Automation & app development - should you hire a developer or use an app? Find the best solution for your business!January 15th, 2021
These doubts may be popping up in your mind for one of these two reasons: you (or your employees) keep performing the same repetitive tasks, and perhaps a software could make it in a faster and more effective way (and by automating it you could be using your time more strategically) or because you need to build an app.
And you have close to 0 code knowledge.
In this article, we will cover the main advantages and disadvantages of using apps that can help you save time and money - or if hiring a developer is actually the most effective solution.
Automation refers to the process of replacing manual execution with technology. By improving internal processes, you can use the time dedicated to those tasks to work on something software can’t do (yet!) and so, minimize costs and increase efficiency.
Does it mean I should automate EVERY task?”
In order to understand what tasks should be automated and what tasks should not, let us make you a question:
What’s the difference between a glass artist and a glass factory worker?
Both jobs require manual dexterity and dealing with high temperatures. However, one due to its creative nature, gives the artist great joy, while the other, due to its repetitiveness, will hardly give any satisfaction. A burnout, maybe. What matters here, is how the mind interacts with the task. Tasks that require creativity, strategy, or cleverness - those you should save for your employees.
The human mind is no longer creatively engaged? Then it’s time to automate. Issy Sharp, founder of Four Seasons Hotels described in one sentence what tasks should and should not be automated:
Systematize the predictable. Humanize the exceptional.”
Now, should you hire a developer, or a team of developers, to do that?
The answer is, depends on the complexity of the task you want to automate. For example, the task of sending an e-mail to the participants when they sign up to an event and the follow-up contacts that should be done afterwards can be managed by an app. In KWAN we use Zapier. This way, you only need to write e-mails once. Zapier can also connect several apps, such as social media networks, e-mail, and even Google Drive.
Any automation that goes further than this will most likely need a little help from an automation engineer. And it might seem like a big investment at first but you should consider that the automation solutions developed will affect not only software but most likely also service or business processes. Furthermore, with an automation engineer in your team, you can keep improving and automating processes without the need for learning how to use an automation tool, and you’ll have someone to solve any automation problem that might come up.
If you’re a startup founder with no knowledge of code and you want to create an app, software or a web portal, you came to the right place, no-code platforms allow you to build any of the three. Sounds wonderful, right? Well, before you start googling for no-code platforms and totally forget about this article let us guide you through the pros and cons of using no-code versus hiring a developer.
How customized do you want your app to be?
So here’s how no-code platforms work: as the majority of the components are pre-built, you simply have to drag and drop the several elements available in order to create your app. Easy. Done. Unless you want something more personalized or sophisticated, in that case, you might want to give the job to those who can actually build you a customized solution.
What if I start with a no-code app - because it’s probably cheaper - and later hire a developer?”
Again, the answer is it depends.
Do you want a short-term solution or a long-term one?
If your startup is going to develop an app only to show Business Angels how your business works, and get financing, well then using a no-code app is cheaper and also faster. But if you want a long-term solution, bear in mind that a no-code app will be hard to scale or customize. And any modifications you might need later can end up being more expensive than creating an app from scratch by professional developers.
By using a team of developers, the components of your app can be easily changed and updated, according to the evolution of your business, the market trends, and the specific needs of your clients.
The learning curve
Just because using a no-code platform is easier than actually learning how to code, doesn’t mean you won’t have to dedicate some time to figure out how to use it. As opposed, by hiring an experient developer the learning curve will be much shorter. Here the time spent will be not about learning how to create the app but about figuring out exactly what you want, and making sure you’re effectively passing your ideas to the developer.
Security and stability
Just like any living being, also companies born and die. So if your company counts on the software of another company - might that be social media networks, Gmail or a cloud data storage platform - consider that eventually, that day will come.
So… what happens to your projects' cloud infrastructure if Bezos suddenly decides to shut AWS down? Well, you can very much lose it. Thank God you have a redundancy strategy in place.
You do, right? 😬
What if your no-code provider also decides to close down while you’re still working on your app? What if you had already invested a lot of hours? Weeks? Months?
Jeez, what would be the odds of that?”
Considering that no-code providers are a relatively new service with just a few years of activity… wouldn’t be the first time a startup decides to exit the market. Even tech startups fail, unfortunately, about 70% of them according to CB Insights.
But when it comes to security, your no-code provider abandoning the market might not even be your biggest concern. If your company deals with sensitive customer data, consider that there are risks regarding how it is stored in this kind of platforms. According to Sabin Thomas, VP of engineering at Threat Stack,
Achieving effective data segregation requires implementing access and role definitions, tasks that are typically outside the scope of the average citizen developer that the low-code platforms are meant to empower.”
If you decide to go ahead with using a no-code platform, make sure it allows different levels of access to the information you’re putting on your product. Preferably before you do anything else.
Availability of support
No-code platforms won’t provide support in case there’s a bug or a glitch in the code of your app. How about your team of developers? It will be extremely easy to get instant support from them!
But I don’t need a full-time team of developers, and it will be too expensive.”
Yes, it’s a big investment… but it’s your company we’re talking about here. Remember that this team will also be responsible for updating your project according to the latest technology and evolving it feature-wise. And, what stops evolving, starts dying. Regarding the price and the length of the project, you don’t need to hire the developers directly, you can outsource them for as long as you feel it’s necessary. KWAN provides that type of service, and you can use our tech team simulator to estimate how much it will cost you.
Moreover, our team of KWAN Ambassadors (how do you fancy our Account Managers nick name?) will be happy to help you find the best solution for your project, so why don’t you come and say hi?
Automation & App development: final thoughts
There are so many solutions for companies' tech problems these days!
From platforms that let you automate parts of your business, to others in which you can build software without having to write a single line of code. These might be easier and cheaper solutions... but before making a decision, think about what you are looking for: is it an easy and cheap solution or a long-term high-quality one?