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AppSheet Team

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Changes to AppSheet Plans & Pricing

Dear App Creator, Over four years of almost-daily platform updates, we have responded to feature requests and made forward investments in many new AppSheet platform capabilities. The apps built on AppSheet have grown from simple mobile forms to large-scale and mission-critical business applications. On Monday, December 10, our pricing will change to reflect these platform updates and will immediately apply to all new customers. Customers currently on a paid plan will have 6 months to transition their account. If you are an existing customer on a business subscription plan, these changes will not affect you. There will be three primary subscription plans: Premium (secure) This self-serve plan is for small-scale apps and enables most common app features. It continues to be priced at USD $5/user/month. Pro (secure) This self-serve plan is for small-scale apps and enables advanced app features and advanced security. It continues to be priced at USD $10/user/month. Business Subscriptions This plan is for larger-scale apps and apps that are critical for a business. These apps will benefit from better performance and reliability in this plan. Additional capabilities fall into various categories: Management, Integrations, AI, Analytics, Collaboration, and Governance. Business subscriptions are managed by our account reps with custom pricing.  Other Plan Options In addition to simplifying the available plans, we have made feature adjustments to them (details below). For customers interested in public apps without user sign-in, we will continue to offer the Publisher Pro plan at USD $50/app/month. Prototype apps and personal apps remain completely free with access to the entire platform and limited to 10 users. We continue to provide a 50% discount for non-profits and educational institutions. Starting Dec 10th, 2018, we are discontinuing the Standard, Publisher, and Publisher Plus plans for new customers. As an existing customer, we will notify you if changes are needed and then engage with you to make those changes before June 10th 2019. Why have we discontinued the Standard plan? The Standard plan is extremely feature-constrained and the apps built with the Standard plan are therefore of low end-user quality. For example, any change made in an app has to be synced immediately and the app will not work offline. We have realized that a good mobile end-user app experience does need greater richness of platform features. Why have we discontinued the Publisher and Publisher-Plus plans? The public plans were initially intended for public consumer-facing apps. As a platform however, we have become very focused on business apps and have been unable to provide consumer features like payments, ads, social media integrations, etc. We do recognize that there are still legitimate cases for a business app to be public (for example, an event schedule app, or a product catalog). These use cases usually require significant scale and white-labeling. The existing Publisher Pro plan is therefore a good match.   What are the changes to the Premium, Pro, and Business plans? Premium Recently added: Calendar views, quick-edit table view, custom actions, and AirTable data source. No longer available in Premium: security filters, advanced workflow actions (webhook and data updates), NFC scanning, and data caching. All of these features will be available in the Pro plan. Pro Recently added: Smart assistant, secure images, on-device encryption, user roles management. No longer available in Pro: relational database sources (SQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, etc), Salesforce data source, and app version management. These features will be available in Business Subscriptions. Business Subscriptions Recently added: enterprise data sources (Redshift, Oracle, On-Premise data support), support for REST API integrations, support for extra add-ons like enhanced security, management, advanced integrations, and more. Note that all app features can be used in a free prototype app, whatever the current plan. This allows you to see how features will work and determine if they are useful to your scenario.   Feature categories by plan: A Personal Note: No decision to change pricing is ever made lightly. That is particularly true in our case. Broad and universal access is fundamental to our mission and our belief system. This is why we have self-serve subscription plans and AppSheet is free for prototypes and for personal use. It is why we continue to add new features to existing plans, and provide customer support to as many people as possible. All the same, we are keenly aware that the changes announced here will increase costs for some customers. These changes will help us continue to support you effectively, run the AppSheet platform at scale for a growing user base, and continue adding features to give you greater value. We welcome your feedback, questions, ideas or criticism. You can reach us at Praveen Seshadri CEO AppSheet 

How Can Digital Solutions Drive Productivity in the Construction Industry?

  Though there is an urgent need to improve infrastructure and the need for new construction remains red hot, research has shown that in some sectors of the construction industry, labor productivity has declined relative to overall economic productivity. Add this to the fact that large scale projects typically take 20 percent longer to finish and tend to run 80 percent over budget, it’s clear that it’s getting harder for those in the construction industry to consistently drive a profit. To address this challenge, many of the top players in the construction industry have looked for solutions in the digital realm. Here are several examples of how these companies are undergoing a digital transformation, becoming more productive and profitable in the process. Mobility Imagine not waiting for updated blueprints to arrive, or not having to shuffle through the previous week’s progress reports to get an idea of a project's current status. From equipment logs to procurement reports, much of the construction industry still relies on paper. If you stop to think about what it takes to manage the many parts of that paper trail, it’s no wonder projects go over budget and experience schedule delays. One of the biggest shifts in construction is moving to online communication and sharing processes that give real-time updates on information and data. Technology such as Building information Modeling (BIM) allows everyone involved with the project to have access to the same information wherever there is an internet connection. Simply put, digitization is a more effective and efficient way to collaborate on projects that have many loose parts and many different players. The Internet of Things In its 2017 industry trends report, Construction Dive foresees that the Internet of Things has the potential to revolutionize the job site. For instance, like the “check engine light” in your car, sensors that monitor and give information about when equipment needs to be serviced could go a long way toward preventing equipment failure and delays. Another aspect of this is labor tracking technology that monitors how much time is being spent on a project to manage labor inefficiencies, which directly correlates with the bottom line. Advanced analytics With all of this data generated from devices, the next question is how to manage the data and maximize digitized processes. The ultimate goal is to make the data accessible and formatted in a way that allows people to understand the various aspects of the job site or construction process with ease. This has spawned a whole industry in itself, with companies like Autodesk developing programs that help managers analyze data and helps contractors identify risks on the job site. Some companies use apps to train employees, monitor concrete delivery and the use of cranes. Other companies develop apps that allow crews to update progress on sites, giving managers a real-time snapshot of progress and cost. Driven by data and efficient processes, construction companies and managers are finding increasingly creative and sophisticated ways to leverage digital technology to become more competitive and more profitable.

5 Mobile Apps for Operation Managers

Well into the digital age, operations managers have come to see the value in leveraging the power of mobile technology by equipping workers in the field or those working remotely with custom-designed apps. These apps allow them to easily input data that can be used to better streamline operations. For a better look at how this is done, here is a look at how some of these apps can make workers more efficient, and in turn, lead to better business processes. Apps for capturing incidents The convenience of having an app that can record data, store photos and document workplace-related injuries, hazards or even near misses can go a long way to ensuring safety concerns are addressed. What’s more, such an app would have the convenience of storing all incidents in one location, thus making it easier to analyze trends and pinpoint reoccurring problems, which ultimately could lead to a safer workplace. Apps for teams in the field In the construction business, field workers can benefit from an app that allows simple data capture. This would allow you to track the progress on jobs, confirm deliveries through inputting signatures and receive real-time photo updates. Alternately, survey teams could use an app to collect field notes, such as GPS location, date and time, and accompany this information with photographs. Apps for delivery drivers Whether you do B2B, B2C or a combination of the two, keeping track of deliverables and services rendered is vital to maintaining strong relationships with your clients. A full-service app to track and assist in deliverables would include a convenient color coding system that lets you quickly know the status of an order (en route, delivered, etc.). A map function would provide directions to the driver and mark which locations have or have not received deliveries. It would also have a signature capture function to further streamline the process. Apps for managing workflow Anyone with experience overseeing projects that involve employees working in different locations knows how important it is to keep track of the workflow. Putting an app in everyone’s hands that allows them to update their assigned task and record information can help give a quick, detailed overview of where you are in the work process. Apps for production lines Production lines could also benefit from a specific type of workflow app. In this case, workers could clock in when they begin a task and out when they finish for the day (or go on lunch). This can give a real-time picture of how much time is going into particular projects and tasks, allowing you to more accurately forecast budgets. These are just a few examples of how operation managers could deploy mobile apps to better carry out the organization’s goals.

Field Service & Political Campaign: Big Data Solutions in a Texas Mayor Race

The ability to gather data about voters, hone in on specific slices of a demographic and tailor a message to constituents has been a game changer in how political campaigns are run, predicted and won. While many organizers at the local level understand that big data tools can give a particular candidate an edge, those tools have historically only been available to high-power corporations or giant political machines — but new technology and services are leveling the playing field. Big ambitions, small budget When tech consultant Alejandro Lamothe came to work on the San Antonio mayoral campaign for Manuel Medina, he wanted to leverage data and technology in order to create a more effective way to reach supporters and urge them to get out on election day. The challenge was that a custom-made app or software that could do this would be far too expensive for Medina's grassroots campaign. Medina’s campaign involved a lot of block walking, with volunteers going door to door, speaking with potential voters. The issue was that volunteers were still using paper and clipboards, taking polling data and transferring it to Excel Sheets and Google Calendars. Ultimately, this was an inefficient way to make a report and store data. Though this personal and old-fashioned method of connecting with voters was effective, it needed some help from modern digital methods of utilizing data. A powerful solution Faced with an array of data living on different formats (Smartsheet, Excel, Google Docs, etc.), Lamothe set out to find a way to bring all these together in a single database equipped with a number of features that would make analyzing and collecting the data easier. Lamothe turned to AppSheet to create a customized app. The process was remarkably easy, as AppSheet was able to consolidate the many spreadsheets of existing data. As a result, he was able to develop an entirely unique app suited for the campaign’s unique needs. With the app, volunteers and pollsters were able to use this powerful tool right on their cell phones with the following features:  All information canvassers gathered was automatically saved and updated in real time. This meant all team members had access to continually updated voter information. A dashboard that gave an overview of the total number of people and households reached, demographic information and who they were likely to vote for. This information was further segmented into voting districts. The app utilized Google Maps to mark which homes had been visited, whether people were home or not and if the canvassers needed to return. Relevant voter information (age, gender, who they were most likely to vote for) was conveniently stored alongside this geographic information. Though many were older and not digital natives, the intuitive nature of the app was remarkable. Within two weeks they were able to reach around 35,000 individuals, greatly expanding their database and improving the campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort. Simple, accessible, revolutionary For Lamothe, the process of seeing an app take form was, in his words, “enchanting.” What he most liked was the ability of the app to draw data from multiple platforms, making the entire process highly streamlined. “I believe the app will transform and change how people will use information,” Lamothe says. In a world where being able to properly use data is increasingly important, organizations of all sizes will want to look into unique, app-based solutions to meet their needs. Please check out Alejandro Lamothe's video here on how he designed the app and how volunteers used the app. Not sure what app might be helpful to you? Go to our Sample App page, copy apps for free and customize your apps your way. Citizen Developers are Workplace Innovators. They build custom apps to improve and optimize work processes in their organizations, introducing innovative ways to "get work done." As citizen development becomes the new normal, it promotes innovation, agility, and flexibility throughout an organization. To learn more about AppSheet and citizen developers, check out the following page:

Unbundle your Excel into a Customized App

It has been argued that the stripped-down online community posting site Craigslist has given rise to numerous services that are now part of the sharing economy. The Vacation Rentals section grew into Airbnb, the arts + crafts sales page became Etsy, and services like LegalZoom, Redfin and more have all been “unbundled” from the simple categories found on Craigslist. In a recent blog post, Tomasz Tunguz, a partner at Redpoint and co-author of the book, Winning with Data, projected that this same “unbundling” will likely happen with Microsoft Excel. As Tunguz estimates, with approximately 300 million users around the world, Excel has the most widely used tool and software to get things done. People at all different levels use Excel to create task lists, manage customers, create waterfall charts, exchange data, manage projects and much more. One reason Excel has been so widely adopted is that it can be used for simple lists and calculations, but add a few rows, plug in some functions and pretty soon you can have a tool for automated data analysis. At a certain point, though, even a highly skilled Excel user will find the program a bit clunky and cumbersome. Their needs are too specific for a broad program like Excel. However, What many people involved in the day-to-day business operations — though not necessarily IT — are surprised to learn, is that many of the specific apps they would use for their particular area are not radically new, nor are they groundbreaking inventions. In many cases, they are unbundled from Excel. For example, here are four types of apps that have their origins in Excel. Project Management: Streamline projects, tasks and deadlines in a mobile app instead of a cumbersome spreadsheet. Inspections: Instead of a clipboard, capture detailed data like GPS locations, times, duration, images, and make automatic calculations from a mobile device. Customer Information Capture: Collect information from customers at the point of sale. This can streamline processes, making you more efficient and thorough. Inventory Management: Information on your inventory probably already lives in spreadsheets, providing an ideal source of data for a mobile app that uses bar code scanning. Tunguz notes that unbundling usually happens with medium-sized businesses, after a company reaches a certain size with teams and divisions that require greater control and more specialized software. In many cases, this prompts an organization to dedicate resources to developing software that is catered to their needs. Essentially, Excel is a starting block from which organizations and software developers create more streamlined programs for specific workflows. If a company doesn’t have the IT resources to develop their own “unbundled” software, there are a few of options to start the process. Some businesses will try off-the-shelf software and adapt their processes in a way that allows them to get the full range of benefits from the software. Other businesses that need their software to be specifically tailored for their unique needs will develop their own apps. Whether you work in sourcing, sales, or logistics, the app you need to meet your specific needs could be waiting to be unbundled from the Excel sheet you currently use. Visit AppSheet's sample app page to learn more about how you could unbundle your excel. Other posts you might find useful: 2017: A Year of Mobile Innovation and No-Code Apps 5 Mobile Trends You Should Consider Before You Build an APP Mobile Sales: How to Organize Your Info on Just One App  

The Little Lost App:  Why Your Apps Might Be Getting Lost in App Stores

Once upon a time, in a place called App-land, there was a disagreement between two of the little apps. One felt deep in his programming that he was the very best. His friend would never agree, stating that he was the best. One day they decided to have a contest. "We shall go to the App Stores and see who is most popular," declared the first. "Yes,” agreed the second.  "And that will prove once and for all who is best!" So they went down to the app stores and walked inside. And they were never heard from again.   The End The Mystery of the Vanishing App iOS users have access to 2,000,000 apps in the main app stores in their various incarnations. Android users can find about 10% more at 2.2 million in their app stores. In the iOS store alone you can find nearly 2,000 flashlight apps. Enough with the flashlights already! Seriously, folks, most flashlight apps are free, so you will never make any money trying to sell one. There are areas (not very many, mind you) that haven't been "done-to-death" yet; so, if you're more talented than most, you might be able to get some attention in those little oases of underdevelopment. The truth for the majority of apps is that few of them have ever been downloaded more than a couple of times. In the Apple store alone, between 50 and 60% have never been downloaded even once. Surprisingly, that is not surprising. To a casual observer looking at Angry Birds, they know that the Finnish company Rovio has made a fortune on that, and Bad Piggies, and Nibblers, and so on. How hard could it be (they reason) to make a popular app that costs $0.99? Downloaded a million times, you'd have $999,999.99! (removed) Since the majority of Apple apps must be paid for, people are reluctant to "test drive" them.  Android, on the other hand, features many apps that are supported by advertising, so they cost the user nothing to download and try out. The ones that do cost are generally of good quality and well-designed. The free-only ones can often be sufficient, but also can at times seem experimental, kludgy, and more a demonstration of ability by someone learning to program. They'll frequently get updates to fix "bugs" until (perhaps) they're good enough to sell as a Pro version. They can be enthusiastically supported by long-time users of the free version and all the development time can build a huge loyal following. The Unsatisfying Truth If you've ever heard the expression "to make money you have to spend money,” it is particularly true in this instance. When a smartphone user goes looking for an app, 40% of the time they end up going to an app store. They'll enter a keyword or an expression such as "fitness tracker" and then will be presented with several sorted results. In the Google Play Store for example, you will see one heading called Popular Results-- but don't think it will be sorted alphabetically, or even by popularity, or quality. It starts off with Google Fit— Fitness  because, hey, it is Google's Play Store after all. Then it is often followed by the ten people or companies who spent the most money promoting their apps and may have managed to obtain a high download rate. That list will be followed by more sub-categories-- in this instance "Heart Rate Trackers, Weight Loss Trackers, Gym Training Trackers, Cycling Trackers, and finally another simply called More Results. You get one guess as to where your brand new, knock-em-dead, and unpromoted fitness application ends up… If Only 40% of People Went to the App Store… I knew you would remember that number! Sixty percent of users still find their applications "in the wild.” It might be a traveling salesperson who suddenly needs to go two towns over to meet a new client, and where flying would obviously be silly. A quick Google Search to find a car rental agency pops up an advertisement for an app that shows the cheapest local rates.   Downloading that app makes a lot more sense— now our salesperson doesn't need to look at countless sites to find a good rate.  It's all on one page of an app. That's how it usually works for shopping tools, airline bookings, oil change shops, coffee houses, and so on.   Think about it…how did you discover your Starbucks App? You went to the store, maybe pointed your phone's camera at a QR code, and it installed automatically without any further interaction on your part. The app stores are a good place to make your app centrally available; but you can promote outside of that and direct users to your app within the store rather than paying the store to keep your app in the Top 10 results. The Takeaway It’s somewhat of a given that mobile apps are the wave of the future. They are fast, convenient, informative, and useful. Since almost everyone has a smartphone nowadays, this is the simplest, least expensive way for businesses to engage both their customers and employees. The best part is, you don’t need to be subject to app store antics and the possibility of never being noticed to create and launch an app that helps solve everyday business challenges. In fact if you can quantify the idea on a spreadsheet, then you can make an app out of it. And you can distribute the app as widely as you choose. We can help you do that at AppSheet. But if self-serve mobile app development isn’t for you, at least you’ll be aware of all options and your chances of success if you do in fact choose the app store route. *Randi Sherman and David Carter contributed to this post.

Congratulations on Your Mobile Engagement! (With Your Customers)

  We may not be standing at the hatch of our spaceship ready to step out on an unknown planet, but trust me— it's a whole new world out there. From the 1960s to the 1990s it was something of an event to "go shopping.” People actually dressed for the occasion. By the mid-1990s, Wal-Mart was starting to catch-hold, and other Big Box stores were becoming the default. Nowadays people are so blasé about it that they go shopping in sweat pants, and seem ill-prepared to face the day. Engage your Customers There is a significant need to re-spark the interest of the consumer. One of the best ways we've seen in recent years is to provide a mobile app for your customers and users. It engages their attention, more so than mere advertising because they are a part of the process. To obtain your mobile app your customers have taken a very specific series of actions— locating your software, downloading it, and installing your app— which means they have expressed trust or faith in you. They now they have a vested interest in it being useful to them. We shouldn't take that responsibility lightly. If it is not a completely smooth and intuitive operation, you're not doing them, or yourself, any particular good. Keep in mind that they can uninstall that software more quickly than they installed it. That means the KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid), is in full force of effect. Consumers love apps Did you know that in contemporary society the majority of consumers spend almost 2½ hours per day using these portable apps? Admittedly, 32% of that time is gaming, and another 28% is spent on messaging and other social activities such as Facebook. After you subtract 60% for gaming and messaging, what's left to do? It leaves productivity apps, and purchasing apps— and that's where you come into the picture. You need to create an app that provides a valuable tool for your client, allowing them to do something they couldn't do before. It could be a tool to help your sales staff be more productive; it could be something that provides the customer with a faster, more convenient interface for interacting with you. Simply better Many recently graduated 20-somethings have probably spent three years or more in college getting a computer degree of some kind. They're often really creative when it comes to making microprocessors jump through flaming hoops and perform stunning feats. They also sometimes forget that everybody else in the world isn't a recent graduate. Apps do not need to be complex— they need to be simple, with large buttons and easy choices. Designing it, while keeping your grandparents in mind, might be a good idea. They're not dumb—they have probably been using computers longer than you have— but think in terms of average vision, avoiding tiny type and buttons that are too close together… You can do it, too! Having never taken a course to learn a computer language, or how to make programs of any kind, you're thinking that you will need to hire somebody to build your app. A lot of businesses choose that route because the task appears to require a level of technical expertise and budget allowances they don't believe they possess. That can cost tens of thousands of dollars in development costs alone even before the app is put through testing to make sure it's both robust and safe. Then there's the marketing so people know about the app. Facing that convoluted and expensive process could end the project before it begins. And it should be clear by now, you need that app! It's actually easy At AppSheet, our goal is to empower everyone to create their own mobile apps. Best of all, you don't need to know how to code. If you have a spreadsheet, you can create an app! That means you are now poised to create a much more meaningful relationship with your clients with little investment. Drop by AppSheet and open a free account where you can experiment and even create a personal or prototype app. We can help you create stellar customer experiences, too. Look over our suite of customer engagement sample apps and customize them for free. An app for every purpose Is your app going to be an informer or a persuader?  One such sample app is a repair manual for fixing holes in drywall. You can change it to suit any task you desire, and can even include pictures and illustrations, as required. On the other hand, you may want to send somebody to your Etsy, Amazon, or Ebay store to peruse your products. After they have had a chance to go through your catalog of wonderful items (with plenty of text and pictures to emphasize all the great features), your website is just a click away. How about inventorying your store? There's an app for that. Perhaps you're a physician who requires a pre-surgery checklist? Are you a home inspector that needs to record images and commentary? There's an app for that, too.     You can use apps to track your deliveries to make sure your customers are being served in the best way possible. There are even apps to calculate and provide quotes to your customers. With AppSheet, it's all up to your imagination. The takeaway With the dawn of technology and DIY platforms, people have become much more accustomed to self-serve utilities. There will always be room for app developers creating highly complex and convoluted programs. But for the most part, you can design your own professional apps that will do a great job and it won't cost you an arm and a leg. Keep in mind that it is really important to stay in touch with your customers; you need to provide them with usable information and forms of interaction that makes their lives easier. If they feel that they have been better served by you because of your app, they will recommend you to someone else. Nothing is better than a personal recommendation to a friend about your company because you have engaged meaningfully with the customer. If you are late to this party, your competitors will snap up what you might deem to be your fair share of the market, and then it will be an uphill battle trying to get those customers back. The simple solution is: don't be late! *Randi Sherman and David Carter contributed to this post.