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No-code app development vs. no-code workflows

You don’t need to build apps for that

When most people hear low-code/no-code, they think of platforms meant for building apps complete with their own portals and interfaces. There usually two myths at play here:

  1. That you should build an app for everything these days
  2. That app building is the only type of no-code platform

App building platforms for citizen developers can provide great automation features in a new software, however it’s still just that—another software and yet another thing for employees to keep track of day-to-day. 

Workflow automation platforms on the other hand can be a more practical, invisible and frictionless use of no-code and automation. Here’s why.

We've reached peak app

Think about how many individual apps or websites you use in a day. 69% of employees waste at least 1 month a year working across sprawling business apps. You probably don’t want to have to download, switch to, or log in to another app day-to-day. Chances are, your customers feel the same way too. App fatigue is settling in, creating more silos, more friction, and adding yet another thing to process problems.

Instead, automation can be best experienced when it happens in the background. No-code workflow automation operates on this principle. A no-code workflow automation platform can be used for more “invisible” automations and integrated experiences that end up being more practical and streamlined.

So instead of having to open or check an app meant for tracking, reporting or reviewing things like inquiries, data, approvals or reports, imagine these things seamlessly integrated into notifications and data within the irreplaceable apps you already use, like email, Slack, Salesforce, etc.

True software design should be left to the pros

While building an app’s core functionality might be relatively easy for business users leveraging no-code or low-code technology, apps also need software design for the user interface.

The reality is that good UX/UI design is hard, and a great app idea with automation features that would otherwise be helpful can quickly turn into a poor user experience. This makes development harder when you add in a software design requirement. And falling short on this essential piece will make adoption and practical use difficult in the end.

Instead of asking citizen developers to create functionality and a user interface layer, no-code workflow automation only requires the former, using automation technology in a way that is either invisible, or integrated with the tools employees already have.

Using a rules-based outline interface, it is intuitive for business users to simply list out the steps of the standard operating procedures they are most familiar with to configure a workflow without code. Then that workflow will power digitized and automated orchestration of each step across their existing environment.

No more data silos

With prolific software sprawl comes data silos, which can lead to inaccuracies, errors and manual data entry tasks (or more integrations you need to automate). Using no-code/low-code app development tools to create new software for every automation use case will only add more data silos to the pile.

No-code workflow automation takes a more integrated and holistic approach so that it can actually result in more connected data and visibility across platforms and operations. Each workflow runs on a self-managing data layer that collects information from all steps in your process.

This means that not only can you get a better view into your automated processes and integrate a workflow’s up-to-date data anywhere, it is also a rich source of operational intelligence.

A data-based workflow automation platform like Catalytic can give important insight into performance of your entire workflow, even across systems, and help you identify potential bottlenecks, areas for continuous improvement and opportunities to add more automation and AI. 

With Catalytic, Grant Thornton was able to go from building basic automations, to creating a holistic difference in the back office.

Make continuous improvements

Traditional software development or even low-code/no-code app building typically involve project-based implementations and have a defined “finish line.” Aside from requiring some updates and maintenance, changes and continuous improvements of these types of technologies are very difficult once built.

This is not only from the technical perspective, but it also brings us back to user experience. When app updates are rolled out, the interface or process can suddenly look different or require different steps, causing confusion to the user and making it more difficult to use.

But with modern workflow automation, since much of the process orchestration and automation happens in the background, making updates and improvements to create more efficiency and add new functionality, employees’ day-to-day view or a customer’s experience can remain relatively unchanged while they enjoy more efficiency, speed, reliability and less errors in the processes they’re involved in.

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Written by Catalytic