10 common mistakes in automation with Low-code
Contributor : Maria Ilina
Gartner has recently published the article “10 Automation Mistakes to Avoid”.
It is about failures that typically stem from three types of mistakes — “in approach, implementation and impact.”
40 % of organizations have four or more concurrent hyperautomation initiatives underway, with some organizations executing 15 projects at the same time.
(Gartner, April 19)
Surely it makes sense for any automation project, but does Low-code automation face any different challenges?
How to treat Low-code automation the right way, without oversimplifying or overcomplicating it?
I have given much consideration to this question and, as a result I came up with a list that describes 10 common mistakes in automation with Low-code.
Mistake #1.Choosing the Low-code platform without a Proof of Concept
The main idea of Low-code is making the automation process shorter and easier while fulfilling all custom and industry-specific requirements. A Proof of Concept is essential for understanding if the platform can cover your business requirements and meet your expectations. It also indicates whether the vendor or implementor is ready to listen to your needs and support you in the future.
Action: Create a description of one of the business processes you need to automate. Add a draft of the most important interfaces and send it to a few vendors. In 2-4 weeks you will be able to see the demo of a working solution based on your requirements and choose the solution that is closer for your needs.
Mistake #2. Believing that you can entirely automate your processes without the help of the IT department or a Low-code vendor's implementation team
Working with Low-code platforms is available for both developers and business users, but to start the first project you need to think over the solution architecture. You should keep in mind the existing databases, integration, and security issues. It doesn’t take a lot of time for the IT department or Low-code vendor team to describe these requirements, but skipping this step may cause wasting effort on the same tasks several times.
Action: Even if you are automating only one process you should ask your IT department to help with the requirements. If you don’t have an IT team, you may ask vendors to provide you with business and technical analysts to supervise the initial steps.
Mistake #3. Not engaging the end-user department into the implementation project
Let’s consider the opposite situation. The IT department may plan to carry out the project and then present a working solution to the end-user department.
This approach may cause time-consuming issues if the end-users’ expectations were not fully met. It also happens when the end-user department understands the capabilities of a Low-code platform only after the presentation and wants to add more features to the solution later.
Action: Ask end-users to join the project team from the very beginning. Go step by step, create the proof of concept and the MVP together. Make sure that the end-users are engaged in the project and understand the timeline and the available features.
Mistake #4 Focusing on too specific or too complicated features without describing the initial business processes
Coming to the solution the decision-maker often has a custom interface or one particular feature in mind.. It might be something like advanced CRM features or document template design. Thinking about a single feature narrows the understanding of a platform's capabilities. As a result, attempts to meet the requirement for a single feature may be very time-consuming and don’t lead to the right choices.
Action: Start with a business process description. Think big. A business process-based model will help you to develop an effective solution architecture and implement your business ideas.
Mistake #5. Replacing all corporate software with a Low-code platform at the same time
This happened to everyone: your company may be using a CRM system recommended early on by the CEO’s relative and ERP software that is impossible to integrate with external systems. It sounds reasonable to replace all these systems with an efficient Low-code platform at the same time and get rid of inconvenient software. But running all these initiatives together you may ruin company culture and affect employee engagement.
Action: Start your Low-code initiative with one process and scale it step by step. Leave some pieces of software that let your employees feel comfortable and secure. Apply further changes when they are ready for it.
Mistake #6. Thinking about databases, business process maps, and the automation process separately
When the system administrator is responsible for choosing software, you are likely to get a database. When the business process management department is making decisions, you will end up with a business process map. It’s a joke, of course, but the way you think and understand what the solution is might limit its scalability in the future.
Action: Keep in mind what you want to get from the digital transformation and automation in 3 years’ perspective. With Low-code development tools you will have it this year. You don’t need to postpone it or leave without automation.
Mistake #7. Failing to devote time to the Low-code developers' training
If you are planning to continue building solutions for your company, you should devote time to the Low-code product training. In general training for enterprise software app developers lasts from one to nine months, and they get certificates at the end. If you skip this step, you are unlikely to use all platform’s capabilities, and at some point you will get stuck with features’ limitations.
Action: Devote time to train your citizen developers. Plan it in your implementation project timeline. It will help you to reveal all platform features and capabilities and make the most of them.
Mistake #8. Wasting effort on super nice Low-code interfaces before launching the MVP
Low-code provides many opportunities for custom interfaces. Advanced flexible forms, nice custom widgets, buttons, embedded tables, checkboxes, and more. Although the time you spend on custom design interfaces with Low-code is comparably short, it's like a game: you are enjoying the process and losing track of time. Each iteration takes a little time, but you do dozens of them instead of a reasonable amount.
Action: Start with a functional business process, create and launch an MVP, and then advance and scale it. Low-code platforms allow work to be agile.
Mistake #9. Setting deadlines without recognizing the project scope
Companies generally choose Low-code because of the development speed it offers. But it doesn’t mean that you should start planning your enterprise app development with the deadline. Having in mind a one-month implementation plan may cause you to waste your efforts.
Action: Define what an MVP is for you, describe your processes, important features, and integrations. Make sure the end-users are ready to use the MVP.
It will help you to create the right solution architecture and decide where to apply no-code or Low-code features.
Mistake #10. Treating Low-code аutomation as a 1-minute implementation project
Stating Low-code automation, you should understand that it differs a lot from what you're used to. A Low-code implementation project requires business analytics as well as custom development. You shouldn’t expect this stage to be excluded. At the same time you shouldn't go too far in your requirement planning or predict some market changes and put them into the requirements list. Low-code platforms are flexible enough to apply changes as they come.
Action: When you automate your business with Low-code, put your efforts only into what matters most. It will give you a chance to implement innovations rapidly