How to bring no-code into your workplace: Creating a centre of excellence

This is arguably the most critical factor in successfully bringing no-code into an organisation.

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If no-code is going to be something that takes root within your organisation, creating a centre of excellence (CoE) is non-negotiable. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is a centre of excellence?

Think of a centre of excellence (aka a centre of expertise) like a slick, dedicated crack team: providing the leadership, training, education, best practices and support around a specific area. The aim is to champion whatever that area is while making life easier for employees. You’ll find CoEs for all kinds of things – from AI to design skills – but they’re especially vital when it comes to implementing new, unfamiliar technologies. Yes, that does mean no-code.

Bringing no-code into your workplace is one substantial challenge, but the real quiz is ensuring it takes root and proliferates across the business in a safe and controlled way. A CoE is a key force in making it happen.

Most CoE teams are between two to five people, and it’s a role that often begins as half of someone’s job before later becoming a full-time responsibility. As a rule of thumb, a no-code CoE is something you need to be thinking about if your organisation is aiming or projecting for at least 50 people to make use of no-code tools. 

Ultimately, a CoE ought to be promoting the use of no-code and increasing the number of people able to use it, while enhancing the benefits to the organisation. It’s all about building that flywheel and seeing no-code really take off. 

Bringing no-code into your workplace is one substantial challenge, but the real quiz is ensuring it takes root and proliferates across the business in a safe and controlled way. A CoE is a key force in making it happen.

What a CoE actually does 

You can break down the key functions of a CoE into six key areas: 

1. Champion no-code 

A CoE should be such an advocate of no-code that ordinary employees might begin to question whether their passion is healthy and if it’s something that needs monitoring. Within most organisations there are likely to be a load of projects where no-code tools can make a difference; the problem is that people aren’t aware of it. Those working within a CoE need to go out, find those people and show them how no-code can help: whether that’s in workshops, webinars or using tarot cards.*

*In our experience, tarot cards are the least effective of these options. 

2. Share their expertise 

This might seem pretty obvious, but those involved in the CoE need to be subject specialists, equipped with the know-how and skills to share with others. This is about bringing together the appropriate people and finding ways to disseminate that information. How do you make the team available for direct consultation on no-code projects? Can you codify how no-code works within your organisation into written documents or courses? 

3. Handle the training

Setting up a training programme is worthy of its own guide (and we have one here) but the CoE should be the main training provider – whether they create the materials themselves or outsource them externally. A good training programme is a combination of core curriculum-based theory, but also extra-curricular projects that encourage more practical, hands-on projects. Remember: the aim is to create new champions of no-code. Also, any training programme ought to include some form of certification at the end.  

4. Look after the governance

Governance is an incredibly important topic and not something we’ll fully cover here. It’s one of the biggest areas where a CoE can benefit an organisation. No matter how great your training programme is, there still needs to exist a rigorous and structured process for introducing software built with no-code into an organisation. Indeed, this is where you’ll find most of your resistance from the IT team: get this right and everyone is happy. 

What we’re talking about here is how software can be pushed live safely and effectively. The CoE is responsible for creating a governance process, and it’ll be bespoke for each organisation. Any process will need to include things like a validation process that the software needs to be created; risk assessment; ensuring the organisation’s IT policies are being followed; that the software has the right architecture and is up to the org’s standards; that it’ll be checked and signed off by the IT department; and that it’s safe. 

5. Build in reusability 

Part of a CoE’s remit is to make sure that using no-code tools is scalable across a business. That’s where building in reusability comes in. As a way of example, think of a common business function like finding customer addresses. Most big organisations will have numerous pieces of code for that function used across several different departments. The same goes for login screens or sending emails. That’s where reusability comes in: building that address finder component once, then sharing it across the entire organisation. 

Another example might be the website builder Webflow. A CoE can build a component library that’s suited to the business’ brand – so every website built on Webflow uses the same components and immediately looks uniform and consistent. Or let's say you’ve got a database with all your customer information and there are concerns about how no-coders will connect to it. A CoE can build an official integration that lets people access the data without actually touching the database. 

This is all about taking away the IT department’s concerns. Building safe reusability into the organisation adds value to the organisation – and offers a great return on investment. 

6. Remove friction

Lastly, it’s a CoE’s job to essentially smooth over the general adoption of no-code tools. There will be questions, concerns, reservations, and perhaps even the odd insult thrown the way of no-code. Whilst all of the above play a role in easing friction, other things can be done too. That might be creating simple checklists on what people need to know if they want to use no-code in a project, or a dedicated mailbox for answering questions and offering support. This stuff is normally organisation specific, but it’s all about creating as smooth a transition as possible. 

The takeaway

For no-code to properly stick and spread across an organisation, it requires several things to be in place: from advocacy and knowledge sharing to training and governance. All of that falls under the remit of a CoE. The ultimate goal is to create a bit of a no-code flywheel as more and more people become educated and confident, more projects are tackled with no-code and more people can use no-code tools. That’s the no-code dream. 



About the Author
Duncan Griffiths Nakanishi

Duncan is lead editor at NoCode.Tech. He's a writer and editor with 8 years experience working in the media across business, culture, lifestyle and tech.


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