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.

How No-Code Benefits Your IT and Development Teams

Friday, May 6th, 2022 by Ricardo Otero

 

No-code’s benefits can impact IT and Development teams

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.

Why You Should No Longer Use Spreadsheets for Managing Your Workflows

Friday, March 25th, 2022 by Ricardo Otero

 

Manually entering important data can leave you vulnerable, but no-code can help

 

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.

Mobile Web Applications and Native Mobile Apps: What’s the Difference?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2022 by Ricardo Otero

 

Person using a mobile app on their phone

The world has gone mobile. Nearly 16 billion mobile devices are in operation today. Well over one-half of all web traffic is now conducted from a mobile device. And in the workplace, 62% of users say mobile devices play a key role in helping them be productive, while 36% report their use of mobile devices at work has increased in the past year.

These trends have big implications for how your employees access the applications they need to do their jobs. The more your workers rely on smartphones and tablets, the more they need mobile access to your organization’s business-enabling software.

But does that mean you should migrate your applications to mobile apps? Or is there another way your users can access productivity software on their mobile devices? Knowing the answer can help your organization gain the most benefit from the mobile-device juggernaut.

The Defining Qualities of Mobile Applications

Before identifying the mobile strategy that’s right for your organization, it’s important to understand the difference between a native mobile app and a mobile web application.

A native mobile app is a program designed exclusively to run on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. It’s called “native” because it’s coded specifically for a particular mobile operating system (OS) such as Apple iOS or Google Android. These are the familiar consumer apps that you can download from an app store and that are used for everything from gaming to chatting to fitness.

Native mobile apps are popular because they offer specialized functionality in a self-contained format. But for business purposes, they have limitations. For starters, they don’t necessarily dovetail with other applications and processes in your enterprise.

But there’s a bigger issue when it comes to the custom applications you need to run your operations. Native mobile apps must be individually coded for different mobile platforms. So, you need to either limit your users to a specific mobile operating system – or spend the time and resources to have your development team essentially create separate apps for each mobile OS.

A mobile web application, in contrast, is an application that requires only a web browser to be installed on a mobile device. Mobile web applications are typically built with popular technologies such as CSS, HTML5 and JavaScript, so they don’t need to be coded specifically for each device’s OS.

Mobile web applications are well-suited for business use. They enable your employees to use the mobile devices they already have to quickly and easily access the business functionality they need to do their jobs – whenever and wherever they need it. And there’s no need to create multiple versions for multiple mobile platforms.

No-Code Tools for Mobile Web Applications

In the past, organizations relied on their application development teams to design and create their mobile web applications. Today, your organization can take advantage of a no-code app builder to allow nontechnical teams to quickly and easily create applications for use on their mobile devices.

These citizen developers leverage a no-code software development tool to create, deploy and continually improve applications. When using a no-code tool, the organization benefits from insights and innovation already embedded in the workforce. In fact, Gartner says “the future of apps must include citizen development” and reports that 61% of companies are implementing or have plans for this approach.

How does it work? Customizable templates make building mobile web applications fast and easy. A drag-and-drop visual designer lets users simply select design objects for the application and drag them to a canvas. Behind the scenes, the tool automatically creates the application code. Departments from HR to finance to sales and service can digitize and automate workflows and processes for higher productivity and more effective customer service.

A no-code tool can also allow professional development teams to work more efficiently and cost-effectively. Developers can use no-code to speedily create robust, secure interfaces, forms and workflows that underlie mobile web applications. That way, they can focus on the more complex aspects of digitizing end-to-end processes.

Organizations across a wide range of industries – from energy to healthcare to higher education – are embracing no-code app builders to deploy the mobile web applications they need. By speeding up customized, business-enabling functionality to every employee’s mobile device, they can automate workflows, empower workers, save money and serve customers better.

Posted in On-Demand, on-premise, SaaS | Comments Off on Mobile Web Applications and Native Mobile Apps: What’s the Difference?

Build applications to support new COVID-19 related workflow processes

Friday, April 10th, 2020 by ehuezo

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented unprecedented challenges around the world.


It is inspiring to see people, as a community, come together virtually and on the front lines to help others as we do our best to minimize the devastating impacts. At a time like this, technology can help us overcome challenges associated with new protocols and facilitate remote work to keep employees safe and productive. At PerfectForms, we are seeing customers in healthcare, government, school districts, colleges and many other industries implement new workflow processes, online forms and reports to manage and monitor their response to COVID-19. Examples of some COVID-19 related workflow processes, online forms and reports include:

· Employee leave tracking/reporting
· Mandatory compliance reporting and audit tracking
· Asset management tracking
· Health related assessments
· Inventory tracking
· Time tracking/reporting

With PerfectForms, you can build online forms and workflow applications that meet your new requirements and launch the applications faster than traditional development methods. We also offer professional services if you need help implementing new processes quickly, in case you may be experiencing resource constraints. Please reach out if we can help you. We hope you, your family and coworkers remain safe and healthy during this challenging time.

As Accurate as a Weatherman from 1950

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 by aanzelc@perfectforms.com

Jon Brodkin recently wrote a thought-provoking, if controversial, piece in Network World highlighting the common misconceptions surrounding cloud computing. Even though it seems like cloud computing and cloud applications affect every aspect of our business lives (which I don’t feel is a bad thing), there appears to be a lot of confusion out there amongst business users as to what the cloud actually provides. And oddly enough, I wouldn’t be surprised to find some IT users that are stumped as well – not by what the cloud can do, per se, but by what it can’t do…which according to Brodkin includes: replacing MS Office, pre-determining legal ownership of IP, and always being cheap.

Jon’s article is less of a celebration of cloud computing and more of a myth-busting “gotcha” segment. I agree that the more information we can share about the intricacies of the cloud and how it compares to traditional on-premise deployments the better, but there is one point in particular with which I take issue, and one point with which I totally agree.

Disagree: Brodkin says cloud computing isn’t as affordable as people think. He uses the example of some cloud apps offering attractive subscription prices and then requiring Internet bandwidth upgrades or bizarre contracts. While it’s up to a customer to read through the contracts they sign (and as a cloud provider I can tell you that no one I know puts out shady EULAs), the Internet bandwidth argument is a little questionable. While bandwidth upgrades can cost upwards of $10,000, it isn’t difficult to find out how much you’ll need for any given cloud app. That’s part of due diligence, and there are thousands upon thousands of cloud applications that will not hog your bandwidth.

Agree: The article’s first contention is that cloud computing will not put IT professionals out of a job and/or make them obsolete. I wish that more IT staffers would absorb this reality and stop worrying that the cloud above their heads is planning to rain all over their careers. “Moving to the cloud” does not need to be followed by IT losing their jobs, and very rarely is. While companies that have been forced to lay off workers due to tough economic times can work more efficiently with collaborative cloud-based BPM solutions (increase productivity, decrease cost) – there will always be a need for management, supervision and technical liaison with cloud vendors. As Brodkin notes, certain skill sets might eventually become less relevant, but employing people with technical knowledge will never fall out of fashion.

Fortune 500s Find Survey Success Through PerfectForms

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 by aanzelc@perfectforms.com

PerfectForms is pleased to announce our release of the Affinity Management Group Success Story.

Through directing sales and creating surveys for numerous Fortune 500 companies, The Affinity Management Group has positioned itself as an industry leader in business consulting and survey services. Affinity’s clients include technology firms, telephony networks, human resources specialists, health care institutions and other professional businesses.

Last year, Affinity reported over 10-15 million dollars in sales for clients, which were primarily driven by client survey solutions. PerfectForms software as a service solution has provided Affinity Management Group with an essential survey framework, which has streamlined workflow – delivering an impressive one-year return on investment – and transformed the way Affinity employees do their jobs.

“Jeff has been a godsend! Whenever I need help with anything, I send Jeff an email and within 10 minutes Jeff is personally on the phone with me to explain how to do it.“

“The service level has been phenomenal!”
-Adrina Patterson, Owner of Affinity Management Group

Other notable case study highlights include:

• Affinity survey response rates have been reported as 4 to 5 times better with PerfectForms than industry norms. The sector typically has a 4 – 8% typical response rate for surveys, but Affinity reports that with PerfectForms their norm for 2008 was a 37% response rate.

• Reduced maintenance costs. All technical problems are easily solved with the assistance of PerfectForms on-demand solutions management staff.

• Reduced loss leads due streamlined workflow. Affinity reports that the workflow management system has prevented items from being misplaced or mismanaged, which has increased productivity and simplified process management.

• Expanded business opportunities. Affinity cites that PerfectForms flexibility allows itself to be adapted to new business processes solutions, reducing costs for deployed software. They are looking at transitioning other existing processes to PerfectForms to create new business divisions.

For the full customer case study, click here