SAP Community Expert Interview: Doc Williams
|The SAP Community Expert Interview Series highlights key strategic topics, such as emerging technologies, learning, and other topics, and provides insights from industry experts and leaders on turning ideas into innovative approaches that impact people, process, and technology.|
No-code is empowering users without coding skills to build their own applications.
For many who lack the knowledge in writing code, the idea of developing web or mobile apps, chatbots, internal operations tools, and/or performing integrations has always seemed out of reach.
The good news! Developers with deep technical backgrounds can free up time and participate in more sophisticated IT projects and provide their expertise to low-code/no-code (LCNC) users including how-to’s, governance, and fine-tuning.
For Doc Williams, an acclaimed LCNC influencer with over 14K YouTube Subscribers, entrepreneur, Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and CEO & Founder of The Brand Factory, he helps a wide range of influencers and brands leverage their content to make an impact in their industry.
His passion for the no-code solutions is contagious as he has the unique skill of making what seemed impossible, possible. It was great to catch-up with him and learn more!
Steph De Camara Marley (SM): Hi Doc! What inspired you to go from being a business owner in the fitness industry with FIT Labs, to roles as the CTO and CIO with multiple start-ups, as well as CEO & Founder of The Brand Factory which combines building “communities, systems, and operations” with Low-Code/No-Code (LCNC)?
Doc Williams (DW): Thanks Stephanie, that’s a great question. After working with many fitness influencers, I realized just how important it is to have excellent internal operations in place for community, growth, and revenue building.
My interest in LCNC started over 10 years ago as a business owner starting with the gym I owned and trying to figure out how to connect all the different sites (& channels). From there I branched out to support various fitness organizations.
Over time, I went on to become the CTO, CIO for multiple start-ups (e.g., NesCorp, Cognier Technologies) and worked with organizations such as Vaynermedia, AppSumo, and ESPN.
At ESPN I connected with athletes who wanted to have apps built to grow their business and brand. As a result, I was motivated to find solutions using LCNC.
From my experiences, many people feel overwhelmed by the prospect of using technology to build their personal brands and take their business to the next level.
I have a passion to demonstrate how easy and simple it can be to build apps with the right tools.
SM: You’ve been featured in blogs such as “No-Code App in 60 Minutes with Doc Williams” and “No Code to Accelerate your Content Creation.” What motivated you to teach how to build an app in less than an hour for users with no coding experience?
DW: The most important part of creating an app (or any service) is to just start building and testing ideas! So, I enjoy showing people what a low-barrier to entry there really is with no code, and how fast the process can be.
During my professional journey, I realized that businesses and workers have bottlenecks. People are working too hard and there’s not enough time (or mental bandwidth) in the day. Sometimes they have a repetitive task and LCNC can help cut out the repetition (and boring tasks).
For example, I work with organizations who are putting together a marketing or operational efficiency plan. Using a LCNC app, they can better conceptualize the data and make better decisions. The app helps them figure out their strategy by pinpointing what is driving the business and prioritize where to make further investments.
SM: In your YouTube video, “AppGyver For Beginners | No Code App Builder Basics” you make it easy for viewers to understand the useful capabilities of the program. What has been your experience in encouraging users to try a LCNC app vs. feeling overwhelmed by it, or that it takes a lot of time to do the basics?
DW: A lot of people get overwhelmed because they have a huge idea and they’re not sure how to make their vision a reality. In my experience, users succeed when they focus on simple goals and the basic functionality that they need for their app. The key for all of us: take the project one step at a time.
Also, I encourage using the AppGyver documentation with one caveat…that sometimes it’s written more for the more advanced programmer vs. the everyday user who’s trying to build an app.
When I get stuck, I have developed a circle of peers to ask questions to, and sometimes I produce a short-video to clearly outline the challenge that I’m trying to solve. Typically, the community is happy to answer my questions.
Always remember…don’t get frustrated trying to build something so big at first…Start small and work your way towards your end goal.
SM: In your video, “Getting Started with AppGyver | 5 Things You Need to Know” you shared a tip on ways to get inspired. Do you have a certain process (or approach) that beginners should consider when taking on a LCNC project for an actual business initiative (or for experimentation)?
DW: Validation is key. The most important question is always, “Does anyone want this?” There’s no point in spending time and money on a project that doesn’t have any validation.
My advice is always to first ask the attended audience, peer or expert simply if they would pay for this service, and then go from there.
It’s always better to ask first before you waste valuable time and resources!
SM: You’ve been around a lot of LCNC projects. Can you share some examples of successful outcomes where you’ve seen innovative, out of the box thinking using LCNC?
DW: LCNC projects range from anything relating to automating home systems, keeping track of clients, building communities, and creating new innovation approaches to automating tasks!
The most exciting part is that with no code or low-code solutions, you can build almost anything from the ground up, and build a quality foundation to scale.
One of the AppGyver projects I find interesting is by Cristian Martinez who developed a no-code solution and created his first app for avid readers, BookMarket. This mobile app allows readers to facilitate the buying and selling of books, and improve the visibility of small book shops, as well as individual authors.
Another awesome example, again using AppGyver, was recognized as a “Creator of the Week” highlighted by the global app-building community based on Dak, a 10 year old, and his quest for “Knowledge 4 Ever.” Dak successfully launched his first app, which makes “learning fun and easy for kids everywhere. Knowledge 4 Ever quizzes users on a wide range of topics and is now available on the App Store and Google Play.”
Cristian, Dak and many of us have found that AppGyver, specifically, is good for beginners who are getting started with technology, and without any cost when using the free community license.
SM: Going forward, how do you see the popularity of LCNC growing? Are you excited to help empower business users who would have thought programming is too complicated and show them how they can make better use of data, streamline workflows, and save time and money?
DW: No code solutions have broken down so many barriers for people who used to feel like only developers could create exciting new tech.
Now, with these capabilities in reach of so many, I’m really interested in seeing how it expands throughout business, education, and entertainment.