Everything You Need to Know to Build Your First Workflow Application
Businesses large and small run on workflows. Workflows are how your employees get their jobs done every day. And to compete in today’s fast-paced market, you need your workflows to be as digitized and automated as possible.
Trouble is, it can be costly and time-consuming to field an application development team to design and code workflows. Developers need to spend time and budget understanding business needs; writing, testing, and rewriting code; integrating with existing systems; training line-of-business (LoB) employees on using the workflow; and so on.
But what if your non-technical business users could quickly, simply, and cost-effectively create their own digitized workflows? After all, they’re the people who know your processes best. If they could build their own workflows – and easily refine them as their needs change – you could improve productivity, run your business faster and serve customers better.
That’s the power of a no-code workflow tool. An effective no-code application builder can empower departments to create and use the digital workflows they need, whenever they need them.
Six Steps to No-code Workflow Success
More businesses are recognizing the value of no-code. In fact, 41% of non-IT employees now customize or build data or technology solutions, according to Gartner. Companies are using no-code/low-code (NC/LC) solutions to automate workflows (17%), create new applications (15%), speed up application development (15%), automate data collection and reporting (14%), and reduce the burden on pro developers (10%), ZDNet reports.
But how do you get started building no-code workflows? Here’s what you need to know to make sure your no-code workflows are successful – the first time and every time:
1. Set your goals.
Start with a specific task you want your no-code tool to automate or a distinct problem you need to solve. Can you automate the workflow from end to end? Is the workflow only one piece of a larger process? Will just a few team members use the workflow, or can it benefit multiple departments?
The answers will give you a defined scope. They’ll also help you avoid creating unnecessary workflow steps. Just as important, they’ll enable you to measure whether you’ve achieved your objectives.
2. Brainstorm the features.
Think through all the capabilities you need the no-code workflow to deliver. Consider what you want the interface to look like. Break down the workflow into each separate step, in a logical order from beginning to end. Identify where you need to capture data and where you need to route steps for reviews and approvals.
A little crowdsourcing can help. Get co-workers familiar with the process to offer their ideas. If the workflow will dovetail with other processes, you might also need the input of people outside your team or even your department. Make sure you consider all stakeholders to encourage buy-in, speed adoption, and make the workflow as successful as possible.
3. Include integrations.
Some no-code workflows function well standalone. But many interact with other processes or must integrate with business systems. Consider how your workflow could help improve those processes or even require changes to them.
Likewise, get a clear understanding of where data from your workflow needs to be stored and think about how team members will consume data outputs. Fortunately, an effective no-code tool will integrate with commonly used applications and 3rd party systems through APIs and web services – all without coding on your part.
4. Build your workflow.
In traditional application development, coding is the most complex, time-consuming stage. But with a no-code tool, this is the easy part.
With a no-code builder, you simply drag and drop reusable software elements and workflow objects onto a virtual canvas. You can quickly and easily design the user interface, enable data inputs, define form behaviors, map the workflow, and build reports. Behind the scenes, the tool assembles a functional, stable, and secure application.
Preconfigured no-code components are based on best practices and pre-tested for reliability and scalability. Cybersecurity is built in, as is integration with common environments.
5. Test drive and perfect.
Once you’ve created your no-code workflow, you’ll want to make sure it’s automating process steps the way you want it to. Check that form fields are understandable, data outputs deliver the information you need, and the right people are getting alerts for reviews and approvals. Also, test whether it’s integrating with other processes and systems.
Does the workflow need fine-tuning? With a no-code app builder, you can easily go back and adjust. That’s true whether you need to make tweaks today or must adapt to changing needs down the road.
6. Take it to the team.
Once you’re happy with your no-code workflow, you can put it into production for all stakeholders to use. No-code tools are designed to create workflows that are intuitive and don’t require a lot of training. So, your business should begin benefiting right away.
No-code solutions can enable not just workflows but also surveys, online forms, business process management and more. It’s no wonder no-code and low-code tools will produce 70% of new applications by 2025, according to Gartner.
Don’t let your business miss out on the chance to improve productivity and accelerate operations. By following the steps here, you can leverage a no-code workflow builder to digitize and automate your workflows – engaging employees, serving customers better, and gaining a competitive advantage.