Remember: the overall aim of your quest isn’t to just implement no-code solutions into your workplace, but to do so safely and robustly. You want it to spread far and wide so that no-code takes root properly. For that to happen, there are some best practices to stick to.
Whether you bookmark this page, print it out and put it on your fridge, or simply tattoo it onto your back (probably in quite a small font), this is one to keep hold of.
1. Embrace no-code and low-code
One common misconception is that no-code and low-code platforms are mutually exclusive; that it’s a binary choice for an organisation to make between one or the other. Well, it’s our view that no-code and low-code are broadly for two different types of end-user and two different types of use cases. Organisations that are really going to prosper will be using both.
Low-code tools might be used in your workplace to help your IT department or technical team move faster and focus on the high-value work that really matters. No-code tools, meanwhile, can help more people within the organisation get involved in the digital world and create solutions to problems. Both of these things compliment each other.
2. Establish a CoE
We’ve written an entire article on this. The main benefit of no-code is the fact it gives more people the ability to build software for an organisation in a robust way. That not only helps the business operate more seamlessly and efficiently, but it also reduces our old friend Shadow IT. If you’ve got a CoE, you have a structured and centralised way to train and support employees and provide the right governance – making sure no-code spreads in safely and successfully. This is really the only way to keep your IT department on side. Without one, you’re looking at failure – and a whole lot of arguments and hassle.
3. Build reusable components
We also touched on this in our guide to creating a CoE, but the general idea here is that the more components that you build that can then be reused by others, the better. That could be all kinds of functionality: from calculators to AI. The benefits are clear: it’ll increase the speed that people can build with no-code and help no-code become really embedded across the organisation. Plus, it’ll save cash too. Always a strong argument.
4. Democratise access to the important data
In some respects, uptake of no-code depends on how easy and accessible your data is. Getting new software platforms into an enterprise is difficult; the harder part is getting it integrated deeply enough that it can access the systems and data that actually matters. By that, we’re talking about the systems of record or databases: customer data and organisational data. Only when you’re able to access that can you really build software solutions that shift the needle.
Understandably, that can be a big friction point with IT. They’re nervous to give no-coders access to that critical stuff. But if you want no-code to grow, that data needs to be as easy as possible for the right people to access. The more effort put into allowing people standardised access to that data, the better. This is all about setting up a method of access that’s completely safe and secure, with the necessary checks in place, that’s reusable and can be shared across the organisation. Whether it’s building an API for no-coders to use or something else entirely, this is a biggie.
5. Build monitoring and safety tools
One way to guarantee your governance process is strong is to be proactive about monitoring and safety. This is a highly specific function dependent on your organisation, so there’s not a whole lot of tools out there we can recommend. But broadly you need to be monitoring which areas of your business are using no-code and logging which employees are doing what – whether that’s automated or manual. The idea is to always know what’s happening and where. You should also be upfront when talking to any prospective platform about what kind of monitoring features they have.
6. Use no-code for prototyping for customers
While creating internal apps for use within your organisation is undoubtedly a huge use case for no-code, it’s not the only one. No-code platforms are probably not quite right for creating your flagship customer-facing app, but they are perfect for prototyping apps. Whether you want to test out a new app idea or create something you can actually walk customers through. Don’t neglect the potential power of prototyping.
7. Combine no-code with systems thinking
You’re looking to take people who are non/semi-technical and give them the power to translate part of their work or processes into software. Understanding the underlying conceptual framework behind that is a really important part of the process (and a big part of any training program).
Giving people the formal ability to think – and map out – how systems work will make it a lot easier for them to then build software. Systems thinking is a methodology that means you’re able to understand how different parts of a system work together and the relationships between elements instead of looking at those elements in isolation.
What you want to essentially do is enable people to separate the process of thinking about how a system can be solved by technology, from the no-code platform in front of them. They’ll then be able to move faster and solve problems in a far more considered and logical way. Getting serious about this increases the number of people who have the ability to actually get involved with no-code.
8. Fold RPA into your no-code thinking
One of the biggest trends in the enterprise world over the last decade or so has been robotic process automation; where effectively software robots take care of low-value or repetitive tasks – like AI chatbots, email processing or payroll processing. Well RPA and no-code actually have plenty in common because neither requires actual coding knowledge. But more broadly, they’re linked because quite often things that RPA are doing in a business could be replaced with a fit-for-purpose, custom-built piece of internal software.
Plus, those within your org who have the mindset and skills to implement RPA are probably the perfect people to be implementing no-code platforms. If you can frame no-code as the natural evolution to RPA, you’ll have a far easier conversation with others in your organisation.