No Code Development Tools Require the Right People
The low and no code development world has an interesting problem. When you sign up for an account online, or finish running the installer on a new server you are left with a blank canvas. Yes, you just spent tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on a tool that doesn’t do anything until somebody configures it. Did you spend enough time thinking about the people who will be using it?
That harsh reality shouldn’t discount the value of a workflow or BPM platform, but it should help you understand that just buying the tool won’t solve your business problem alone. It’s the combination of tools and either the right people internally or the right partner externally. Just remember, you get to choose the people.
To provide insight from a leader in the world of implementing solutions on top of no code and low code development platforms, we sat down with Ramli Somers, CIO at TimeSeries. You’ll learn more about what they do as we dive into the conversation below.
No Code Development is Still Software Delivery
“Software delivery is a profession,” Ramli explained. “It’s hard to train any business analyst on software delivery best practices and enterprise software architecture in 6 weeks.” In our continued conversation Ramli and I agreed that the business should be focused using data to quantify and increase business value. This is exactly what his team at Time Series is all about. They are a full service solution partner for businesses who are ready for digital transformation and execution that requires everything from gathering data, to analyzing and acting on that data. They have a team full of highly educated and experienced professionals who specialize in solving business problems that involve analyzing large amounts of data and/or business processes.
We wanted to interview Ramli to better understand both sides of the software vendor and customer relationship – and at that intersection where the rubber meets the road you’ll find Ramli and a team of people who apply tools to business problems.
It’s kind of funny when you think about it – when a business goes searching for a solution they will compile a list of tools they could use to solve the problem and then spend a great deal of time, effort, and money trying to evaluate how those tools could solve a business problem. Ramli explained, “This is kind of like trying to build a home by going straight to the I-beam supplier. Do you really want to bet the entire solution on how nice that I-beam is? Or do you want to hire a general contractor who can make sure the problem gets solved even if that I-beam supplier has a problem?”
Now, don’t get either Ramli or I wrong here. If a business knows exactly what gap a workflow tool will fill, and they just want a configurable puzzle piece that business analysts can change over time without a ton of change requests to IT, then great! Pick a plan and get rolling. However, most businesses evaluating software solutions are trying to solve a business problem and the complete solution to that problem doesn’t always live inside of the tool. Do you have experienced staff to fill that gap? Are you going to trust the software vendors professional services team to objectively look at your enterprise architecture and make the hard call that doesn’t include a certain feature of their product?
Many large software vendors understand this challenge and have developed a network of trusted solution partners. These partners are commonly brought into the sales process very early on so that the evaluation of the tool is connected with a more objective perspective from experts who have solved that problem before.
Smaller no and low code development vendors don’t have this established network of partners, and it can become a liability for both the vendor and the customer.
Software Vendor Partnership Programs
Ramli has nearly a decade of experience with Mendix (a low code development platform recently acquired by Siemens) and was brought into Time Series years ago to close the solution loop and help their clients act on the data and insights they were producing through their professional services arm. When I asked Ramli what software vendors can do to fill this partner gap, or how vendors can structure meaningful partner programs he suggested a few key ideas.
Ramli suggested that partner programs should provide leads, information, and collateral to their partner network, but more importantly – vendors should curate their list of partners for customers in specific problem areas. We want to match the expertise with the problem – and connect people who have the experience using the tool with the people experiencing the pain in the business. Customers should be wary of bloated partner programs from vendors who are just trying to go to market through as many channels as possible. Customers should look for a clear recommendation from vendors that tie their specific business problem to the expertise of a partner in their network.
Find a Partner Who Understands Your Business and Extends Competency
Ramli continued, “we have a lot of mature technologies available today that were not available a few years ago. It’s unrealistic for every business to develop competency in every new technology. We pick a problem area, customer engagement for example, and focus on how that problem can be solved with new technologies.”
When you log into a no or low code technology for the first time, you should know what business value you want to achieve and how that is mapped to a business problem. If your business problem and requirements are not mapped out yet, then you should probably put a pause on the software purchase and find a partner who can help you accelerate that process.