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. 

Carsten shares valuable insights on how businesses can leverage no-code approaches, artificial intelligence, and generative AI to accelerate their digital strategies, even in challenging economic times. 

Tune in to gain profound perspectives on how no-code is reshaping traditional paradigms, enabling collaboration between technologists and business experts, and driving innovation at an unprecedented pace. Discover the future of digital transformation and learn why no-code is not just a tool but a strategic cornerstone in shaping the businesses of tomorrow. 

CEO, The CDO Times
VP of RevOps and Sales Enablement, Creatio



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 and transform businesses to deliver applications of any complexity using the power of no-code. I'm your host, Jason Miller. And today, I am extremely happy and excited to be joined by the one and only Carsten Krause. He is the CEO of CDO Times, and he's the former Vice President at Digital at Breville and several other roles, including Chief Information Officer roles. And overall, just an amazing evangelist for the world of digital technology. Carsten, welcome! 

CARSTEN KRAUSE: Thank you so much for having me. 

JASON MILLER: Now you're dialing in today from Boston, Massachusetts, headquarters of Creatio. How's the weather, and how have things been kind of in the world of Boston? 

CARSTEN KRAUSE: It's pretty good. I'm in Windham, New Hampshire, north of Boston, but close enough. 

JASON MILLER: Now, there are a lot of tech companies that are headquartered in that general area, right? And Creatio is one of them. How is everybody thinking about kind of the economy and the impact on technology companies and even customers who are thinking about implementing new technology solutions? 

CARSTEN KRAUSE: Yeah, I think it really depends on the organization. Obviously, there has been a little bit of a slowdown in some areas, whereas I see a lot of investment and explorations happening with some of the new technologies, leveraging artificial intelligence and composable business. That's more important than ever. And I talked at a large CIO convention before talking about how you can leverage technology to come out strong after a potential downturn. Because, you know, even if you have a downturn – those downturns are short-term, and the growth periods afterward are long. And companies that invest, as Apple did in iPhones and as AWS invested in their cloud infrastructure. They all came really strong out of a time when the economy was slowing down. So, I think leaders that experience that and understand that take advantage of this and maybe also pick up some very experienced people available now. 

JASON MILLER: Yeah, that's definitely what we're seeing in the market too. And I think in a lot of aspects everybody realizes it's a challenging economy because a lot of the indicators would say, you know, we're in a slowdown, but yet in the market, in a lot of aspects, it's still extremely high, right? So, you said, picking up great talent and investing in the downturn. And I do feel like that is what a lot of companies are doing. That's why the job market stays so hot. So, let's think about how technology and this lack of available resources play together, right? So, we know that, especially from a professional development standpoint, there are not enough professional developers in the world today. This is why no code technology has such a growing place in the market, right? It not only allows you to expand that application developer base by reaching into citizen development. But it also expands an organization's ability to accelerate and really advance their investments into this downturn that a lot of companies are feeling. So, talk to me about your perspective on this because I know you've seen it from both sides. Everybody's investing in SaaS and cloud technology and is really focused on custom development in that area. And now I feel like it's turning. What are you seeing?  

CARSTEN KRAUSE: Yeah, I think with some of the things that we talked about earlier, before no-code platforms and other technologies where it's easier and easier for non-technologists to be proficient. That also includes the whole generative AI capabilities. And I think you guys are adding some of that to your platform too. But I think that's the democratization of having people that can work together with developers and developers themselves being more efficient and then leveraging automation opportunities. So, I think it also enables you to look at things from a business perspective. You get the expertise of business users that maybe some developers do not necessarily have. At least, I've always tried to have a team that combines subject matter experts and deep technology experts. But now it's almost a dream come true where you can bring these teams together in communities of practice and tribes and other ways to bring people together across organizations. 

JASON MILLER: Now, you talk about developing communities of practice or a center of excellence. And this is a lot of what organizations are starting to do. Large digital platforms, a lot of these SaaS technologies, you'd start to see a lot of the outsourcing companies develop these horizontal practices to be able to go in and solve for this technology. The problem is they didn't necessarily have the vertical domain knowledge, right? So, a lot of these, especially in the outsourcers, the vertical domain knowledge together with the horizontal practices and put together a COP or a COE within a technology for a vertical. Now, that's great, but again, you start running into this major problem of resource constraints. So what we're seeing a lot, and get your opinion on this in a minute, is the fact that not only are organizations looking to bring some of that back in-house, right? Because there is a shortage, they need to ensure they're protected. But they're also seeing that it's easier to do through things like no-code technology. It's easier to train folks. It's easier to adopt platforms. And it's easier to get through that first ultimately, I'll call it the storming and forming stage and move into more of a norming and an acceleration phase. What's your take? What are you seeing from customers that you're talking to? 

CARSTEN KRAUSE: Yeah, well, I've been in this for a little bit. While looking at the newest technologies, I also understand that it comes in waves whether you go insourcing outsourcing. It's an ongoing debate and life cycle. But in the end, it's important to understand what's the competitive advantage and where do you want to put your eggs in the basket, right? And one of the things I'm seeing is that companies are building all these centers of excellence and seeing how I can leverage partners. How can I leverage and we'll have the right technology stack in-house? And then how can I support our employees and partners to be more efficient and work together and make it fun to work together? And so, you know, for coders going very deep in code, and that's fun, right? But for other people, maybe myself, I don't want to go as deep, but I enjoy enabling innovation fast with my teams and connecting business and technology teams. 

JASON MILLER: Yeah, and it's absolutely right. And I think that's where a COP or a COE is advantageous because you're accomplishing all those things, right? You're getting the most and the best out of all of the people who are engaged in that COP or COE. You're also making sure that you're maintaining those differentiators and those key resources and key capabilities in-house so that you don't have to worry about some of the external challenges, never mind the operational costs. You have a 10-person COP, right? That'll do the work of a 15, 20 person outsourcing in a lot of aspects. So that's good insight. 

I'd like to shift; we're about halfway through our conversation here today. And I'd like to shift just a little bit. And I want to talk about why organizations should be thinking that now is the right time to invest in their digital strategy and what pieces of that digital strategy are probably going to help move the needle the most. Especially as we know that we're probably investing in the downturn. And we're investing to position ourselves coming out. So, from the different organizations and customers you talk to, what are the key areas that companies are thinking about right now as key strategic areas for digital that they need to be thinking about? And what impacts are they hoping to have so that as we come out of this downturn, their best position to achieve them? 

CARSTEN KRAUSE: Right, right. I mean, just to get started, a digital strategy and initiative, it's an ongoing thing. It's not a once-and-done thing; you always innovate. You have always to keep reinventing the wheel and learn, especially nowadays, where innovation accelerates so fast. But there are certain key technologies that it's not a change, but it's a foundation for your innovation. So, you want to look at the processes you can digitize, and what's your starting with your business vision? How can technology enhance the capabilities that you're striving to achieve? And in many cases, you want to deliver a great customer experience or partner experience—and then data. A few data strategies overall, you know, it's very important - data is the new oil. If you want to use AI, data is a kind of crude oil, and you'd have to refine it to get the data insights so you can have the fuel for leveraging AI and innovation. And then, when I talk to some other business leaders, it's also about integrations. I don't want something that's just vendor-specific. One solution can do it, but it needs to enable this to work across my whole processes and the organization. And that's where it can be helpful to do a journey mapping exercise, both for your customers with your solutions and products but also internally. What key processes set you apart, and what's your secret sauce. And you need to analyze that and see how I can tweak that and then. It's nothing new here, but you look at some quick wins and then also your strategic roadmap, looking into the long-term vision and kind of backward engineering of where you want to go and what steps you need to take along the way. 

JASON MILLER: You mentioned a couple of key comments I want to drill in a little bit further there. Those are all the things that we hear as well from potential customers and existing customers here at Creatio. But if you think about the need to iterate and improve constantly, and if you think about the need to move fast and drive and build those differentiators in a quick and robust way, no-code technology is uniquely positioned to do that. Because it's faster to start and faster to finish, it's easy to modify user experience. You mentioned whether it's a UX for customers, employees, or partners. All of those things are important. When we think about the value benefits of no-code and the no-code approach to delivering these things, would you agree that, because of all of the things of speed and flexibility and being able to tap into additional developers? Is this a direction that you see no-code starting to lead the way in this area, or is this something that's still going to be a liar? 

CARSTEN KRAUSE: No-code is part of the picture. Overall, organizations are also going through a transformation. If you're born digital, you're a startup; it's very much agile along the way. And then, if you're a more traditional organization, there are different innovation speeds and different models that work best for different teams. So, you need to find the capabilities. But all in all, I was experiencing that when I let the e-commerce roll out for websites for Breville, we're looking at how we can compose things based on business functions and business value and customer value. And then, looking at how I can iterate fast, working with the business teams, the user experience experts, the development team in the back end, or maybe the no-code team in the back end. And then looking at, okay, let's look at this. Let's try this out. Do A and B testing, bring it to production in a micro front end, leveraging microservices. And that's something that is more and more relevant for companies, especially if you are in an uncertain business environment; you won't be able to pivot fast. 

JASON MILLER: Yeah, and in a lot of aspects, a lot of, I guess, it's a little bit vertical-specific, but in a lot of aspects, you need to have that flexibility and agility to be able to move faster. I know a lot of the banking and financial services world right now. It's going through this whole transformation of banks that are either getting acquired or are the ones that are acquiring. There's very little stagnation in this space, and being able to merge data quickly, merge systems, drive consolidation, and ultimately, business process execution is a huge concern for a lot of those folks over there.  

All right, we've got one more topic left that I want to cover today. It focuses on this idea that you touched on: machine learning, artificial intelligence, and generative AI. Where do you see the world now? in a year and five years when it comes to using generative AI and machine learning in our day-to-day business processes? Where are we now, and where are we going?  

CARSTEN KRAUSE: Yeah, that's something that I write a lot about at CDO Times. And I talk to companies and help them develop an artificial intelligence framework. But what it's about is you have to pick a contained scenario. Many companies like to establish their own private large language model, for example. And to do that, there's a lot of for records that's like your data strategy, your integration strategy. Those are some things to have in place, right? And then you can also work with partners. But I think in the short term, there are some obvious use cases like co-pilots, helping service and support technicians to get instructions and help on how to service customers better. And then you have marketing materials and writing content for your organization, even like auto-generating product descriptions. I think I saw that there's a Google experiment that was going on where you can automatically animate your web pages. There are a lot of interesting thoughts out there. So, those are the short-term things. And then, as people are progressing, you're going to be able to do a lot of things. I worked in the supply chain industry and retail and consumer products where you might have a lot of connected devices, and there's a lot of data that can add additional value, can do predictive shipping, predictive maintenance, and optimizing your supply chain. Those are the next things that companies are going to go for. And then, who knows, like in 10 years from now, we might have some very intelligent computers. And while that's in place, we need also to figure out the regulatory framework. Companies are working with your governments and coming up with some guardrails that make sense because we all want to make sure that we're using artificial intelligence for good. 

JASON MILLER: Yeah, that's phenomenal. And I definitely agree wholeheartedly with kind of where these things are at now. Most of the major CRM players out there are now looking at how to use generative AI to do those, like the co-pilot ideas. And they're using advanced machine learning for the next best step, next best action, guided selling those types of things. And Creatio is obviously helping lead the way because it goes faster with no-code. But that's a very big piece of where technology is going. So, if you look at MLAI and a digital no-code strategy, these things go hand in hand.  

So, Carsten, let's talk about CDO Times just for a moment. So, you are an organization that helps evangelize and spread the word about digital transformation. How can people engage with CDO Times to become a part of your community? 

CARSTEN KRAUSE: There are multiple ways. One way is obviously to come and check out CDOtimes.com. We have a membership where you can get insights in your inbox. We're going to be adding training classes, and we're also building our local communities across the United States, including hosting events where we can come together and discuss peer-to-peer, CIOs, CDOs, CTOs, and other CSOs, talking about how you can leverage technology in this day and age and win with it. 

JASON MILLER: That's amazing. I encourage everybody to go check that out at CDOtimes.com. Carsten, I want to thank you very much and thank you to everybody for joining us today. Obviously, there's a lot of hype about no-code and application development, but I think that the benefits are real.  

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 out the No-code events page. We look forward to seeing you at our events around the world. Until then, we'll see you next time.  

Carsten, again, thank you so very much for your time today. This has been insightful. For everybody listening today, have a wonderful weekend and we'll see you again next time. 

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