No Code, No Smoke, No Mirrors

I wrote recently a blog post about why digital transformation projects are failing and no-code platforms, specifically Appify’s, can address many of the challenges that lead to these failures. We’re currently engaged with a prospect that brings those issues vividly to light.

Today this prospect is using an enterprise field service solution (I’ll refer to it as EFSS from now on, so I don’t name and shame). This was the classic digital transformation story: a big-name brand and a great demo that ticked all the boxes. But here they are, more than a year later: the project budget is gone, many original requirements remain unmet, their IT team has moved on to the next challenge, and there’s no priority or additional budget to close the gaps. 

As a result, this company is living indefinitely with a process that requires their techs to complete a PDF by hand and attach it to the work order in EFSS. That satisfies their compliance needs, but leaves valuable information unsearchable and unavailable in the EFSS work order.It’s moments like these — no-code moments — where Appify shines. We took the PDF these folks are presently using and within a couple hours were able to convert half of it into an app which we then demoed back to them. Our sample app generated the output document for compliance purposes, but it also made the data available and searchable to feed business intelligence.

“Wow,” the prospect said to me — and this is a direct quote — “you delivered in a few hours what EFSS promised us a year ago!”

“You can trust me–I’m the sales guy.”

The moment took me back to former jobs where we “sales guys” would proudly deliver our  check-all-the-boxes demos, but when the customer decided to move forward they’d get an SOW for hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of work in order to deliver what they’d just seen in the demo. Who could be surprised by the followup question: Um, if you already showed us this, why do we need to pay for it?

We’d usually answer with something along the lines of, Well, this was just demo code, it takes lots of time and effort to make it ‘enterprise grade.’ It’s games like these that drive complexity, transience, and time: the three leading causes of digital transformation failure. 

I read the Gartner Magic Quadrant for 2020 and extracted the following quote about EFSS:

Expectation management and support: Gartner consistently hears from clients that EFSS did not provide the guidance needed to plan for or avoid heavy implementation, development, integration or time investments before beginning their projects. Clients should check what is available “out of the box,” as opposed to what has been customized using the platform during demonstrations, and be prescriptive when defining requirements.”

That statement is true for almost all enterprise software today. The general belief is that code equals freedom, but as the classic bumper sticker responds: Freedom isn’t free! Sales teams code what you want to see, then once you’re convinced they’re the solution, hand you an SOW for Enterprise-Grade Freedom, which includes the freedom to engage expensive teams to complete your project; it isn’t uncommon for implementation costs to be 3-5x the cost of the software itself.

Meanwhile, as I referenced in my last post, there’s an 84% chance that you’ll fail. You’ll spend more than you planned, the project will take longer than you planned, and when you reach the finish line you won’t have what you saw in the demo, all those weeks and months ago. 

No, freedom isn’t free. Not at all.  

Appify isn’t free either, but we’re a lot cheaper than those slow, cumbersome enterprise solutions, and we’re a lot more honest. Appify is an enterprise no-code app platform that sits atop your existing systems and makes it easier to create powerful, user-friendly apps to more quickly deliver solutions to your business.

No more faking it

The thing about a no-code platform is that it does exactly what it does and you can’t make it do anything more. There’s no faking it with no-code because, well, there’s no code. When I show you your use case in Appify, you’re looking at your use case working in Appify, not a demo showing you what your use case will look like someday down the road when we actually build it, because we’ve already built it. We’ll probably need to integrate more data sources, there will be more fields, and your business processes will be more complex, but that’s all just more of what we’ve already shown you. In fact, if you become an Appify customer we’ll use that demo we just showed you as the starting point for your final production apps.

All that might sound like common sense — and it certainly is — but the business and IT implications are actually rather profound. if you ask me for something Appify can’t deliver, I have no choice but to be honest, because if we could deliver it we’d already have shown it to you. So we can speak candidly about whether it makes sense strategically, for both you and for Appify, for us to partner to develop that capability. If the answer is no, then there’s no time wasted on false expectations.

Appify can’t solve every one of your business problems, but we can solve most of them, probably quite a few more than you’d expect. And no-code does solve one huge problem: you can trust the demo and, yes, even the sales team.

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Written by Jonathan Skelding VP of Business Strategy & Ops at Appify. Jonathan has been in the software industry for 30 years in a variety of global roles from engineering to services, alliances and sales.