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Unlock innovation with non-technical employees at small and medium businesses

Article written by Mahesh Biradar and Mike Cappiello (Amazon Web Services)

What if business leaders had a way to speed digital innovation within their organizations without in-house technical teams? Business leaders today are struggling with a multitude of issues including hiring skilled employees, retention, and economic headwinds. Now is the time for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to unlock innovation with data analytics, automation, and application development for all employees. SMBs need to do more with less and increasing productivity by spreading capabilities across “line of business” teams might be the differentiator in a competitive landscape. Addressing difficult business challenges might be a simple as allowing more of the teams to participate—even if they aren’t technical.

The key to maintaining the speed to market is not with more technically complex tools, but simpler ones. In this blog post, we will explain why you do not need to be an engineer to reap the benefits of digital transformation.

What are low code and no code applications?

First, it’s important to understand the distinction between various types of business applications. In traditional development, business apps are built and run by professional developers. Apps require specific skillsets and may not be user-friendly for non-technical teammates. In other words, a highly-skilled coder is needed to ensure successful app management. Hiring and retaining such technical talent might not be within your budget, or you may not even know the right questions to ask a job candidate.

The advent of low code and no code apps makes it possible for virtually anyone in the organization to collect, gather, and analyze data on their own or with limited support. These types of apps are designed with intuitive user interfaces and require minimal or no knowledge of coding. Resource-constrained SMBs can build their own simple applications with low code and no code apps to fulfill their business needs.

According to VentureBeat, seven out of ten companies now consider low code and no code tools to be part of their organization. But what exactly are they and how can they help your organization?

The main difference between low code and no code platforms lies in how much coding knowledge the user needs. Low code development requires some basic coding skills for users to develop and integrate applications, while no code development does not require any previous programming knowledge or skills.

What are the business and financial advantages of low and no code app development for SMBs?

At Amazon Web Services, we recognize our SMB customers are cost-conscious. Decisions need to be deliberate and tied to value. Here are the top advantages we cite when customers consider adopting low and no code solutions.

  • Enabling non-technical employees to contribute more to business outcomes: Low code and no code platforms can inexpensively enable everyone in your organization to develop applications that are ready to solve real challenges.
  • Faster time to market: You can release app features faster within an existing application or build a new one due to limited IT skill dependencies.
  • More time spent on business differentiation: Application development has a lifecycle involving coding, building, testing, deploying, monitoring, and maintaining. The good news is that low code and no code platforms provide these built in, so that employees doesn’t need to worry about them and can instead focus on creating essential business differentiators.
  • Better experimentation and innovation: With faster time to market and everyone empowered with the tools to get their ideas into action, your team is encouraged to test more ideas for its customers.

What types of SMBs should consider low code development platforms?

Low code apps allow for SMBs with an in-house IT department to take on projects and upskill their teammates or hire talent from AWS Educate for Employers without relying on more senior engineers. By shifting low code methodology both down and across to other teams, senior technical staff can focus on large scale transformative projects. Doing more with current staff will be a differentiator and low code allows for spreading development to a larger pool of staff. You may also choose a trusted tech consultant or partner to help implement.

Examples of low code tools in practice

With Amazon SageMaker Canvas, business analysts can use a point-and-click interface to generate data prediction models. Typically, forecasting business outcomes is a manual process that requires several stakeholders to manage. With smaller teams, it’s possible.

AWS Amplify Studio allows web designers (either in-house or freelance) to focus on creating designs and developing user interfaces with limited code requirements. What used to be a collaboration of creative and technical employees can now be completed more simply.

AWS Application Composer (in preview) helps teams build simple applications with a basic graphical interface that is easy to understand and allows for much faster time to market.

What types of SMBs should consider no code tools?

Among the prevailing issues facing companies of all sizes are economic constraints and hiring and developing skilled talent. This is especially pronounced in smaller SMBs that may not be able to compete with startup or enterprise salaries. If you do not have any in-house tech talent and rely solely on tech partners and consultants, no code may be right for your SMB.

No code can accelerate the development even quicker and broaden the scope of capabilities to all employees. No code solutions alleviate both technical skills gaps and development backlog. The power is now in the hands of the users and not the developers. Enabling no code solutions to your employees can unlock innovation without having to upskill their technical acumen.

Example of a no code tool in practice

Amazon Honeycode is a no code development platform that allows your employees to quickly and securely create personalized reports in minutes—not weeks—with live data. Imagine the possibilities for finance, marketing, and other teams to have tedious tasks, such as reporting and notifications, shared across teams. Now, anyone can effortlessly build applications without the long lead times or technical knowledge typically required today. Even better, Amazon Honeycode offers prebuilt templates and connections to many popular business applications and collaboration tools for seamless workflow integration. Employees can simply drag-and-drop specific elements into their apps to make them function.

Screenshot of depicting premade templates SMBs can use in Amazon Honeycode

We have ready-made templates for non-technical teams such as human resources, marketing, sales, and more. Start making your own no code app with common templates such as campaign management, event planning, expense reporting, and more.

Next steps

Time to market is an important approach to gaining competitive advantage in a competitive landscape. However, time to value is even more important. With low code and no code strategies, you can quickly run efficient business apps with lower costs and dependencies on technical staff. Starting a “Proof of Concept” (or a short, low-cost experiment) for operations or marketing teams will illustrate just how easy it is to quickly deploy applications with little or no coding experience. AWS’s low code and no code solutions might be the difference in quickly deploying the next digital innovation at your company. Contact us now to chat through your needs.

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