Competitive Advantages Follow the Democratization of Technology

Tim Berners Lee wants to decentralise the internet, taking control of our data from a few gatekeepers and handing it back to us, the individuals. Decentralization will bring back security and restore equality as power is returned to the little guy, he argues. This is a thought that we return to often as we develop and improve our own democratizing technology, our no-code platform at Sparkster.

Because we believe that when power is returned to everyone, it improves things for all aspects of a business. We see first-hand that when all employees, not just the software developers, have access to the problem-solving capabilities of programming, they can create solutions that turn a business into a truly innovative enterprise.

No-code technology means every business can be a software business.

In 2015, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “Every business will become a software business, build applications, use advanced analytics and provide SAAS services”. Today, we’re seeing how businesses use data management technology to improve every aspect of their business models. For example, mining company BHP Billiton uses blockchain to improve its supply chain to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. Companies like AirBnb, Lyft and Yelp provide different services — rooms to stay in, a car and driver and business reviews — but use the same basic technology. They simply provide the platforms that individuals use to provide the goods and services.

In all cases, technology forms a cornerstone of the company’s business model. It may improve internal processes or drive the service the customer interacts with, but technology

is underpinning it all. And the same could be said for any business that uses the internet, either internally or externally. That is why there is such a large demand for business to business app development.

Those apps are rarely truly bespoke, however. The coding takes too long for it to be both profitable and competitively priced. That’s not the case with no-code platforms, though. The platforms do the complicated programming automatically, slashing development time. Research group Forrester found some startling examples recently: a document compliance module for the US government would have taken an estimated 100 person-months to complete, but when they used low-code software (which requires a bit more coding knowledge than no-code software), the actual project time was 5 person-months. A British insurance provider wanted to create an employee portal, but the project was so complicated, it languished on “the technology management backlog list for years with little hope of ever starting”. They had a minimum viable product in 10 days.

Both projects had teams of highly skilled developers using low-code solutions that took most of the tedious programming work out of the project. Most businesses don’t have those sorts of resources. But if they have a no-code platform, they can build the technology they need, without having to rely on teams of developers. Instead, they can get new, innovative ideas from anyone in the company, even Drew in accounting.

Disruptive solutions can come from anyone and be implemented easily.

We have all had a job where we didn’t understand why a certain process was done a certain way. We’ve all had an idea that we were sure would improve things. In the past, we could try to convince already-busy programmers to implement our ideas, but more often than not, we just made due and tried to plaster over issues with whatever apps or technology we could find.

But with no-code platforms, anyone can develop their own solutions. They just drag and drop and new apps are developed right away. New ideas can be implemented within minutes and improved instantly, without costing much in budget or in man-hours. That means apps are created by the people who know best how they need to function, implemented cheaply and quickly and tested and improved in real-world conditions, no tech degree or Silicon Valley group think required.

The control over processes and the creativity that will be unleashed can lead to another key to improved business performance: employee satisfaction.

Creativity and control improve employee morale, which boosts productivity.

The effect of employee morale on the bottom line is so well documented, the topic even has its own Wikipedia page. For as much as is written online about employee morale, keeping employees satisfied and motivated isn’t very hard. They need to feel valued. They need to have creative input. And they need to feel trusted with and in control of their work. Being able to create the apps and digital processes they need to complete their work more efficiently ticks all those boxes.

Imagine this: instead of having to update spreadsheets manually every week, an employee could quickly create an app that automatically fills in the cells. The employee feels a sense of pride, being able to build their own solutions. And the person-hours wasted on such a tedious task are filled with something the worker finds more fulfilling. That subsequent boost in morale will improve productivity further.

As we have demonstrated, no-code platforms are the key to improving competitive advantage. By opening up the transformative power of developing to everyone in a company, you can boost productivity. You can ensure disruptive ideas can come from any part of your company, despite any lack of technical skill. And you can even bring your company into the future by creating truly bespoke software solutions quickly and easily, testing and improving things as you work.

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