Kintone and GW Apps are both successful web application development platforms that offer a range of features to help automate business processes and manage data. Kintone is mostly a No-Code platform, though some advanced features do require coding (Low-Code), while GW Apps is a purely No-Code platform. Each platform has a unique combination of features and strengths that make them a better solution for different kinds of applications and use cases.
Kintone describes their platform as a “customizable workplace platform that lets highly collaborative teams manage data, tasks, and communication in one central place.” This means that Kintone apps are always part of a team collaboration workspace. In contrast, GW Apps is purely focussed on creating secure and feature-rich business applications. Let’s review their features and strengths.
Both Kintone and GW Apps have an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop form builder. Kintone’s form builder has most of the fields/form items that GW Apps has, and also allows users to build multi-column layouts. A major difference is that Kintone only allows one kind of form/record in each app, so, for example, a project management app can only store information about the whole project but not the tasks required to complete the project and who they are assigned to. These would need to be kept in a separate app, though you could look up project information from the tasks app. If your organization needs to build many apps, each with multiple related but separate types of information, Kintone would become much more complex to manage than GW Apps. Kintone is also limited to 50,000 records per app and only 150 fields per form, while GW Apps has no record or field limits.
GW Apps is designed to create more complex and feature rich apps than can easily be created in Kintone. As well as allowing multiple forms in an app, you can also build dynamic forms where only the fields a user needs are displayed to them at each stage. For example, when a request is first entered the approval and resolution details fields are hidden, but automatically become visible as the request moves to the approval and delivery workflow stages. Also, GW Apps has tabbed and stepper form layout options in addition to the standard single page layout, and allows for multiple layouts and dynamic layout changes depending on the form’s mode (e.g., a form could display as a standard page when a record is first created, and then a tabbed layout for viewing the record after it has been submitted and additional fields need to be displayed). Additionally, GW Apps allows users to create anonymous forms: Public forms that can be accessed with a link and created and edited by people who are not platform users, such as those outside of the organization. This is possible with Kintone, but only through the use of two extensions working in unison.
Workflow & Security
GW Apps has more robust workflow capabilities, with a list of workflow actions to choose from and also automatic action-based and scheduled triggers. Kintone’s workflow, called Process Management, only allows for moving a record through stages and assigning the user(s) responsible for taking action on a record, and has limited options for automatic triggers. Kintones application security is quite comprehensive, but lacks the ability to change a user’s field access for each workflow stage.
Another notable feature of GW Apps is support for Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which allows for configuring the required response times for forms at each stage of their workflow, and to track records against them to help enforce the desired service levels for the business processes.
Views & Data Visualization
Kintone offers many customizable charts so users can view data in a wide range of clear and meaningful ways. It also offers table and calendar format views, but they have more limited features and display options compared to GW Apps. Kintone does offer custom HTML/CSS views, which allow great flexibility and control of displayed data or content, though they do require developer skills to create.
GW Apps has three view types (table, calendar, and kanban), each with a wide range of features and display control, such as grouping/drill-down and numeric column totals. However, it does not offer the ability to create custom HTML views.
As Kintone was built as a workplace collaboration platform, it has many useful features for team collaboration, such as a home page showing announcements, notifications, team spaces and apps. Users can also comment on records and announcements, and tag other users to alert them to information. Spaces allow groups of users to start space specific discussion threads and share information. Kintone also allows users to send direct private messages to each other. These features are not currently available in GW Apps.
GW Apps does not have the “workplace platform” features of Kintone, though some of them could be built using GW Apps if required. It does have specific platform features that make it suitable for building self-service portals (both employee and client portals), including app organization, SLAs, and platform level views and SLA reporting. Kintone does not have any of these features, and is less likely to make a successful self-service portal platform.
GW Apps offers 4 plans for businesses: A starter plan for 8 users ($40/mo), the SMB value plan for teams of up to 100 users ($300/mo), and two additional plans targeted at Mid Market and Large enterprises, with an average price of $2/user/mo. GW Apps free trial plan has no feature limitations.
Kintone has only one plan of $24/user/month with a minimum of 5 users (hence, a minimum of $120/mo). Their free trial also has no feature limitations.
Feature Comparison Summary
Overall, the choice between Kintone and GW Apps will depend on the specific needs and preferences of your business.
Kintone describes their own platform this way: “Kintone is a customizable workplace platform that lets highly collaborative teams manage data, tasks, and communication in one central place.” This description really does describe the essence of Kintone’s core functionality. It is a better fit for organizations that need a combination of team collaboration features (like announcements, team spaces, comments, mentions, and discussions), and simple applications to store data and track progress. Having these two aspects working together will be a powerful solution for organizations that need this. Kintone also currently offers more feature rich charting functionality, though GW Apps can automatically update a Google Analytics dashboard.
GW Apps is more focussed on creating secure and feature-rich applications. It has more features for form functionality and layout, for workflow and security, and for views, emails and PDF generation. GW Apps does not have the workplace platform features of Kintone, though some of them could be built within GW Apps if required, however it is better suited to creating self-service portals.
Kintone and GW Apps are both good choices, though for different customer needs. If your organization is looking for a platform that offers a combination of team collaboration and application development, then Kintone is perhaps uniquely suited out of all No-Code platforms. If you are looking for a No-Code platform that supports more complex business process apps and even creating self-service portals, then GW Apps is more likely to be a better fit.