How to select a no-code vendor to drive your digital transformation forward
Today, the success of a business hinges on agility and speed. Enterprises are faced with a harsh reality where they are required to release fast or risk losing valuable customers.
The demand for software far exceeds the capacity of the internal IT teams to deliver. No-code development platforms solve this problem by empowering citizen developers – or users without coding knowledge – to pitch in with the help of visual tools for software and app development.
At the same time, there’s no question that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand for low-code/no-code movement out of necessity. Digital transformation initiatives must be pushed forward quickly, IT teams are overwhelmed, and business users cannot wait around for months on end for business apps that they need to do their jobs.
Your guide to selecting a no-code vendor for enterprise
Until recently, no-code platforms have been confined to the world of SMBs. Now, enterprise-grade no-code platforms are taking the world by storm injecting much-needed agility into the world of enterprise IT.
But with the variety of no-code platforms out there, how can you select the best one for your organization? Use this seven-step process as a guide to find the best no-code/low-code platform for your needs.
Step 1: Analyze where a no-code platform will deliver the biggest impact
The first step is to look at all your projects and estimate where introducing no-code tools will have the biggest business and organizational impact.
Look at your backlogs to search for patterns. Especially interesting for our purposes are the relatively simple, repeatable tasks that come up a lot. Search for bottlenecks that could be resolved by empowering business users to deliver apps to solve their pain points.
For example, if your developers spend a disproportionate amount of time on simple maintenance and integration tasks, a no-code integration platform might be a good starting point. If your backlogs mainly come from digital customer journeys, a platform for digital customer experience can be a better bet.
One example of a perfect no-code project is digitizing customer-facing forms in insurance and financial institutions. Financial service enterprises must collect data and signatures from customers. Organizations often have hundreds or even thousands form variants that must be digitized.
Turning those forms into digital journeys is a perfect task for your first no-code project for several reasons. Forms are standardized and repeatable. Tasks pertaining to form digitization are relatively simple but, at the same time, high volume, and therefore end up taking a lot of the IT team’s time.
Manual processes associated with data and signature collection are negatively impacting the customer experience. Manual data entry leads to errors, delays, and skyrocketing operational costs.
If this is the case in your organization, digitizing forms will have a high ROI as forms are customer-facing and play a pivotal role in your customer journey. By transforming forms with a no-code platform, you will be able to deliver high ROI and improve customer experience quickly.
Step 2: Evaluate the no-code vendor’s business domain expertise
To succeed, vendors must deliver both business-domain and development-platform expertise. A vendor’s area of expertise is of vital importance. Look at the current customer list: does it include companies of your size from your industry and sector?
Financial services such as banking and insurance, for example, require support for strict regulatory and compliance requirements. Vendors who already have customers in that space have already proven their capability to support these requirements.
Since no-code tools have limited customization capabilities to simplify usage, vendors with many customers in a specific space would have honed the platform to answer a particular industry’s unique needs. So the domain expertise of a no-code vendor is crucial for the success of your project.
Step 3: Look at the security standards of the no-code platform
Information security is a vital concern for any business that outsources its vital business functions to third parties. The importance of stringent vendor management cannot be overstated. Especially, when taking into account growing third-party risks associated with outsourcing vital business processes and functions to a no-code platform.
To limit your risk exposure from a no-code platform, ensure that your vendor is compliant with international security standards such as SOC2 or ISO. Recognized compliance certifications are a good indicator of the vendor’s internal security practices. For example, SOC 2 compliance provides certified assurance over controls relevant to security, processing integrity, availability, confidentiality, and/or privacy of systems and the data the systems store or process.
This assurance is vital to limiting third-party risk, especially when dealing with no-code projects that involve customer data.
Step 4: Evaluate management and monitoring capabilities of the no-code platform
According to Steve Jones, CTO of Capgemini, organizations must be careful when using no-code tools as those tools can accelerate the development of bad quality applications.
“If there is one thing for certain, it’s that each subsequent generation of technology makes it easier to build bad solutions fast.”
To prevent bad code from snowballing, no-code environments need a centralized management dashboard that will allow IT teams to automatically manage permissions and policies and prevent mistakes that business users will inevitably make.
Instead of developing every new process from scratch, another option is to duplicate app templates that have already been vetted by the IT and security teams. This strategy will empower you to truly amplify your development capabilities while limiting risks.
Step 5: Look at your entire tech-stack
No tool in your technology toolbox is good on its own. To bring the maximum value to your organization, the tool you select must integrate seamlessly with the digital tools you already use.
Look at the backend systems that must be integrated with your no-code platform. Does the vendor support simple integration through an API? Can your developers tap into the system to integrate with legacy and core systems you use? What about CRM support?
Those are all important questions to ask your no-code vendor during the vetting process.
Step 6: Look at components and features
To put it simply, no-code tools provide “lego-like blocks of business functionality.” These blocks are then used to configure and compose enterprise applications. So it only makes sense to verify that the blocks the vendor provides are fit for purpose.
One way to ensure that the components and features are sufficient for your organization is to look at projects created by other organizations with these tools. Are all components you need for your applications available? Can the vendor support the development of a customized component if you so require?
Step 7: Look at the quality of support
Enterprises require responsive, timely, and extensive support due to the complexity of their IT stack. When selecting a vendor, ensure that the vendor has a reputation as a good, enterprise-grade partner to work with.
Select the right vendor for your needs
Not all no-code vendors are created equal. To select the best vendor for your needs, you must start by mapping out your requirements and then looking for the vendor that fits the bill.
We recommend starting with a high-impact, low-risk project, such as digitizing customer-facing forms. If you are still using manual processes to collect customer data and signatures, the negative impact on your organization is difficult to overestimate. Manual processes lead to snowballing backlogs, errors in data, and slow customer service, which negatively impact customer experience. Calculate the true cost of manual paperwork here.