No-code apps have gained unprecedented momentum in the last few years. However, many enterprises efforts to adopt and scale on no-code platforms have experienced severe setbacks. Some organizations get stuck in an experimental mindset without a sense of where their low-code journey is headed. Others struggle to achieve an enterprise grade adoption and justify business value.
At a time when technology needs frequently outpace delivery capacity, no-code platforms can completely transform the development process and expand organizational development capabilities beyond the engineering and IT Horizon. These platforms enable organizations to take advantage of citizen developers. And even business users outside of IT realms, who can develop and launch apps with little or no input from engineering.
But business and engineering leaders may not be aware that these platforms don’t always solve business needs or deliver the desired value. In fact, they often add complexity and security risks, as they decrease IT visibility. And lack mechanisms to control things like data security, access controls, encryption, etc. They also open the door to the development of apps that aren’t aligned with corporate or federal compliance requirements.
These problems exist because enterprises approach the implementation of no-code platforms much as they would a traditional development platform. Citizen developers don’t have the same skills and knowledge of programming languages, architecture, and best practices as the average engineer does. And they can’t be expected to learn standard security or compliance control. This creates a distinct set of organizational challenges that must be addressed.
To be successful with no-code platforms, business must rethink how they’re implemented entirely. We recommend starting at the beginning of the process by considering five key questions.
1. How are you going to implement security, governance, and testing?
Security, governance, and testing are often an afterthought when an enterprise platform is being adopted. Many companies think a platform’s built-in capabilities are sufficient. And this can lead organizations that are implementing a no code apps using platforms to use manual testing and adhoc governance control. undermining employees’ ability to use the platforms and leading to misalignment on objectives.
Organizations must instead adopt a security-first mindset with a test-driven development approach with a series of stopgaps and oversight built into the process. There’s no one size-fits-all solution, and businesses must strike a balance between oversight and agility.
2. What integrations are essential, and how tightly coupled with your no-code platform do you want them to be?
Enterprises typically use built-in adapters/ connectors within no-code apps for system integration, and this results in point-to-point integration. These standard connectors usually don’t scale well over time because they were created with focus on operating with systems/service integration mindset.
3. How can you reduce the risk of technical debt?
Technical debt happens when developers build apps that violate best practices, resulting in structural flaws in the code. Left unfixed, technical debt puts businesses at serious risk. Even though developers don’t write code with no code apps and platforms, there are still configuration and adapter based integration constructs that need careful consideration to prevent violations. These can include:
- Robustness: the stability of an application and the likelihood of introducing new defects when modifying it.
- Performance: The responsiveness of an application.
- Security: An application’s ability to prevent unauthorized intrusions.
- Transferability: The ease with which a new team can understand the application and quickly become productive when working with it during the onboarding period.
- Changeability: The ability to modify an application easily and quickly
- Spreading awareness: Educate your teams; the more citizen developers are aware of the effects of technical debt, the higher a priority eliminating it can and should take.
- Tracking challenges: Use issue trackers to stay organized with regard to technical debt
4. What metrics will determine platform business value?
Choosing metrics requires considerable thought and care to support specific outcomes that truly meets business needs. It’s critical to design measurements that answer business questions and to make incremental improvements to processes and production environments. Some of the objective measures that can be tracked include IT backlog, cycle time, team velocity, security metrics, endpoint incidents, and mean time to failure and recovery.
5.What’s needed to empower citizen developers and reduce IT workload?
Most enterprises do not have a citizen developer enablement playbook that is repeatable and consistent. Onboarding with these programs is typically ad-hoc and lacks the foundation needed for non-business users to be successful. As citizen developers have limited or no coding experience. They need easy to use tools that provide enough functional depth to accommodate their business needs.
Enterprises should adopt a comprehensive citizen developer enablement program with the establishment of a center of enablement (CoE) and set up governance around tools, process, and technology adaption.
With no-code platforms, enterprises have the power to leverage citizen developers to speed time to market and expand engineering capabilities beyond IT, but doing so requires rethinking every aspect of how platforms are adopted.