The business needs to get work done fast, and they are charged with justifying the resources they use and the results they deliver with them. IT is tasked with helping the business do more with less, go faster, adapt to how the market works, and stay safe while doing so. There is a disconnect between the business outlook and the IT teams, but neither side is to blame: the game has been rigged against both sides from the start.
We know that those closest to the actual work being done should be the ones tasked with changing how they go about getting it done in practice. However, when it comes to creating or changing business processes, workflows and forms used to document and pass work through, ultimately being used in analytics, we immediately turn to the IT team to get all this done.
In some instances, this makes sense, but increasingly it does not, when the business simply needs to put on their Nike’s and “Just Do IT!”
The IT team must interpret and validate as possible, what the business has come up with, and they may even disappoint the business people by telling them, “We don’t have the technology for this yet,” or “This is too big of a security risk to the whole network,” and stop the idea in its tracks. In any event, the constant DevOps mantra is it will cost a million bucks and takes a dozen or more highly-paid developers around 6 months to a year to get anything done, and that is not an exaggeration.
Even where a business application or workflow is delivered, it may not be exactly what was asked for, introducing nuances that diminish positive benefits, or simply does not work at all.
No-one is happy, least of all the customers who are increasingly demanding more and more!
Traditional BPM or Low Code BPM – Favored by IT
Traditional BPM and Low Code BPM solutions are typically favored by the IT team, because they are tools they use to deliver requirements to the business.
They require coding skills to make them work effectively, especially with traditional BPMS, but the key issue here is not the coding requirement, but who they are designed for as the end user.
Big BPM and Low Code are designed for developers, not business users who may have little to zero coding or development skills.
The message of traditional BPM and Low Code platforms has resonated more for IT people precisely because they do understand code, and the current paradigm for developing an application is “give me $1M, 6 months, and a dozen coders,” because anything less just does not work!
The issue with either BPMS is that by introducing more people to the task, it takes more money and it takes longer. By having people not close to the actual work itself, i.e. IT, instead of the business app users, there is the very real risk of failing to deliver satisfaction with the end result or failure to deliver anything of use at all.
None of this is music to the ears of the business stakeholder, who have probably been burned by BPM promises in the past (even if it wasn’t referred to as BPM).
The Appeal of No Code to Business People
No Code BPM platforms hold out the promise of end users being able to develop and modify business applications without the need to touch a line of code.
These platforms rely heavily on drag-and-drop form designers and Visual Workflow at the high end, down to a series of form and workflow templates at the lower end.
They allow non-technical staff to create the forms and workflows needed now.
High performance No Code platforms bring a powerful set of fully customizable tools that the business users needs and understands. When they see a need for an application or a modification of a workflow or form, they simply create or modify what they have to fit their immediate need.
This is rather like the Nike “Just Do It!” tag line: business people simply want to get it done so they can stop feeling work pain, and get onto the next most important thing they can see.
Getting stuff done ‘now’, isn’t just about saving time, or being responsive to the needs of customers or other stakeholders, it is also about saving money: a lot of money. There is no need for the million bucks and a big DevOps team to get forms designed, workflows created, or compiling reports, when your business analyst can do it all themselves while you watch.
That is a powerful message for business leaders looking for ways to gain visibility into what is happening, and to dispel the work chaos created by endless due dates and work priorities being carried out across their team or departments.
The nuance here is that No Code BPM sits within the business unit, and not the IT team (though it could quite easily).
No Code Issues and Non-Issues
Many experts, both in use of BPM and IT will promptly say there is no such thing as a No Code solution.
And they are right to say so, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water!
Even with adaptors and connectors, there will probably always be a need for some coding to be done when it comes to integrating with some of the most popular business systems, such as SAP or PeopleSoft.
However, once the integration work is out of the way, there is not a continuing need for coding involvement, because the business users can now take responsibility for what they create. It is more honest to say that No Code means the business user or analyst charged with creating a business application does not need to code, but the initial deployment of the platform (not the app) may need some coding to be done.
A common criticism may include that using preset workflows, business rules, and forms will put the business into a straitjacket that may help them get their current work chaos under control, but will not adapt to how the business actually needs to perform work going forward. Instead of being flexible, the work platform becomes inflexible, is unable to scale, and creates business silos where an application can be used by a team of a dozen or so, but cannot be accessed by the rest of the organization.
This can be countered by looking at a No Code platform which does offer full customization, typically utilizing drag-and-drop customer form creation, Visual Workflow which needs no notation (such as BPMN), and which can be either restricted to a set of business users, or opened to anyone with the right permission and authority to have access, no matter where they are in the organization or geographically.
It is also probable that there will be issues with a No Code platform because of security and authentication concerns, especially with a cloud platform. Again, some No Code platforms, such as HighGear, satisfy enterprise-class security and authentication requirements and standards, while others do not.
It is a case of buyer beware, and ensure you understand exactly what you are getting instead of being romanced by dreams or work management nirvana.
Finally, there is the issue of just who will be supporting the solution once it is in place, and this is a subject for internal discussion. A business may want the No Code platform managed by IT as far as authentication is concerned, but managing a password reset can be managed by someone within the business unit itself (we have all experienced resetting our passwords for online banking, Facebook, or our private email and no specialist technical skills are required to process such requests).
Why IT Should Start Loving No Code BPM Solutions?
Well, for all of the above reasons and more.
No Code BPM platforms allow IT teams to focus upon what they are critically concerned with: security and authentication, integration, and initial deployment, if this is going to be deployed on-premise in the data center.
Outside of this, it is the business that can and should be responsible for everything else, such as design and discovery, creating forms, workflows, analytics and building the reports which will follow.
The business can also be responsible for user support: we do not need a technically trained support desk to reset a user password when a platform admin can be your team’s business analyst sitting in the same office as the locked-out user.
The IT team gets to deliver a playpen for business users to go wild in, knowing it is safe and secure, but which is now the business’ responsibility to use to get the work done as they see fit, and also to maintain. There is no more blame to be laid at the door of IT teams for not delivering fast enough, or not delivering what was asked, nor indeed, no blame for project failure. All of this is now the responsibility of the business teams involved, not IT, who are now free from the burden of support and get to focus on what they truly care about.
A good No Code solution offers a win-win solution for everyone, with sharper division of responsibility between business units and IT teams, and cheaper and faster development of business applications that can be scaled across the organization as needed.