In this special episode of Small Biz in 15, Shawn Hessinger, the executive editor of Small Business Trends, traveled to Austin, Texas for ZohoDay 2022 to interview Zoho Product Manager Tejas Gadhia, who discusses solutions from low code and no code and how small businesses will do it. they can use them to improve their workflow.
When to use no-code or low-code automation
Shawn: When we say no-code and low-code, what are we really saying? What? What is? What do we mean when we say no code or low code apps?
Tejas: Low or no code is a term that I think has become a bit of a rage because now everyone wants to be a low code marketer. The way I separate them is that no code product relies exclusively on point-and-click settings.
So this could be anything that just points and clicks, drags and drops, creates something, and has some fields and customizations. Your workflows should be easily configured by simply typing in some criteria and adding actions.
Low-code for workflow takes this and ups the ante a bit when the foundation is still drag-and-drop capabilities with no code, but the added benefit or low-code part is usually through some abstract scripting language.
Another way to differentiate a programming language from a programming language is: if you’re familiar with Excel and its formulas, and maybe even in the macro space, this is like the low-code space for you I think most people are pretty good at Excel and get scared off by the word code of low code, but a good product will have a good scripting language that makes it very easy for someone to pick it up and take advantage of it- very quickly. .
Shawn: How easy is it to build an app with a low-code or no-code solution?
Tejas: It’s very easy, but more than that, I think there’s been a big change. In reality, the smaller the organization, the more nimble they are and in fact they have access to better software than larger organizations which gives them a huge advantage to actually be able to grow faster than their perhaps larger competitors.
And what I mean by that is local tools, specifically as a small business owner, maybe, let’s say less than 50 employees and even smaller, the more agile it is. On the other hand, the older you get, the more administrative things you have to get into. But the smaller you are, the more control and knowledge you have over whatever process you’re trying to solve. And low code allows the process owner, who is the key stakeholder, to define the created process and, more importantly, make changes to it quickly.
Shawn: Can you give a couple of examples, maybe from your own experience of things you’ve seen customers do with a low-code or no-code solution?
Tejas: I have seen the simplest things or the most complex. I’ve seen a simple registration form and I’ve seen ERP systems and everything in between.
Whenever someone starts, I always tell them to start with the registration form. Start with something as simple as possible and sometimes even personal things like to try.
Just like my sister got married five or six years ago or so and she wanted an RTP system for her wedding. I said, “Okay, well, we looked at the market. Indian weddings are kind of complex. They have like all these events and different people are invited to a different event, whatever it is.”
So it was a bit difficult to find a good solution in the market. And I said, you know what? I am quite familiar with low-code and no-code tools. Let me build something for you real quick. So we created a system with logic where people can register, enter your email address and so on. But it’s like a non-work related thing that allows me to think about what the workflow is and what the process is going to be like.
And it gives me that confidence when it comes to business. And can I translate these same questions that are asked as what happens next? what should happen first? what data do I need to make sure is present for it to work, etc.
Shawn: Let’s take a specific example of a business that might not be very technical in terms of what they do, say an installment company. What is a no-code or low-code solution that they would want to put in place where they don’t want to hire an entire technical team on top of everything else to worry about?
Tejas: A lot of people who look at low-code, no-code solutions go with this build-first mentality because they want to solve problems and fix their own stuff; build it themselves from scratch, in other words. Sometimes I think there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
So sometimes for a client management and installation company, it might be good to have a CRM and have your low-code tool augment or extend an existing CRM functionality. You can build a CRM in a low-code way. You have tables for contacts and leads and offers. You are working on facilities and appointments. These are all, you know, CRM basics.
But sometimes it’s best to leave that part to the CRM and then focus on creating a customer experience for… maybe the installers out in the field, having a way for them to check a location, add images and take notes Whatever they’re installing, have a customer sign in on the spot. It’s all kinds of ways that are outside the realm of CRM, but somehow where the low-code X-factor is.
I mean there’s a one size fits all, but I almost always tell people to make sure to check the market and see if there’s something that does exactly what you need before you go into that build first mentality .
Need to hire someone for low-code development?
Shawn: I’ve talked to small business owners who use low-code, no-code solutions and still end up hiring someone to help with the process. Is there an advantage to low code and no code if you have to hire someone else just because of the time constraint instead of going to hire a developer?
Tejas: I think working with the developer or partner is not always bad. At least he’s someone to just bounce ideas off of and make sure you’re doing something the right way. The problem is finding a really good developer or partner who is on the same wavelength as you.
But you want to make sure that somebody isn’t selling you or telling you what’s wrong, all that kind of stuff. But to work with the partner, in general, there are things that you can build that can be very intense to build, but you also want that person to bring additional expertise to solve a problem that you don’t think about yourself.
Shawn Hessinger: Let’s say I want a low-code or no-code solution, how do I know what to look for? How do I know if I’m getting something as simple as you say I’ll be able to build, or if they’re just using it as a marketing term, and maybe it’s not really?
Tejas: Marketing is always hard to beat. Especially nowadays as marketing becomes so big. The good things to ask is if it’s the only thing they do or one of many things they do.
Another thing to ask is the history of evolution and whether it has improved over time. For example, are more features actually being added that you could use and that seem reasonable to you? And are their features the ones you feel provide value to your type of business?
And by that, I mean, is it something like a new feature with some AI capabilities that provide some analysis or trend predictions? Or is this new functionality an NFT marketplace that will help you figure out which features really provide value to my business and align with the kinds of things you’re looking for long term?
Another thing to consider is how your interaction with that company is and what that relationship is like because these low-code platforms are very proprietary and you can’t really jump from one to the other, once you sign up for one and start building on it. and you’re like, maybe for a year or whatever, this company knows they’ve got you by the hands. I mean, you’re signed up for a one-year contract, you’re getting 10% to 20% renewals year after year because you’re not going anywhere because they know they have you. This shows a lot about the ethos of your company more than any marketing blogger or anyone else can.
Be sure to watch our video Small Biz in 15: On Location with Zoho Product Manager Tejas Gadhia for more details on how using point-and-click settings can help automate your workflow.
Get the latest Small Business Trends headlines. Follow us on Google News.
More at: Small Business in 15