Many companies face a similar internal tooling dilemma: For every pain point, there is a person who knows what needs to be built. But, they often lack the technical skills needed to solve the problem.
Meanwhile, the teams who have the skills to solve these problems don’t have the time or understanding to solve them properly.
It’s a never-ending catch-22 that causes your teams to operate inefficiently, without the systems they truly need to succeed and become more valuable over time.
Fortunately, there’s a potential solution that you can implement: No- code operations.
In this guide, we’ll cover the most important no-code essentials, including best practices that your business can use to get the most out of no-code.
Here’s a quick overview:
- What is no-code operations?
- How no-code operations is shaping the internal tool landscape
- Best practices for working with no-code operations
- No-code tools will have a dramatic impact on the future of business operations
What is no-code operations?
No-code operations is the function that leverages no-code tools to build internal software and systems.
Airtable’s David Petersen’s coined the term to describe the need to create precise internal tools quickly using no-code and low-code tools — without the need for coding skills or calling on programmers for support.
No-code is still in its early stages, but it’s advancing quickly. Don’t be surprised if this job category (and skillset) makes big waves in the tech world. There’s massive potential to help companies build better internal software that allows people to get more stuff done, faster. Exciting times!
According to the Harvard Business Review, low- and no-code development is often used in:
- Small-scale automation capabilities, such as databases, email, and transactional systems. It can also be used to automate small repetitive tasks involving office productivity software like spreadsheets, word processing, and electronic file folders.
- Analytics, including visual representations of company data over time that can be used to inform strategic decisions throughout the organization.
- Web and mobile site development, including tools for e-commerce and search engine optimization (SEO).
- Internal tool development for specialized team-level workflows like legal documents, customer application processing, HR, sales team workflows, and so much more.
- Notification, reporting, and alerting to help stakeholders get time-critical information quickly into platforms like Slack, Email, and SMS.
How no-code operations is shaping the internal tool landscape
No-code operations take an abstracted, visual approach to building impactful internal integrations and systems without code. There are three main ways it can reshape your internal processes:
1. No-code solves internal problems quickly
Every department has its own bottlenecks and knows its pain points intimately. The problem arises when complicated processes and knowledge gaps get in the way of solving these problems.
For example, let's say you want to do away with your usual team process of manually exporting data from your warehouse and sorting through it in Google Sheets. You suggest building an analysis tool that outputs your most critical insights for better data analysis.
Once you’ve identified a need, here’s how the problem-solving process traditionally works:
- First, you need to consult with the engineering team to find who has time to tackle the project.
- Then, you need to explain the project and your needs in detail, so they can create a tool that can do everything your department needs.
- Lastly, there'll be rounds of refinement and ongoing maintenance that require more communication.
Let’s face it: Most engineering teams are already swamped. They don’t have the bandwidth to create new internal tools in a timely manner. So, your analysis tool never gets built.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that so many people choose to continue with their manual processes instead of dealing with the hassle of creating a new tool.
No-code flips the script, though.
According to Zapier, 90% of no-code users believe that their company has grown faster thanks to no-code tools.
We’d be willing to bet that growth came with fewer headaches, too.
Investing in no-code operations enables more people to solve internal problems. It also empowers them to solve those problems quickly and more effectively. No-code platforms use drag-and-drop “building blocks” so you can build internal tools in half the time (versus a custom-coded solution).
This approach empowers companies to distribute the burden across the teams involved. That way, there’s no need to request approval from the whole organization or give the engineering department all the work.
No-code also helps team members avoid the prioritization hurdles that come with mid-priority internal projects. Your software engineering team can focus on higher priority projects that serve your customer base and advance your product’s features.
2. No-code tools leverage niche knowledge to address pain points
It can be difficult to communicate a business operation challenge to colleagues in other departments. The precise level of nuance is challenging to capture if you haven’t executed the process firsthand.
In an ideal world, the non-technical people closest to the problem will be capable of building their own solutions efficiently.
No-code tools make that possible.
They empower your team to build the exact solutions their department needs. Because they're the ones living and owning the process, they're intimately familiar with the pain points and bottlenecks in the process. They’re the best people to create features that streamline every one of their business needs.
One-size-fits-all solutions don't always cover the challenges you face, but no-code operations allow your team to build workflows that match how they do their work.
3. No-code supports growth and agility
When your tools and technology take weeks of time and endless back-and-forth to build, you’re much less likely to take the time to re-tool or go back to the drawing board. The result? Team members continue to use tools your organization has long since outgrown and frustration intensifies.
No-code operations are much more agile. They empower your “citizen developers” to rebuild their roles and templates as they see fit, which makes their job more enjoyable and efficient.
Best practices for working with no-code operations
Clearly, no-code is on the rise. Gartner estimates that a whopping 70% of new app development in companies will rely on low- or no-code technologies as soon as 2025. In contrast, only 25% of all companies surveyed created apps with these new tools in 2020.
No-code is becoming more popular and powerful than ever, creating a huge opportunity for organizations that lean in.
Here’s how to take advantage of no-code in your organization:
- Don’t neglect education. Be sure to educate managers and other company leaders on no-code operations, best practices, and emergent trends. Keep them apprised of what tools the organization supports and the opportunities and responsibilities of low- and no-code development.
- Develop case studies. Since no-code is so new, most people can’t even imagine the possibilities. Great internal case studies should be showcased to inspire teams to adopt and experiment with tooling.
- Encourage experimentation. Managers and supervisors should give employees the freedom to work and experiment with no-code solutions, albeit with safeguards in place. If you're hesitant, start small. Allow your employees to create solutions that don't affect other departments. Hosting a small hackathon is an easy way to get the creative ideas flowing and spot your no-code superstars.
- Do a test project. If you’re a team member with a resistant manager, propose a test project for a certain period. Explain the pain point, what you plan to do, and the possible benefits. Afterwards, present the findings. Emphasize how much time and money you've saved, then propose other business processes that you can use no-code tools for. Sometimes showing is better than telling.
- Get engineering involved. Engineering can also be there for guidance and project hand-off when the scope of a no-code project gets larger. Engineers can polish the application development and even help with continuity when team members leave the company.
No-code tools will have a dramatic impact on the future of business operations
It’s impossible to know what the future holds, but we think it’s safe to say that there is increasing demand and ROI in investing in no-code operations.
No-code tools already have proven benefits, including:
- Faster tooling and analysis
- Enhanced leverage of the unique knowledge of your niche team members
- Organizational empowerment that makes it possible for teams to function with more agility
- Career advancement possibilities for people who become the go-to experts for specific platforms and tools
- Increased employee satisfaction
If you’re ready to unlock the power of no-code tools in your organization, you should know that AirOps is working on something very exciting. Click here to subscribe to the latest and greatest updates.