No-code business app builders have grown tremendously over the last few years – along with the market. With so much competition popping up, it’s obviously a lucrative business – but what does that mean to you as a business owner or consultant?
It’s all good news.
These tools provide invaluable means to optimize processes and implement better data-capture procedures and workflows. And the initial investment is tiny since most people already own a smartphone. They can download the apps and start using them, no fuss.
This article aims to educate the beginner on this class of app builder, as well as to measure it against the more traditional approach of building a bespoke app.
What Is A No-Code Business App Builder?
It’s a platform for building your own business applications – whether customer or worker-facing. Usually, by means of a drag and drop interface, no-code business app builders make it easy to digitize your paper processes, allowing users to submit documents and forms via their mobile phone or another portable device.
These platforms have seen a surge in popularity of late, with giants like Google and Microsoft entering the race as well.
Are They Difficult To Implement?
Using the app itself on mobile is as easy as any other app. Simply open, click on the Form you want and fill it out. Building the forms, however, can be tricky. There’s a bit of a learning curve, like with most enterprise software you’ve used before.
What we’ve seen our clients do is nominate a ‘specialist’ that’ll learn to use the platform and build the apps. We also highly recommend having a backup specialist though (for obvious reasons).
You don’t need any programming knowledge to start using a no-code app builder. It’s only when you want to dive deep and start changing things in the background. That’s when experience in software development becomes valuable.
The thing is, we only really see this with our resellers – normal enterprise rarely needs to go into this level of detail.
What’s Better, Bespoke Or No-Code?
There’s something magnetic about the idea of having your own bespoke app – until you get a quote for your app idea. Even if the quote doesn’t put you off, is a bespoke solution really worth it?
This high upfront cost makes it difficult to find the return on investment (ROI). Furthermore, an app costs roughly 20% of its original cost to maintain per year. So a $100 000 app can easily set you back another $20 000 a year going forward.
The positive to this is that you can add as many employees to the app as you want. With no-code app builders, you’re usually charged a per-user fee. The fee can be as low as $3 per user – but realistically you’re looking at somewhere between $20 and $50 per user per month.
So if you need access to apps for 50 employees, you can expect to spend around $12 000 to $30 000 per year. We go into greater detail about cost-saving and ROI in this post.
While the app builder sounds expensive as well, the bespoke app can cost way more.
If you want to iterate your bespoke app, for example, you have to rope in the development team once more. You’re likely to drop another boatload of money here. With your no-code app builder, on the other hand, it’s as simple as making a few changes on the drag-and-drop interface.
If you’re interested in getting a clearer idea of exactly what a bespoke app would cost you, check out this great app cost calculator.
One would expect a bespoke app to be far superior to an app builder – but that’s not the case.
Building something as powerful as Appenate, for example, could cost more even than $250 000. That’s because Appenate’s seen around 10 years of consistent development and improvement – all based primarily on user feedback.
You’ll often find your bespoke app ages quickly, and then it’s back to the drawing board (and development team). That’s not to mention skill limitations on the development team’s part in the first place. If you opt for an external development team, they’re most likely to be generalists.
Appenate’s team, on the other hand, consists of specialists with years of relevant experience.
Considering all of this, it’s kind of a no-brainer to go for the cost-effective no-code business app builder over the bespoke app.
No-Code App Builder
- Most are easy to customize
- Low maintenance cost
- They’re here to stay
- Highly customizable
- Expensive to Maintain
- Limited lifespan
There’s one thing we’ve not covered yet, however…
The #1 Advantage Of The No-Code App Builder
One advantage that stands on its own – and hence deserves its own section – is that process experts get to build the forms on these no-code app builders.
When hiring a development team, you get someone with no real knowledge of your internal processes. This creates a gap and has the potential to cause many iterations down the line.
When using a no-code builder, those who use the processes on a daily basis can build your apps. That way you get something that works to your specific needs. And when changes do need to happen, there’s no additional cost.
So, is there any reason at all to get a bespoke app? Yes, in fact.
If you’re building something client-facing, a bespoke app could make sense. Since no-code builders charge per user, your public app could quickly spiral into something that costs millions to maintain.
So if you’re looking to build a game or time management app for the public or something like that, then bespoke is the way to go.
That said, we do have public-facing platforms built on top of Appenate – but this requires investment and software development knowledge. This case study is a good example.
Ready To Invest In A Better Digital Workflow?
As with anything in business, pros and cons must carefully be measured before jumping in.
Adopting a digital workflow is no exception – though you’ll almost always find lower costs, increased efficiency and an overall more optimized business at the end of this road.
If you’re new to no-code app builders for business, this article (mentioned earlier) takes a deep dive into mobile form builders.
If you’d like to give us a try, sign up here. You’ll get 30 days to test us, and we’ll throw in free support and training for life.