The Life and Times of an Accidental Knack Consultant

05/22/2020 Posted by Jeremy

Carl Holmes didn’t intend to start a Knack consulting business. Like many Knack Partners now in our Builder Network, he just wanted to find an easier way to solve critical business problems.

For 16 years, Carl Holmes had worked in multiple project management roles within Vodafone UK, gaining considerable experience in understanding complex business needs and adapting technology to meet them. For companies that need to track essential data, that has long meant spreadsheets. When the data gets more complex, it often involves Microsoft Access or expensive, proprietary software.

In 2014, Carl started CH Project Support Limited to help companies fix data, process, and workflow problems that were often made worse by the very tools that organizations often adopt to fix them. This is typically fertile ground for software and business consultants to make a living, but Carl has never considered himself to be a typical consultant.  He prefers to be so invested and integral to a company’s success, that their new hires often mistake him for a regular employee. 


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Photo by Headway

With that outlook, Carl was always looking for a better way. And in 2017, the better way found him.

Knack is a founding member of the No-Code (or Low-Code) Movement. In the early days, few grasped the revolution that was coming. But Carl understood almost immediately.

“I had spent twenty years building Access databases and developing custom functionality in Visual Basic,’” he recalls, “and when a colleague introduced me to Knack, I thought, ‘Oh my god, this is going to be so much easier.’”

At the time, he was in the middle of a variety of projects for a client and knew Knack could help improve things. Even though he had only just found the platform, Carl was able to leverage his knowledge of the complex needs of the business and quickly build out a proof of concept app in Knack. All without coding.

“To see how simple, but how powerful and how quick it was to build something in Knack,” Carl says, allowed him to iterate with unprecedented speed.

“I just started building things and then showing them to the boss. I said, ‘what about this,’ and he said, ‘Great, can we do the next bit?’ And it kind of grew from there.”

His client was astonished at how quickly Carl had not only understood and made recommendations, but subsequently built a custom app that solved their unique challenges. Soon, they referred him to colleagues at another company. And then another. And they referred him to even more companies.

From that point on, Carl became a full time Knack Builder and an early member of Knack’s Builder Network. 

CH Project Support

Knack Builder Carl Holmes

Since then, as more no-code startups have entered the market, Carl has periodically evaluated other offerings in the space.

“I’ve looked at things like Airtable, which is kind of like a really crazy spreadsheet,” he says, “but it doesn’t give the robustness that Knack does.”

Unlike spreadsheets or other limited solutions, Knack allows Carl to quickly build apps that tie relevant data together, and that can do almost anything.

“They’re like a tailored suit. The great thing about Knack is that we can build it however you want to build it,” he says.

A project that Carl recently completed for a UK-based life insurance company is just the latest example.

“They’d gone through quite a few off-the-shelf solutions. The most recent software did a lot of things they did do, and a lot of things they didn’t do, but was missing things that they really wanted it to do.”

And since Knack allows forward-thinking business consultants to go beyond mere recommendations, Carl followed through with a custom solution.

“Feedback has been good,” he says. “It’s now completely tailored to the way they work.”

Today, Carl is a proud Knack Partner. He’s also one of many dedicated members of the Knack Builder Network, a key driver towards the success of Knack customers. Trusted business consultants, app builders, and trainers around the world leverage Knack to help their clients harness data, automate processes, and move workflows online.

Interested in joining the Knack Builder Network? Contact us.