Leveraging No-code Tools
There are few bigger opportunities in business right now than learning how to properly leverage no-code tools.
Up until this point, being able to build software and automate business processes was reserved for developers and engineers who knew how to write code. Now, if you’ve been following the emergence of no-code then you’ll know that software products exist that allow you to do the same but without the coding knowledge as a pre-requisite.
Now while this post isn’t the right place to dive into the tools in detail, I will highlight a few which I think are going to be instrumental into a number of shifts that are beginning to emerge.
But first, let me frame it up by mentioning two groups who are likely inline to receive the biggest benefit from learning how to leverage these tools properly.
First, small to medium size businesses with admin teams, disconnected systems and a large amounts of manual processes.
Like everyone, SME’s are going through an interesting transition at the moment. Not only are they learning how to work remotely but will likely be having to do so with a different team structure due to the impact of COVID-19. A sudden unplanned move to remote work from traditional office environments will likely exacerbate previously underlying problems. The main areas? Business inefficiency and the shift to async working.
I expect these to arise in many forms but the ones that are interesting to us, are ones which involve either:
- Humans taking information from online system and entering it into another.
- Needless information pass-through e.g person A does something, let’s manager A know via email, manager A creates report for manager B (and so on).
These are two simple examples but I suspect there are many more that once you look under the hood of 99% of businesses will seem barbaric to those of us who know what’s possible with todays tools.
I’ve seen first hand through either personal projects or recommending people to businesses what a huge impact the automation of manual processes can have. A talented and well armed visual developer/automator of work, proficient in a small set of tools, can bring disproportionate amounts of value in extremely short periods of time.
I’m going to leave this one here to linger while we take about the next group who can disproportionately benefit. Then once we’ve subbed that we’ll come back to this with some good news for SMEs currently in this position.
So, moving onto the second group of people.
Now this group is slightly different. These are small internet first, remote teams or individuals who are already somewhat leveraged through "off the shelf" SaaS software with integration options built in. These are likely SaaS Product Entrepreneurs, Online Educators, eCommerce Brands, Streamers and Productised Creators to name a few. There are more of course.
These teams range from 1-10 people who currently perform at a level of ‘larger’ more established businesses by not being bloated with staff and laden with the process inefficiency that comes with it. Or, these people are breaking new ground and selling to audiences built through social platforms.
Teams like these, once exposed to automation tools like Zapier, Integromat, Tray or n8n, as examples, will likely learn, adopt and implement new technologies before adding new people to the team. What this does is push the need to add staff even further down the road and apply even greater leverage in terms of the work that can be done by a small number of people.
This may seem like a bit of a doom and gloom situation for small to medium size businesses in general but it’s not. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
Unlike code, no-code tools have a much lower barrier to entry and with the right documentation and tutorials, even the most seemly complex flows and automations can be implemented without code. A great visual developer who has a deep understanding of no-code tools, the nuance between each one and how they will fit into the business in question, will be able to add disproportionate amounts of value in a very short space of time.
Another thing worth noting, is that this person is able to work in such a way that if documented correctly can be easily handed off for the wider team to manage without the prior requirement of software integrations to be managed by traditional developers or engineers.
We’re entering into a phase where those who know about the tools that are available to us and how to implement them have a huge advantage over those who don’t. It’s our job to communicate this effectively and make creating software available to everyone with an internet connection, fluent in code or not.