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ToolsPublished February 16, 2022

7 Tools to Build Custom Apps Across Each Stage of Digital Transformation

The phases of business digital transformation and our recommendations on the best tools to use to build custom apps that will help complete this journey.

7 Tools to Build Custom Apps Across Each Stage of Digital Transformation

The digital transformation efforts that will get your company’s data and workflows online have never been more important than it is now.

Today, unprecedented market fluctuations are the norm, consumers have become quite digital savvy, and pivot-inducing business interruptions seem to be a quarterly occurrence.

In this environment, successful businesses will be the ones that use technology to power data-driven customer experiences and internal workflows that keep employees happy and effective. Good thing there are a whole host of low- and no-code tools out there for building custom technology that empowers this digital transformation!

Keep reading to learn about the phases of digital transformation and our recommendations on the best tools to use to build custom apps that will help complete your metamorphosis.

Digital Transformation in the Business World

Digital transformation is the process of using digital technology across your business to change — or transform — your internal operations as well as the external experience you create for consumers.

Successful digital transformation also requires a cultural shift that empowers companies to move with agility, and even fail along the way, as they forge their own unique path in the digital world.

3 Key Phases of Digital Transformation

Transforming into a business with effective digital workflows isn’t an end goal that is easily stumbled into. In fact, one of the biggest barriers to success is understanding where to even start.

It takes thoughtful forward movement to digitally transform a workplace. So let’s talk about the main phases of digital transformation to help you figure out what stage you’re already in and what you need to do to move forward.

Phase 1: Digital Enablement

If you’ve already implemented some elements of digitalization, such as taking your data warehouse online or adopting a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to support your sales and customer support efforts, then you’re already in the first phase of digital transformation: digital enablement.

Many businesses find themselves in the first stage of digital transformation when they finally get fed up with manual, often paper-based processes that are time consuming, allow for frequent human error, and cause vital information to fall through the cracks. So they adopt digital tools where they can to improve individual tasks. However, in this phase, each of these digital tools is only used by one team and the data and processes implemented within it are siloed in that one department.

To get to the next phase, businesses should complete a plan for how these tools can be connected — or even replaced with a more robust system — to provide complete workflows and clear views of customer and product/service data that stretches across the business. If you have access to IT resources, pull them in now to help assess your current ecosystem, make sure your plan is realistic, and give you an idea of cost and timeline.

Phase 2: Digital Optimization

In the digital optimization phase, organizations have injected technology that optimizes existing processes in their entirety. They haven’t yet upgraded these processes into the modern ones they’ll eventually need to function in a fully-transformed setting.

Digital optimization often starts in one or two areas of business. Organizations focus on a couple of crucial departments or customer-facing workflows where digital technology can greatly improve the status quo.

This is a great way to test and show success with your digital transformation strategy before rolling it out org-wide. According to McKinsey, companies can double profits over the course of five years just by digitalizing existing processes.

Phase 3: Company-Wide Digital Transformation

In the final phase, companies follow through on the plan they started in phase one and implement technology that enables modern processes, digitalizes data, and makes sure those processes and data are available across the organization.

To achieve digital transformation, companies either build or adopt software platforms that are specifically created to handle business-wide digital operations. And, these platforms are typically also capable of integrating with outside technology that caters to any highly-specific needs.

By improving efficiency, uncovering new insights from newly-transparent data, and creating experiences that consumers crave, businesses should be able to increase revenue and even create new revenue streams that weren’t previously possible.

But even here in the final stage, you’re never really fully finished. Digital transformation is all about delivering modern experiences, so there is an element of ongoing improvement that you want to keep up to stay on the cutting edge of what’s modern in the digital world.

7 App Development Solutions for Every Digital Transformation Level

Where is your business in the main phases of digital transformation? No matter where you are or where you’re heading, there is an app development solution that will help you digitalize your current experience and move closer to a full-fledged metamorphosis.

No-Code, On-Demand App Makers Paving the Way for Digital Enablement

For organizations that are enabling early-stage digitalization, no-code application builders are useful for quickly spinning up custom tools on an as-needed basis.


Glide is a web and mobile application builder that enables “citizen developers” — aka people who need to construct IT-approved apps with no coding experience — to create digital tools that improve workplace efficiency and effectiveness for themselves and others.

With Glide, businesses can build and ship custom applications that look great on both iOS and  Android in just days, instead of spending months and thousands of dollars on expensive, from-scratch design and development.

Create employee portals, inventory trackers, CRMs, issue trackers, event management tools, and pretty much anything else that needs an app or website — all by drawing data you already have from the spreadsheets you already use. On a technical level, Glide’s drag-and-drop builder, integrations with key data sources (Airtable, Google Docs, etc.), and completely-editable branding mean you can create professional and functional applications that still encompass the unique vibe of your business. Any changes you make to the app’s branding or to your integrated data sources show up on your live app in real-time, creating united, digital workflows that upgrade employee and consumer experiences.

Glide goes above and beyond other app builders when it comes to usability with an interactive, intuitive editing portal. Here, you can easily customize branding and settings as well as tap into Glide’s API to integrate with useful third parties like Zapier and Google Analytics. In addition, beautifully-designed templates help you unleash your genius, and Glide’s stable of experts is always available in case you need a little boost to get your self-built software over the finish line.

If you need a custom business app fast, Glide provides the functionality to create great software without the cost and difficulty of coding any of it. Glide has a free package as well as a wide variety of pricing plans for companies of any size. And, Glide is happy to create custom packages for enterprise users

Appy Pie

Appy Pie is a website and application building platform that allows businesses to create no-code software that digitalizes their products, services, and processes.

Pre-set templates and color themes, customizable features, detailed app analytics, and a very simple start-to-publish workflow come together to create a system that makes it easy for even less knowledgeable creators to use Appy Pie to build business apps.

Appy Pie prioritizes fast, native user experiences with its software. In fact, this focus on the native app experience has led the company to create a process for publishing apps. Appy Pie’s team guides the app submission process to help users launch their Android and iOS mobile apps to the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Another unique feature is that some of the content on  Appy Pie’s mobile apps and websites remains accessible offline.

Appy Pie is focused on providing tools for building business apps, on-demand delivery apps, restaurant apps, shopping apps, and dating apps. Pricing starts at $16 per app, per month.


AppMachine focuses on helping users in the music, restaurant, education, travel, and sports industries create custom apps with no coding knowledge — as well as resellers who want to create and sell pre-built apps in these verticals.

Using AppMachine starts with an interesting process — builders can scan content that already exists on their website to get started on an iOS or Android app. Of course, they can also start from scratch. Then, users can choose from pre-coded, “snap-together building blocks” and pre-formatted designs to finalize their app.

Pricing for individual apps starts around $50 per app, per month. AppMachine also offers bundle packages for app resellers.

Low-Code App Builders for Optimizing Digitalization Workflows

For organizations that are ready to digitally optimize existing business workflows, there are some helpful low-code solutions. is a low-code mobile app, web app, and progressive web app (PWA) development tool.

With drag-and-drop capabilities and a JavaScript platform — a text-based programming language that enables interactive features —  business and technical users can work together to create their own apps in just days. utilizes a single codebase so that applications built using the software share the same data and can be used across the business. Versioning, backups, and permissions settings make sure that data stays private and secure.

If you have development pros on-staff, they can bring their own backend to Or, they can take advantage of integrated back-end services like databases, authentication, push notifications, etc. And the API Express feature allows you to implement existing enterprise assets in new workflows.

In addition to the app builder platform, also offers development support packages, custom development, and personalized platform training. For the app builder, a free trial is available, then pricing begins at $25.


Pega tapped into the market demand for app development by creating their Low-Code Factory that empowers citizen development.

Pega’s Low-Code Factory is a company-wide platform that integrates with legacy tech to provide an outlet where business users can create low-code, design-led software. First, a tech-savvy team will need to set up an instance of Pega. Then your team can work together to establish the rules and roles that guide its use. Finally, that same technical team will set up a “reuse layer” and populate it with assets, which business users can utilize to construct applications that improve day-to-day workflows — no coding experience required.

The Low-Code Factory empowers business users to proactively improve workflows and enables IT teams to focus on other, mission-critical tasks that require their full expertise. Businesses can view live Pega demos and sign up for a free trial. The Pega platform starts at $90 per user, per month — and a custom package can also be created.

Low-Code App Solutions to Round Out Your Digital Transformation

These low-code solutions will help you create apps that enable data transparency and cross-departmental workflows — fully engaging digital transformation.

Salesforce Platform’s App Builder

Salesforce is one of the most popular CRMs platforms for uniting marketing, sales, ecommerce,  customer service, and IT to build great customer experiences.

Often, it’s one of the more robust systems within a business’ toolbox, making it the ideal platform upon which to layer tools that increase organization-wide functionality and transparency. Enter Salesforce’s app builder.

Business users can create mobile-first, cloud-based, no-code apps in minutes. Like many app builders, it starts with the capability to convert a spreadsheet into a functional platform. Configurable components can be dragged into place to create custom features and design. Then, users can deploy Salesforce’s Einstein Automate to build the automation that powers modern, digitally-transformed workflows.

The app builder also has tools to help development professionals tackle more challenging apps, as well as a full ecosystem of prebuilt (but customizable) apps that companies can buy into to fully extend the Salesforce platform across the business.

A starter package for building custom apps begins at $25 per user, per month. A free trial, custom plan, support packages, and add-ons are also available.

ServiceNow’s App Engine

ServiceNow is fully-featured software that connects and empowers the people, functions, and systems within a digital business. And one way it does that is through its App Engine, a low-code solution that helps development teams build apps and automated workflows in hours.

App Engine provides an environment where developers can access best practices, templates, and other features to create low-code, mobile-first applications. Apps created in this environment are native, which delivers scalability and consistency no matter where they’re used in the business. And with artificial intelligence and analytics embedded into every app, teams can identify problems quickly and make more informed builds the next time around. App Engine is so approachable that business creators with a little digital savvy can even hop in to create apps that don’t skimp on quality or stability.

ServiceNow’s apps promise to automate business-wide workflows and use the power of technology to reduce time and complexity for workers and consumers alike. Interested parties can sign up to access ServiceNow demos and request a custom price quote.

Start Building Transformative Web and Mobile Apps With Glide

Success in today’s business world revolves around the capability to create data-driven customer experiences and seamless internal workflows.

Success revolves around digital transformation.

Now that you know what digital transformation means and are able to identify where you are in your journey, it’s time to choose the tool that will reshape your business.

Glide is the most approachable software-building platform for businesses with no IT resources.

Join 250,000 people and organizations that have created millions of apps with Glide.

Sign up today and start using Glide

to build the transformative apps and websites you thought you could only dream of.

Pursue digital transformation with Glide.

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