The thought ‘I really wish I could automate this’ has undoubtedly been had by just about everyone reading this article. With greater exposure to automation in practically every business today, people’s understanding of what could be automated and their day-dreaming tech wishlist are growing. Perhaps you now regret not taking that lunchtime coding course – but fear not! You are more capable than you might think.
What we’re talking about here is the ability for business users to bring their automation ideas to life with methods well within their capabilities. ‘Visual development platforms’ provide a simple drag-and-drop interface with modular processes and actions, enabling people to develop custom digital tools without any prior coding experience. These platforms are the driver behind so-called ‘citizen development’ – the idea that non-technically trained individuals are able to develop software. Think of it as bringing down the barrier to creating automation tools.
Quite simply, if you think you could automate something, you probably can. And you can probably do it in a visual development (or ‘no-code’) platform quicker than you think.
Having the means at hand allows you and others in your business to ‘give it a go’. The objectives driving a desire to automate at a personal level are very likely to correlate with broader business objectives too – save time, save money, improve accuracy, improve productivity, have access to actionable insights and analytics.
You might be thinking, why would I get a person from department X to pause their work in order to try and automate it, rather than roping in the IT department or external developers? Well, the people closest to a process or problem are always going to be the people that know it best. Even setting aside the (usually time-taking) process of getting IT involved or external developers on board, a significant amount of time is usually spent going back and forth, addressing misunderstandings about needs and requirements for a particular digital tool.
Additionally, by having the tool developed by the people who truly understand the process and its requirements, this initial time investment pays dividends when it comes to the digital solution hacking away at the time (and money) previously spent on the process.
Empowering people in your business who have ideas, inspiring them and showing them that they are able to develop fully-fledged automation tools, and appreciating that their own ideas and intentions align with that of the business are all parts of a mindset that delivers truly significant results in a digital transformation program.
Is it really that easy?
Visual development platforms do vary in terms of their ease-of-use and initial learning curve. For this reason, it’s key to ensure that a particular platform is the right one for you, with a balance of accessibility and functionality to meet your needs. But in general, a true no-code or visual development platform does make it infinitely easier than ever before for non-technical individuals to develop digital solutions. Some platforms also allow you to sketch out an idea in minutes before exporting it to a development environment with more complex functionality. This means you can truly get from idea to a fully working digital solution in just hours or days.
A key benefit, not to be overlooked, is that you avoid the entire request and scoping process which would otherwise take place with an internal IT team or external developers. Instead you can instantly start sketching out on a digital whiteboard. Additionally, having the development in your own control means that you can have an iterative build process. Construct parts of a process or task, link them together, and add in integrations over time and as your requirements dictate.
What if i don’t have the time or bandwidth?
It is important to note that building in a visual development platform like Neota is significantly faster than in code. However, if you simply don’t have the time or bandwidth, it can still be a very beneficial approach to take.
Neota offers a Managed Service add-on, where our seasoned Solution Architects are available to build your tool out for you, or parts of it, as you require. Now you might be thinking why this would be different to just hiring an external development team of coders. Well, again, building in a visual development platform is much quicker than in code, no matter how experienced a coder is. It’s very likely that an external no-code build would be much cheaper than traditional external developers too. But crucially, this approach still allows you to understand the build, how you can iterate upon it in the future, and jump starts your no-code journey.
Bringing ideas to life
The key takeaway here is that you really can bring your automation ideas to life without much difficulty at all, and certainly without learning how to code. Present us with your ideas and digital solution dreams. From business process automation to document automation, automated legal advice to procurement technology, you can do it all.