Small businesses spend approximately nine percent of their annual income on technology, three times the percentage spent by large companies. According to a investigation, more than half of small business owners would like to spend more on technology, which seems to confirm the idea that software is a key driver of growth, revenue and operational efficiency in this segment. However, small businesses don’t spend a lot of money on low-code platforms or the resources needed to manage and scale custom applications. Why don’t small businesses use low-code?
In reality, small businesses use low-code platforms to build apps and services, which we know by looking at the size of some Zoho Creator Platform customers. Yet the majority of small organizations remain wary of the alleged cost and complexity of building custom applications. This is a true high-end market, where enterprises and midsize companies can leverage IT talents to build specialized, coding-heavy applications and deep system integration, all of which are highly scalable and permeating the company’s technological infrastructure. None of this matters to the average small business owner, but if this article does one thing, it will be to dispel the myth that low-code app development is just for IT and can’t help small businesses.
Is building an app too hard for a small business?
What we found from reviewing Zoho Creator Platform customers is that many small business users have developed, deployed, and managed mission-critical applications with little or no coding experience. Non-technical business users have created everything from workflow automation software to custom sales tools, customer databases and recruiting systems, each adding tremendous value to their businesses and customers. . Analysts predict this is where low code is heading – away from IT and into the hands of citizen developers. Gartner estimates that by 2024, 80% of technology products and services will be created by non-IT professionals. This reality is entirely possible as long as non-technical users become comfortable with low-code platforms, which is already happening, albeit slowly.
How to create applications without code?
Let’s take the example of building a sales app… Using Zoho’s Creator platform, users can drag and drop different data fields (customer name, seller name, contact details, date description, product description, line items, etc.) on a digital workspace within a one-stop-shop. Users can then control permissions and security settings by individual field or for the app as a whole from a drop-down menu, eliminating data duplication along the way. Most low-code platforms also feature visualized blueprints, allowing users to manage the flow of data and trigger actions and automation by adding or removing steps throughout any business process or procedure. If a potential customer emails the business to inquire about a product, for example, the low code app can be programmed to automatically send a form response while simultaneously notifying a particular sales agent based on certain customer criteria, such as time of day or location. Initial app creation is no more complicated than launching a landing page from a website builder, and the benefits for small businesses are exponential compared to out-of-the-box tools .
What are the benefits?
The immediate benefit of adopting low code for small businesses is cost. These organizations already spend the highest percentage of their revenue on technology. Therefore, being able to reduce these expenses by developing mission-critical applications that, for example, improve the customer experience, has big implications for companies with tight margins and valuable capital and resources. Custom applications also allow small businesses to be more strategic in their sales, recruitment and customer retention strategies, improve data flow and consolidation. As low-code users become more proficient in tool development, the complexity of their applications and their degree of integration into the larger software ecosystem increases. Instead of trying to extract customer information from a spreadsheet and exposing that data to analytics to derive actionable insights, low-code users can develop centralized databases that automatically integrate business intelligence solutions to assess when and how customers buy. The same can also be done for internal teams, creating tools that assess performance and inform strategies based on good data, so the business can be more efficient and productive.
Is it worth it?
For any small business, it can be difficult to see beyond today’s concerns and invest in something systemic and perhaps a little confusing. Adoption of low code doesn’t have to be disruptive, and the return on investment can be rapid, as long as users and businesses are committed to change. One of our Creator Platform customers was able to increase employee retention after reconfiguring their sales software, making the system easier for agents to use and agents subsequently happier using it. Another small business user was able to forego the cost of an enterprise ERP and see huge operational and productivity gains simply by getting rid of spreadsheets and creating bespoke applications that minimize manual data entry. . Like anything, starting from scratch is scary, so small businesses are encouraged to start small, building an app with both a specific intent and goal in place, while managing expectations over those months and years of early adoption.