EVOLVING NO-CODE ADOPTION
The new episode of the No-Code Playbook podcast is out! Today we are joined by Creatio’s partner, a global system integrator – Reply.
Andrea Chiarentin, the Practice Leader of the AI-powered software development team at Reply, and our host Jason Miller are exploring how no-code adoption is evolving in different organizations, its impact on application development, and the changing dynamics between IT and business users – and taking a glimpse into the future, highlighting no-code integration with AI and its potential to revolutionize the development process.
JASON MILLER: Welcome to the Creatio No-Code Playbook podcast, where we discuss insights, tips, tricks, 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, VP of Revenue Operations and No-Code Evangelist at Creatio. Today, I'm joined by one of our wonderful partners, Andrea Chiarentin from KI Reply. Andrea is the Head of Communities of Practice and the digital future of application development and coding at Ki Reply. Welcome, Andrea.
ANDREA CHIARENTIN: Thank you, Jason, and welcome to everyone. I'm really happy to be here.
JASON MILLER: We are super excited that you're able to join us. I know this is a long time coming for us. And my personal history of working with Reply and having the Head of the community of practice for Reply for no-code and low-code ops is an absolute thrill. So, thank you for joining us today. I want to have an open discussion today and talk about how you see the future of no-code playing out. And let's start with just no-code and low-code. When it comes to application development, how are you seeing with all of the customers that Reply works with this evolve as part of the everyday application delivery?
ANDREA CHIARENTIN: It’s evolving slightly differently if you look at no-code and low-code. With a low-code application development approach, we see an adoption mainly for IT users that need to provide services to businesses. And it's a way to reduce time to market and costs in delivering web or mobile digital projects. And it's a way to upskill or reskill internal profiles on the customer side to use the technology, to let the customer work autonomously on some projects. On the other hand, if you look at no-code, in that case, we see adoption, I don't want to say mainly for business. It's always managed centrally by the IT department, the adoption of the platform, but an open platform lets the business users play autonomously and create applications autonomously. So, we are seeing this trend that we can label the consumerization of applications, mainly for office automation and personal productivity or office productivity. This is what we are seeing.
JASON MILLER: Yeah, that's pretty insightful. And we agree in a lot of aspects on that. So, I know you work with a lot of different technologies within the community of practice there at Reply. And for those who aren't familiar, Reply is one of Creatio Partners and a very large global system integrator headquartered in Italy. I think that's interesting and what we see is kind of global. I think the fact that Reply not only has no-code and low-code applications started to take a bigger, but I’ll also call it wallet share of overall application development. But by bringing in no-code tools, you're starting to expand that developer profile, right? So, you mentioned reskilling and upskilling technical developers on the IT side, but you're also able to include more of those knowledge workers or citizen developers (we call them no-code creators) into that development impacted the overall lifecycle of application development. When it comes to things like time to market, productivity, and user adoption, what are you seeing?
ANDREA CHIARENTIN: I see that you can reduce time to market, but you have to adopt the platform using, a structured approach. It's not that you turn the key and everyone in the company is able to use the platform. But you have to create a path to adopt the technology in the best way possible for the specific customer. So, our job is to start with a high-level adoption framework and to personalize it for the specific customer or for the specific scenario. This is essential for us. And another big change is that we change a little bit the responsibility inside the company. So, before no-code in particular, the responsibility to deliver an app in the best way possible was only for the IT department. In that case, with no-code, the responsibility is shared with the business. It depends on the specific application, but it's another huge change, in my opinion.
JASON MILLER: Yeah. And we talk about that a little bit in the No-Code Playbook that was written by Katherine Kostereva and Burley Kawasaki. The idea of changing framework and changing methodology, I think, goes along the lines of changing the technology behind it. Just like we went from monolithic architecture and waterfall delivery to the cloud and commercial off-the-shelf products and going to more of an Agile/Scrum framework. No-code and local technologies have really changed the way that organizations have to think about delivering as well. Now, I think that this is also interesting because it takes partners like Reply and it's changing even the way that you guys are engaging, right? Because you're really focused on driving user adoption like you mentioned, and you're driving that interaction. I mean, before it used to be that integrators and partners were only dealing with IT folks for the most part, maybe taking some requirements. But now you're working across the organization and developing even tighter relationships with your customers. Would you agree with that?
ANDREA CHIARENTIN: Yeah, for sure. This also happens with low-code, not only no-code because it's a little different. With no-code, the business is autonomous to create something, and we can support it. With low-code, what we usually do is a paid programming session. So, the low-code developers sit near the business users, and they work together to create something. And it's easy for the business to understand what is happening because since it's visual, the business can see directly from the tender that will be created, the logic that will be drawn, etc. So it also changes the communication and collaboration aspects.
JASON MILLER: I think that's one of the biggest things that we see as well, is that communications are different than what they used to be when we were in that traditional or even Agile/Scrum methodology. I think because we have the ability to develop even faster and deliver more quickly, communication styles change as well. Now, when we think about delivering with no-code, one of the things that we preach a lot is the development of a CoE. And it's the establishment of that Center of Excellence, just like Reply has the community of practice or the CoE for no-code, low-code. When we look at customers that have successfully adopted the CoE and have started to embrace the evangelization of no-code technology, they seem to have better adoption rates, better use of internal resources, more productive. What are the trends that you're seeing as well when customers think about moving to the CoE approach for technology delivery?
ANDREA CHIARENTIN: The trend is different by country. For example, I'm speaking for Italy, the market I know the most. And we are a little bit delayed, with respect to other countries. But for sure, as you said, we are global. So, I talk also with colleagues in the US, in the UK, etc. And what I see is that we are creating these CoE for some customers in particular, in financial services and also in the building sector, like we did, for example, with Creatio in the US. And as you say, it's crucial. But it's also crucial to build the CoE and also be able to create some strategies, some activities that can evangelize the no-code approach inside the company and stimulate people to know more, to train themselves on the technology, and to start creating. For example, we did here in Italy a couple of hackathons with a big insurance company and energy activities company, very, very big. We create a lot of small teams composed of clients and us, so a mixed team. And we worked for a couple of days to create some innovative ideas. And it was really interesting to see the mood of the people that were really engaged and interested in doing this kind of activity.
JASON MILLER: I think that's an amazing thought around how to drive advancements using no-code. So, you're right, CoE really focuses on not only delivering but also on the evangelists that help people understand the technology options and how they can solve business problems. Things like innovation days, which you were just describing. And I know that energy utility company very well. Sometimes these industries are very laggards, right? In the energy utility space, these companies are focused on generation and distribution. That's what they're focused on. And they don't typically think about some of the other front office, back office, mid office things because they're so focused on either the generation and distribution side that they don't think about how some of these other systems or some of their other processes can benefit from the power of no-code technology. So, I think innovation days are a great way to go. Let's shift topics just for a minute. We've talked a little bit about how no-code and low-code are changing the ways we think about application development. We talked about changing the ways we deliver from the CoE adoption standpoint. Let's talk about just the overall framework and how no-code and low-code are absolutely changing the way that people think about architecture and delivery. What are you seeing from a trend standpoint or an ecosphere standpoint, how are companies looking at migration and digital transformation, specifically architecture, when it comes to now including low-code and no-code applications in their ecosphere?
ANDREA CHIARENTIN: We see three main cases for the adoption of low-code and no-code. The first one is the application of the platform. You have some legacy systems, you need to modernize them, you need to move them to the cloud. And so it will be easier to adopt a low-code platform that is cloud-native and to develop the application directly on that technology. The second is fast development, so you have to meet very tight constraints of time and money to build something new. And you choose to do this new application directly in low-code and directly on the cloud. As I said, most of the companies are still working on cloud systems. What we see is that there are also some companies with more than one platform. From an architectural point of view, they sometimes build with us also a decision tree to understand what the best local platform for the specific use case is. So, this is a change in the architectural decision process.
JASON MILLER: Yeah, and I 100% agree with you. It's funny that in one of our previous episodes, we talked with Phil Simon, a very big author around technology. And when we talked to him, he mentioned the same thing: there are so many different no-code, low-code tools out there, and sometimes it's hard to pick just one. And I'll be the first to admit there are things like with a bubble, right? That they do very well with the creation of forums, right? But you can then very easily integrate those into platforms like Creatio that can manage as a central hub for a lot of things. So, I agree. I think that there are a lot of enterprise-grade tools out there that solve a lot of problems, Creatio being a big one of those, but there are also these smaller tools that can easily take on little pieces, and then you integrate those back into the larger ecospheres from an architecture standpoint. So, if you think about architecture as a hub, you’ve always got various silos, but then you always try to bring information somehow back into a hub. And Creatio is a great spot for that. And then you link information, whether it's front end, mid-office, back end, to be able to solve a lot of those. And I think re-platforming is a great example of those types of initiatives that we see a lot of customers going through. We've got just about four minutes or so left here. And I want to focus on the last topic, which is looking at the future, so being a little bit of a futurist. You work with technology as a whole and you've been in technology for several decades now. How is this next generation and transformation of no-code going to look in 5 years, in 10 years? Is this something that's here to stay? Is it something that customers really need to start investing in now or should they wait?
ANDREA CHIARENTIN: No, in my opinion, they have to start investing in that kind of technology. I can say at least as we usually say that you have to start small. No, not to buy the platform. Step by step, you need to start investing now because you need time to understand the best approach for you, the best use cases for you, etc. But for sure, technology will evolve really fast. In my opinion, the trend I can see is a merger between no-code / low-code and artificial intelligence, particularly the generative one. So, we will see a platform that will integrate a ChatGPT-like interface to help the user build a solution to simplify the process and not lower the barrier also for the business user. So, I don't want to say that in 5 years, we will have a platform that you have to describe what you want and the platform itself created. But maybe we will not be so far in 5 years from that.
JASON MILLER: Yeah, I think it's interesting. I mean, you even mentioned AI and ChatGPT. And for those folks who were able to join us at the large No-Code Days Florida event in Fort Lauderdale that just wrapped up recently, we announced as part of our Creatio 8.1 release AI-assisted application generation. Give it a framework of give me a medical billing app that talks about one, two, and three, and our interface with open AI allows you to automatically create an app and gives you the framework. So, as you mentioned, Andrea, pulling down those barriers and helping AI help assist you in application generation. It's not only going to make things faster but also to develop a more common framework. And it's going to start thinking about things that maybe you never even thought about because that's the power of open AI and ChatGPT. I think the other thing that we're mentioning, since we're on the AI topic, we're also looking at how to use AI and ChatGPT and customer interactions, and customer engagements, right? How to better influence sales as part of sales coaching or sales enablement? How are you seeing AI play out in this no-code / low-code space?
ANDREA CHIARENTIN: But in that case, you are talking about integrating AI into an application to offer new functionality to your customers. And I think, what will happen is that all the platforms will offer more and more building blocks and accelerators to use external API, open AI to leverage the power of AI inside the application, simplify customer interaction, make some predictions, etc.
JASON MILLER: Yeah, and have you had some experience fairly recently, and how are you guys using open AI to be able to solve a lot of these challenges?
ANDREA CHIARENTIN: We are working on a research project with customers in the financial sector. For example, we created this application using a no-code platform that uses GPT API. We built it. It's a demo, but we made it in 5 days. It's able to process documents and legal documents about a person to calculate the person's rating. When you have to start funding a person, you have to calculate the risk of your money invested. So, we created an app; we used data and documents. There's an input; we process it. We process it with GPT API, and we calculate the rating. Everything is managed and orchestrated by a no-code path.
JASON MILLER: I think that's amazing being able to leverage the power of AI through ChatGPT or open AI, build applications in 5 days, integrate it to that, and be able to show tangible output. I think that showcases the power of both no-code applications as well as the power of AI. Well, Andrea, unfortunately, we are out of time, my friend. I appreciate very much your engagement today. Obviously, there's a lot of hype around no-code development and the benefits are real. And you just talked about several of those. Thank you, Andrea, for joining us today and talking about this framework and methodologies that you're seeing at Reply as well as other companies around the world.
For those of you who are watching us today, I hope you've liked this video and this podcast, so please don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
For those of you who are listening to us, I hope you had a great time. Check out previous episodes on the various platforms. The No-Code Playbook podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud, and many more.
And for more insights and upcoming events, check our No-code events page. We look forward to seeing you at our events around the world. Until then, we'll see you next time.
Other episodes Digital Transformation with No-code
Explore the transformative power of no-code technology in the ever-changing landscape of digital innovation in the new episode of the Creatio No-Code Playbook podcast featuring Carsten Krause, CEO of The CDO Times and a prominent digital technology evangelist.
Embark on a digital transformation journey in an illuminating conversation with Karl Dixon, Director at CVM People.
A lot of our listeners have been asking a similar question, which is, tell us about how different organizations can adopt the no-code approach to achieve success. So, today we invited Butch Knowlton, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Ringler Associates, to share a real-life success story of Ringler’s digital transformation using the power of no-code!
Some leaders feel the term “digital transformation” has become so widely used that it has become unhelpful. But the truth is that digital transformation is imperative for all businesses – from the small to the enterprise – to rethink old operating models, experiment more, and become more agile in responding to customers and rivals.