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.
Your IT department and the end users it supports can sometimes seem like they’re at odds. After all, your techies know digital – the latest devices and apps and best practices for getting the most out of them. Your business users, in contrast, don’t always have the same grasp of technology – though they certainly depend on it to do their jobs.
So what happens when you throw no-code application development into the mix?
A no-code app builder allows non-technical employees to create their own applications quickly and easily. They can build interfaces, forms and workflows simply by dragging and dropping reusable software elements onto a digital canvas. The tool then automatically assembles a functional, stable and secure application.
Make no mistake: No-code is the future of software creation. Two-thirds of application development will be achieved through no-code/low-code (NC/LC) tools by 2024, Gartner predicts. And 82% of companies say “citizen developers” are increasingly important to their business, TechRepublic reports. But are IT pros buying in?
Easing the Pressure on IT
You’d think IT departments might not like ceding some control of application creation. But the fact is, IT is embracing no-code in a big way. A whopping 92% of IT leaders are comfortable with business users taking advantage of non-code/low-code tools.
There are several reasons for this no-code enthusiasm. First and foremost is that no-code alleviates the demand for professional application developers. And expert developers are in short supply – to the point that the dearth of developers is slowing down business.
In fact, 86% of IT decision-makers say the biggest impediment to digital transformation is a lack of developers. This supply-demand gap is delaying digital transformation projects by an average 8.1 months. As a direct result, NC/LC is becoming a priority for 96% of IT decision makers.
Expert application development remains crucial to many businesses, of course. Yet traditional development processes require months of coding, reviews and testing before even the simplest software is ready for use. And while methodologies such as DevOps aim to accelerate processes, even DevOps-enabled development involves many manual, time-consuming steps.
With no-code, citizen developers alleviate development teams from less-complex, workflow-specific application creation. Line-of-business (LoB) employees using no-code follow a simple, proven process to quickly assemble their own secure and stable software. There’s no need for extensive training, technical expertise or lengthy development cycles. Pro development teams gain the time and energy to focus on coding enterprise-wide, mission-critical software.
Empowering Application Developers
But your software development team can also take advantage of no-code. Developers use no-code to quickly create robust, secure interfaces, forms and workflows that underlie more extensive applications. The reusable components of no-code have already gone through quality assurance and testing for security. They’re reliable, they integrate with popular systems, and they scale for higher performance.
Without the need to manually code entire programs from scratch, developers have more time to create sophisticated, function-specific or industry-targeted software. That can help you digitize processes and differentiates your company from the competition.
In fact, 2.57 million developers, or 11% of the development population, are now no-code or low-code specialists. It’s no wonder even the DevOps community is embracing no-code for its ability to “enable experienced developers to accelerate deployment and reduce IT backlogs.”
Making IT More Effective
As more citizen developers experience the benefits of no-code, it’s important for your IT team to retain ownership of software governance. Your IT function should vet the no-code platforms you deploy. IT should also make sure business users understand when an LoB-created no-code workflow provides the best solution, and when enterprise-scale software developed by your professional team makes more sense.
Yet governance is another area where no-code helps IT – especially when it comes to “shadow IT.” Shadow IT occurs when LoBs circumvent corporate policies to purchase their own software. Unapproved software can result in high costs, because one-off software purchases don’t benefit from economies of scale. Shadow IT can also introduce cybersecurity vulnerabilities that IT teams don’t even know about.
No-code helps IT departments limit rogue technology spending. When business users have no-code builders to create their own software, they’re less likely to waste money on shadow IT. And IT has less trouble trying to support unapproved applications.
Use of no-code and low-code technologies will nearly triple in the next few years, growing from 25% of new applications in 2020 to 70% of new applications by 2025, according to Gartner. Now, IT teams and business users have something they can agree on: No-code is good for everybody.
For years now, organizations have relied on Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets and other spreadsheet software to support essential aspects of their businesses. Smaller businesses might handle major portions of their financial accounting in spreadsheets. Even large enterprises with sophisticated ERP systems regularly turn to spreadsheets to organize data or crunch numbers.
But as organizations digitize and automate, the limitations of this software become apparent. Even though they’re easy to use for less technical employees, spreadsheets aren’t designed for managing complex data or workflows of today’s business operations.
The fact is, the time has come for organizations of all sizes to recognize – and migrate away from – the constraints of their outdated spreadsheets. That’s especially true when it comes to managing workflows.
The good news is that an alternative solution already exists – one that’s simple, cost effective, and as easy to use as a spreadsheet. A no-code application development solution can empower you to quickly and easily create customized applications that optimize workflows, span process gaps, and help automate operations – in ways no spreadsheet ever could.
Addressing Spreadsheet Shortcomings
A no-code tool enables any business user to create software without writing code. Users simply drag and drop objects on a virtual canvas to build web apps, workflow apps, web forms or reports. The no-code tool automatically assembles those elements to create stable, secure no-code software to digitize and automate forms, applications and workflows.
There are several areas where spreadsheets fall short but where no-code provides the solution:
Avoiding errors – Because spreadsheets require repetitious, manual data entry, their outputs fall victim to human error. No-code software enables the creation of digitized forms and workflows that standardize data capture and enforce consistent processes, reducing errors.
Establishing controls – Spreadsheets are inherently siloed. They don’t allow you to easily view and manage workflows across systems or lines of business (LoBs). No-code applications are designed to span departments and link processes. Internal teams and external customers can benefit from no-code apps that store data and manage workflows in a centralized location.
Achieving insights and compliance – Spreadsheets don’t tell you anything about how workflows are running or status updates. A good no-code tool not only digitizes workflows; it also lets you track the effectiveness of those workflows. It can even help you demonstrate compliance with both internal process rules and external regulations.
Improving flexibility – Spreadsheets aren’t easily adaptable to evolving business demands. No-code tools let you customize workflows to your unique requirements. And because no-code tools are simple to use, team members can quickly fine-tune workflows to meet new departmental or customer needs – whenever those needs arise.
No-code Workflow Wins
Enterprises are using no-code and low-code app builders for a range of purposes, according to a recent survey. The survey found that businesses are using no-code and low-code for automating workflows (17% of respondents), creating new applications (15%), accelerating application development (15%), automating data collection and reporting (14%), and reducing the burden on professional developers (10%).
Another survey found that the top no-code benefits organizations cited include higher productivity (15%), faster application development (14%), automation of manual processes (12%), and easier workflows (10%).
No-code equips users to digitize a portion of a workflow for an incremental improvement or encode end-to-end workflows for even greater automation. The resulting workflows can enable data capture, notifications, escalations, reporting, and more. They can even integrate with existing systems to support broader processes and ensure efficiency and compliance.
Organizations across a wide range of industries are using no-code to optimize workflows: healthcare, insurance, energy, retail, financial services, higher education, K-12 schools and so on. No-code helps these organizations:
- Reduce manual errors
- Speed up processes
- Lower costs
- Enable compliance
- Improve customer service
- Replace static paper and PDF forms
Likewise, any business function can benefit from no-code, including finance, sales and marketing, IT, HR, customer support, facilities and more. For instance:
Finance can build workflow apps to manage order-to-cash, process invoices, handle payroll and approve budgets.
Sales can build workflows to route leads, approve quotes and process orders.
IT can assemble workflows to provision user technology, manage helpdesk calls and offer employee self-services.
HR can design workflows to onboard employees, conduct performance reviews, approve travel expenses and let workers request time off.
A spreadsheet might be able to help with some aspects of some of those tasks – in a limited, manual and error-prone way. But a good no-code application development tool is clearly superior: as easy to use as a spreadsheet, but able to create no-code software with far greater functionality and business benefit.
So, the next time you reach for your spreadsheet, stop and think about how much better the outcome could be. And then turn to a no-code solution to better manage your workflows.
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.
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.