In the first two posts in this series about the just-right revolution, I made the case for human-centered, customer-driven apps, created and configured without code, to drive the next major shift in technology. The revolution is bringing IT and line-of-business users together in service of what is best for the customer.
Getting to “just right,” means the right data is delivered to the right people on the right device at the right time, in the right format for every user. This post is a mini-manifesto, describing the seven rules of just-right solutions. At Skuid, we view them as mandates to guide everything we do.
1. More human, less machine
Businesses must become more agile and responsive to the needs of human beings. Don’t force people to behave the way computers work. Instead, create apps, processes and devices that work the way people behave. Listen to people and provide needs-matched solutions as individualized as food and clothing choices. Don’t want to go there? Say goodbye to your customers and employees. The future is about human-centered, bespoke apps. What is bespoke? Bespoke means “made to order.”Are you ready? Your customers are.
2. Build to think
In the truly agile, just-right world, you build to think instead of thinking to build. This does not mean you set aside your brain. It means you set aside requirements documents, sit down with actual users, and start assembling apps with their input.
Prototype visually, right before their eyes.Building to think avoids spending months coding a system that gets mothballed at launch because business needs shifted during construction.
Instead, you drag-and-drop to assemble a user interface in minutes, deploy working apps in hours, and iterate constantly to address changing business and user needs. If your current processes and tools don’t support this type of agile, ongoing iteration, it’s time for a change, before it’s too late.
3. Consumerize the enterprise
Consumerize the user experience by democratizing it. Expand the user base of your apps to include leaders, employees, partners, customers and prospects.
Stop buying apps that only work for a narrow set of users. Work toward presenting just-in-time action items and information to your sales team, your sales managers and even your CEO, all with the same user experience platform.
Everyone should see the impact of what’s happening in the business. Provide every user with a way to see that impact in a way that is meaningful for their role.
Focus on apps that get stuff done now. Don’t buy complicated tools or apps that take a year to deploy and months or years to learn. Do as a leader at a large financial services customer recently did with Skuid, switch your user experience (UX) from nouns to verbs.
Instead of a bunch of “tabs with nouns” for navigating complicated data, the company has buttons with verbs that say things like, “Sell a policy.” Clicking the action button reveals a wizard that walks a salesperson through the process, step by step. Say goodbye to spending money and time to train users. Say hello to getting things done now.
4. Get connected
Open up fast access to data stored on other systems. Eliminate data silos without tearing them down. Instead of going through an expensive extract-transform-load (ETL) project, use APIs and Web services to create and edit data on disparate databases.
Deliver all your connected data through a single-sign-on, unified, personalized interface across multiple devices. When users are armed with access to data that is contextualized to their current needs, they can explore valuable new connections that deliver real value to businesses, customers and coworkers.
Disconnected apps, data and user interfaces kill productivity and innovation. This is why so many enterprise platform interfaces feel like working with an irksome, clumsy troll. Kill the trolls to clear the bridges to connected data.
5. Create without code
Issue a cease-and-desist letter to all high-cost, proprietary code. Focus instead on easy-to-use, code-free tools that any business person can use, and that any engineer can extend without frustration.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you have to call your IT department or a systems integrator to make basic changes in your user experience, it’s not sustainable.
Why write code you have to pay someone else to change later when your needs shift? Why spend your money on complex code or systems that only a few of your people can alter? You’ll end up with a gruesome backlog that your IT team will never get through, or a bill from your consultant that will make your head spin.
Instead, spend your budget on code-free tools that 100% of your people, both business and IT people, can use to deliver tangible value. Create and configure solutions without code in 80% less time.
Don’t compromise, or you will regret it.This does not necessarily mean you should fire your consultants. Just the opposite. It means that instead of 80% of your budget getting chewed up by writing code, your consultants can now spend 80% of their time helping you solve your complex business process problems.
The remaining 20% of your consultants’ time can be spent configuring code-free apps to facilitate your new, more efficient processes. In the just-right revolution, everyone wins.
6. Empower the user
Teach your people to fish. Help people to help themselves, so they can solve their own problems cost-effectively by adapting their apps to unique business needs. Instead of spending money to train them on how to use a clunky, painful app to get their job done, teach them how to adapt the app to meet their needs.
Better yet, work with your team to design a better overall experience for everyone, with tools for adapting the experience to departments and roles. Strive to deliver bespoke (custom tailored) apps that fit each business unit and customer type perfectly. But make sure those apps can still be easily adapted to the needs of individual users.
Forget about expensive vertical solutions requiring extensive and expensive customizations by IT experts. Empower each team and each user to adapt solutions as fast as the needs of your business change.
7. Take control of your UX
Don’t get fooled by laser shows, hand-waving or smoke and mirrors. In the coming months, there will be many vendors claiming to offer low-code and no-code user interface tools.
After the hype, dig a little deeper. Get beyond the slick code-laden demos to find out just how far their declarative (drag-and-drop, point-and-click) solutions will take you. Some will try to re-skin their apps, akin to putting lipstick on a pig. Others will offer “me-too” drag-and-drop solutions that deliver little more than a spray-on tan.
The days of vendor-controlled user interfaces are over. Creating user experiences at scale is not about re-skinning or making an interface more hip. Your UX should be all about how you uniquely engage with your employees, partners and customers.
In most cases, the more your UX reflects your IT vendors’ choices about how to access and use data, the less productive your users will be. You know your business. Your software and hardware vendors do not.
Don’t let them put you in a UX box that limits the potential of your data.To scale quickly, you must radically extend the “declarative cliff.” This means you should have complete, deep control of your user interface without writing code.
Can you adapt your user interface around your business processes? Can you completely replace the standard user interface (UI) with your own brand theme? Without writing code? Can you customize an app for each department and role? Can you personalize a page for each individual? If not, ask for more. Far more.
Never let appearances fool you. Don’t settle for incremental changes that only offer the impression of a truly code-free UX platform. Instead, insist on revolutionary leaps in personalization capabilities across the enterprise. Otherwise, you may fall off the declarative cliff very quickly into a bottomless money pit.
Stand and fight for just-right
It’s high-noon for the enterprise and high time to join the “just-right” revolution, creating apps that truly fit the needs of users. Business wants it. Users crave it. Customers demand it. Put the power of app creation and iteration into the hands of business users.
Put the power of a scalable, code-free user experience platform into the hands of your IT team. The business-led, IT-enabled enterprise can enjoy exponential increases in productivity and profitability, and finally enjoy a win-win partnership.
If you have any doubts, just ask customers of Skuid, the first and leading code-free UX platform. Many IT teams and systems integrators have experienced 80% reductions in time to delivery.
Business teams have seen 60% cost reductions in the back office and tremendous increases in revenue and other productivity measurements. Focusing on UX delivers a significant return on investment, according to some studies, up to $100 for every $1 spent.
Now imagine drastically reducing the costs of delivering that UX. This is the power of putting a code-free UX platform into the hands of business and IT users in your organization.
As a business leader, you have likely spent countless hours looking for the right cloud platform, the right database, and the right vertical solutions, only to find them to be inflexible and far too expensive to adapt to the way you do business.
To get to “just right,” the power to deliver apps must ultimately reside with those who use the apps. To some, this sounds scary. But with the right platform, it doesn’t have to be.
The good news
In the future, there will be no single device, no single technology, no single database and no single cloud platform. You already know this. You also know that there will be no single solution to solve all your current and coming challenges.
But wouldn’t it be nice to have a way to quickly address your current problems, knowing that the solution you implement today will be easy to adapt to tomorrow’s challenges, without writing a single line of code? That’s the promise of a scalable, code-free UX management platform (like Skuid).
Instead of writing business requirements, you can prototype in hours instead of weeks. You can deliver working apps in days instead of months.
This is why Gartner recommends that all companies “construct a flexible, API-based framework for mobile app integration and embrace alternative app development approaches, such as code-less tools, to maximize agility and increase app delivery capabilities.”
The good news is that you do not have to construct this flexible, code-free, API-based framework yourself. It’s available now. Get a live demo to see Skuid in action.