The no-code, low-code revolution empowering small businesses

When people think about coding, they’d be forgiven for conjuring images of a technology whiz typing lines of seemingly random characters and symbols on a wall of computer screens. For a long time, that was the reality. Coding was closed-door, accessible only to the experts or big businesses who could afford the privilege. However, as technology companies evolve and the needs of businesses change, there is a greater focus on software that gives small businesses power and agility.

Disruption is coming in the form of “no-code, low-code”; development platforms that allow users with next to no coding experiences to quickly and easily create business applications without having to write lines of code. Through it, small businesses aren’t reliant on coders and can automate, manage and customise various processes through a process as simple as drag-and-drop. Using this software, small businesses can design, build and implement powerful applications that boost their ability to innovate and adapt – crucial traits during a volatile and evolving situation. Gartner predicted that 80 per cent of products and services will be built by people outside technology fields – through, for example, low-code, no-code, by 2024.

Many small businesses do not possess the technical abilities required to develop apps and solutions themselves. Until recently, they had little choice but to tailor their business around off-the-shelf technology platforms. However, no two businesses are the same, and neither are their technology needs and wants. The best technology, then, is customisable. Today, there is a growing need for software that is not only simple and agile, but that conforms to their unique business needs, rather than vice versa.

Over the last 18 months, small businesses received a stark reminder about the need to fast-track their digital transformation strategies to survive, then stay relevant and thrive. The most effective technology allows users to shape it as their needs change. Through no-code and low-code, small business owners and their staff can create processes, apps and solutions with clicks, rather than code. The result is more agile businesses, tailoring technology to their needs rather than their needs to their technology.

Small businesses in every industry have become accustomed to adapting. Increasing vaccination rates and a Government plan to return to ‘normal’ over the coming months bring a hope that we’re approaching a period of more certainty and stability than at any other stage of the pandemic. While that will be an incredibly welcome relief for our 2.4 million small businesses, it doesn’t diminish the long-term importance of innovation and agility. Businesses that revert to old processes or rely on cumbersome legacy systems will be replaced by those that regularly refine and evolve as their situation, customers or industry demands it.

Businesses can achieve this through low-code, no-code software. Platforms such as Zoho Creator help small businesses with only limited technical know-how to identify the solutions required, and design and implement them quickly, easily and cost-effectively.

It’s not only businesses that benefit from low-code, no-code. Today, consumers demand convenient, memorable customer experiences that adapt to their needs. For example, if a business is struggling to communicate updates to shipments and deliveries, using low-code, no-code it could create a track-and-trace solution for customers. Through it, small businesses can benefit from the agility, productivity and scalability that was once only available to big businesses.

The future of work is digital, and businesses of all sizes – in every industry – need to transform fast. Low-code, no-code ideologies are unleashing a new generation of business coders and ushering in a new era of agile, technology-savvy small businesses. Low-code, no-code is the true democratisation of technology and allows small businesses to sail with the wind rather than swim against the tide.