Low-code platforms are about more than just addressing a tech shortage. Low-code platforms democratize the development process, fostering creativity and innovation among employees who understand their customers and products best.
In many respects, low-code platforms are what DevOps is about. They facilitate fast, iterative commits while enhancing organizational agility. Still, a transition to a low-code platform can be a tremendous undertaking, especially if an organization has already established a complex technology stack.
Through automated testing, quality gates, and reliable DevOps processes, you can create a comprehensive DevOps transition plan to low-code. How can you make a smoother jump to low-code?
Create a Culture of Low-Code
Without a low-code platform, all code passes through the development team. Often, this creates a bottleneck that isn’t good for DevOps. Once the development team gets backed up, it can’t push commits to the live environment. The organization can no longer respond to internal and external pressures — and technical debt builds up.
Low-code platforms empower employees to push impactful changes through the development pipeline. In a low-code environment, tech savvy employees can take over some of the development process — and the company will achieve greater levels of agility. Meanwhile, professional developers have more time to innovate and solve tricky problems that require their advanced skill sets.
To fully benefit from low-code platforms, companies must adopt a low-code philosophy. A transition to low-code technology demands buy-in at all levels of company culture. To achieve success, companies will need to engage in complete digital transformation, from the roles and responsibilities of their team to the organization’s tech stack.
Emphasize the major benefits of low-code environments:
- Citizen developers without significant coding experience can now manage their software.
- You can address talent shortages and brain drain.
- Pro-coders can direct their attention to more complicated problems.
- All employees within the organization will get a chance to innovate.
Assess Your Current Environment
Create a comprehensive map of your existing processes — including applications, data, and infrastructure. Identify teams currently responsible for each of these components. Which will be analogous to your new low-code environment? Which roles and functions may disappear? Now is your organization’s chance to streamline its operations and eliminate gaps.
Not every organization will benefit from a transition to low-code. If your organization has a highly complex, robust, and strictly controlled tech stack, it may be ill-suited to a low-code/no-code environment. But most organizations will start to see the benefits of a low-code environment when assessing their current capabilities.
DevOps requires clear inter-department communication and diverse, cross-functional teams. A low-code environment won’t change this — but it will shift development processes across the company rather than throwing everything on development teams. Ready employees for their additional roles and responsibilities and prepare them for the changes. The more employees take ownership of these new roles, the stronger the results.
Determine a Migration Strategy
How do you transition your operations to a low-code environment? Will your coding environment port directly into the new system? Or will you rebuild your existing application from scratch?
Your migration strategy isn’t just essential; it provides your first opportunity to benefit from low-code. As you migrate your code from platform to platform, you will get the chance to improve.
Consider automation strategies for your migration, in terms of automated importing, data validation, and quality assurance.
Build and Automate Your Tech Stack
To successfully transition to a low-code platform, you need to update your tech stack and pipeline. For some organizations, this will be simpler than others. Build an end-to-end pipeline for your commits, find the right platform, and identify critical integrations and add-ons.
Look for opportunities to automate and streamline your existing processes. CI/CD strategies become critical when an organization transitions to a low-code environment, to elevate the quality of the code produced and to mitigate potential disruption.
Many organizations presently use Salesforce as the backbone of their technology stack, as a robust solution with solid support.
Identify Potential Challenges and Pitfalls
Take the time to assess and address potential challenges. There are still some problems with low-code environments: security, overconfidence, and over-saturation.
- Address security issues through manual and automated testing. Automated testing will reduce the potential disruption that can be caused when everyone is collaborating on a platform at the same time.
- Manage quality issues and overconfidence through strategic quality gates. Automation and quality gates will enforce standards for code production, preventing low-quality commits from being introduced into the live environment.
- Create systems of controls to promote valuable, meaningful innovation. Reduce the potential for over-saturation by enhancing communication and creativity within your teams.
In a low-code environment, you can make some customizations, but platforms often make it tricky to add code or limit what you can change. Take time to understand your platform’s capabilities and what level of customization it allows.
Provide Support and Training
Create a training and support plan for teams. Transitioning to a low-code platform isn’t a “once and done” situation; you need prolonged, sustained support. Having a technology partner can help your organization provide this support and training without disruption.
Consider developing technology ambassadors — individual employees and specialists who are well-versed in the low-code platform and able to extol its benefits. These technology ambassadors will ease the transition and improve adoption within their teams.
Build a DevOps Transition Plan
Is your organization ready to transition to a low-code platform? Before developing your DevOps transition plan, audit your existing DevOps performance. How close are you to achieving DevOps success? How can automation and a low-code environment help?
While a low-code platform will augment your DevOps strategies, it can’t heal them. Your organization will still need to address any weaknesses within its DevOps strategies before seeing the true benefits.