Web Apps Every Startup Needs to Be Successful

Friday, June 17th, 2022 by Ricardo Otero

 

Web apps that startups need

What do popular applications like Google Docs, Salesforce CRM, and Netflix have in common? 

They’re all web apps.

Just like traditional websites, web apps (or web applications) rely on a web browser to display information. Like traditional websites, web apps can be accessed from any browser on any device – laptop, desktop, mobile phone, or tablet.   

The difference between web apps, traditional websites, and mobile apps

Still, there are fundamental differences between web apps and regular sites: 

  • Whereas traditional web sites are generally designed for information sharing, web apps tend to be more interactive, enabling users to initiate workflows, submit forms, share data with other systems and engage with the app in other ways.
  • Web apps automatically adapt to fit the device they’re being accessed on. For example, when a user navigates to a web page on their smartphone, that page will automatically adjust to fit their phone’s screen and provide a good user experience.
  • Although web apps can have multiple pages, most do not have as many pages as a traditional website or a mobile application. This makes them easier to build and manage and more cost-effective to maintain.

Web apps also have significant benefits over mobile apps, which need to be customized for iOS or Android OS. For instance, there’s no need to develop a web app for a specific app store or mobile operating system, as they can be accessed from any web browser. That means they require fewer resources to build, and are easier and less expensive to build.

The power of web apps

Web apps typically serve a specific function or purpose, but don’t let that focus fool you. Despite their perceived simplicity, web apps are highly customizable and can be extraordinarily powerful tools for collecting and managing information and interacting with customers. 

Web apps’ winning combination of power and cost-effectiveness makes them a tool that every startup should consider. But which web apps should you prioritize building? Here’s a list of four essential web apps you and your team should consider creating:

1. Lead inquiry forms (or lead generation forms)

Lead inquiry forms are designed to gather critical information about a customer or prospect. They typically include basic information like name, company, contact information, as well as demographic information and such. Some might include fields asking the prospect to provide additional information or feedback. 

2. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools

As mentioned above, Salesforce CRM is one of the most popular and powerful off-the-shelf customer relationship management tools around–and it’s a web app. It shows how a robust web app can be used to collect and share customer information, emails, inquiries, and more. However, often out of the box solutions don’t meet your exact needs and aren’t easy to customize. With no-code tools, you can build a custom CRM to match your specific requirements.

3. Invoicing and billing apps 

Web apps don’t need to be exclusively customer-facing. Your internal teams can also use web apps for their multi-stage workflow processes that span multiple departments. For example, a customer can approve a quote that then goes to the sales team to review and process then forward to the finance team for invoicing through a web app. You can also develop web apps that customers can use to pay bills via the device of their choice using no-code solutions.

4. IT and customer support forms 

Instead of having employees call the IT help desk or send the IT administrator an email, employees can sign into a web app on their device, fill out a simple form, and have their help request automatically routed and assigned to a support team member. The support team will have full visibility to all open requests and can monitor statuses and assign escalations to the Quality Assurance team or Tier 2 Support team for more complex issues. Likewise, customers shouldn’t have to call an 800 number or write an email to customer care; they can submit an inquiry via a web app which is more efficient.

Creating your own web apps using no-code development

Web apps are easier to build than you might think. In fact, just about anyone can create a web app using no-code application development practices.

No-code development democratizes application development by enabling those with minimal or even no programming experience to create their own applications. With no-code, users can build user-friendly interfaces and backend workflows and can configure business rules for their applications. They simply drag and drop objects onto a design canvas. They don’t need to understand or manipulate the underlying source code. All of that is updated automatically based on where the user places their objects. It is also an option to integrate with other popular applications and third party systems.  

Democratizing development through no-code allows web apps to be developed faster and more easily. Software developers can build web apps more quickly by using the drag and drop method, freeing them up to focus on building more labor-intensive and complex applications. And by negating the need for deep coding experience, you can invite others in your company to develop web apps, too. 

Embodying the startup mentality

Startups are known for their fervent attention to customers and prospects and an “all hands on deck” approach where everyone is involved in building their companies’ offerings. Web apps and no-code development match up well with both of these ideals. You can use web apps to engage with your audiences and create compelling and rich online experiences, and you can use no-code to get everyone involved in that process. 

The result will be fast and cost-efficient application development and the ability to reach your customers and prospects any time, anywhere, and on any device.

Step-by-Step Guide to Planning A No-Code Project

Friday, June 3rd, 2022 by Ricardo Otero

 

Planning out a no-code project

No-code application development tools enable non-technical employees in your lines of business (LoBs) to quickly and easily create forms, workflows and applications. By augmenting traditional development approaches, no-code app builders are empowering organizations to rapidly and cost-effectively achieve digital transformation.

In fact, “increased demand for … digital transformation has sparked the emergence of citizen developers outside of IT,” Gartner reports. Today, 41% of non-IT employees customize or build data or technology solutions, the analyst firm says.

But your citizen developers probably aren’t experienced in planning and executing application development projects. To benefit the most from no-code, follow these best-practice steps:

1. Understand business goals

Start by identifying the business benefit you want to achieve from no-code. That could be allowing internal or external customers to complete an online form. It might be streamlining a particular workflow within a team or department. Or it could be enabling a process that extends across multiple business functions. You can leverage no-code to optimize a broad range of processes, from creating new customer accounts, to handling budget requests and approvals, to integrating remote sites.

But to achieve success, you first need to be clear about your objectives. That includes establishing simple metrics, like number of workflow steps automated, speed of data inputs, or number of customers served.

2. Determine application requirements

Once you know your goals, you can identify the functionality the no-code application must provide. For instance, if you’re building a workflow, do all steps remain within a single team, or do they extend across multiple departments? If the project involves a broad process flow, you might need input from all stakeholders who will use it.

Similarly, if you’re creating an online form, should data inputs be automatically entered into corporate systems? If so, you’ll need the necessary integrations. An effective no-code tool will enable integration through APIs or web services, all without coding.

3. Select the right no-code solution

No-code app builders come in a lot of flavors. Some are complex platforms that provide “low-code” application development that requires coding knowledge. Others are only designed to create mobile apps for use on iOS or Android.

A no-code tool that’s useful for LoB employees should effectively enable web forms, web apps, mobile web apps, workflow apps, or business process management. Look for a no-code provider that can support all these use cases with either a single solution or a portfolio of targeted, easy-to-use tools.

4. Assign roles and responsibilities

No-code applications can be created by a single employee or a few employees, but if an application will be used day-to-day by an entire department, you need to be sure the citizen developers understand the requirements to deliver applications that meet the department’s needs and objectives.

In that case, consider getting multiple people involved in the application development process. Some stakeholders might have input into desired features. Others might create the actual application. Still others might try out the application and provide feedback before it’s deployed. Just be sure all participants understand how they contribute to the project’s success.

5. Manage the project

No-code tools are so easy to use, many users might approach application creation in an ad-hoc manner. But to get the results you want you’ll benefit from a more structured mindset.

Make a list of the features you identified in Step 2 and check them off as you build them into the application. Set interim milestones and final deadlines to keep the project on target. Monitor stakeholder involvement to be sure everyone’s doing their part. Your no-code project management doesn’t have to be complicated, but you need enough oversight to track your progress and keep the project moving forward.

6. Measure the results

An effective no-code app builder should give you visibility into the process you’ve created. This is where the metrics you created in Step 1 will show their value. If you’re achieving your performance goals, you know your deliberate approach to no-code development is paying off. If you’re falling short of targets, it’s time to identify ways to improve.

Go back over the application. Are form fields unclear, making it hard for users to complete the form? Are workflow outputs not giving you the data you need? Are the wrong people getting alerts for workflow reviews and approvals? If people aren’t using the application, is that because it doesn’t integrate well with other processes? Finding the root cause will point you to the solution.

7. Continually improve

The good news is that with a no-code tool, you can quickly and easily make improvements to your application. That’s valuable even if your application is performing at a high level today.

After all, business requirements evolve over time. Customers have changing demands. A new team might need to be incorporated into an existing workflow. You might replace a core system, requiring new application integrations. No-code gives you the capabilities to make these adjustments quickly and painlessly.

No-code/low-code (NCLC) will produce 70% of new applications by 2025, according to Gartner. The emergence of NCLC is nothing short of a “revolution,” Accenture says, one that will drive an “explosion of user-generated innovation.” By following these steps for planning and executing your no-code project, you can be sure your organization is benefiting from employee-driven, no-code-enabled innovation and digital transformation.

5 Ways to Optimize Process Workflows With No-Code

Friday, May 20th, 2022 by Ricardo Otero

 

Optimizing workflow automations with no-code

 

Workflows are how your employees get their jobs done. If your workflows are efficient and effective, then your employees are more productive and engaged, your customers enjoy better experiences, and your business operates to its full potential.

That’s why a growing number of organizations are turning to no-code application development to optimize their workflows. With a no-code workflow builder, non-technical employees in your lines of business (LoBs) have the capabilities they need to quickly and easily create efficient, digitized workflows that turbocharge your business.

Going With the No-code Workflow

Here are five workflows you can optimize with no-code in your company, based on real-world success stories:

1. Customer and employee surveys – Electronic surveys are a great way to understand employee needs or customer demands. A no-code tool can equip you to design professional, customizable surveys to benefit your workforce or drive leads that increase sales.

A form builder supports creation of sophisticated survey forms. The workflow tool itself enables you to quickly and consistently execute the survey, saving costs and improving response rates. You can make survey execution part of an extended workflow that avoids manual errors and misplaced survey responses. In fact, at least one professional-services firm uses no-code to create marketing surveys as a service to its Fortune 500 clients.

2. New customer account creation – Setting up new customer accounts can be time-consuming and cumbersome. A no-code tool can improve the experience for employees and customers alike.

No-code lets you design a new-account workflow that requires zero training. You can enforce a standardized process for consistency and completeness. A smart form autofills relevant fields to speed the process and reduce manual errors.

The digitized workflow can capture customer information at your main location or remotely in the field. You can complete forms without an internet link and then automatically upload results when a connection is available. You can then route customer data to authorized stakeholders for review and approval, and automatically integrate data with corporate systems.

3. Employee onboarding – New-hire onboarding should follow a standardized process, and the data it captures needs to be accurate. A no-code tool can help.

You can create a workflow to cover new-hire data gathering, document collection, forms processing, compliance and more. Employees can fill out electronic forms, with the results automatically integrated with your HR database. You can even include user authentication, identity verification and digital signatures.

Workflows can be consolidated with major HR systems, with audit trails to ensure confirmation and compliance. Indeed, no-code is so effective for onboarding that professional staffing firms use it to optimize their core business of placing employees with clients.

4. Budget requests and approvals – When LoBs submit budget requests, they can’t be delayed by manual, inconsistent processes. No-code can standardize and accelerate the approval workflow, eliminate budget-request bottlenecks that slow operations, and improve business compliance.

No-code can reduce the time to process budget requests, from origination to final approval.  Team members can create and modify request forms, without the need for help from IT. Authentication protocols allow only authorized personnel to submit, approve or deny requests.

The workflow can route requests to stakeholders for approval and signature capture. It can also notify requesters of workflow status. You can integrate the workflow with your financial systems and accommodate manual interventions as necessary.

5. Remote-site process integration – Many organizations maintain satellite offices close to where they go to market. Often these sites manage their own manual processes. Digitizing those workflows can benefit the local offices and your entire enterprise.

No-code empowers you to create electronic workflows that extend across remote sites and scale to support thousands of users. Multi-site, cross-LoB workflows address a wide variety of scenarios, from resource requests to incident reports. You can customize workflows to reflect local practices or enforce standardized policies, and automatically centralize request and report data in corporate systems.

No-code even includes the capability to track and measure workflow performance to validate process improvements and compliance. Most importantly, it eliminates one-off manual processes in remote sites, reducing processing times, saving costs on administrative tasks, and making your entire business run smoother.

Driving Workflow Innovation

Those are just a few examples of how no-code can transform your workflows. Organizations across industries – including healthcare, insurance, energy, retail, financial services, public sector and education – are deploying no-code to achieve similar innovations. They’re using no-code workflows across departments, including HR, finance, sales, marketing, IT, operations and customer support. They’ve proven you can achieve advantages in any situation where you need to, including:

  • Replacing static paper or PDF forms
  • Accelerating operations
  • Integrating processes
  • Ensuring compliance
  • Avoiding manual errors
  • Reducing costs
  • Serving customers better

Ultimately, workflows created with a no-code tool empower your organization to:

  • Reduce time for workflow design and deployment
  • Minimize dependence on technical resources
  • Improve communication and compliance
  • Gain better visibility into operations
  • Realize substantial cost savings
  • Equip employees to do their jobs more efficiently and serve customers more effectively

No-code workflow automation can accelerate your operations and give your organization a new competitive advantage. And with an effective no-code tool, you can achieve those goals faster and more cost-effectively than you thought possible.

No-Code App Development Trends: 5 Reasons No-Code Is Here to Stay

Friday, February 4th, 2022 by Ricardo Otero

 

No-code development trends and statistics

Forward-thinking organizations are embracing no-code application development to empower employees, reduce costs, and rapidly produce new tools and services that optimize their businesses.

A no-code app builder allows subject matter experts to create sophisticated applications quickly and easily. Citizen developers, or those lacking coding expertise, can build applications simply by dragging and dropping reusable software elements onto a digital “canvas” to build a user interface, add business rules, configure workflow, and integrate with other systems. Behind the scenes, the tool assembles a functional, stable and secure application.

No-code tools also make life easier for professional developers. Developers can use no-code tools to rapidly create standardized and secure applications faster than traditional development approaches.

But is no-code a passing phase, or the future of development? A growing collection of trends, datapoints and expert analysis shows that no-code is here to stay. Here are five reasons no-code is the present—and future—of application development:

1. No-code lowers the cost of developing new applications.

Traditional development is expensive. Professional developers come with a hefty price tag. And traditional processes require time-consuming design, coding, testing and review cycles that eat into IT and line-of-business (LoB) budgets.

“Classic software delivery based on manual work, complex programming languages and … months of development will only get you so far,” notes Capgemini. “It is now easier than ever to construct applications without huge code efforts.” No-code and low-code tools “make building next-generation application services a high-productivity matter for both IT and business specialists.”

Other expert analysis agrees. “No-code and low-code can provide a close fit to business requirements, can be implemented quickly, and typically cost much less than systems developed in-house,” Harvard Business Review reports.

Ultimately, no-code “means a lower total cost of ownership, because it offers reusable building blocks,” Nuno Pedro, global head of commerce solutions for SAP, tells ZDNet.

2. No-code reduces the burden on IT and development teams.

The shortage of professional developers is a business stumbling block. In fact, 86% of IT decision-makers say the biggest impediment to digital transformation is a lack of developers, reports the Project Management Institute. The gap between application demand and developer supply is delaying transformation projects by an average of 8.1 months, according to IDC.

No-code can reduce your reliance on traditional development and ease the pressure on your IT and development teams. For starters, citizen developers can use no-code tools to create their own applications. What’s more, developers can use no-code to speed their own projects.

That’s why 2.57 million developers, or 11% of the development population, are now no-code or low-code specialists, IDC reports. It’s also why IDC says no-code and low-code will be a priority for 96% of IT decision makers.

3. No-code empowers business users to improve the way they work.

A growing number of business users are digital natives. They want digital tools that empower them to optimize their own workflows and become more engaged in their work.

No-code enables the line-of-business employees who understand your workflow processes best to build the functionality they need quickly and easily. “These tools are so powerful, yet easy to use, that they get the popular vote of both business and IT people,” Capgemini says.

It should be no surprise that “the increased demand for custom software solutions in support of digital transformation has sparked the emergence of citizen developers outside of IT,” according to Gartner. In fact, 41% of non-IT employees now customize or build data or technology solutions, the analyst firm says.

As for applications, nearly 60% are now built outside the IT department, TechRepublic reports. That’s why 82% of companies say citizen developers are increasingly important to their business, according to the publication.

The upshot? “The future of apps must include citizen development,” Gartner believes, noting that 61% of companies are implementing or have plans for citizen development initiatives. By 2024, Gartner predicts, 80% of technology will be created by people who aren’t in technology fields.

4. No-code provides the business with new functionality, faster.

A considerable 92% of IT leaders are comfortable with line-of-business employees using no-code and low-code tools, ZDNet reports. That’s because they equip non-technical users to accelerate internal processes, increase customer engagement and reduce the workload on IT resources.

Organizations are using no-code and low-code app builders with a variety of goals in mind. The tools are helping them automate workflows (17%), create new applications (15%), speed up application development (15%), automate data collection and reporting (14%), and reduce the burden on professional developers (10%), according to a TechRepublic survey.

The top payoffs? Organizations are achieving higher productivity (15%), faster application development (14%), automation of manual processes (12%), and easier workflows (10%), the study shows.

C-level executives likewise recognize the advantages, according to Accenture. In fact, 73% of business leaders anticipate no-code and low-code will drive new customer-facing applications, 55% expect them to create new process flows, and 50% foresee them resulting in new process controls and business rules.

5. No-code helps businesses gain competitive advantages.

More organizations are adopting a no-code approach. To stay ahead, businesses need the cost-saving, market-driving advantages that no-code tools offer.

Use of no-code and low-code technologies will nearly triple in the next few years, growing to 70% of new applications by 2025, according to Gartner. By that time, 65% of development will be achieved through no-code or low-code tools, a separate Gartner report predicts.

Other analysts forecast similar growth, with Forrester expecting sales of no-code solutions to reach $21.2 billion by 2022. By 2028, that number will hit $233 billion, compounding at a rate of 44% over seven years, according to Verified Market Research.

Ultimately, the emergence of no-code and low-code solutions is nothing short of a “revolution,” Accenture says, one that will drive an “explosion of user-generated innovation.” It has become abundantly clear: no-code is here to stay.

Can Remote Work Pave the Way for No-Code Apps?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022 by Ricardo Otero

Remote Work

Two organizational trends emerged over the past couple of years that will continue in 2022 and beyond. One is remote work environments. The other is no-code application development. These trends were initially unrelated. But as it happens, each supports the other. And going forward, each will make the other more effective.

Remote work, of course, was initially driven by the Covid-19 pandemic. The good news is that organizations forced to embrace remote work found that with the right technologies, they could complete many workflows from any location. In fact, a large portion of those processes are now more efficient and cost-effective.

As a result, a remote or hybrid workforce is here to stay. By September 2021, 45% of full-time employees were working remotely either all or part of the time, according to Gallup. Nine in 10 remote workers expected to continue that arrangement going forward. And because 30% of employees say they’d change jobs if their organization stopped allowing remote work, a hybrid work environment is likely to be permanent.

No-code application development, for its part, solves several emerging organizational issues. One is a growing shortage of trained application developers. Another is a heightened need for faster, more cost-effective development cycles. And third is the desire among an increasing number of employees to quickly build their own workflows to optimize processes.

It’s no wonder the use of no-code and low-code app builders will nearly triple in the next few years, producing 70% of new applications by 2025, according to Gartner. Already, nearly 60% of applications are built outside the IT department, and 82% of companies say “citizen developers” are increasingly important to their business, TechRepublic reports.

Remote Work Demands No-Code. And No-Code Amplifies Remote Work.

Your remote workforce has heightened the need for no-code platforms. At the same time, no-code tools can make your remote workers progressively more efficient and effective. To optimize this mutually beneficial relationship, take these five steps:

1. Pivot to automation – Your company needs to maintain workflows that suddenly must be completed by dispersed teams from a variety of locations. In the past, most business operations were structured around the idea that all employees had access to a central office. Today, remote workers need new ways to remain connected with your office and with one another. Their workflows have to be automated to replace the manual interactions that once occurred face-to-face.

No-code apps are an effective way to enable remote workers and optimize remote work. No-code tools deliver robust interfaces that make web applications easier to use. They provide secure forms for fast data capture, sharing and reporting. And they assemble sophisticated workflows that automate and accelerate both internal and customer-facing processes.

2. Empower your employees – Projects managed by your development team have most likely been slowed by the shift to remote work. That leaves your business users waiting for the software functionality they need.

But those business users have firsthand knowledge of how their processes must be carried out. They’re the people best suited to building the interfaces, forms and workflows that enable their work.

No-code app builders allow your non-technical remote employees to quickly design and produce those capabilities. There’s no longer a need to go through the time-consuming, costly design and review cycles of traditional application development. Nor is there a need to wade through procurement processes and the aggravation of bringing in an external development vendor. With no-code, your business users get the workflows they need, when they need them.

3. Ease the burden on your developers – No-code application development isn’t just for citizen developers. Your development pros also face new challenges in working remotely and with impacts of staffing shortages. With fewer team members collaborating face-to-face and onsite, developers need new tools to simplify and accelerate development.

No-code platforms offer an elegant solution. They allow developers to rapidly create standardized and secure interfaces, forms, and workflow steps they can incorporate into their larger applications. Developers can speed up their development processes – and gain time to focus on complex and strategic applications.

4. Optimize customer experiences – Today’s customers demand new ways of engaging with your company. Increasingly, they want contactless experiences. At the same time, they might no longer be able to interact with your employees at a central access point.

No-code can deliver digitized, contactless processes for serving both internal and external customers from any location. Your business users can easily create user-friendly online forms and web apps that allow customers to submit information or request services. They can quickly implement new automated workflows that improve customer experiences and strengthen customer relationships. And they can accomplish those tasks while working remotely.

5. Innovate and succeed – Finally, the shift to remote work has shaken up old ways of doing business and released a new wave of innovation. Organizations like yours are finding new ways to improve operations, optimize customer service and gain competitive advantage.

No-code can build on your momentum. The no-code approach is an effective way to recruit the brainpower of a larger portion of your workforce to address new challenges, improve internal processes, and enhance customer experiences. You can enable your remote employees to ideate and collaborate on getting the job done faster and improve customer satisfaction.

Many organizations initially adopted no-code tools to augment their application development. Today, they’re discovering that no-code not only can enable their remote workforce but it can also continuously improve the effectiveness of remote work.