Have you ever thought about all the tools and software your business uses and realized that those applications are missing important features that could improve your workflow? You’re not alone.
In our recent Business Tools Survey (methodology below), we found that 55% of respondents were only somewhat satisfied with their project management software, and 7% were dissatisfied with their tools altogether. The top reason they gave for their dissatisfaction was that their software was missing necessary features.
Now imagine if you could take that dissatisfaction and turn it into an opportunity to build and adjust your own work tools, all while using the right platform for your business. Many companies have already taken that step.
As recently as a decade ago, building your own software and apps may have seemed like a fantasy. But in the year 2021, it is a reality. In fact, our recent Marketing Technology survey (methodology below) found that almost 60% of startups and SMBs are already using low-code or no-code software. Moreover, Gartner forecasts that by 2025, 70% of new applications developed by enterprises will use low-code or no-code technologies, up from less than 25% in 2020 (full article available to clients).
In this article, we’ll look at what no-code tools are, steps to get you started, and tips that will help you build your own business apps. But first, it’s important to understand what no-code tools are exactly.
No-code tools allow users to build new applications using precoded building blocks and a graphical user interface. The term “no-code” is a bit of a misnomer, as no-code tools use plenty of code, it’s just hidden behind a more user-friendly interface.
If you’ve ever designed a web page using a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website builder, you’ll be familiar with the concept. While you’re positioning text, choosing a font, adding images, and more, the software is writing all the HTML for you. You don’t have to look behind the curtain unless you want to.
You may have also heard the term, “low-code” tools.
These tools allow users to build applications using a no-code interface, but low-code tools also give users the option to open the hood and script with code if needed. If your organization has a team of developers with limited resources and a diverse level of expertise, low-code tools could offer a good balance of ease of use and versatility.
No-code tools are designed to allow people without coding skills to build apps, but that doesn’t mean that they’re easy to use right away. Follow these steps to get started on the right foot and get the most out of your no-code platform.
1. Gauge interest and gather ideas. The most powerful tool in the world is useless if it goes unused, so before you invest in a no-code tool, gather interest first. Consult your employees and your IT staff to gauge feasibility. Also, ask team leads to document ideas they have for apps to build with a no-code platform. These ideas can be as simple as an internal website or a database of contacts.
2. Pick the right no-code platform for your team. No-code tools are not all built the same. They can range from spreadsheets, forms, drag and drop interfaces, and more. It’s worth trying out a few different tools to see what works for your team. But if you’re not sure where to start, our directory of more than 50 no-code development tools allows you to personalize your search based on your industry/organization type, business size, software integrations, and more.
New to software demos? Use our 5-point checklist to get the most out of your demonstrations.
3. Designate super users and schedule training sessions. Vendors want their customers to use their software successfully, so most will offer some type of new user training, whether it’s a hands-on walkthrough, a series of videos, or an online resource library. Designate super users from across your organization to go through this training so that they can help answer questions and train others.
4. Start off by building simple applications. Before trying to build something complex like a new social media network, start off by using your new no-code tool to build simple apps first like a basic website, a small database, or a short survey. These projects can also be used as tutorials to help others learn how to use the new tool.
Just because your email marketing software is easy to use doesn’t mean that you should give all your employees free rein to launch their own campaigns. In the same way, you shouldn’t let employees develop their own apps using no-code tools without some guidance and oversight. Here are a few tips to keep your organization on the right path while using no-code application development tools.
Focus on hosting and deployment requirements before zeroing in on specific app features. In other words, ask yourself, “Which team will be responsible for this app and how will we roll it out for use by other teams?” before you start building something.
Outline a governance process to ensure that no-code developed apps are being used properly, unused and unneeded apps are removed, and that data security is maintained.
Schedule periodic no-code development workshops to teach non-technical employees more about the tools, surface new ideas, and allow them to use no-code development tools in a sandbox environment. These workshops should encourage creativity and innovation.
Establish an internal proposal system to let employees pitch their app ideas. Promising ideas should be given the resources needed (time, development assistance, management support, etc.) to be built out into working prototypes.
GetApp’s Category Leaders for Application Development features several no-code tools. Here are the top three based on our data driven rankings, listed in alphabetical order (see the full Category Leaders methodology here).
How to create an app with Appy Pie (Source)
Appy Pie was launched in 2015 and has since grown into a sizable software provider with more than 200 employees. Appy Pie claims to let users build a functioning app in a matter of minutes using its drag and drop interface, and says that users created more than 17,000 apps using the app builder in its first year.
Pricing: Starts at $16/app/month.
Reviewers find Appy Pie easy to use for getting an app launched in a short period of time. Check out all of our Appy Pie reviews from verified users here.
The new Knack Builder (Source)
With more than a decade in the business, Knack is one of the more established no-code development tools on the market. Knack is a database driven system but it also offers drag and drop functionality.
Pricing: Starts at $39/month for up to three apps.
Reviewers find Knack to be flexible and full of useful features, with the capability of creating custom, business-ready applications. Check out all of our Knack reviews from verified users here.
Getting started with custom components in Tadabase (Source)
Tadabase is a database driven, no-code application builder launched out of Los Angeles in 2016. According to their website, “If it involves data, you can build it on Tadabase.” But Tadabase is ideally suited for property management, HR, field services, project management, and education solutions.
Pricing: Starts at $24/month for up to 10 apps.
Reviewers find Tadabase to be reliable and easy to use, with the platform constantly being updated and improved. Check out all of our Tadabase reviews from verified users here.
Want to browse more no-code app development tools? Check out our directory of more than 50 no-code development software options.
GetApp conducted the Hybrid Work survey in May 2021 of 488 small business employees and 503 small business decision makers to learn more about the preferences, benefits, challenges, and opportunities with a hybrid work model. Respondents were screened for employment status and business size.
GetApp conducted the Global HR Survey (HR in the New Era) in January 2021 of 922 U.S. workers to learn more about their experience and preferences at work. Respondents were screened for employment status and business size.
Hey there, I’m Andrew. I’m a Senior Content Writer at GetApp. I bring you insights about retail, eCommerce, and marketing. I studied at Loyola University Maryland and have more than a decade of professional writing experience. Home base: Austin. 2 things about me: I am a lifetime Baltimore Orioles fan, and I love walks in the woods. The tech trend I think you should keep an eye on: Mixed reality in retail. Trying on clothes will never be the same.Visit Author's Page