Companies struggling to find or afford developer talent are increasingly turning to low-code and no-code platforms to give employees in IT and on the business side the chance to build apps. These platforms can improve efficiency, collaboration, workflow integration, and customer service, and in many cases become a necessary part of the business, according to a Tuesday report from no-code provider Quick Base.
Of the 318 customer organizations surveyed worldwide, nearly nine out of 10 no-code platform users said their positions are essential to business success, citing that they directly improved business performance.
No-code apps also allow a more diverse group of employees to work on development, the report found. Almost half of those surveyed using the apps are women, more than four out of 10 are Millennials, and more than seven out of 10 work in business departments outside of IT.
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With so many tools on the market, it can be overwhelming for organizations to know where to get started. IT and line of business leaders can follow these nine tips for implementing no-code development platforms the right way, according to the report:
1. Gain consensus on priorities
Examine any problem areas or important issues in your business, or technology requests that would typically go through IT, to assess where no-code applications could be another option. Seek out opinions from others on the leadership team as well as employees.
2. Select the best technology
While no-code platforms are designed to require no programming experience, platforms must integrate into your existing IT infrastructure with minimal disruption.
3. Start with a pilot
It's always best to start small, with a pilot project that is limited in scope and specific to one business process that doesn't impact many others. Pilots allow you to experiment with the process and the technology, and adjust and improve as you receive feedback.
4. Secure IT mentors
IT leaders are experienced in managing different groups through security, integration, and user adoption challenges. Leaders should assign IT liaisons to those working with no-code tools to provide oversight to business app developers and establish regular communications between business and IT teams.
5. Take security issues seriously
Organizations must balance maintaining a secure infrastructure with encouraging no-code app development, which requires an ongoing partnership between IT and line of business builders. The context of the apps being built, and whether they are standalone or closely tied to other departments' processes, will determine how much IT oversight is needed.
6. Develop documentation
At the start of adopting no-code tools, IT and business leaders should together draft a policy outlining the stakeholders, contributors, processes, and technologies necessary for the projects that the business will most likely undertake. IT can also write out best practices for no-code developers to refer to later, while the developers themselves should create roadmaps detailing their applications for future users.
7. Trust your people
Leaders giving employees the ability to build applications will need to avoid micromanaging, and allow employees to be creative and productive while still encouraging ongoing communication and updates.
8. Test apps before rollout
Leaders must build in a strong quality assurance process before starting even a basic pilot. New apps should be tested for complete functionality, with organizational users performing tasks the applications are meant to address. Only then should the apps be moved to a real-time production environment.
9. Prepare for some bumps in the road
No-code app creation is a learning process, and companies will likely build on initial results over time. However, giving workers the ability to solve some of their own problems with these platforms can free leaders up for more strategic concerns.
"If an app works properly and is accomplishing the key business goal, put it out there," the report stated. "You can always tweak and update it as needed. Agility, after all, is a major key to success in the twenty-first century business world."
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Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.