No code work platforms and business toolkits have typically appealed to the business user who has a need to fix an immediate pain-causing problem. A serious criticism is that no code may be able to provide a quick and dirty fix, but the application cannot be scaled or applied elsewhere within the organization. There are also the issues of security, support, user adoption and accountability, not to mention as soon as no code applications need to integrate with other business systems, they suddenly lose their ‘no code’ status.
Is it possible for a no code platform to actually create business applications that can be scaled, and are fit to break out of their adoption silos so they may be readily applied elsewhere? Can they be truly integrated into an enterprise infrastructure in a useful, managed and meaningful fashion?
Ultimately, are they truly a solution for the fast creation of business applications and workflows that deliver value?
When No Code Means No Code!
First, what do we mean by a ‘no code’?
We refer to no code as meaning that the user does not need to write code, or have code written for them, to create workflows and business applications that they can publish into a live work environment.
We do not mean that a no code platform can be deployed or integrated with other business systems without the possibility of coding being required. Deployment without any coding is certainly possible, and we have clients who have done this, however if integration means more than simply importing and exporting data using a CSV file, then some coding is going to be required, but only at the integration stage.
The essence is that once deployed and setup, the person creating business apps does not need to code or have coding done for them.
HighGear coding requirements tend to be very light unless there is very heavy integration work with custom systems. Even in such cases, and especially where legacy systems are in play, the benefits from setting up a no code environment extend beyond simply providing Citizen developers with a business app creation platform to play with (see this article on extending the life of legacy systems using a no code platform).
What Matters to IT?
IT teams are most concerned with security, and especially with what happens when the lunatics are running the asylum!
Alongside authentication, IT teams will be most concerned about integration with other business systems.
HighGear meets all major security standards, including SOX, ISO, NIST 800-53, SAS 70, and more. Unlike many no code solutions, HighGear will satisfy an enterprise-grade security audit and it is already deployed with organizations such as the US Marines and Fifth Third Bank, which means HighGear has already passed stringent government and commercial banking security tests.
HighGear also provides a robust API which allows for quick and simple integration with any business system, including custom point solutions.
Where HighGear is deployed as an On Premises solution, a server will need to be provisioned and managed, however the cloud offering does not require IT involvement unless desired.
Finally, IT does not need to support HighGear – business users (“admins” who use the tools to create business apps and workflows may manage the users of their apps directly).
What Matters to the Business?
What matters to the business is the discovery and design aspects of workflow creation and business app creation or modification.
This boils down to firstly, the creation of forms, to manage work through the various stages of a process. Secondly, the design of workflows and applications to meet their needs today (not tomorrow). Thirdly, what reporting and analytics are required from the work activity data that is generated.
All of these things need to be done quickly and cost-effectively, and also be capable of being changed as required. A traditional DevOps approach, or even the most agile and sympathetic IT team simply cannot keep pace to meet the demand.
HighGear is a true No Code solution which business users can employ to create or modify workflows, and have them pushed into a live operational environment in a fraction of the time it has historically taken, and for a fraction of the cost.
The Benefits of a No Code Workflow Platform
There are numerous benefits to deploying HighGear as your no code platform:
Faster Development of Applications and Workflows
HighGear needs to be seen in action in order to truly appreciate the speed of the platform. We are not talking about how long it takes to load a screen or processing power: with HighGear, creating and testing a business application in a morning, and having it running in a live environment by the afternoon is very possible!
HighGear’s no code platform is exceptionally fast, which means you get to experiment with what works, dismiss what fails very quickly, and rapidly move on to the next improvement step with an existing process, or focus attention elsewhere within your operation.
Reduce Costs of Business App Development
No code means you do not need an army of developers to create what you are looking for.
Not only do you save a great deal of time, you also save significant sums of money due to less need to hire coders, while making your existing staff much more productive.
Imagine what happens to your cost structure when a team supervisor is able to perform tasks such as create or modify a customized form within minutes?
A traditional DevOps approach to business app development is to demand a 7-figure budget, 6 months (at notice) and they prioritize how the app will finally look and work.
Using HighGear, a marketing director can schedule an editorial calendar for her team in an afternoon, including the creation of recurring tasks, automated due date notification, alerts when deadlines are being approached or missed, escalation when critical tasks are not getting done or are causing a bottleneck.
On top of this, automated reporting and distribution means far less time is wasted on being non-productive, while only those with the authority to data contained within a report actually get access.
A no code platform doesn’t just fuel your people’s efforts to get work done, it helps them focus on the right work at the right time, while automating mundane tasks frees them from non-productivity.
Baking-In Compliance and Business Rules
The claim that a business is in a “highly regulated industry” no longer signifies a unique status, such as traditionally claimed by banks, insurers, or financial institutions. Practically every business is now operating within a highly regulated industry given the weight and proliferation of regulation.
Work platforms and business apps must be capable of baking-in whatever rules are required for the performance and completion of work, especially with knowledge workers who must be able to exercise judgment, but within acceptable limits and properly documented and recorded.
HighGear No Code workflow platform comes complete with an Audit Trail that records every keystroke, mouse click, and action performed upon it, whether triggered by a human user or workflow ( here is a great article on using the Audit Trail by John Barr, HighGear Customer Support Team Lead).
Using the Visual Workflow designer, business rules of any nature can be built directly into the underlying processes and workflows that form the basis of any business application.
This is a major benefit for any business, including a highly-regulated operation, because from start to finish, nothing falls between the cracks, everything is recorded (digitally), and now you can inspect everything and anything with a few clicks of your mouse.
Change and Modification are Faster and Simpler
Work does not take place in a static environment, and the nature of what we do and how we perform work is constantly changing. A small change may simply need an additional field on a form, or the addition of some simple logic to a workflow decision node, but in a traditional environment this may take weeks if it is possible at all.
In a no code environment, such changes take minutes, and even more substantive changes can be performed in a fraction of the time of a traditional approach. Even better, there is no increase in the burden of often over-stretched IT departments, in fact the reverse is true: by allowing a business analyst in the customer support department to add a form field, workload is reduced for IT.
Increasing Strategic Thinking Time
Existing no-code customers utilizing HighGear frequently report an increase in time available for managers to focus on how work gets done, and improving performance. The reason for this is two-fold: firstly, better organization and prioritization means a more effective use of time itself, but the most important reason is because of the transference and delegation of work.
By automating work, junior staff are able to perform higher-level work activity normally handled by more senior staff. By freeing up senior staff, they are able to both better direct existing work efforts (true work management) and spend time on thinking and strategizing, which leads to experimentation, and ultimately process improvement.
Empowering Digital Transformation
No code delivers the ability to create a business app in minutes, without the need for coding or dev skills. Not only can the created app be scaled up and down as demand dictates, but the globalization and collaboration features of HighGear work to eliminate the creation of silos, allowing apps to be utilized wherever they are needed within the organization.
By simplifying the complexity associated with business app development, regular people can solve problems faster and much more cheaply than a team of DevOps. The business analyst who creates a workflow for use within their team may not consider themselves as digitally transforming their organization, but when using HighGear this is exactly what is happening.
The creation of a workflow within HighGear explicitly results in work automation and recording in a digital format. The collaboration and notification features ensure lines of communication are created and kept open as required. HighGear further breaks the connection between the physical location of management and work, allowing managers to effectively manage remotely, or workers to work wherever they are required, but always adhering to the same standards.
No Code does not mean No Power!
No Code also does not mean there will be no coding involved, because integration with other business systems may require this.
No Code does mean that a business user should be able to create a business application or workflow, and have it pushed into a live operational state without writing a line of code, or having coding done for them!
HighGear is a very powerful No Code platform which allows non-specialists to create operational workflows and business applications extremely quickly, all within a highly-secure, IT-sanctioned environment.