Interview with Betty Blocks CEO Chris Obdam - What is no-code software and the role of developers in future of product innovation | RetailTechPodcast

Interview with Betty Blocks CEO Chris Obdam - What is no-code software and the role of developers in future of product innovation

  • Interview with Betty Blocks CEO Chris Obdam - What is...
  • 36:33
  • Interview with Betty Blocks CEO Chris Obdam - What is...
  • / 36:33

In this interview I spoke with Chris Obdam, CEO of Betty Blocks on the topic of no-code and low-code software development.  Betty Blocks is one of the leading companies in this space with the vision of enabling business users, aka citizen developers, the power to create applications quickly without the need to involve IT and development teams.


What is low-code and no-code software? The idea that it might take less technical resources to build and improve software products is as appealing as free money to enterprise management, as should be to any business person.  Of course with any new and not-widely-known technology there are a lot of questions and sometimes confusion among the potential clients - the people who could most effectively benefit from these tools.  So I went direct to one of the main sources and innovators in the field to learn more and see how they are helping customers be more innovative.

Gartner includes no-code software a part of Enterprise High-Productivity Application Platform as a Service or HpaPaas as a group of solutions which help enterprises work more efficiently on a variety of different fronts.  They include software development tools such as Betty Blocks in the same group and cover them in their magic quadrant.

This was an important conversation as I belive that the pace and needs for product innovation are currently hampered by the traditional software development processes and organizational structures.  no-code offers a solution to this dillema and Betty Blocks is becoming a global force to push this idea forward.  The hardest challenge in making the change is not the technology or software, it's the organization.  The mindset needs to change in organizations from the individual contributors build code to the C-suite.

Some of the topics we discussed:

- What is no code / low code

- Democratizing the software development world by removing the need for knowing programming to build software applications and experiences.

- Software development by visual modeling

- HpaPaas - High productivity / Gartner

- Low code: still need some programming, no-code: no programming at all.  In low code still need to have familiarity with application development. not a consumer application.

- Difference is with who is using the platform.  low code is typically by experienced developers, with no code from tech to a business oriented person / citizen developer / shadow IT (Gartner).  both are application development platforms.

- Shadow IT is where business users create software apps outside the IT department’s view by nature of the needs of the business, citizen developers are formalized using a platform like Bettyblocks.

- Product managers are a good user of this tech.  interaction designers, business analysts, architects, front-end developers.

- Why did he start BB? first company out of school with brother, Tim.  he was the dev and brother was business trying to create internal systems but always need him to build it.  during that phase they created first version of betty blocks so Tim could automate process using a no code / self service.  and out of that betty blocks arose and they pivoted into this.

- Organizations need to change into an agile format where applications are developed and modified , improved, changed quickly as well.

- 8X faster than developers building in Java

- How do they calculate ROI?

- Modern day approach to software development - agile vs. waterfall, microservices vs. monolith.

- Future of software development with AI and voice advancements

- Case study of how BB worked with a pan-europeans insurance company to change the SW dev process and organization to become more agile before even going into using the platform.

- Industries include fintech, healthcare, property mgmt, government and more

- The impact on the IT departments was to change from a “no we can’t” org to “Yes we can” as IT budgets always put pressure and slow down business product innovation.

-- The role of the CTO, CIO and the rest of the org leadership in seeing this change thru

- Gartner’s bi-modal IT

- The user / market’s expectation of where no-code is and where it actually is differ in terms of the complexity of the products being built using no-code.

- Does blockchain have a role in building or maintaining SW libraries?

- The Block store

- Developer happiness, the office move and the what’s next for the product

- On happy employees and teams, the Jungle, and importance of the office environment in productivity and quality of the product.

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