Learning to no-code

Posted: 28 October 2020
By: Neota Logic

Starting at Neota Logic as an intern, I was intimidated by the no-code platform. I had just graduated from law school with no practical LegalTech experience, let alone any experience in drafting contracts or NDAs. How was I meant to manage the vast platform that is Neota Logic Studio and make applications useful to commercial clients and law firms alike?

From the outside, LegalTech start-ups can seem to operate with an esoteric understanding of technology.

However, upon spending time with the platform and taking the insightful courses on Neota University, I was reminded of the adage old-saying ‘to never judge a book by its cover.’ Behind the tech curtain, lies an accessible and intuitive approach.

For one, the tools that I was using weren’t esoteric – they, in fact, made me reminisce of what I had learned in High School. When building applications, I was playing with algebra through the construction of different variables and formulas, employing my business management know-how through the construction of decision trees, and tackling issues sequentially the same way one would when answering an essay question.

But more importantly, was the minimum value approach – that the entire process was iterative rather than perfection. In the legal profession and academia, there’s a pressure to get it 100% right the first time around. But working with Studio I was encouraged to make mistakes and try new things because it was all part of the learning process.

Fostering this mindset allows you to look at the delivery methodology of current workflow processes and innovate, with a view to making them more efficient and less prone to error. For example:

Legal: Contract drafting processes like NDAs and Employment Contracts are notorious for either being relatively identical contract-to-contract aside from a few key terms, or highly technical (or both!). Automating these processes using Neota’s slick proprietary document automation platform simplifies this process greatly, and better yet Workflow allows the entire process to be managed on the platform itself – no more having to chase down the e-mail chain for that lost document!

Immigration: Taxonomical and hyper-technical visa applications and residence permits can be made more efficient and simple by translating the logic through the use of Question Flows and Decision Trees to help your client get the right permit and visa based on the information he enters into an app rather than a cumbersome debrief process.

Pharma and Insurance: Risk-assessment analyses can be made much more efficient through an application streamlining the list of relevant questions and generating via a decision tree and decision table the number of red flags a particular investment carries, computing it into actionable and measurable risk.

So for those looking to jump into Studio, here are my tips:

Take full advantage of Neota University & the User Manual: I cannot overstate the helpfulness of these resources, which have dozens of hours of recorded videos demonstrating the different functionalities of the Studio platform and how to customise them to your liking. You will also find some cheeky Challenge Apps to test your skills before getting your hands-on actual client work.

Ask Around: One of the best things about Neota is its community – you’ll meet builders of all kinds, not only in the sense of whether someone’s a beginner or a veteran but also in terms of expertise. One can be an expert in the management of Data Operations whilst another can be a professional at Document Automation. And they’re all willing to help out. So if you ever get stuck on a piece of logic or can’t understand why your app isn’t working, feel free to reach out to a fellow Studio-user – you’ll be surprised how quick they’ll be to respond and just how much they can help you on your issue (no matter how niche!).

Tinker around: Even with this huge database of knowledge, it’s especially helpful to tinker around the platform by yourself to get a look and feel for Studio. This can be creating a simple demo app or just messing around with the different variables and formulas – one of my colleagues created his own Meme Generator app on the platform.

Design your solution before constructing it: When you’re ready to get serious, it’s important to understand the issue and the requisite process just as much as it is building the solution. My colleague Shaz coins this as the ‘double-diamond method’ – a strategy which I’ve found helpful when starting to build client apps. To do this, get out a piece of paper and identify what the issue is and what the requisite process.

Breaking things down: The more you break tasks, processes, and issues down, the easier and clearer it becomes to construct them all into an app. This becomes even more important as your use case becomes more complex. Having the different stages of your application compartmentalised into different issues, and then having those be further sub-divided into sub-issue based on function can seem nit-picky, but your future self will thank you.

Fail, Try Again, and Don’t Stop: Above all else, you must learn to enjoy the process. Permitting yourself to fail at constructing new applications will allow you to fully immerse yourself into the Studio platform and get creative with your solutions.

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