece of software with lots of sort of complex integrations and whatnot. And actually what that does is it stops companies from being able to sort of iterate, test, learn, optimize, move on, and kind of quickly work through a lot of the thinking and experiments and just tests that you might want to try when you're figuring out what works in terms of better managing your customer profitability.
JASON MILLER: So you mentioned a couple of things there, and I'm going to hone in on the last one to start with, which was the ability to test out, the ability to change and be nimble and adjust, given the changing market conditions that we all face globally. How are things like no-code technology and the ability to quickly prototype solutions really help benefit your customers?
KARL DIXON: I think this is going to be enormous, right? We are a reasonably small company, but because of what we do. We tend to punch well above our weight in terms of the sorts of companies we work with, which is lovely. And those companies, the challenges they certainly tend to have, as I've mentioned, tend to skew less on the missing pieces and more on the massive solutions that are very, very difficult to get anything done on. So this move towards no-code and particularly kind of process automation. When you're looking at the type of politics and cultural challenges, perhaps around how you get a chunk of the business working with the right part of IT and getting them aligned around sort of thinking and timelines and budgets etc, that becomes really challenging. And with something like no-code, where you can rapidly deploy a prototype solution. It could be completely rough around the edges, but you can deploy it really quickly and control it without the need to resort to some big IT, offshored services, and horrible kinds of tickets and SLAs and all the rest of it. And then, of course, you can change it so quickly, you can iterate it so quickly from within the team, within the project itself, again, without kind of recourse to, oh, well, our development budget is on this and this and this. And so there are two things. There's the route that leads to actually the enterprise solution there. Over time, it iterates and iterates, it evolves and evolves, it gets better and better and better. And then there is the route, it leads to perhaps the enterprise design, right? So perhaps that's the thing that they're not capable of taking it all the way through to and embedding it into the sort of business-as-usual environment. But in terms of being able to provide something to that sort of larger corporate governance, IT governance layer, that really can't be confused or misunderstood or misconstrued because it's designed, it exists there already within a system that can then be taken and properly embedded. I think those kind of two outcomes are both very viable. Still, particularly it's that process around business users, being able just to take away the pain of having to wait for development resources or dealing with things that they just fundamentally are not geared to understand. Because it's not their job to understand it and be able to find solutions and improve things themselves, I think it is enormous, I think it is massive.
JASON MILLER: Now, Karl, you mentioned so many great talking points there, and let's revisit a couple of things you talked about. We talk about the no-code approach all the time, and Katherine and Burley talked about it in the No-Code Playbook—the ability to do faster to start, faster to finish. Chapter 12 is completely dedicated to prototype to MVP. So as we're empowering this next generation of developers, citizen developers, or we call them no-code creators, the ability to empower them rapidly, give them the tools, the governance, the structure to be able to solve some of these problems. Cause you mentioned it. A lot of times, you get these IT backlogs that are 12, 18, 24 months or longer, right? People have these challenging budgets that they just can't solve these problems. So they look at ways to empower citizen development. It's extremely powerful from a business outcome perspective. Now you also talked about the budget. And I think budget is a topic that's on everybody's mind for various reasons. If we look at some of the largest organizations in the world are laying off right now because they're concerned about their bottom line, right? So they're looking to cut costs. In your mind, how can no-code technology adoption, and how can this process help them positively impact their bottom line without necessarily sacrificing and losing all of that knowledge they're seeing walk out of the door right now?
KARL DIXON: It's a couple of immediate things that spring to mind, and that is that engagement with IT. If you are properly embracing the philosophy laid out so well in that book, of course, the citizen developers and getting your people up to speed, your business subject matter experts up to speed, and expanding on those teams. Then really, what you're also doing is you're empowering that one side of the equation, this sort of business and IT equation. But if you're doing it properly, you're also moving IT up the value chain. There is still that, of course, that need. In my experience, business users don't have the kind of systemic ways of thinking that is so important for robust solutions technical solutions. And I think getting that balance right is really key. So I think if you can keep and engage the sort of high-value elements of IT, but then not be so dependent on the, as I said, I'm inside large sort of, perhaps outsource development engines and all of that sort of delay. Actually, you're able to bring the best bits of both worlds together. And quickly builds out these solutions. I mean, obviously, I've seen firsthand stuff started working with Creatio. Just how much you can do with how little. Like I've never seen such tight, small teams deliver functionality quickly and flexibly. That was key for us being very excited to pursue a partnership with you guys because we were just blown away. We've heard people talk about no code and all the rest of it, you know, it's a greater or lesser extent, but seeing it in action was just like, wow.
JASON MILLER: That's the way most people feel when they actually see or get their hands on it. Because they're so used, we've been so programmed, whether we're from the business side or the IT side. You and I both come from the business side, not from the IT side. Still, we've been so programmed over the last 20, 30 years to think about things in either a waterfall or maybe some sort of agile or agile framework that when we start talking about being able to deliver everyday value. I mean, we've got customers that are deploying three times a week to production. Why? Because they're focused on the small, significant value, add chunks where they can iterate quickly. They don't have to worry about governance or architecture because the platform takes care of itself. The governance app we've launched within Creatio allows you to track, manage, and run real-time application audits so that you don't have to worry about not complying with your global GRC. So all of these things are blowing people away every single day. But I want to focus back in on the methodology for just a minute. And whether we talk about the fact that it's been waterfall and then agile, and now with the no-code playbook, we talk about the no-code approach. It's changing the way people have to think for two reasons. One, you're empowering a new generation of developers, citizen developers, and no-code creators. They're not folks that have grown up in the world of application development, just like you and I did. But yet. We're expected to know it. How do you feel no code technologies help bridge that gap, as you called it earlier, to help ensure that these pro devs and the citizen devs can work hand in hand effectively and efficiently?
KARL DIXON: Yeah, I think it's funny. When you do these projects involving a system with some IT component, you often see it's quite common to find someone that and let's take something totally obscure and even separate from what we're talking about CRM. My wife, in fact, is now an architect, a SAP architect. She was an HR talent manager, but she has got the right mindset. And when her company went through that change, she just fell in love with the system and what you can do with it and all the rest of it. And those people and there's always a couple, teams are big enough, right? They will take to no code. And it's not then a case of a big, you know, a huge shift in career and all the rest of it, but actually, they can, they can become these sort of these hybrid experts, where they can not only do the job that they were doing, but they can also massively influence the effectiveness, the efficacy of their job and everyone else's, by turning their expertise into systematized solutions for them and their colleagues. And I think that's fantastic. And I think those people have that natural aptitude for understanding data, frameworks, and processes, et cetera, et cetera. And the no-code environment gives them almost a common language with professional developers. And I don't mean like a development language; I mean a common tongue, a way of communicating and understanding each other's worlds. Where actually you can, gone are the days where it's like, oh, here's a workbook, Mr. and Mrs. Developer. Hopefully, when I see the outcome of that in three weeks or three months, it looks something like what was in my head. actually, you can sit there and build these tangible assets together, with input from both sides, to make the best possible kind of outcome. And I think in that way, it's hugely powerful; there's a lot of potential there for bringing those two worlds together.
JASON MILLER: So you mentioned the language thing. When I talk to folks, I always think about when we were kids, you used to play that telephone game. So the first person would tell the next person, would tell the next person. By the time it got all the way around the circle, the message that was first delivered when it got back to that first person, it was nothing that was even said. In some aspects, the application development world has been like that for the last 30 years as well because you had the business user, which then gave the requirements to some business analysts who then translated into what they thought. The systems analysts, the architects, and the developers need it. And then by the time it went up and down several times, by the time it got back to the business user, how many times have we sat in a development cycle and it's like, this is nothing like I wanted. And you bring up that good point. So shortening that chain and taking the back and forth and the translation pieces away by giving them a common framework that they both understand is hugely valuable. You don't need citizen developers to be able to know Python or know Java or know C Sharp. Why? Because the platform does that language translation for them. They say I want this element here. I want to click a button that does this. And they're able to do that. So we've got about three, four minutes left here. I'd like to ask you a couple of specific examples of the work you guys are doing right now. And I know you've already got some great customers with Creatio here in the UK. What are some of the things you're hearing from those customers, the initial feedback as you begin work and get through those first few use cases with them?
KARL DIXON: As I'm sure you know, and I'm sure people listening to this will go, yeah, when you're delivering in an Agile way, more or less, you know, you're taking things through from a sort of idea to a prototype to an MVP. People love that idea. And then they're confronted with the reality of that idea. And that is, you know, of course, the bare bones of the system. And they go, oh, hang on a minute, I thought this thing would integrate into all this and automate everything. And you sort of, and I'm talking very specifically about companies for whom Agile is not a normal way of working. You know, people who are going through that maturity curve as well as a new system. It's a lot to take in. I'm talking about users here as well. People could be hands-on with the tool. What's been absolutely fantastic with Creatio? This is how quickly you can continue to evolve it. So as you see them, they go, oh, that's not, oh, did I want that, is that, and you go, that's fine, don't worry about it. Boom, boom, there we go, change, sorted. And I think that the first time people experience it, and what's really important for that buy-in, for that excitement to keep that kind of spark, there is kind of very rapid closed loops, right? This isn't right, this isn't working, this date is wrong, can this do this? But now I want that and for users to be able to see a gallop of this stuff. You know, you mentioned some people doing releases three times a week kind of thing. For people to see this thing just developed so quickly, like everything I need is being delivered, and you know there has to be a gap between MVP and phase three, end system, whatever it might be, right? And you have to fill that gap initially with faith, with belief. People have to believe that their efforts are going to be rewarded and that the mistakes that happen along the way, the times the data fails to load, all the usual system stuff, it's all worth it and it can be fixed quickly, and it's not the end of the world. And actually, the ability to do so quickly, either fix things, or add new things, or create really cool stuff they didn't even think of, capture those are always the really nice bits when you hear the sort of griping and the complaining about something when you're sat in the contact center or start with the sales guys then you come in a week later we've delivered all of those things you asked for oh and by the way what do you think of this. They go, "Oh my god, this is incredible." So I think that's very unique to the way Creatio works, to that no-code, composable philosophy that you're chasing.
JASON MILLER: Yeah, and we hear that story consistently. And whether it's large enterprises, corporate customers, SMB, B2B, or B2C, the story is very consistently the same. We've got Fortune 100 customers around the world, and they're amazed at how fast and cheap things are compared to some of our competitors, whether it's in the no-code of CRM space. And there are other customers that are smaller customers that are so much focused on, you know, I really need this very niche, very specialized, very custom piece because I want it my way, and I want it now. But you're able to deliver value like you do for your wine friends over there in the UK, right? So when it comes to flexibility, speed, and time to market, no-code technology, at least in my mind, and I think you'd agree, really provides the best of all worlds when it comes to being able to meet that speed and time to market, as well as those niche custom things that were only available via custom app dev in the past, and I think no-code solves for a lot of that. I've got one final question for you, my friend, and I'm going to ask you to give your words of advice on a topic here. So if you were talking to anyone out there from a potential customer standpoint evaluating technology as part of their digital transformation process, what would you recommend the key factors they think about when choosing their next technology platform when it comes to whether CRM or application development? What are those key little elements you want to leave with them?
KARL DIXON: There can be a lot of focus on what comes back from the vendors you go to. Yes, of course, you're selecting technology; that's absolutely important. But so often, we see people failing to understand the importance of clearly articulating the need. And they're stumbling at the first step effectively. When they are putting together their document packs or requests, whatever it might be, CRM or marketing automation technology, they fail to be clear about their objectives, needs, and dependencies. So I would say that is something we see almost every time we look at it. That's key; that's a big issue. But then, in terms of what you're looking for in your technologies and the most important one for me, the most important one in any project, specifically where you're investing heavily in technologies, can you own the final outcome? Is the technology set up right? Is the philosophy behind the vendor such that you can deliver the value you need, the solution you need, in a way that does not end up with you on the hook to an outrageously expensive managed service for the next five or six years until someone else comes in and goes, no, that's too much, we're going to rip that out and start the cycle all over again. That would be my big one, which is making sure that you've got a partner invested in you being able to own that change and successfully take it forward under your own steam.
JASON MILLER: I appreciate that. I think that's an extremely valuable insight. And it's one of the things that Creatio really focuses on is that genuine care aspect and making sure that we partner with organizations from beginning to end. Karl, I want to thank you for your time today. We know that there's a lot of hype about no-code development, and I think that you and your customers are living proof that the benefits are real.
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