Using the Right Tools to Better Define the Problem
Some low-code and no-code toolkits aim to start from bare metal and operate in a stand-alone mode; others are designed to go on top of existing infrastructure or even a very specific platform, such as Microsoft 365. Some come in the form of tools you run on your own server; others are cloud-based subscription services with monthly fees and specific capacities.
These differences mean there’s not one world of low-code and no-code toolkits with a range of competitors. Instead, it’s a world of very diverse application development solutions all sharing the same buzzword. Each solution must be matched with a specific problem and specific environment.
Small business IT teams looking at low-code and no-code will need to get very detailed very early about what they are looking for and what problem they are trying to solve in order to choose the right solutions. Just because a business had a great experience previously with a tool, it doesn’t mean that it will necessarily work for its current circumstances.
Defining the problem and application requirements can be difficult for small businesses focused on day-to-day operations, especially if they don’t have in-house application development experience. This is the paradox of low-code and no-code, which is designed to be a godsend to just those types of organizations.
How Low-Code and No-Code Can Support Small Business
One area where low-code and no-code works especially well for small businesses is with “if only” problems. For example, “Our current driver scheduling app is great, but if only it could email mangers the next day’s schedule, it would be even better.” In this example, a low-code and no-code solution can take an existing dependable application and extend its functionality.
Starting with internal applications rather than customer-facing tools is also a good strategy for small businesses interested in low-code and no-code. Internal users will be more forgiving of small design issues or user interface clumsiness and can give direct feedback on issues to in-house developers, who can deploy updates quickly. It’s not that customer-facing applications can’t be developed with low-code and no-code tools; it’s just that such tools require a higher level of polish, dependability and ease of use, so businesses are usually wise to spend their limited development resources on those apps.
This doesn’t mean that small businesses can’t start from scratch with low-code and no-code tools to develop entirely new applications. But taking on the task of building a new application, especially a line-of-business or business-critical application, is a big commitment, whether using low-code and no-code tools or more traditional development environments.