Custom digital applications should do at least one of the following things:
There are numerous competitive advantages to custom digital applications that most small businesses either ignore or assume they cost so much they are out of reach. But in today’s global economy and low-code no-code resources, there are a lot of different ways to develop a custom digital application that will provide a sustainable competitive advantage for your business.
If you have a business that does consulting and you provide assessments and your engagement costs $100,000 a year, there are many companies that would eschew your service as too expensive. But if you could build a process that gives similar access or slightly different access for $10,000 a year – suddenly you have a much larger audience to work with. Serving customers with full on digital training or hybrids of digital training, assessments and coaching allow you to scale your business and reach markets more efficiently.
Generally speaking, there are three types of digital applications: Custom Coded, Low Code, and No Code. Each application has strengths and weaknesses and each can exist as digital web applications, mobile applications or both. Let’s take a look…
These are the applications that first come to mind for every small business owner. A bunch of folks in a conference room banging away on laptops and pushing out an endless stream of code while sucking down Mountain Dew like it’s water. And there is some truth to that. But custom coded applications are essentially applications coded from scratch and require substantial product management and development capabilities. But even custom coded applications are not full custom; many of them use modules in code stacks that are ready to go right out of the box. For example, a user registration module is pretty standard across the Web so there are plenty of those pre-written modules that you can plug and play and be ready to roll. This holds true for modules like Payment Processing that codes to multiple gateways, Communications that send emails from SendGrid Twilio or even Invoicing that is so standardized you need to plugin the module and set a style guide and you are in business.
Custom coded comes into play when the business process you are automating is written by hand, coded, designed, tested and maintained by hand. These applications can take anywhere from a few weeks to over a year to fully code and get into market.
Low Code Applications are accelerating in popularity and delivering functionality similar the to site design tools of Wix, WordPress and other CMS systems. Low Code Applications are built using drag and drop widgets that create application components, authentication between API;s (application programming interfaces) and joining together tools like SendGrid/Twilio for email and SMS and Stripe for Payment processing, Social media like Google and Facebook for user authentication and then the balance of the application is created with widgets for say events, or maps, or content delivery or surveys and polls.
Low Code Applications are supplemented by your skill at HTMl and CSS to customize, style, animate and design the applications but the heavy lifting of hand coding is done through React.js, Python or other code bases that create the widgets for your use and customization. Low Code Applications like Bubble.io, Mendix, Outsystems all have substantial libraries to pull core services together and then a coding interface to fully customize and integrate non-standard applications e.g. bring in data from a third party application with a RESTful API that uses an API interface widget to support the connections.
Low Code Apps could be used for a company like a landscaper who has long-term clients and they can manage billing and pay with Apple Pay integrated into the app and also get notifications of upcoming maintenance, planting, information from site monitoring including areas that are getting too much water. By using Low Code Applications, organizations can create a service advantage over competitors still mailing invoices.
No Code Applications are fully point, click, drag, drop complete with buttons and navigation that allow you to assemble basic, rudimentary applications in the matter of a day and push the content into the market to engage customers. If you have a WordPress blog, you build a mobile app for your blog to have subscribers access your content on their devices without having to navigate to your site. The mobile application allows you to have more insight into how, where and what content exactly your subscribers are consuming giving you advantages into how to engage with them. Integrations to tools like Zapier allow a developer to build an app to connect into the digital ecosystem and access over 10,000 tools to create a superior customer experience using an existing technology footprint.
No Code Applications like Adalo offer a low-cost mobile and web app development system with widgets, authentication, payments, and publishing into Google and Apple App Stores and can provide a significant advantage in customer engagement and learning.
Regardless of your business – if you are not looking at Custom Digital Applications as part of your growth strategy, other people will be and you could be the one playing catch up. If you want to learn more about how we can help you build a digital application that can drive revenues and profits from new segments, markets and services, set an appointment and lets get the conversation rolling.