I have interviewed over 200 operations people at marketplace / e-commerce, Fintech and SaaS startups. Each and every time, I asked them about their business processes—how is the job done?
The discussion was always the same: business processes are a real nightmare! For instance, take reconciliation: it is the process of matching invoices and payments. You get the invoice data from the sales team and manually match it to the payment transaction in order to handle disputes and making sure accounting records are correct. You have to download the CSVs, open the Excel files, vlookup and export the results. Very manual work, huh?
"Well you know I have created some macros" they say. "Now what used to take me 10hrs a week, takes only 2-3hrs". Sure that’s better.
But let’s be honest. Downloading these CSVs and managing all these spreadsheets are becoming a mess. OK, so what’s the solution? Well easy, you should integrate your invoicing software to your payment system!
Actually, it’s not that easy…
So let’s say you go and talk to your Software Engineer. "Could you please build an integration between our invoicing and payment systems? I could save up to 10hrs a month!" So, then you go to your PMs, ask them to write the specs, following the internal processes (that’s what it’s all about). But the roadmap is packed for the next 3 weeks (or months). "I understand your needs, but we really need to focus on building customer-facing features first. Maybe next quarter?"
And if ever, it gets scoped on the roadmap. After 2-3 weeks and lots of back and forth with your teammates, the integration is built. Well, the problem is not solved forever. Now you have to maintain the integration. What if a new version of your tool API is released? Or worse: you decide to change payment provider or accounting software? Well, you have to do everything all over again.
What if non-tech people close to the business operations have the capability to build themselves the tools they need every day?
No-code platforms offer an attractive promise. They enable non-tech people to build the processes, automations and internal tools they need to be more efficient in their day-to-day work.
Let’s take our reconciliation use case. No more need to do the job manually with CSVs or build integrations that you will have to maintain. You can leverage existing solutions on the market to synchronize data between systems and take action. The software engineers who developed the no-code platform are the ones who take care of building the integrations and maintaining them. Why would you reinvent the wheel?
Imagine that you could build your own database, connected with all the systems your company uses to manage their operations. Automatically, you could reconcile your company finances, and process claims and disputes right from one single platform.
This is what no-code is offering. For me, the advantages of no-code lie in three major benefits: speed, ownership and specificities.
Speed. No-code makes it possible to build complex apps in just hours. I have personally experienced the value of that when I built blitznocode.com on Webflow’s low code website builder. I am pretty amazed by the capabilities of the platform (especially regarding SEO) and how fast you can develop beautiful websites with animation and responsiveness from pre-built templates.
Ownership. Another thing is that no-code enables operations people to build their own apps. The one who understands the business logic is the one who build it. No more middlemen and back and forth with the tech team for build and run.
Specificity. Imagine a world where business people build and adapt the platform they are using every day to the need of their business—and not the other way around. No-code softwares enables advanced customization capabilities and adaptation to the specificities of your business. Now many companies would rather build their own tools rather than buying them off the shelves. Using our own platform, we are building a custom CRM at Blitz!
Learning how to build on top of no-code platforms will become critical for operations teams. We are seeing more and more job posts and companies looking for "no-code makers" or "no-code builders".
Just search for "no-code" on LinkedIn jobs. In the last month, you had over 100k job posts in the US alone. Okay, it’s across functions, but it is still pretty amazing to see this trend when you compare that to "Product Manager" (42k results) or "Operations Manager" (34k results) searches.
Especially in the operations fields, companies are searching for people with no code skills, as they were looking for people with Excel expertise. But no-code is more than a simple productivity lever. People that are able to understand the business and the needs of their customers will be able to create tools and products to test out ideas or extend the features of the product for a subset of customers.
Companies are now looking for people that can actually build components of a business, and not just people that can create reports, design presentations or analyse data.