There's a chance that some of the tools and platforms you discover won’t actually be right for your organisation. If you’re making moves to bring something in, you’ll need to have done your due diligence.
On the broad spectrum of no-code tools out there, it’s fair to say that some are more suited for use in an organisational setting than others. If you’re the person who’s caught the no-code bug and you’re looking to make the case to the decision-makers/IT department/general big dogs, you’ll need to have done some research before bringing any options to them. You know there’ll be some serious pushback. That’s where this guide comes in.
When it comes to working out whether you’ve found a suitable no-code tool for your business, there are 3 key questions to have covered.
1. Is it no-code or low-code?
We’ve covered this topic elsewhere in more detail, but this remains an essential point. Remember: low-code platforms and tools can only really be used by IT teams and technically-savvy people; no-code tools could be used by any team.
Typically the person who chooses the software to procure for a business is not the person who’ll end up using it. It might be a CIO or an IT architect. Here’s how it normally goes: they’ll check out the tool and judge it against the other options out there. They’ll compare it by functionality, integrations with what they’re already using and price. Normally, it tends to mostly come down to features and functionality.
For low-code tools, that’s fine as they’re all broadly the same difficulty to use. But with no-code, it’s different because the learning curve and ease of use can vary wildly. For example, someone could get to grips with the website builder Squarespace in a day or two; it would take a lot longer to become proficient using Webflow. That difference in usability affects everything: from training time, to mistakes and errors, to general uptake across your business.This matters because when you’re dealing with enterprise-level tools, most of the powerful and popular ones out there (eg, Microsoft Power Apps, Mendix, Quickbase) are really low-code. So only an IT department can really use them. Not ideal if you’re trying to empower your operations team.
That difference in usability affects everything: from training time, to mistakes and errors, to general uptake across your business.
2. How are you actually going to deploy it?
Up next, we’re talking deployment: the steps and processes needed to make sure the app is available to the right people in the right way. There will be resistance, and there will be some questions that need answering. Those include:
1) Where is the app and data hosted?
2) How complicated is it to set up?
3) How much does it cost?
4) How complicated is it to use?
5) Does it have necessary compliance features? (Like SSO, access controls and audit logs)
6) Who’ll be in charge of making sure access is granted correctly and the tool is used properly?
Your organisation will likely have specific requirements to adhere to that you’ll need to take into account – and it can get complicated. For example, is your business going to be okay with no-code tools that host the data themselves? If not, you’ll need to find a self-hosted option; but most innovative platforms out there are not self-hosted.
3. How does it handle your data?
You’re going to need whatever tool you opt for to access some kind of data. The question is, can you connect it to the data sources that matter, like your customer data, operations data, or HR data? Typically you’re looking for two things:
Does the tool connect properly to your data sources? This really should be a yes or no answer. If you need your tool to be able to read SQL, does the no-code tool connect to SQL? Do you need the tool to be able to integrate with Airtable?
Does it offer the right security levels? If you connect your database to this tool, is your IT department going to be happy? Are they going to let you connect it to that critical customer data and effectively let it leave the controls of the organisation? That’s a big call and *spoiler* the answer is probably no. Can you put the necessary permissions on it to limit who can see and access what? It’s one thing getting the data in and out, but you may well need to be able to audit and set access levels and permissions. Eg, if you’re an investment company and you have Barack Obama as a client, you’re probably not going to want your entire customer ops team to be able to see his portfolio and where he’s making his investments.
NCDT’S TOP TIPS
• Seek the path of least resistance
As a general rule, always try and make it as uncomplicated as you can. If your organisation uses Microsoft software, it makes sense to look for no-code tools with Microsoft integrations. If your customer support team uses Zendesk, look for a tool like Internal or DronaHQ which could work with it straight out of the box.
• Do a proof-of-concept
Try before you buy. Lots of enterprise-level tools and platforms offer something called a proof of concept, whereby they’ll let you try it for free or for a low cost, train up members of your team and show you it’s possible to build the app you need with them. If you can, opt for this option.
• Watch the pricing
It’s our opinion that no-code is most effective when its use is widespread in an organisation. In the long run, it should be a way for lots of people to develop software on an ongoing basis, not just a one-off project. Therefore, make sure that the pricing plan won’t make that an impossibility. If it’s too high upfront, for example, or the cost per user is prohibitive, the tool might not be the one.