NAVIGATING THE NO-CODE LANDSCAPES
Delve into the captivating world of no-code technologies with Philip Lakin, the Co-Founder and CEO of NoCodeOps, in the new thought-provoking episode of Creatio's No-Code Playbook Podcast.
Discover the remarkable rise of no-code across diverse business sectors and the pivotal role of collaboration between non-technical professionals and IT teams. Uncover the transformative power of governance, risk, and controls in empowering citizen development, all while gaining a profound understanding of the pressing need for IT teams to evolve from gatekeepers to enthusiastic partners.
Tune in and get ready to unlock a world of possibilities in the realm of no-code innovation!
JASON MILLER: Hello and welcome to Creatio's No-Code Playbook Podcast, where we discuss insights, tips, and success stories about how to leverage the no-code approach in low-code and no-code technologies to transform business and deliver applications of any complexity. I'm your host, Jason Miller, Head of Revenue Operations and no-code Evangelist here at Creatio. I am happy to be joined today by Philip Lakin. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of NoCodeOps. Philip, welcome.
PHILIP LAKIN: Great to be here, thanks for having me.
JASON MILLER: Now, Philip, we've had the opportunity to speak together so many times. We presented at the Creatio No-Code Days in Florida just recently, and I wanted to get your take. How was that event? How did you enjoy that event?
PHILIP LAKIN: I loved it. And watching the growth of that event year over year has been phenomenal. The caliber of people and insights that Creatio brings to the table and what y'all are doing for evangelizing no-code, especially in the enterprise, has just been amazing to watch and inspiring even for us as a smaller startup and brand trying to do more no-code evangelism in different sized businesses. So yeah, it was amazing.
JASON MILLER: That's awesome. And Philip, I know that as the CEO of NoCodeOps, you work with a lot of different no-code companies, and you get to talk to a lot of different no-code practitioners. Talk to me a little bit about what NoCodeOps is doing as you're working with these different no-code technologies.
PHILIP LAKIN: For sure. So, we started as a newsletter just because I found that there were a lot of folks when no-code was really a huge popular buzzy word a few years back. There was a lot of talk around no-code being used for building your own business or a side hustle or micro-SaaS and there just wasn't really a lot of vendor-agnostic talk around how to use no-code in your operational non-technical roles, or like sales ops people, ops, marketing ops, etc. And, so, I just started a newsletter, and that newsletter grew pretty fast even to my surprise. I was like, oh wow, there are more people like me that care about this niche of a niche. And then we started a community. And then the community led us to really think about the software that we want to contribute to the ecosystem. Which is now Operator, which comes out later this summer, which we're really excited about, which is the first automation management platform for people. Really focusing on Airtable and Zapier for now, but more platforms on both sides are to come soon. And the way we think of ourselves, the market, and the way that we work with a lot of the platforms is we're like, our major mission is to increase the adoption of these tools in organizations so that individuals and their teams can be more empowered than they ever were before. And we think that when non-technical folks at mid to large-sized companies learn how to use these tools, it is a literal win for everybody. The customer gets a better experience, and the tool, of course, gets a customer. The individual typically makes more money over time because they become the systems person on their team, and the team has a better internal tool and they don't have to wait on the devs, and the devs don't have to work on internal tooling, which they typically don't want to do anyway. So, it's just a massive win for everyone.
JASON MILLER: I think that's awesome and that's a lot of what we talk to folks about the power of no-code as well. And you've got an even broader view of no-code, not just from the enterprise standpoint here at Creatio, but like you said, working with Airtable or Bubble or Zapier or some of these other technologies that bring different levels of experience and different levels that can be applied at different areas kind of within a growth of a company. I think that's amazing. Now, a lot of people think about no-code is just something that the business does. And I think that to some extent that's true. Recently, I was just out in Las Vegas at the Gartner Business Application Summit and that's a very IT technical group that goes to that summit. And we were talking with those folks out there and we were talking about two things. One, we were talking about no-code evangelism and the No-Code Playbook. We gave away like 500 copies to IT leaders. We talked to these IT folks and what we were hearing a lot was, look, we believe it, we feel it, we want to empower citizen development because we now realize that we've exceeded the tipping point. So not just when you're thinking about talking to these business folks, but also the IT folks, because I know that you talked to some of those folks as well. Have you started to see this kind of more across the board where folks on both sides, business, and IT, are taking hard looks at no-code technology?
PHILIP LAKIN: Oh yeah, so the path that we typically come across in the growth stage companies is things are growing very fast, and there's a lot of work to be done. And someone on the non-technical side of the world, whether it's in sales, marketing, or finance, whatever, has a custom development need, because off-the-shelf software isn't cutting it. They go to the devs. The devs go... we're too busy, or we're going to road map you, right? Or maybe they're lucky enough to get a V1 that never gets updated. So, then they start looking for solutions, and they start building stuff. And some of them approach IT before they start looking and working with IT. And some just go, nope, we're doing it in the shadows, right? Total shadow IT, we're just going to get it done. Because in some organizations, they're set up for failure sometimes, where it's like you have to choose. Do you happen to do it fast, or do you do it right? And what the best IT teams have done is partner with the business team at the earliest stage, saying, we don't want to block you. We want to empower you. Bring us into your conversations. We don't want to be the people controlling every little integration you do. Still, we just want to have a common language around governance and how to think about this stuff so that we can have insight into what you're doing and have guardrails into what you're doing. But give you all the freedom, flexibility, and speed you need because, guess what? Whether it's IT or devs that are taking the reign of technical work away from the non-technical folks that are closest to the department that has the need, you lose something at every level of removal that you have from the problem itself. You lose specificity and speed. And that's a problem; people want to be specific and need speed. You know, they want to work at the speed of business. And, like, you can't do that when, you know, all of your requests are going to a different department. So, I think that IT teams are getting hip to this stuff. They're thinking about governance. They're thinking about how we empower folks and not just be those who say no. And the best IT teams are getting involved in the earliest stages and saying, look, we don't need to centralize every integration thing you do or workflow you build. Still, We want to have rules of the road with you that we agree upon and, you know, a certain set of standards for systems that we agree upon.
JASON MILLER: Yeah, you brought up two major points, and they're really important. So one is that level of abstraction. It's like when we were kids playing a game of telephone. By the time the person that actually needs the message gets it, it's changed, right? So this has always been the challenge with having BAs at some level of abstraction from the business, trying to work with the architects and the developers because that needs change, right? And inevitably, things didn't get done. And you know, in the old world, people develop applications and say, here you go, business. And they'd be like, this isn't what I wanted. This doesn't work for me. So obviously, removing that level of abstraction helps. That's a good thing. The other thing you talked about was empowerment and governance. So IT groups absolutely are not only hip to this, but they're realizing that they need to do it. But one of the biggest concerns we heard while we were talking with all these IT leaders is they're still afraid that there's not enough governance, that all they're doing is promoting shadow IT. And here at Creatio, I know others are starting to think about this; we've actually gone one step further and launched a governance-centric application. Philip, I know you've had a chance to get a preview of this application, at least. When you think about governance, risk, controls, and providing real-time audits of your citizen developments, how is this changing the game? When it comes to IT and business folks thinking about adopting no-code.
PHILIP LAKIN: Yeah, first of all, it is so cool to see what Creatio is doing on the governance front, and how far you're pushing the envelope. I think I'd love to see more of that across the no-code industry. It's one of the things that the no-code industry has actually not done a great job of overall. I think it's getting better at, but I love seeing y'all push the envelope on that front. Look, I think that shadow IT is... IT leaders will often look at the business and say, this is a business problem, that the business is doing this stuff. And I actually disagree. I think it's an IT problem. And I'll tell you why. If you have a culture in your company of just hearing no and a non-collaborative IT team, you're going to get shadow IT. If you have an IT team that does not work well with the business and serves the business needs, you're going to get shadow IT. IT teams in today's world, in the modern world of bottoms-up SaaS and all of these things, right? Where, you know, people are just hopping on board with swiping a credit card, right? Like that motion of sales is going nowhere. The power of these applications is going nowhere. And with things like ChatGPT, the power to non-technical users is only getting amplified. So, modern-day IT leaders, if they want to squash shadow IT, they need to literally have internal marketing campaigns around. Here's how we work with folks. Do you want to bring something in? We're going to help you vet it. We're going to work with you on this thing. Like we're going to partner with you. We're going to give you some of our ideas around what can be combined or leveraged internally that we maybe already have. And I think that's really important. And even educating users internally. around like, hey, here's like maybe some things you should know about database architect. Sure 101 writer, here are some things you should know about like, what is PII and where should it be not like that will help you move faster at the end of the day. So how do you help the business schools not just be a blocker, I think is important. I'm a big fan of seeing where all of the pushes on governance are going. I'm of course a big fan of it, like with what we're doing with Operator, like we looked at the no-code world and said, we don't want to build another Zapier, or Airtable, or Creatio, right? You all are really, really good at what you do. Our thinking was when folks are using multiple applications, so they have multiple apps in their stack, how do you see the dependencies between them? How do you move fast without having to use something like GitHub? But how do you document while building without you having to write down every little thing? And how do you eventually take that operational excellence that gets built to really primarily serve you as the operations professional and your team, and then abstract that to IT and devs? And like, that's what we're thinking a lot about at Operator. So you couldn't be talking to someone who's more of a fan of governance.
JASON MILLER: So, you hit on so many great points, and I 100% agree with all of them. Let's think about how this applies to the No-Code Playbook for a minute. We talked about in there having this collaborative environment, and you mentioned that. Not being a wall, not being a blocker. And we talk about developing these fusion teams and a Center of Excellence and understanding when to enable citizen dev when to bring it into the Center of Excellence when to dedicate a fusion team to it. When do you think about these types of approaches and building that collaboration between IT and the business, what are maybe the one or two kinds of key things that you feel organizations need to consider when they're trying to make that decision around enabling citizen development or really trying to bring it into either a CoE or a fusion team?
PHILIP LAKIN: Yeah, it's a really good question. And I think I've seen like some approaches here that are either like, we're not going to do it or like, we're going to lean in super hard. And like, we're going to have a CoE and like get way ahead of ourselves, have this top-down approach to no-code. This is how we do it here. And like, this is the training program. And I think there are so many steps in between those that often get skipped to the detriment. It's not about just like instantly doing it by the book and having everybody take a course and having the czar of your no-code stuff that everyone's got to go through. I think it gets to the point where you need something like that down the road if you keep investing in this area, but it's not the first step. And I think that matching the level of need to the level of commitment that you can realistically do with this stuff is important. And you just don't need that much red tape at first. I think you do need it when you have 500 citizen developers, you need some red tape to make stuff work, right? But in the beginning, it's just like, hey, what's like one or two things that IT can proactively do with the business to like set some rules of the road to make sure that we can move fast together. So, examples of that are once a month, can we just like sit down and like talk about like, what's not working for you in your business stack and like, see if we can come up with solutions together in the business. And if we can't like, maybe like we work with you on the requirements doc together on what you'd look for in something like this. It's just like those small steps that are proactive or it's like, um, Hey, can we just like. We have all these people using Airtable now. Can we just lock down some permissions and have an internal Airtable course or a course that's maybe like Aaron who used to work at Airtable, it's not Webflow, it's a course called Automate All Things. Can we just say you get editor permissions once you've taken this course, right? Just small, simple steps. And eventually, you get to the point where you need a CoE, but like... I think that's like a way further down the road thing.
JASON MILLER: You know, and I 100% agree with you. We talk in the No-Code Playbook about kind of the different players. And there are new personas when you start thinking about no-code, whether it's no-code creators or system developers, you start thinking about having a no-code leader, a no-code architect. Now, these are drawing on similar skill sets that we've all used and been in these roles in the past, but it requires a little bit different thought process. So, you talk about education. One of the things that we've done, is we've actually launched a No-Code Creator course on Creatio Academy and we've got a No-Code Architect course that's coming out. Matter of fact, I'm getting ready to record the No-Code Leader course here pretty soon. So, I think that having this education process embedded into what you do, I think is extremely important, I'm glad you mentioned that. We've got a few minutes left here, but one of the things that I want to talk about is a little bit more about NoCodeOps because I think the service that NoCodeOps provides to the citizen development community at large is very valuable. As you said, you started off as a newsletter, but I know that you've got your tool coming out, Operator, it's coming out a little bit later this summer. But more importantly, I want to talk about a bigger event that you guys are planning for early in 2024. Talk to us about the no-code event that you're planning for early 2024.
PHILIP LAKIN: Yeah, so ever since the beginning of the community, one of the biggest requests and most often requests we got from community members around the world is we want to have an in-person conference. We all want to hang out with each other. We want to have like a yearly summit because we have such an active online community. And so they want to hang out with each other. And look, we saw what was done in Paris at the No-Code Summit, which we plan to go to again this year, which is just, I highly recommend, it's a phenomenal event happening in October this year. And we were like, this is incredible. Like, there was so much energy around this, and there were so many passionate people that wanted to just get together in person from around the world to talk about this. And our thinking was like, could we get together an event where the focus is operations, right? We're not going to be talking about building your own business or side hustles or micro-SaaS. Like there's plenty of avenues for that stuff and we're huge fans of it. But like, could we get the operators together, where you're focused on going from sales into sales ops or marketing into marketing ops or learning on things like making an Airtable and Zapier. Like that other operations professionals are doing. Could we get together and celebrate internal use cases? So, one thing that always bugged me was like, you always hear about in the news, like, oh, this founder did this, or oh, this person had this exit with this, or they used bubble to build this, and they had this huge exit, or they did this huge funding run. That's awesome. But we don't hear about it as like, John got like a 250K budget a year approved for this tool. That's amazing, right? Or like, this person saved his company 100 hours a month in sifting through PDFs by launching this workflow. Or this person's team's ENPS score raised by six because they finally have a tool that they love to use. Those are the types of internal wins that we wanted to celebrate publicly and not only do it online but also bring everyone together to do it in person. And of course, We think that Atlanta is the no-code capital of the world, so we'll be hosting it in Atlanta in the spring of 2024.
JASON MILLER: That's awesome. So, if somebody wants that listen to this or watch this on YouTube, and wants to learn more about NoCodeOps, where do they need to go?
PHILIP LAKIN: Sure, so nocodops.com is everything about us. Our conference, our community, the Operator tool, our newsletter, it's all in one place, just nocodops.com. And I'm pretty active on Twitter and LinkedIn, just at Philip Lakin with one L. Would love to connect with you, and hear about any way that I can help you on your journey.
JASON MILLER: Absolutely. Well, Philip, you mentioned a couple of things and as we wrap here, obviously I absolutely love evangelizing with you in this world of no-code. So, I know that we're going to see each other in Atlanta, but I don't want that to be the last time you and I get a chance to see other no-coders around the world. Go to the Creatio events page to see the list of events that Creatio will be doing around the world. We're doing our No-Code Days tour around the world. We already did Miami. We're going all over the world. The next stops are Sydney, and Jakarta, out in the Asia Pacific. We'll be doing London, Tel Aviv, Warsaw, Paris, and many, many more. Stop by and check them out.
Philip, it has been an absolute pleasure, my friend. I am so glad that you were able to join us today. 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 .
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