Lessons from 5 major companies adopting no-code platforms

The pandemic changed the world of business forever. These 5 companies put no-code at the centre of their response.

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When we think of companies that use no-code platforms, most of us imagine startups: we envision bustling spaces full of crumpled Red Bull cans, with people furiously coding into the night, hoping to launch their products as quickly as they can.

But no-code isn’t just for the flashy and high-stakes world of tech startups. Many other types of companies, from independent businesses to enterprise-level giants have all utilized no-code apps. No-code makes it easy to assemble a CMS, manage customer accounts, launch apps, create databases, distribute content, and a wide range of other important functions in a way that’s efficient and can be less costly.

At one time, no-code was a bit of a novelty. But technical advancements, the variety of applications it can be used, and its adoption by bigger companies are proof that no-code isn’t a trendy movement without substance. Rather it democratizes development, enabling anyone, whatever their business, to create the tools they need with a lower barrier to entry.

Businesses had to make a major shift because of the global pandemic

Covid-19 shook up the world, disrupting so much of our normal lives, especially how we work.

Most businesses had to make a drastic shift to virtual work environments. Video conferencing took over as the primary means of communication with teammates. New digital tools for collaboration had to be put into place. Companies also had to figure out how to maintain their sense of culture without having any sort of in-person interactions. 

Not only did a global pandemic change the workplace, but it forced businesses to also change their strategies. Companies that never relied on e-commerce found themselves scrambling to offer their products and services through digital means. Universities were forced to move the bulk of their coursework to online classes. The old ways of doing things had to change to deal with the effects of the pandemic, and it had to happen fast.

No-code apps helped many businesses speed up the timelines in creating what they needed to make this radical shift.

What no-code is and how it has been rapidly adopted

No-code takes what was once the domain of developers and opens it up to anyone with a bit of patience and the willingness to learn. 

It can be used to create workflows and automations that do things like shuttle data from multiple sources to one centralized space. It powers chatbots that help customers in finding the information they’re after. No-code makes it easy to embed forms and customer surveys. If you need something, there’s probably a no-code solution out there. 

No-code has gained momentum because it expedites development and gives stakeholders the power to make edits or changes on their own. They get autonomy, rather than having to bring someone in to do the work. 

Developers, instead of shunning no-code, have adopted it in their workflows. In lieu of having to start from zero, these apps offer ready-made building blocks, decreasing the work developers need to do at the top of a project.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of no-code, let’s take a look at some companies that are using them in a variety of ways to help improve what they do. 

Volcom: Parabola

Volcom is a Southern California based lifestyle company specializing in soft goods and apparel aimed at surfers and skateboarders. They began as a humble grassroots brand and now has a global reach. Most big businesses have wonky manual practices that are holdovers from their humble beginnings. Volcom did a lot of work manually in managing analytics and generating reports from the various sources of data they wanted to keep track of.

Reid Sheldon, the Head of Global Digital Marketing over at Volcom took on Parabola to take care of their analytics. Parabola works well for managing and putting data into action, as well as for creating automations and connecting apps together in delivering data where it needs to be.

Before discovering Parabola, he (Reid) was manually composing an important daily report on brand marketing spend. This report used to take a lot of his time every day to put together. He was manually downloading, cleaning, and reformatting the data to get it into a presentable format.

- Sachi Yokose, Parabola

They use Parabola in taking e-commerce data from Shopify and integrating it with different data in spreadsheets, as well as combining it with Google Analytics. From properly formatting the data to producing custom reports, every step of this process is automated instead of doing it by hand. Along with utilizing the power of Parabola in working with analytics and data, they also use it to make mass product updates directly to Shopify, further decreasing the amount of manual work that needs to be done.

No-code tools like Parabola are instrumental in improving data workflows, and Volcom takes advantage of its no-code functionality in streamlining these processes. 

If you’re looking to build automations and tap into the power of your data Parabola can help:

  • Parabola features an intuitive drag and drop interface, no code required.
  • Any action that you’ve been doing by hand on spreadsheets can be automated. 
  • It offers a wide range of integrations including Google Analytics, Shopify, Bubble, Airtable, Mailchimp, and more.

Room for Refugees: Typeform

Typeform makes it possible to create specialized forms and surveys, all without having to deal with coding and embedding these elements into a website. Some pretty heavy hitters like Nike, Apple, and Airbnb use Typeform, but it’s a no-code platform that’s great no matter how big your business may be. 

Room for Refugees is a non-profit organization that connects those with available spaces in their homes with refugees in need. They utilized Typeform on their website to make it easier for potential hosts to enter and submit information about who they are and what accommodations they have to offer.

The need for emergency accommodation was high, and hundreds of people were inspired to lend their spare rooms. Problem was, the rooms all needed to be manually logged into a database. And with only two members of staff, this just wasn't feasible.

- Miranda Gabbott, Typeform

Room for Refugees' use of no-code doesn’t end with Typeform. The data that potential hosts input into these forms is channeled through Zapier, which then stows it in a Knack database. Each step of this chain is powered by no-code applications. 

One of the advantages of no-code is the compatibility that many different platforms have with each other. Room for Refugees takes advantage of Typeform, Zapier, and Knack for an automated workflow that’s the perfect solution for collecting and keeping track of potential hosts’ data. 

If you’re looking for a no-code solution in gathering customer information, or other data Typeform can help:

  • Typeforms offers a variety of templates including, feedback forms, marketing surveys, and signup forms that can be customized to suit your needs.
  • It can be integrated with apps like Slack, Mailchimp, Salesforce, and Airtable giving you plenty of options in collecting and centralizing customer communications.
  • Forms, surveys, and other elements are responsive, meaning they’ll work on any device that someone is inputting information into.

Future London Academy: ActiveCampaign

Future London Academy is an educational organization mainly focused on those in creative fields, offering classes, workshops, and other learning opportunities. Co-founder Ekaterina Solomeina and Mohammed Saiful Hussain, the academy director have spent much time over the last eight years developing courses and building their student base of creative professionals. COVID-19 particularly affected higher education, and Future London Academy had to make the shift to being primarily online. Even before COVID-19, higher education institutions faced challenges in recruiting and retaining students.

Future London Academy was managing student information and communications in a way that was slow and cumbersome. Something had to change to better manage their influx of students.

At first Mo (Mohammed) did everything from his email inbox and manually entered customer information into a Google Sheet. But as Future London Academy’s reach grew, Mo was soon managing thousands of contacts without the help of automation—costing him too much time and effort. It was time for a better solution.

- ActiveCampaign

In guiding more students to sign up for their classes Future London Academy utilizes ActiveCampaign in their marketing funnel. They use Thinkific to take care of their coursework, and through ActiveCampaign they can pull in student data like names, email addresses, and the courses they’re enrolled in from it. With this data, they can then send students emails and newsletters geared toward what they’ve already expressed interest in. This is a more focused way of connecting with students than sending out generic email blasts.

ActiveCampaign, and other no-code tools out there can improve a company’s marketing efforts, taking data that’s already available for a more targeted way of reaching customers.

If you’re looking to help improve your own marketing efforts, ActiveCampaign offers a number of benefits:

  • ActiveCampaign is user-friendly for those just getting started in automating their inbound marketing. 
  • Stats and analytics about your marketing efforts are easy to access and understand.
  • It has an intuitive UI, that makes it possible to build marketing automations without technical know-how.

Impossible Foods: Zendesk

Impossible Foods, famous for their namesake Impossible Burger have taken off with plant-based foods loved by vegetarians, and even the most skeptical of carnivores.

Impossible Foods is another company that experienced rapid growth. They ended up with a huge network of distributors, restaurants, and other third-party companies involved in getting their plant-based products out there. To improve communications with their business associates, as well as consumers they decided to use Zendesk’s customer service software.

With exponential growth domestically on both the B2B and B2C sides and plans to expand internationally, Impossible Foods needed to find efficiencies so it could continue to scale without diluting the experience for existing customers.

- Zendesk

Zendesk is a no-code communications powerhouse. It can send text messages, respond to customer service requests, as well as deliver emails. It gives businesses what they need to better reach those interested or involved with their products. 

Impossible utilizes Zendesk, across several different departments. They have a B2C team dedicated to answering questions and other customer service-related inquiries that depend on Zendesk support. On the B2B side of things, Impossible’s sales department uses Zendesk for new customer onboarding, sending out promotional materials, and keeping them up to date with what they’ve been up to.

Building relationships with clients and customers depend on consistent communication. Zendesk improves how you stay in contact and manage these communications in a number of ways:

  • Zendesk offers a centralized space, where social media engagement, chats, emails, and other communications are easy to access and keep track of as well as a comprehensive CRM.
  • It works in several different languages.
  • Zendesk makes it easy to adapt as a business scales up.

FD Works: Stacker

FD Works provides accounting services to aspiring agencies and others with businesses related to creative fields. They had an archive of data in Airtable, which was great in maintaining it in a centralized space, but they needed a secure way that both people on their team, and their clients could get to it. Through Stacker, they were able to put together an air-tight digital portal, offering permission-based access to both clients and their internal team.

With the ambition to not only build a powerful internal collaboration tool, but eventually open it up for clients to see and use, Airtable alone wasn’t going to be enough for FD Works. The team needed a custom tool that they could create and manage, without needing an in-house software team, or outsourcing to a developer.

- Stacker

This is another excellent example of how using different no-code tools together can offer solutions customized for whatever a business needs. 

If your company needs a customer portal Stacker has a number of key advantages including:

  • Stacker gives you creative control in the layout, organization, and appearance of data in your app.
  • It lets you set up custom permissions in who can access it, create new entries, and make edits.
  • Stacker has a straightforward drag and drop interface, making it possible for non-developers to build out portals, dashboards, and automations.

No-code opens up opportunities

There are so many useful no-code apps out there. Whether you want to build a website, design an app, or need to reign in your data, there are a multitude of tools you can use without having to be a developer.

No-code isn’t supposed to replace the importance of coding and developers shouldn’t view it as a threat to their livelihoods. Rather, it gives those who aren’t technically inclined what they need to create. It may even inspire those who’ve used these no-code apps to learn more about development and coding. 

It has been exciting seeing how far no-code has come, and we see a future where even more entrepreneurs and businesses can launch their products, with no-code opening possibilities for anyone with the ambition to try.

Interested in no-code, but don’t know where to start? Check out our Internal Tools section as well as Our Education to learn more and to see how it can help you out.



About the Author
Duncan Griffiths Nakanishi

Duncan is lead editor at NoCode.Tech. He's a writer and editor with 8 years experience working in the media across business, culture, lifestyle and tech.


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