May 31st, 2018 • Low Code
You may have heard about low-code development platforms, and there are a lot of benefits to adopting low-code into your company. According to Forrester, the low-code market is going to grow to a whopping $15 billion dollars by 2020.
It’s time to adopt low-code if you haven’t already. However, the transition isn’t going to be smooth unless you’re ready to take the necessary steps.
Adopting the new platform will mean that you’ll have to train your staff on how it works. You may also need some restructuring.
Without some solid preparation and protocol in place, adopting a low-code software development platform can make your workplace even more chaotic than it already is, ultimately leading to a drastic loss in productivity.
The value of a low-code platform isn’t just with the features and functionalities that the platform offers.
Is your vendor a true partner? Do they have recognition within the industry? Have they demonstrated that they are willing to help you in any way possible?
What does the product roadmap look like? How often do they perform new releases? How much say do you get as a customer to new features?
The vendor you choose should have staff on hand to help you with the transition and implementation in your workplace. They should be able to help you out when you have any questions or need some help with implementation.
More than the preloaded features in the platform, support and guidance from the vendor is what will help you merge low-code into your organization.
The potential that low-code platforms promise may be enthralling, but it’s best to start off with an implementation that isn’t too complex. For starters, identify a simple approval workflow that can save a lot of headaches among a small to moderate sized team. Let the team create their own app, and run it for a few weeks.
This gives them the time and practice they need to learn their way around the platform and understand how it works.
At the same time, starting small also provides you exposure to some of the simpler functions that you need, and reveals how far your low-code tool can take you.
Over time, you can have your teams work on more complex apps for larger teams. By starting small, though, you will get a more accurate look at the culture of how people make their own apps and the struggles they face.
One place to start small: the small processes and emails that your employees regularly send out, that have to be manually tracked. If you can create custom apps for these, that’s a good start to helping your team understand how to work with the platform.
Starting off small is good, but if the the main creators for your low-code platform are going to be business users, then you should be giving them ample training.
By the data compiled from a survey taken by 451 Research and FileMaker, 60% of all custom apps that are built in organizations are done by people that aren’t in the IT department. And among those, 30% have absolutely no exposure to coding.
But there’s a catch.
Just because the platform doesn’t need as much coding doesn’t mean your business users will instantly know what to do with it. Some low-code development tools are tailored more for speeding up the coding-driven development process. For these platforms, you will need to give citizen developers much more extensive training.
Other low-code platforms that are meant to broaden the base of developing may require less hand-on training, if the interface is clear to understand.
Contact your vendor, see what kind of training they can offer your users, and have a dedicated team that will take time off their regular work day to train staff.
If you don’t provide adequate training, your team is not likely to adopt a low-code programming culture–it will seem like just another fancy tool for developers.
One of the biggest selling points for low-code is that it lighten’s IT’s burden, but that doesn’t mean that IT should be completely out of the picture for low-code solutions implementation.
Have your IT team maintain some level of oversight over your business users, the apps they develop, and how they can be optimized.
For instance, Alec might develop a purchase order app that he needs for his specific set of vendors. At the same time, Elena might be spending time developing her own purchase order app for her vendors. Without necessary oversight, these two applications serve the same purpose, with little or no differentiation. By providing some oversight, the IT team can help business users develop new apps, and expose them to the possibilities that exist within the platform.
IT oversight on this can prevent miscommunication and low adoption of the low-code platform. It can also guard against any data leaks, and potential vulnerabilities that may occur with the new apps.
A lot of vendors will try to make you believe that low-code apps can help achieve anything you want, and that you don’t even need developers for it.
Although low-code is admittedly a massive step up from traditional coding, there are still instances where developer input will be required. There are times where you won’t be able to create something complex just by having the flow in your head.
Here’s an example.
Alec and Elena’s company are working on a customer-facing support app that can accept support tickets, give them regular updates, and provide complaint status information at any given moment.
They decide to use the same low-code platform they use for purchase orders. The platform has limited UI and UX customization options–not to mention it doesn’t have the tools necessary to manage such a complex implementation–so they’re forced to work on something that doesn’t really work or look as good as they want to. This is especially important, since this is something that the customer will see.
Here, it would be better to understand that a professional developer needs to step in. They can add the customization and back-end functionalities that they need, without having to make it work with glue guns and paper clips.
Understanding this will mean that you understand the limitations and complexities of any low-code platform that you employ. That also means that you can work on finding solutions that really matter.
Just as it is when adding a new employee to your organization, low-code also needs time to adjust and meld with your staff before it is accepted as a natural part of the workplace. If you’re thinking of incorporating a low-code platform like Kissflow, the best way to reduce the impact of those growing pains is to be ready for them. If you’d like some help, contact us and we’d be more than happy to guide you through it.
* - Based on usage requirements