Monday, 13 November 2023

Best practice for no-code and low-code solutions

No-code and low-code solutions offer the tantalising promise of turning every member of staff into a developer. But how do you make the most of these opportunities?

No-code and low-code solutions offer the tantalising promise of turning every member of staff into a developer – enabling everyone in your organisation to use technology creatively to solve the real-world business challenges they face every day.


But how do you make the most of these opportunities?

And what controls should you put in place to prevent the no-code experiment turning into the wild west?


Here's the Grant McGregor team’s best-practice tips to get the most from your no-code and low-code solutions.


#1. Establish the ground rules

You need to consider the process and people long before you start considering the technology. 

Start planning early. How do you want to deploy these technologies within your organisation? How are you going to avoid duplication of effort? How are you going to establish a process of quality control? How can you balance the desire to encourage innovation to flourish with the risk of it becoming a free for all?


#2. Choose the right software

There are many no-code and low-code applications available. While many are great at small-scale innovations, it’s important to consider what will happen if you are successful and you need to scale up. How will it fit with your existing architecture? How will you ensure your security and access policies are applied? How will it sit within your existing data flows? 

For this reason, we are strong advocates of starting with Microsoft’s Power Platform. It offers a range of no-code and low-code tools, including:

  • Power BI for building reporting and dashboards
  • Power Automate for building automated workflows and robotic process automation (RPA)
  • Power Apps for creating your own business apps.


The great thing for businesses which are already using Microsoft 365 and the Microsoft Azure cloud is Power Platform’s easy integration with your existing apps and infrastructure. This is especially important when it comes to rolling out Power Apps, for example. You can use existing Active Directory (or Microsoft Entra ID, as it is now) IDs and policies to ensure security over your apps and data. 

That’s important if your low-code apps are going to remain low-code solutions as you roll them out. You don’t want lots of behind-the-scenes work to code access policies and apply security policies; it kind of defeats the purpose.


#3. Test the appetite

Identify a number of people within different lines of business who are willing to work with you in the early stages. You can select them by calling for app development ideas, in a self-selection process. Or you might work with line of business managers to identify people with good digital skills who are keen to develop their digital skills further. 

Early on, running workshops with your users to identify opportunities and explore the art of the possible are very important to get ideas flowing and build skills and confidence.


#4. Establish a centre of excellence

Once you have a few wins under your belt and you want to roll out you low-code and no-code programme more widely, you’ll want to establish a central management team or centre of excellence (CoE) who can oversee the use of the technologies and ensure good quality control. 

This team will be part inspiration, part gatekeepers, part developers, and part capacity building. As your project matures, they can move away from gatekeeping and development duties and will be more involved in capacity building in your line of business teams.


#5. Publish guidance and resources

Make guidance available centrally. This will be another responsibility of your CoE team. Ideally, you should use your low-code tools to create and disseminate this guidance. For example, create the brand bible for your reporting output in Power BI.


#6. Look for champions

To embed any change, you need people in the business to be your cheerleaders. Your CoE team will have an important role to play in identifying these champions. Invest time and resources into rewarding your champions and encourage them to share their enthusiasm – whether its via team lunches where they can share their experiences or profile pieces on your Intranet.


#7. Encourage collaboration

One of the most important duties of your centre of excellence is to encourage collaboration across the different teams in your business. They are the team with the overview of what’s happening in the different lines of business so they are well placed to ensure that work doesn’t happen in silos.

As well as preventing duplication of effort, this is important because it is a good way to share learning and inspire more people to get involved. 


#8. Celebrate success

Your CoE team will also need an internal communications plan to encourage participation and reward people who have put time and effort into the project. As part of your communications, invest the time to do “before and after” studies. Being able to show exactly what a newly developed Power App is saving the business (in time or money or any other quantifiable metric) is a great way to make your successes tangible to people across the business. 

If your innovations are client facing, include feedback from your clients or quantifiable metrics, such as improvements to your Net Promoter score, which can illustrate your successes here.


#9. Promote internally

Given the well-publicised shortage of digital skills, promoting your line of business champions into your Centre of Excellence or IT team is a great way to ensure you are building (and rewarding) digital skills sustainably. 


#10. Review and adapt

Iterate. Review. Gather feedback. And iterate again. Your low-code development process will never be complete. The ability to continually develop and add to your innovations in another huge advantage of these tools.


Best practice for no-code and low-code solutions

We hope we’ve given you some useful ideas about how to get started with no-code and low-code solutions in your business. If you would like specific help building out elements of your programme, please reach out to the Grant McGregor team.

We are happy to advise on infrastructure, hosting, cost-optimisation and data governance and architectures to ensure your no-code development programme is a success.


What next?

If you’d like personalised advice or guidance about how to implement – or to improve your use of – no-code and low-code technologies at your organisation, please reach out to the Grant McGregor team.

We’re always happy to offer help and guidance. 

Call us: 0808 164 4142 

Message us: 

Further reading

You can find more best practice hints and tips about technology topics on our blog:

•    Tips for getting the most from Power Platform

•    AI’s new role in cyber security

•    Choosing the right Business Intelligence tools

•    How can your organisation mitigate the tech skills gap?

•    What Is Citizen Development? And Should You Be Doing It?

•    Tips for successfully implementing a zero-trust approach to cyber security

•    What can we learn from the NCSC’s sixth Active Cyber Defence report?