Boost your digital transformation efforts with citizen development, no-code applications, and DevOps

Digital transformation efforts have accelerated recently due to the increased demand for digital, remote, and contactless experiences. Changes in cloud and hybrid cloud technologies are at the forefront of the technological leap leading these accelerated efforts. In addition, the shift towards cloud-native workloads promotes the adoption of DevOps as a set of tools and methodologies to develop and release high-quality software continuously.

DevOps is a powerful concept that is becoming a de facto way of delivering software applications. DevOps brings agility to companies undergoing digital transformation through continuous integration (CI) of code, continuous delivery (CD) of market-ready software, and continuous testing (CT) of developed applications.

The increasing need for DevOps to automate execution pipelines, tasks, and tools has created a skill shortage that could slow down your digital transformation efforts. However, the rise of citizen development and no-code platforms helps address the DevOps skill gap and provides new ways of reducing digital workloads.

Citizen development and no-code tools for your digital transformation

DevOps serves as the bridge between development and operations. The main goal of DevOps is to shorten the software development lifecycle while enabling the consistent delivery of high-quality software. In addition, DevOps extends the Agile principles, allowing the enterprise to continuously deliver new software features in cycle times of days or hours at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional methods.

Netflix is a great example of the power of DevOps. What we experience when we run the Netflix app on our smart devices or in a browser is a highly-customised front end of a vast IT machine, consisting of hundreds of microservices running on tens of thousands of virtual instances and serving millions of customers. The system is capable of accommodating thousands of software changes in a production environment daily. Perhaps the most impressive statistic is that such a system produces billions of time-series metrics and is managed by a team of around just 70 engineers. Unbelievable? Welcome to the world of DevOps.

Netflix started implementing DevOps as their business transitioned from DVD rentals to online content distribution. Netflix is a truly remarkable example of digital transformation. However, for many companies, establishing a DevOps workflow is no small feat. In addition to the necessary technological changes, companies often face significant up-front investments and uncertainty when predicting the time it will take to see return on investment (ROI). Depending on the company size and line of business, IT transformation efforts may take time. In addition, due to the number of organisations taking their steps towards DevOps transformation, we are seeing a shortage of skilled DevOps engineers.

No-code development tools are ideal solutions for small to medium-sized companies who want to test the waters in application development but can’t dedicate the resources required by ground-up DevOps solutions. In addition, no-code tools empower both the citizen developers (non-IT staff) and experienced developers to accelerate software application deployment.

In essence, by using no-code tools, team members at any software development skill level can rapidly develop, deploy, and manage software applications using high-level programming abstractions, often reached through a drag-and-drop interface. Similarly, a no-code platform simplifies the DevOps tool chain and enables companies to equip all team members with the skills needed to develop end-to-end DevOps pipelines.

Many no-code platform solutions in the market can be helpful for a variety of business cases. While they can be used to build full-fledged enterprise products, no-code tools have proven to be the most useful for making minimum viable products (MVPs). These tools allow companies to develop their applications quickly, get them into customers’ hands, and iterate the solution based on feedback.

Another plausible use of no-code is for automation of manual processes to increase overall enterprise efficiency and allow tracking of customer interactions via CRM integrations.

Finally, no-code can assist companies in improving existing applications and delivering a better user experience.

Five steps to get you started

No-code platforms and tools are gaining in popularity, and it can be challenging for an organisation to start a project or develop a product in this domain. Follow these five steps to get started the right way.

1. Focus on the business value

Like any other project, start with identifying the business value. Next, examine critical technology issues that would typically require the development team to solve. Finally, assess these issues in terms of the no-code approach. This step is crucial in the no-code journey. If your organisation struggles in relating business problems to the available no-code solutions, we can help connect you with the right expertise through HPE’s Pointnext.

2. Select the technology stack

You should determine your no-code technology stack depending on the type of application you are building. It is essential to understand the advantages and disadvantages of no-code tools available on the market. You’re not alone on this journey and we can provide a tailored recommendation for your needs. It’s important to align on the correct direction while in the early project stages.

3. Build the team

As highly skilled developers aren’t necessary to build no-code applications, the best people to make the product are the stakeholders closest to the end-users. People in your organisation who understand the user’s pain point will be the best suited to build the application that addresses that pain point. Building a team requires originality and thorough risk analysis. The best way to learn what works and what does not is to identify best practice and where others have failed.

4. Build MVP and collect feedback

It is best to start small. Start with a limited scope pilot project with few dependencies so that its success will not affect the organisational flow. This approach will enable you to try different technologies and experiment with the development process. It is imperative to install suitable mechanisms to collect insightful and timely feedback from the end-users. As you may have expected, there are no-code tools to do that as well.

5. Improve and automate

Based on the collected feedback, improve your application and continue adding features. After the improved application is launched, you should look to automate as many operational tasks as possible through no-code automation tools. We can connect you with the right tools and expertise to develop no-code DevOps pipelines.

Final thoughts

Digital transformation goes beyond technology and management into how we engage with our customers and our workforce. It gives us a chance to reimagine the way we do business. However, digital transformation does not happen all at once, and there are hurdles associated with the journey.

The supportive technology that helps address those hurdles is also continually evolving. For example, no-code is an effective tool that anyone can use at any stage of product development to test new ideas, build quick prototypes, and improve existing solutions.

Starting with no-code can be overwhelming, but we’re here to help. We can make sure you have the right HPE infrastructure in place for growth and help you access relevant advisory services. HPE Pointnext Services can help you hone your no-code strategy. As your IT partner, we can help you leverage their advisory services and close potential gaps within your business. Reach out to us today to find out how you can benefit from HPE Pointnext’s services to help your digital initiatives succeed.