How No-Code Platforms Empower Anyone To Build Useful Apps

Anyone – yes, even you – can build a web app, saving you both time and money. 

If you’ll indulge me: In Pixar’s Ratatouille, world-renowned Chef Auguste Gusteau claimed that “Anyone Can Cook,” even going so far as to publish a cookbook by that same name. Though he was initially ridiculed, what he meant, of course, was not that everyone can become a great chef, but rather that a great chef can come from anywhere or be anyone. 

Well, allow me to say with the same confidence: Anyone can build an app. Anyone can build an internal tool. 

We’ve all experienced the frustration of putting internal projects and improvements on the backburner. It doesn’t matter if you work for a startup or a thriving multinational corporation: Client-facing projects take priority. 

I’ve been in organizations where we needed an automated commission tracking tool for our sales team, an onboarding portal, and a holistic company dashboard — and we needed them yesterday. What ends up happening is that, for the sake of time (or lack thereof), we resort to Excel or Google spreadsheets. It’s a very manual process, where someone is responsible for updating each field when new data comes in. It’s tedious and error-prone. 

A big part of the reason I started is to empower non-developers to build apps and automation tools. Originally, we were building the company for tech companies because they were most familiar with no-code platforms and always needed cutting-edge solutions. While tech companies do use plenty of no-code tools, it turns out that it is not the industry we’ve discovered to have the highest adoption rate for our no-code platform.

Empowering Non-Developers to Build Apps

What we’ve discovered is that no-code platforms are most impactful for organizations that often don’t have a developer on their team at all. In fact, it’s most helpful for someone who doesn’t have any coding skills. 

This may surprise you, but the best app designer for your company oftentimes is not the person with the most software development skills on your team. Not to belabor the point, but remember, anyone can now build an app.

Now here’s the key secret: The best person to dictate the flow of the app and build it is the person who will be using the final app. Why? Because they know your internal pain points and understand exactly what needs to be improved and how. Just as Gusteau’s philosophy opened the world of cooking to everyone, no-code platforms democratize app development. 

App development, like cooking, is an art that can be pursued by anyone armed with the right tools and a bit of guidance.

So, here are four hacks to build an internal tool for your organization:

1. Create a list of every feature and functionality you need.

If you were to hire a freelancer, consultant, or third-party agency to build your app, the first question they would ask is, “What does your app need?” So, begin by asking yourself this same question. Consider who (or which departments) will use the app. What problems will the app solve? What data will it handle? Finally, what are the must-have features and what are the nice-to-have features of the app? This will save you a lot of time and costs, especially if the freelancers charge by the hour.

2. Create the basic wireframes of your app.

No, you don’t need to use Figma or similar design software. You can draw out the basic idea on a piece of paper or even create a document that has a bulleted list of what needs to be on each page of the app! The idea is to create a mockup or overview that shows what information and capabilities are supposed to be on each app page. If you can visualize the app, you can build it. Remember, you don’t need a detailed wireframe — a rough sketch will do!

3. Determine all the third-party integrations you need and make sure they have an application programming interface (API).

No internal tool exists in a vacuum. Your app may need to communicate with other software to fully meet your organization’s needs. Start by identifying the tools and systems your app should integrate with. This could include email services, CRM systems, financial software, calendars, or even internal databases. Consider the flow of data between these services and your app. How will they share information? Will the app push data to these services, pull data from them, or both? Make sure that the third-party app has an API so you’re able to communicate with the app.

4. Choose a no-code platform that meets all these requirements.

A drag-and-drop app builder is your base ingredient to build the perfect internal tool, but that’s not all you need. You also need a platform that is secure (and HIPAA compliant if you’re in healthcare), allows you to integrate with third-party applications, and leverages AI responsibly and effectively. 

If this sounds straightforward and simple, it’s because it’s supposed to be. 

Just like cooking, app development is about mixing the right ingredients: a clear understanding of your needs, a sketch of your vision, integration for seamless functionality, and the right platform to bring it all together. 

With these four hacks, you’re not just building apps — you’re forever changing how your organization operates. This is what the democratization of technology looks like.

Contributed to EO by Nanxi Liu, a recent guest on the EO Wonder podcast who is co-CEO and cofounder of, a SOC2 and HIPAA-compliant no-code platform that empowers non-technical teams to build apps that improve business operations and productivity. Nanxi is also an Emmy-winning television producer and a Partner at XFactor Ventures, which has invested in 100+ female-founded startups.

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

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