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How no-code tools are creating a new economy

software tools
(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/niroworld)

With a growing developer shortage and an increased reliance across industries on IT teams, it is no surprise that many developers report feeling burnt out. During the rapid shift to remote work last year the burden often fell on IT teams to keep companies afloat and ensure employees had the tools they needed to maintain productivity. Struggling to keep up with new demands, a recent Rise of the No-Code Economy report from Formstack revealed that 59 percent of people report projects being delayed because of a lack of technical resources. As a result, companies are turning to no-code tools rather than placing even more burden on their IT departments.

While no-code has seen significant growth over the past year, there is still a tremendous amount of room for growth. The majority of workers who are working with no-code tools are mostly still in IT, with 81 percent of IT workers familiar with no-code. However, no-code tools will have their greatest impact on those outside of the IT department. To empower employees and reduce developer burnout, it would be wise for companies to consider implementing no-code tools.

Why is no-code growing? 

Over the past year, a new wave of tools has flooded the market, bringing both cost and time efficiency to the enterprise. No-code tools such as Bubble, Formstack, and Airtable are quickly providing relief to the very teams deluged with more workload and, as such, have greatly contributed to the creation of an entire economy built around empowering employees and improving workflows. While IT teams have led the early adoption of the no-code movement, non-technical employees are starting to take notice of the benefits of these tools—with 33 percent of people across industries expecting to increase their use of no-code tools in the next 12 months.

Inherently self-serve, no-code tools facilitate a more agile method of working, and in the digital transformation age, this is a necessary superpower. Without access, employees are limited in their abilities to create solutions, adapt processes, and address issues on their own and must still heavily rely on the skills, experience, and time of those in IT. No-code tools enable a higher degree of autonomy for non-technical employees, allowing them to go above and beyond and address issues quickly to automate workflows, build applications, and more. 

After working remotely for the last year, many have gotten used to addressing issues directly with less support from their colleagues—something employees increasingly expect in their workplace. 

Beyond the pandemic, shifting workforce demographics come into play. Gen Z is the first truly digitally native generation in the workplace. Associated with limited patience for workflows that are hindered by old and inefficient technology, this generation is eager to find new and better ways of doing things. A no-code solution is a powerful tool in the hands of such an employee, not only because of what they can accomplish for themselves but also for what they can build for their fellow employees. More than twice as likely to use no-code tools compared to other generations, Gen Z is a prominent force driving the evolution of the new no-code economy.

The future of the no-code economy 

Those same enterprising individuals who dove headfirst into no-code are quickly discovering that they can turn their passion for developing their own tools into passion for helping others. As organizations realize the benefits of no-code and roll it out to their employees, it can be beneficial to hire consultancies built around no-code to help employees make the most of this investment. These consultancies embody the “teach someone to fish” philosophy, helping employees analyze their workflows while also helping to build new workflows for them.

Of course, experienced no-coders may opt to become freelancers instead. With the rise of platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer, these workers are hiring their skills out to companies looking for help with quick projects. The rapid-prototyping nature of no-code is a perfect fit for these contracts, and many freelancers are building names for themselves from the projects they take on.

Developers and IT professionals are also seeing the positive impact of no-code adoption. As mentioned earlier, when employees are empowered to iterate their own tools, it frees developers and IT teams up to take on more advanced projects. Instead of responding to dozens of requests for smaller tasks that can now be resolved by the average non-technical employee, these highly technical workers are free to stretch their skills and make a bigger impact on the organization’s operations.

But perhaps one of the most important effects of no-code is the new wave of entrepreneurship that it has enabled. There is no shortage of non-technical would-be company founders with fantastic ideas for a business, but many of those ideas never come to fruition simply because the founders don’t have the technical resources they need in the early stages to get their companies off the ground. With no-code, founders can do more (or get more from their founding workforce) to rapidly develop their minimum viable products that early adopters can get their hands on.

As we move past the pandemic and look for new ways to heal the economy, no-code tools can provide a path forward for businesses looking to accelerate innovation and for entrepreneurs hoping to get their businesses up and running quickly. If you’re one of the 82 percent of the general public who isn’t yet familiar with no-code tools, the time is now to familiarize yourself and decide where they could have the greatest impact on your business.

Chris Byers, CEO, Formstack

Chris Byers is CEO of Formstack, a workplace productivity platform helping companies digitize what matters, automate workflows, and fix processes.