25: Syncing with ServiceNow: There’s an app for that: How low-code tools boost finance productivity

Nov 14, 2023

It’s no secret that finance organizations are ripe for disruption. Managing money has always been a manual process, from securing payment orders to renewing licenses, and everything in between.

That’s why ServiceNow Chief Financial Officer Gina Mastantuono invested in a formal citizen development program. She wanted to encourage all finance employees to lean into no- or low-code tools, such as App Engine Studio, to build applications.

Today, 15% of ServiceNow finance employees are citizen developers, with nearly 30 applications in development and production—all built on the Now Platform.

“I’m always thinking about how we can become the finance organization of the future, where the entire team can do their best work. That’s why we invested in this program,” Mastantuono says.

“Now we’re automating the mundane yet essential transactional work, centralizing workflows, and paving the way for more impactful work that minimizes risk, drives innovation, accelerates productivity, and builds better cross-functional relationships. It’s critical to our digital transformation.”

Host: Andy Whiteside
Co-host: Fred Reynolds
Co-host: Becky Whiten
Guest: Eddie McDonald
Guest: John Dahl

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Andy Whiteside: Hello, everyone! Welcome to Episode 25 of syncing with service. Now I’m your host, Andy Whiteside. My crowd, my team the panel is growing, of course. Fred Reynolds is with us. Fred runs the modern apps practice, which includes service. Now as integra. Fred, how’s it going? Today? I am, i’m good. This is podcast. Monday. This is, you know, Monday, I’m anywhere between 2 to 6 podcasts. And I think I just added another one this morning. I find stuff I wanna talk to people about. And I make a podcast out of it. And next thing, I know, I wonder why my Mondays are just

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Andy Whiteside: just vanish on me.

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Andy Whiteside: How many new things you learn every Monday? I do learn a lot. That’s that’s the important part. That’s kind of tagline for the podcast is you know, talking about service now, but with context around it, with this group of people which really goes a long way. And hopefully, people are getting a lot of value out of these today is November sixth, 2023. And we got a pod got a blog room review here just a second. But Fred, I wanna I’m gonna use Becky Becky Whiten, because Becky’s been with us couple of times, and Becky’s one of our consultants and architects.

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Andy Whiteside: Becky, how’s it going?

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Becky Whiten: It’s going good.

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Becky Whiten: happy mistake!

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Andy Whiteside: Becky’s always cheering. We got these things, too. It it that’s uplifting Fred. You’ve got 2 new members of your team on, and I’m gonna ask you to introduce them and help help us understand better why they’re at Zintigra and what they’re doing with us. Yeah, I’m extremely excited today. So Eddie Mcdonald started today as integrity. He is our

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Fred Reynolds: Eddie’s got 11 plus years and service dot ecosystem. He’s done a lot of different roles. And, Eddie, I might let you explain a little bit about those but but I’ll I’ll puzzle that and go to John real quick. John. John pronounced your lessons at Dole. Oh, okay, good. He’s a senior developer. What again? Over team years of service now, experience to so real quickly I won’t do justice. But so, Eddie, can I explain a little bit about your history in just a minute.

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Eddie: Oh, thanks, Fred, and thanks. Andy.

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Eddie: yeah, 11 years this this month. Actually, had a number of roles as a developer and engagement manager. I was a sales leader. Pretty much service now is all I know. If service now goes out of business, I gotta sell shoes or something. I have no idea what I’ll do next. But yeah, I am a one-trick pony. As far as that goes, I am all in on service now. Well, one trick, pony and service now is, say, well, first of all, 11 years.

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Eddie: I mean, you don’t meet people very often that have double digit years with service. Now, how long’s the how long’s the product? Really, really been? Go to market? So II started, well, okay. So so Becky brought in Kristen, who brought in me. So I came in in Berlin.

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Fred Reynolds: so Becky was probably there before they even had city names. Becky, you probably the right person to tell us the story. How did how did Eddie find his way to the service now? World?

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Andy Whiteside: And when?

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Becky Whiten:  well, through Kristen? Really? So I brought Kristen in.

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Becky Whiten: and then Kristen brought.

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Becky Whiten: Hey, Eddie was like, what are you working on? What are you doing? And so forth. And so, you know. Service now is

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Becky Whiten: fairly

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Becky Whiten: easy to get started into, and there’s so many different avenues. Whether or not you’re a project manager or your developer different roles and so forth. And you know, you could start out at one thing and then really move into and grow into another role onto it. And so I think that’s kind of where Eddie

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Becky Whiten: started. So Kristen helped him as well, and brought him in, and he learned a lot about service now as she did and it’s grown. And honestly, you know, we’re just.

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Becky Whiten: You’re you’re looking at. This is a small batch, but I, my son is in it. My niece is in it. We have brought, you know. I have another sister that’s in it.

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Becky Whiten: So yes.

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Becky Whiten: yeah. Graphs.

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Andy Whiteside: II kind of. Don’t know what the excitement is it because of the

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Andy Whiteside: So, Eddie? Let’s let’s go to Edward, John. We’ll get you in a second. Eddie. What? What was it about service now that got you from doing whatever you’re doing before? Well, first of all, what you’re doing before. Was it technical or not technical.

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Andy Whiteside: It was semi-technical. I was actually a I was a construction designer. So II spent a lot of time on the laptop, but I did. It was you could actually feel and touch the things I was building. Yeah, what what was the thing that got you into service now? And what’s the thing that’s kept you in service. Now

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Eddie: you know what it’s universal. The thing that got me into service now was the ability to take care of the mundane tasks in my previous job, working in the construction design. Everything was about emails and phone calls and was always chasing my tail. And the first thing that Kristen did. She literally brought a whiteboard into my house, and she, with a magic marker and a whiteboard, was white, was working it out. How we can automate these

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Eddie: this task. And I was thinking, how would this would apply to my current job? But then I started. I really immediately through Kristen and then through Becky understood how this can scale and the opportunity that was in front of me. So I learned how to bang out some javascript, and I did that. And and just started from there, it’s kind of scaled up.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah, no, it’s awesome Becky. Their monthly. I don’t know if we have your origin story recorded in here or not, but we will come back to that one, maybe maybe bring that one up next time. So, John,

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Andy Whiteside: where did you come from?

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John Dahl: Well, that’s a good question. I I’ve still been trying to figure that out for the last 25 or so years. I did process engineering. I was doing some service delivery consulting right around year 2,000

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John Dahl: had some questions about why decisions were being made the way they were. I took a contract to try to learn from the business side, and I ended up in a Fortune 50 company, where I touched on a whole lot of pieces across the enterprise, and got really good at at getting in there and getting my hands on different pieces, and

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John Dahl: when the opportunity came up for service. Now this was back in the Calgary days. I think we did our assessment on Calgary, and deployed to Dublin.

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John Dahl: At at that point I jumped in and led a Qa. Team since then I have managed the development team. I’ve done

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John Dahl: some solution, design, development and architecture. I’ve done just about everything there is to do.

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John Dahl: you know, II tend to be a a hands on technical kind of guy. So II really enjoy billing the toys is your education background. Technical technology, information technology is, or something else, originally, electrical engineering. Back to school for some for some business management. But yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: I’ve been in it for my entire career. I think that’s the thing. And I know, Becky, you mentioned several family members that are in service now now. And I you know where they all technical. Maybe maybe not. Do you have to be. Doesn’t sound like it.

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Becky Whiten: My son was a airplane pilot.

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Becky Whiten: That’s what he went to school for. Yeah, that’s awesome.

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Andy Whiteside: And conversely, Andy, we actually did the opposite. We bred our son to be an it who is also a service. Now direct a developer from day one, I remember flash cards. This is an if thin statement you know what I’ve met him, and he’s a great kid. And I also believe that what you just said

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Andy Whiteside: he really really seems to be ahead of the curve.

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Eddie: Yeah, we seem to relish in it, too.

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Andy Whiteside: Alright! Well, we need to get on with our topic here. So, Becky, you brought a blog, and I’m going to share my screen here and show it to everyone. Becky, why did you choose? Let me read the name of it.

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Andy Whiteside: Think I’d be more prepared. Here we go the name of the blog, and it’s from November second of this year there’s an app for that. How low code tools, boost finance, productivity! I think this goes hand in hand. What we’re just talking about low code. No code really has changed the the landscape of who can be an it, Becky, why did you choose this this blog from Alyssa Fox?

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Becky Whiten: A couple of reasons. One is because service now just released it this week. The other thing. And it was at the top of the list of the blog list. The other reason is because we currently have a customer that we are internally looking at, doing some

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Becky Whiten: application development for, and a lot of times you want to go out and look in

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Becky Whiten: out there in the store and see if someone’s already built it, and there’s something that you can build upon.

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Becky Whiten: That they’ve provided. But service now is great because it is not just an itsm tool. It is truly a platform. And this is gonna show you that

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Becky Whiten: if you have things, spreadsheets or different particular areas that you can easily get it into service. Now.

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Andy Whiteside: do you think people come here still running their business out of spreadsheets?

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Andy Whiteside: Definitely? Yeah, exactly. Well, afternoon. And I think you know, talk about the home of Finance and watching those organizations adopt service now as part of their you know the finance part of their business or their entire business.

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Andy Whiteside: Certainly. Gonna have a lot of those conversations this week, Fred. What’s what do you? What do you find most interesting? And having a conversation around the finance side of how to use service now.

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Fred Reynolds: Well, I think it’s really how this whole blog starts often is just talking about the the use cases and starting to get the citizens developers. And they’re like the people who work in those places. I’ll tie it to this, no matter what industry you in no matter what organization you’re in. I think this platform gives you the ability with low code to really take those resources that know how to do the work and start building it into their building from their used cases to build automation around that

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Fred Reynolds: actual business at hand. Those mundane test that Eddie was talking about. All these things become repeatable Monday tasks. Some people do right. It’s a and some customers.

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Andy Whiteside: Businesses, I guess, make it really complicated. They make very hard processes, and and just make it so hard. That’s why they end up keeping that excel that they created so many years ago. Right? But that just breaks every bit of that process in the end. Yeah, users developing it within excel is a big reason why that stuff so sticky in the business, having users be part of it sounds like sounds like the answer. Right, Eddie.

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Eddie: It well, it really does. And I think Fred touched on it right there with the citizen developer when and what that means is that a citizen developer is anybody who can build an application and service now has done it with their low code that it’s drag and drop. So you don’t have to wait on it to build something for you. You can take control of your work and create an application is gonna help you be more productive. Yeah, John, any first hand examples and working with finance organizations

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John Dahl: spent about 11 years in an insurance company. Fortune 50 insurance company. So a little bit here and there, spreadsheets definitely a big part of it. In fact, in the insurance world. There are still organizations running mainframes from the fifties, because there’s nobody left to figure out how to reproduce it.

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Andy Whiteside: So you know that that

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John Dahl: complexity that gets added over time, and the lost expertise

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John Dahl: really is a big factor in that, and it gets to be very costly. So if if you can take that step back and and really look at your process and try to figure out how to simplify things and create something that just does what you needed to do without going through all of the extra hoops

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Andy Whiteside: can definitely save a lot of time and money. I mean, this is really at the heart of digital transformation. There’s there’s tons of companies. Digital transformation is moving to the cloud. It’s moving to different storage arrays and different types of compute workloads. But the truth is, digital transformation is taking those mundane user oriented things and optimizing them digital in it.

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Fred Reynolds: I think that’s part of the reason why people have a lot of failure tips of digital transformation to actually transform meeting to change something and do something about it. And too many people move in those projects, and they’re like, no, I like the process I have. It would break too much to change that. Or, Hey, I like that. Excel, or I like this right, they’ll never make it to that right? I think that’s that’s the most powerful thing about service. Now, my opinion, because you can either

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Fred Reynolds: create it within it, or you can integrate it to it one way or the other. You build a workflow that can actually transform the way you do business and and make it more efficient.

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Andy Whiteside: So Becky, have the the opening paragraph with updating section here. The next section talks about optimizing communication. How is the citizen developer getting those mundane tasks and technologies and and business process into service. Now gonna help with optimizing communication.

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Becky Whiten: So along with creating their work flow that they can do

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They could create a catalog item out there onto the portal. They could use the chat

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Becky Whiten: at peace. They can have the email into the workflows. That occurs based upon, you know, task being resolved, or whatever that it is throughout their process. And so that will keep those communication lines open a lot of people, you know. It’s something stuck into a spreadsheet, or it’s on somebody’s desk, and they have no clue of where it’s at.

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What’s going on with it, any insight into things. And so this really opens that up, not only for them to be able to go in and either look at their request, or that task? Maybe that they submitted, or that they are assigned to either way. But also opens up the communication of that if there’s some additional information that they may need to add in

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Becky Whiten: or just know about it, is great, you know. I’ve heard so many companies where you go in, and maybe you’re doing a workshop with them. And they say, Oh, well, once we submit this, it’s in the black hole

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Becky Whiten: and Black hole, and they just have no insight to it. They, you know, whenever it comes out of that black hole. Then that’s whenever they’re aware of it.

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Andy Whiteside: Right, Fred, you have specific examples of how, when you moved your former employer into into service. Now that communication improved

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Fred Reynolds: well, I think the communication piece is interesting to me, because that is such an important piece of any of these processes. I mean, I think what Becky said. That’s what everybody visualizes. I did my part, it went to this black call when whoever didn’t follow up or didn’t do it. That’s their problem, right? I think that’s what it’s stressing here. You have to create something within this platform, whether it be a form or whether it be a workflow or a process that ties it together

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Fred Reynolds: when it comes to communication. I wanna ask you a question here a second. And I just wanna get this point out. If you go when we meet with our customer base. That’s what I love about this. We have a lot of lot of time in the industry, a lot of experience with this type of stuff. We, Becky, John, Eddie, myself, and everyone we’ve we’ve been this situation. We go to these meetings like Becky and I did the other day. Some customers know how they communicate. It could be just email, it could be, we don’t use email, we use slack. We use teams. We use all this another.

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Fred Reynolds: What we should really do is make sure we understand what the outcome of that’s going to be, and you can have all those things right if you want to take the time to integrate those and make those work together. The point is how to use that communication and make it and streamline and make it optimize what you’re trying to do

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Andy Whiteside: right. And and you saw first hand this happen in your former employer.

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Fred Reynolds: Yes, multiple times. I think those are some of the hardest challenges to break down to some of the communication, enforce a process. Spotty, Eddie and I’ll talk about this early today. The reason you break through those things. You make a way that you can measure this assess around that in a way to enforce some of that behavior. That’s how we saw it was, basically, this is the way you do it. We took metrics around that. And we showcase those metrics to be able to drive that behavior. Yeah, I mean. It probably makes sense to say, getting this stuff into a platform

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Andy Whiteside: that is enabled for in this case finance workflows is the only way you’re gonna pull it out of the. You know the the cold hands of those people who built whatever that old workflow is.

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Fred Reynolds: Absolutely Eddie.

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Andy Whiteside: customer projects in the past where you’ve seen communication uplift

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Andy Whiteside: because of this move in this direction.

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Eddie: Well, it’s you know, when you say communication. There’s so many different points, you know. Becky was talking about chats and emails that can be automatically logged into the tickets. But there’s also the the work flow communication, you know, automatic task creation that keeps you from having to make that phone call or send that email. That is straight up increased productivity along with accountability.

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Eddie: So the communication aspects of service now are are just. They’re unimpeachable. They are the best in the industry. And what that best. And again, it’s also about liability. We’re also talking about finance here to be able to capture those conversations or those emails into that ticket. If we ever have to review that at a later date, it’s all in one place easy to track.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, yes, and that’s super huge. It’s one thing to get things done in the moment. It’s another thing to understand later how you got got to that point. John,

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Andy Whiteside: any any first hand experience on how you’ve seen communic getting getting technology, getting the data, getting the workflow into a a platform like service now, has improved communication across organizations.

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John Dahl:  when when it’s done properly. Yes, absolutely. You know, one of the challenges that I’ve seen is is, somebody will look at service now and say, Hey, what a great tool! Let’s go jump to that, but let’s make it look and feel exactly like the solution that we’re trying to get away from. And what ends up happening is you get kind of close to what you used to have, which wasn’t quite what you wanted anyway. And so you end up with more confusion and more disruption.

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John Dahl: But if, like, I said before, if you can simplify that process. Just figure out the basics of what you need. What are the milestones and the artifacts that you need to get the job done?

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John Dahl: Put it into service now. And, like Eddie was saying, all of those automated tasks, all the activities that just happened. They’re not waiting in somebody’s inbox for somebody to respond to say, Yeah, go ahead.

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John Dahl: It

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John Dahl: incredibly saves a lot of time.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, John, I think you just took us into the next section, which is great. Optimizing, taking chance, taking the opportunity to take the the old process and rebooting it totally if necessary, while streamlining it and adding the communication pieces.

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Andy Whiteside: and that seems like the ultimate goal, wasn’t it?

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John Dahl: Absolutely.

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John Dahl: if if a customer is willing to pay for it, go ahead and do it. If a regulator requires it. Go ahead and do it.

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John Dahl: If the CEO wants it, then maybe you do it.

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John Dahl: But there’s a lot of things that we do.

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John Dahl: because somebody asked for it at 1 point, and maybe that person’s not there, and we don’t know why we’re doing it anymore. We don’t know what value it’s adding, it’s just something that we’ve always done. And

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John Dahl: you know, if we can, we, if we can break that down and simplify it, it makes everybody happy.

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Andy Whiteside: Becky, your thoughts on the the streamlining conversation.

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Becky Whiten: Yup, I agree, I think, just looking, understanding their process, understanding their pain points, because sometimes you don’t. As you know, John mentioned, you don’t want to just duplicate. You want to see where you can better things. There may be also processes where or in the workflow, where we may need to integrate or have a task to do something specifically call those steps out and so forth. So there’s lots of areas where you can improve

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Becky Whiten: or think kind of outside of the box sometimes, and sometimes

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Becky Whiten: the users or the people that you’re talking to are just so used to. Here’s the way that we do it today. But yet we’re not solving all of our problems. So if you step back, listen to what all needs to happen makes some suggestions. There. I think you could really streamline a lot of the processes that different users have and help them out. Things that they may not have even thought about. That the system could do could do could do that

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Becky Whiten: and possibly even automatically. It’s not taking away all the jobs and so forth, because some people don’t want to tell you certain things. So there’s kind of a fine line there because they’re too worried about their job, but really just understanding what all it is talking about that, and showing them how their time could be freed up to do some other particular areas that they might need to be in.

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Andy Whiteside: Hey, Becky, John, in this situation. Let’s say you didn’t get the process right, and you had to reboot. Is it much more doable to reboot in this scenario or tweak at least, than it would have been in the legacy model.

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Becky Whiten: So this, this is an application that you’re building, just like you would

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Becky Whiten: change up incident or problem. It’s just stored into a specific

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Becky Whiten: app. I guess you would say it. So it’s a lot like the same you can, you know, if there was a mistake, or you added something you need to take it out, you can remove it. normally, you would be working in your dev environment. And then, as things

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Becky Whiten: get done, you can push it to your test and on into your production. So it does. It is forgiving. You can change, make changes back if you needed to.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, may I guess. Maybe what I was thinking is when you, when we’ve done it the legacy way, and somebody did it in a vacuum. They did it their way, and that was it. And when it was time to evolve it or extended out past that individual or that team it it pretty much had no future

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Gotcha.

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Eddie: So so, Adi, I think it’s important to know here. So they’re talking about streamlining processes within this application. And you can see the second paragraph there where it’s talking about automated notifications sent via email. But it’s also important to remember the wider stance of process around service. Now that the platform is ital compliant out of the box, which means it follows best practice.

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Eddie: And each conversation around the platform should always start with process first, to make sure we’re not going to build something that’s going to break. So I love it that they included streamlining processes within this application. But it’s also applicable to the platform overall.

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Fred Reynolds: But let me just mention this to cause everything I just said this. I think that’s important. When you start the projects, or just like they did, they broke into. They want to start using this platform and finance the first thing you really do, which is what I love we do in our workshops, and I’ll get to $10. Really. Try to understand from that business. How do you do business today? Right? What’s the name of life with what you do? Now let’s look at what it can be done out of the box and service. Now, now you try to somewhere hit in the middle right. If you’re not changing your process or streamline of that process to make you more efficient, and why you’ve been spending the money to do any of that work.

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Fred Reynolds: So do what John said. You just redo, or what you have today, for what the sake of saying you have a different tool. It’s never going to get you anywhere.

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John Dahl: and one of the things that I try to do in conversations is distinguish between a process and a procedure.

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John Dahl: Right? So earlier, I mentioned the idea of milestones and artifacts. What are the things that we need to achieve? And what are the things we need to create? Those make up your process. And with each of those you have key indicators that decide whether you were successful or if you took too long, or if you didn’t meet the quality, whatever it is.

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John Dahl: That’s your process. Then within each of those process steps you have a procedure. How do I achieve, or how do I create? And

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John Dahl: you can swap out bits and pieces of process with the pro. With what Becky was talking about. Right? We can go in there and change the code. We can change the forms. We can change all kinds of stuff

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John Dahl: to modify that process to meet our needs.

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John Dahl: But at the same time we’re retaining the same process. We’re changing the procedure. We’re retaining the same process, all our measurements, the same we still know

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John Dahl: from last year to this year to next year. Are we being successful consistently.

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Andy Whiteside: Just. There’s so much to me that comes back to the fact. You’re doing this in a platform that others can see and and advise along the way. And then, as you guys are pointing out here the ability to collaborate and streamline what would have been multiple steps

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Andy Whiteside: to get other teams involved becomes almost native. If you will.

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Andy Whiteside: it’s great. You can send a task to another team, have them complete it, and you automatically get notified when it’s done. Yes, absolutely, yes, and potentially. They’re shadowing it along the way, ready to step in the moment it’s their turn.

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Andy Whiteside: Okay, Becky. Last section here, deepening employment and get employee engagements. What do they cover here? What does this mean?

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Becky Whiten: I think this is just more about bringing all the different either teams or people together. So before, if they were just utilizing.

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Becky Whiten: you know their old process, maybe it’s a spreadsheet and so forth. Then, you know it’s one person that’s being able to look at something versus

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Becky Whiten: You know. anybody being able to go out there, or certain team members being able to go out there and see the process where it’s at. what’s going on with it, and so forth. So this is really

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bringing the employees

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Becky Whiten: opening up them to be able to see more and more about where something is at

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Becky Whiten: and

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Becky Whiten: and what’s going on with it versus having to go find a spreadsheet and are tracking it down or tracking a piece of paper down.

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Becky Whiten: A lot of people are still doing that today, but this will

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Becky Whiten: easily allow those users. If they build something, they could utilize it, and then more and more teams

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Fred Reynolds: our team members or employees would be able to see and have visibility into those particular areas as well. What better way to deepen an engagement of those employees than employees themselves helping contribute to the development of what they use. Right? I mean, that’s the key. They actually did it themselves. And it always takes me back to you. Know you. Some people bring you a problem with those solutions. Some people just bring you a problem. So all these people just bring you a problem that would be part of helping that solution.

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Fred Reynolds: jump in and and do some of this development right? The platform allows them to do that again, whether they have low skill in that area or a high skill. Eddie, already mentioned, drag and drop. You can build workflows. You can do certain things with a little bit of help. To do that. So I think that’s the biggest part of saying deeper. That employee engagement here means these were employees that built this. You gotta remember that part of this blog. They built this in order to help optimize what they did to make them more efficient.

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Fred Reynolds: So obviously, the adoption of what they did is all of them.

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Becky Whiten: Yeah. great way to look at it.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah, they they. They own it, they influence it, they control it. It’s not it anymore. It’s it’s the business and the different parts of the business that are bringing, bringing, bringing, bringing, bringing this to market internal

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Fred Reynolds: well, and I’m starting to see a little bit of a trend. With that we’ve met with a couple of custom force. I get to meet with a lot of customers, and we met with a couple of customers recently that have absolutely adopted the citizens development within their companies and within all the organization. So every organization has a citizen developer within their organization. Everybody feeds it back through it. Who owns the you know, the the

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Fred Reynolds: release path right and the standards and push from test to the production and things. But again, they all have citizens, developers in the areas, and it’d be a very efficient and solvent to use cases they have. Otherwise you’d be like my formal workplace and have backlog of 300 stories every day that you can’t get out, get rid of.

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Becky Whiten: and I think it also helps with you know, before, a lot of people don’t like change if they’re involved with it. And they’re talking through these things. And and their team members are the ones, building it or helping to build it and giving feedback on to that. I think it really helps the process.

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Becky Whiten: for them, you know.

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Andy Whiteside: Yes, you have enabled them. and.

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Andy Whiteside: you know, imagine a world and it where, if we could have done this a long time ago, how much more digital transformation would have happened.

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Eddie: you know. I find it interesting that they’re talking about employee engagement when it’s such a difficult metric to actually measure outside of a survey, but with the example that they’re using in the middle of this blurb, with 22,000 employees on a spreadsheet.

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Eddie: I would argue that the most disengaged employee would be the one reviewing a spreadsheet with 22,000 employees on it, and if you could sidestep that, you know, the engagement is going to be far easier if there’s automation around these tasks.

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Eddie: And there’s there’s tasks that are tracked versus just always head down into a spreadsheet or a word. Doc.

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Andy Whiteside: right? Right.

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Andy Whiteside: Hey, John? Your thoughts on this section.

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John Dahl: You know I’ve

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John Dahl: the the idea of having people more directly involved in creating the solutions that they’re going to be using is absolutely great. I I’ve always had this kind of concern in the back of my mind about citizen developers

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John Dahl: where the the

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John Dahl: pro coders, if you will tend to be the incident responders right? So the pro coders. They are. The the citizen developers build something, and it looks great, and it meets their needs and it gets deployed. And then you start asking for well, can you make this tweak? Can we make that tweak? And

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John Dahl: next thing you know.

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John Dahl: it has grown beyond the original design, and it’s grown beyond the capabilities of the low code. No code. So now we’ve come to the development team, and we say, Hey, we! It’s it’s not doing what we need to do. We needed to do this, but we haven’t been involved in the discussions upfront none of the analysis and the solution design. And and so there’s always some risk there. And it’s important that the it and citizen developers are working together from the beginning

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John Dahl: so that they can talk about, what is it that we really need this to do? And what kinds of things are we gonna want it to evolve into in the future. So we can start planning ahead of time. And we can give them some suggestions on designs earlier in the process.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah.

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Fred Reynolds: that’s a very interesting. Take, John, I like that. Could you come up from a developer long time developer mindset, right? And you’re thinking that the pitfalls are some of that. I wanna say that even from the service now platform itself, I would take you to that. I think that’s the lot of why you’re seeing all the different applications come out, especially say finance, because you’re taking industry standards and things that they’ve learned right. And they’re trying to build these out of box

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Fred Reynolds: spews if you will. Applications that you can load that have the built in workflows with them to try to save the people the time. So I quite the same way, I think, spread out the bots. People were trying to come up with this stuff. I think service now has been doing a really good job of trying to make applications that fit into these different positions. You know. Finance being one of those in this case.

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Fred Reynolds: Sorry, Amy, to cut you off.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, I was gonna bring up that. This probably does a does a lot for iter iterative development. When you think, John, where you’re not going back to it requesting something they can. They can just do it after whatever their you know, work, flow, and change control is

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John Dahl: as long as the conditions. Yes, so long as the conditions that they’re trying to adjust to are within the capability of that low code solution. It’s great.

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Andy Whiteside: So, Becky, we’ll let you wrap this up. Do you have?

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Andy Whiteside: Do you have an example of a project you’ve been involved in where this really brought the users of the business that the workers into it, and enable them to empowered them to be able to add value to the business from an it perspective, even though they didn’t come from an It background.

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Becky Whiten: I mean most of the time they would get us to do it. So not necessarily them.

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Becky Whiten: But I have been involved to where they built a few things that were smaller. Maybe they kept them in spreadsheets or access database, and they brought that

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Becky Whiten:  and did a work flow, had some tasking of that, and then brought over that data because the database was just not

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Becky Whiten: working for them. And so yes, I do have a couple of examples that I’ve been involved in.

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Becky Whiten: and those users were true. utilized the app developer and built their own

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Andy Whiteside: piece of that. Well, how about this? How about ex examples where they were able to go straight to the developer without having to bring it in as a conduit between the 2.

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Andy Whiteside: Yes, I have users and departments. Come straight to you guys and ask for this, and instead of having to go through this long drawn out process of developing code into the app, you guys were able to get it done in a in a short period of time, the way the user asked. Not the way it designed it.

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Becky Whiten: Exactly. Yes, and that’s been that’s happened before and before numerous times. Yes, alright, Fred, any any additional comments on this server. All blog

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Fred Reynolds: overall, I think, is meet that the capabilities are there, and that you can certainly have a platform that

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Fred Reynolds: that can assist with this type of the citizens developer. I do see John’s point that I also understand that it can’t be to wow while West and everybody just do the own development within the system. So it has to be structured to that. And I also say there’s people there with a lot of business sense, a lot of knowledge within their areas, but maybe not as a holistic view will have a platform and how to process works in the end. So I just think, I think it’s really good. I think it’s really neat. I like the concept of every organization having different types of

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Fred Reynolds: at least business analyst in that area that can help convert what they need from the business to the technology. That’s the biggest part. If you have people to understand that technology and the business. I think that’s a perfect match. There’s just not a lot of people like that. That’s that’s where I would leave it like that is perfect fit. I’m I’m going back to my corporate experience.

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Andy Whiteside: I remember

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Andy Whiteside: the business analyst being highly involved in trying to translate what the business is wanting, and the business always seem to be at arm’s length. This seems like it brings them much more into the conversation, helping the developer and the business analyst understand what it is they’re looking for.

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Andy Whiteside: And I’m saying the business analyst can be that that low code person in the middle is what I’m saying somewhere that mindset. Well, that’s an interesting way to look at. Now you’ve just taken. Now you’ve just taken a company of X number of developers and added, X number of business analysts on top of that. And you’ve really exponentially grown the development side of the house.

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Fred Reynolds: Well, that’s the point of the citizens developer right? These are not large development tasks. These are just processes, workflows, and a little bit of drag and drop to. Do you know what they consider a workflow and service now could be very something simple, a 3 step item that really automates those 3 things they would do manual that could take 5 min. And now it takes 1 s.

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Fred Reynolds: So again, it doesn’t have to be very complicated. But it could be, make them more efficient. Yeah. And and like you mentioned, the business analyst could probably easily build that. I mean, they’re probably flowing it out anyway.

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Becky Whiten: Yeah. So they’re just going into the tool and actually doing it.

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Andy Whiteside: I like you said that, too. The right a developer, right? The the number one thing they need to do is be able to work, flow it out, flow it out for people to to be able to understand what’s supposed to happen. And they write the code. In this case there’s really no code to be written it. That was the development.

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Fred Reynolds: Eddie. Any thoughts on this before we wrap it up here?

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Eddie: Well, no, I would just say to anybody listening to this podcast if you’re in finance or a finance leader to take a hard look at your in current environment, how many, how many past are redundant or time killers, and you know, what? What can you do to be better? This is an application that can help you with that, and we can help you with that.

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Yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: yeah, I you know what. I always take it back to the the original. Maybe office application was the kind of, you know, like the lotus applications it really took us away from, you know, journaling financial entries and into technology. That’s really where a lot of the it in the business side of the world started, and that has remained for many, many years. But now it’s starting to move out into more of this platform type

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Andy Whiteside: type workflow owned scenario. Yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah. You know, Eddie, they remind me to say this, if you’re if you’re in this space and you’re looking for help. That’s that’s why we do this. Podcast so we try to be proactive about addressing what’s going on in our industry and having these conversations. Alright, John, come back. Come to you for the last word.

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John Dahl: thoughts on this. Yeah. One last point, you know. Great opportunity. As I said, it just needs to be tempered a little bit. In this case. You need to understand

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John Dahl: which tables are going to be created by these citizen developers so that we can track that with the licensing but you know, as long as you’re having those conversations upfront, and you understand

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John Dahl: what what costs are going into it. And what what kind of design you’re gonna need down the road?

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John Dahl: Definitely, a great opportunity for business people to get quick wins.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, guys. I appreciate you jumping on. We’ll do it in a couple of weeks, always good to have these conversations. And I and I, love. You know these, these podcasting, having these conversations with context around real people who have actually done these projects before and and see where you know. These words come to reality, as it relates to getting customers satisfied and and business, and it brought together.

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Andy Whiteside: So with that guys, I appreciate the time. And thanks for joining.