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Gwen Chen

Gwen Chen
Gwen is a marketer with AppSheet. Prior to AppSheet, she was a digital marketer, a journalist and editor, a translator, and a college teacher. She has a master with Duke University in Environmental Science and an MBA with University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Recent Posts

German Maintenance Specialist Builds Apps to Modernize Management

WR-maintenando provides window and sun protection maintenance services for large commercial buildings across Germany. The company’s network of technicians specializes in maintaining glass panels, window fittings, seals, and sun protection systems.  It’s a busy operation. Customers typically have anywhere from 100 to 4,000 windows that need to be inspected and documented on an individual basis. Each year, the company completes about 3,000 projects. Servicing windows, however, is the easy part. Collecting, processing, and tracking data is the hard part. It’s an issue that recently came to a head, forcing the company to change its project management strategy entirely.  Challenge: Modernizing Management Until recently, WR-maintenando managed all of its projects with paper forms—a process that required a significant amount of backend labor from its office staff. Workers had to manually transcribe handwritten field notes and enter information into spreadsheets, which wasn’t exactly the most efficient approach. “We had a breaking moment when we realized it was time to change,” says managing partner Juergen Memhoelzler. “It was getting more and more complicated to manage all of our backend tasks. It was clear that we needed to digitize our processes in order to expedite our operations and reduce mistakes.” Solution: AppSheet To modernize its processes, WR-maintenando initially tried using iAuditor, a common safety inspection checklist app. “It was easy to use, but it couldn’t link to our spreadsheets,” adds customer support coordinator Helen Schwarz. “We had to store all of our data in their app, but we needed a solution that could interface directly with our spreadsheets.” It was clear that WR-maintenando needed a no-code app platform. After all, hiring a developer wasn’t in the budget and neither Memhoelzer nor Schwarz had any coding experience. The company needed a solution that would allow them to build apps quickly and efficiently, and with minimal training. So, when Memhoelzler stumbled on AppSheet while working on a Google sheet, he was immediately interested. Memhoelzler started watching YouTube videos and browsing AppSheet’s blog and developer notes. As a result, he was able to learn how to digitize his lists and forms while creating formulas to process data. In just a few weeks, Memhoelzler was rolling along with AppSheet.The team now has individual apps for all of its concurrent projects.  The App Instead of having to carry around stacks of paper, WR-maintenando’s technicians can enter all of their inspection data into a single easy-to-use app. Each project has its own app, each building has its own form, and each window has its own row in WR-maintenando’s spreadsheets. For each window, technicians answer a series of inspection questions before proceeding to the next one. Here are some of the app’s underlying technical features: References: The app uses AppSheet’s references function to connect buildings with floors, windows and rooms, allowing technicians to click on a room in the building and see how many windows there are, what types of windows there are, and what kinds of materials are needed for maintenance purposes. Yes/No and Show: In some areas of the form, a technician will have to enter additional information. For example, if a window also requires sun protection maintenance, a technician will have to select “yes” on the app. Then, the individual will be prompted to move to another form to provide more details. Show_if and Enumlist: Similarly, if a technician indicates a window is broken, a field will show with a dropdown list of common defects for the individual to choose. The technician can also add a new defect to the list. Technicians can also search for windows based on specific problems and locations. Technicians can enter queries such as “broken glass,” allowing them to see all of the broken windows throughout a building on one digital interface.  Another handy feature is the schedule function, which technicians can use to create a to-do list (from the Room view). When workers can’t perform maintenance on a particular window, like when a meeting is taking place in a boardroom, the scheduling feature lets them bump that appointment to another time. All scheduled meetings can be found on the Time view.  Results Since using AppSheet, WR-maintenando has significantly improved its overall operations. First and foremost, the company has seen increased customer satisfaction when compared to the former paper-based management system. “Customer feedback has been great,” says Memhoelzler. “Now, customers can see what we’re doing in real time. They can see which problems we are working on and when we are working on them.” The team is also able to collect more information with their apps, as they can fit more data into a digital form than they could on a single piece of paper. “A piece of paper only has 10 columns,” says Memhoelzler. “With our app, we can enter 40 or 50 columns, including pictures. This allows us to generate reports that are much more detailed.” Plus, there are fewer data entry mistakes because information flows directly from the app into a spreadsheet. Schwarz, who works in the company’s office, has noticed another equally important benefit: She and her fellow office workers are happier now that employees are using apps to enter information. “I’m the one who was typing out handwritten lists,” Schwarz laments. “I couldn’t always read our technicians’ handwriting. Sometimes it would take me ages to type everything into a spreadsheet. So for me, personally, I love having an app. It makes the process much easier, less error-prone and more enjoyable.” AppSheet has a variety of similar sample apps that you can explore, to help you started on your app creation journey. Examples include: Safety Audit Checklist - for construction site inspections; Inspection App - for conducting equipment inspections; Maintenance request - for property managers to input maintenance requests. You can browse all of AppSheet’s sample apps by clicking the button below.  

7 Digital Trends Transforming the Energy and Utilities Sector

Disruption in the energy and utilities sector is occurring at a rapid pace. Advances in technology—including cloud computing, mobile apps, automation, big data, and the IoT—are dramatically changing the ways that energy companies do business. How, specifically, are energy and utilities organizations changing because of technology? Let’s take a look at seven current digital trends that are transforming how the energy and utilities sector operates: 1. AI is the new electricity  Today’s leading energy companies are increasingly deploying artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to move faster, operate more efficiently, and make better decisions in less time. One of the most obvious benefits of using AI is the ability to predict equipment failure before it happens. As a result, energy companies can schedule preventative maintenance or expedite repairs as needed. The result is better fault prediction and dynamic maintenance, enhanced investment optimization, and increased energy efficiency. In the retail sector, AI is being used to predict a customer’s ability (or inability) to pay bills on time.  2. Energy monitoring systems are increasing efficiency through better data collection Energy companies are collecting massive amounts of data from sophisticated meters. These sensors—which monitor variables such as applied power and the amount of electricity being consumed—are also becoming more affordable as a result of increased adoption. 3. Energy and utilities companies are embracing a “no-collar” workforce A recent study by Deloitte revealed that a significant percentage of energy industry workers are eligible to retire in the next five years. Companies are preparing for this transition by employing digital solutions such as automated calling systems and interactive chatbots. As a result, they are freeing up tons of time for their call centers, enabling fewer agents to focus on its most important customers—and with better customer service. 4. Technology is improving safety in high-risk worksites Oil field workers have some of the most dangerous jobs in the world. To ensure worker safety, it is critical that employees are able to hear and see the dangers around them. To that end, vehicles operating within oil fields are being equipped with smart reversing alarms. These cutting-edge alarm systems automatically adjust volume emission according to the surrounding ambient noise levels. Additionally, instead of emitting the traditional “beep, beep” noise—which can be impossible to hear for employees wearing ear protection—the alarms emit a special sound frequency that’s easily detected through ear protection. 5. Cybersecurity is a top priority for energy industry CEOs Cyberattacks are increasingly impacting energy companies.  According to the Department of Homeland Security, hackers penetrated hundreds of U.S. power stations in 2018. Thankfully, there were no major consequences—but the situation could have been catastrophic. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that nearly 50% of energy company CEOs consider a cyberattack to be inevitable, and 60% of CEOs believe that cybersecurity specialists are the most important new role in their industry. 6. Power plants can digitally clone themselves to improve operational efficiency Using technology that was originally developed by NASA, power plants are able to produce “digital twins” of themselves to measure KPIs and gather insights on future business outcomes. A recent study by Gartner predicts that within three to five years, there will be billions of digital twins across all industries. 7. Apps are increasing productivity and saving money for energy companies Energy companies often have hundreds or even thousands of employees located all across the world. Delegating tasks, collecting data, and managing workflows are not easy—especially when using disparate platforms or paper-based management systems. Recent advances in no-code apps significantly reduce the amount of time and money that it costs to build custom solutions. Now, energy companies no longer have to consult with third-party developers. Apps can be easily and cost-effectively designed in house, leveraging citizen developers, i.e., ordinary employees who are empowered to create digital tools. One example of an energy provider that is using custom apps to improve its processes is M&O Partners, a multinational offshore oil and gas sales hub. The company uses AppSheet’s no-code platform to manage custom apps in areas such as project implementation, process management, and network management, among others. M&O partners has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by developing their own apps instead of hiring expensive developers—and your company can, too. To learn more about how your energy or utilities company can develop no-code apps platform, contact our sales team.

Smart Lighting Contractor Builds Custom Apps for Project Management

Demand for energy efficient lighting is expanding across every vertical market, from finance to government to healthcare. The global market for energy efficient lighting is growing at a CAGR of 13.4 percent, and is on track to reach $15 billion by 2024.  To improve sustainability, cut utility costs and improve operational efficiency, more and more businesses are looking to implement “smart” light emitting diode (LED) systems and controls. Courtesy of Northwest Edison This means competition is increasing for contractors who design, specify and install lighting and electrical services. There is no shortage of providers in this market, and to stand out and win projects, commercial and industrial lighting contractors must combine superior services with stellar project management capabilities. Real-time communication, flawless data management, and strong customer support are all necessary to compete in today’s fast-paced, and competitive market.  Anything less just won’t cut it. Many contractors who have been in the game for a long time are now reassessing the way that they do business. Increasingly, they are embracing digital transformation and modernizing their processes and workflows. One such company that recently underwent digital transformation is Northwest Edison, a lighting and electrical contractor serving customers across the western United States. Northwest Edison, which has been in business since 1993, recently realized that its project management system was in need of a major overhaul. So, the team decided to take action.  Here’s what happened.  Challenge: Improving data and project management   Northwest Edison lacked a centralized “hub” for managing all of its concurrent projects. Up until recently, the company was using a combination of disparate systems including SMS, email, and paper to store and share information and track its workflows. As a result, the company struggled with poor visibility, data silos and a lack of communication. This was the situation that project engineer Jake Byland walked into when he started working in the company’s office. Byland, who had spent time in Northwest Edison’s warehouse, was attuned to how the lack of cohesion was impacting the business. “When I started in the office, one of my first jobs was manually entering data that was written down in copy binders,” Byland says, reflecting on the difficult, risky, and time-consuming process. “We knew there had to be a better option.” As Byland explains, there really was no out-of-box project management solution that could meet the company’s complex needs. Northwest Edison tried several solutions and even worked with a few third-party developers to find a fit. Nothing, Byland says, came close to what they wanted. The main feature the team sought in a platform was flexibility. The team needed a solution that could capture all of the nuances of their complex electrical projects. “No two of our projects are the same, and so finding an off-the-shelf solution that could do everything we needed just didn’t seem realistic,” Byland says. It wasn’t much easier working with third-party developers, who were often slow with turnarounds. “We were paying a ton of money [to developers], only to have changes rolled out much later than we needed them,” says Byland. Solution: AppSheet’s no-code platform Byland did some online research and discovered AppSheet’s no-code platform—a solution that would enable his team to create project management apps quickly and cost-effectively, without having to leverage third-party developers. AppSheet turned Byland into a “citizen developer,” or a worker who can design and develop apps without having any coding experience. To date, Byland has used AppSheet to design and deploy over 50 apps.  “The barrier to entry was very low,” says Byland. “It was simple to set up and we have constantly been finding ways to improve it and make our lives easier. There’s been a lot of feature updates from AppSheet that have allowed us to do more and streamline some of our processes.” Northwest Edison’s apps are used primarily for managing roadside lighting fixtures, projects at schools and universities, and projects on military bases.  “We have used AppSheet for all sorts of projects,” says Byland. “For example, we just completed a big project that included most of the major state routes in Northwestern Washington and a portion of I-5 out near Olympia. All of it was done through AppSheet.” Here are some interesting ways the company is benefiting from AppSheet. Use Case #1: Street lighting project in Oregon One project that the team is working on is for a large city in Oregon. This project involves managing about 8,000 street lights. They are a mixture of decorative, acorn-style fixtures, and standard roadside lights. “Normally, each fixture would just use photocells that are on at night and off during the day,” Byland says. “These particular lights are getting smart controls, so the city can capture significant energy savings by applying dynamic dimming schedules, such that the fixtures only have to use as much energy as is required at that moment. These also give the city visibility on their assets and notify them of outages, knockdowns, or wire theft. The city can also dim the downtown lighting fixtures during a firework show or bring an area to full brightness to assist with emergency response. These controls will also be able to integrate with new technologies in the future." For tracking and maintenance purposes, the City's Asset Management Software requires each pole, fixture, and control node to have a unique label with a barcode. This was something that the team was easily able to accomplish using AppSheet’s barcode scanner, which works with a mobile device’s camera. “Being able to use an iPad’s camera to scan each fixture has saved us a ton of time,” Byland says. “In past projects where we’ve had to do that manually, it’s led to errors and all kinds of issues. So this has been a huge benefit.” Use Case #2: Large school district in Nevada Another project that the Northwest Edison team is currently working on is a large school district in Nevada, which has many schools spread across a large geographical area. “At each location, the crew basically has to walk into rooms, swap out lights and controls and keep track of how many they have completed,” Byland says. “In some cases, there are audit errors and they are able to catch them and change them in the field. This has been a big advantage for us.” Using the app, the team can see all locations and lighting fixtures, as well as the status of each one and whether it needs maintenance. In addition to being able to view and edit line items, which contain information about individual lighting fixtures, the app also gives users three “action” buttons. They include: A gripe log: This enables crew members to pass along information to the audit and design team. In the gripe log, crew members can enter all relevant information, and attach photos. When it’s completed, an email is sent to the design team. Foot candle (FC): Some projects have strict light level requirements, measured in FCs (a non-SI unit of illuminance or light intensity). When the foot candle is illuminated red, a reading is needed for a particular location. When a crew member clicks the button, it pre-loads all relevant information, including the target figure they need to hit and the number of readings that are required. A copy function: Occasionally, an important fixture like an exit sign will get overlooked during a location inspection. Rather than creating a new line item from scratch, crew members can use the “copy” button to copy and edit an existing line item. Use Case #3: Military installation Northwest Edison is also managing exterior lighting for a military base in the Pacific Northwest. They have used AppSheet to manage several of its buildings. In this type of environment, there are many materials to track. Material tracking, Byland says, is something that the team used to struggle with. Byland made it possible for crew members to receive material on site and scan it into the app. “In the past, we had to go off site and order the final material and go back on the site, but now thanks to AppSheet, we’re able to anticipate material shortages in advance,” he says. “We can order materials sooner and stay on site throughout a project which means projects can be completed faster.”  Here’s what Northwest Edison’s inventory workflow looks like using AppSheet: When an order comes in, it’s updated by a purchasing manager who pre-loads the vendor and PO number into the app. A crew member then receives an item, and enters the item as a new delivery. This contains information such as the date of receival, the person receiving it, and any additional notes they may want to enter. For instance, a crew member can select whether an item is damaged and attach photos if necessary. Results As you’ll recall, Northwest Edison’s apps make it very easy for crew members to complete site inspections by allowing them to see individual line items, share information with team members, scan fixtures with barcodes, and more. So it comes as no surprise to learn that employee feedback about the apps has been very positive. “At first there was a little bit of pushback,” Byland says. “Everyone was comfortable using paper before. But despite a bit of resistance, we have gotten to the point where everyone sees the benefits both in the office and in the field. They are getting better information and they are able to see visual feedback. Now it’s actually possible to see a project progress, as line items and buildings turn green.” The company has also seen a big improvement in customer satisfaction, too, as they are now able to share data and project updates with clients. In the past, the crew had to take half an hour at the end of each shift to count how many fixtures they had installed and type it in an email. Now, they can use the app to pull up a daily report and share it with a client. “That’s something that’s been able to set us apart in some cases,” says Byland. “Being able to do sales presentations and show customers the type of data they receive during a project really helps set us apart. In some cases, we can even show customers energy savings to date. There are different metrics and dashboards that are very helpful.” Byland’s favorite AppSheet feature is the dashboard function. “I’m a big fan of dashboards,” says Byland. “Especially when you turn them on interactive mode, you can set filters and this is especially useful when you have a map. With a dashboard, I can look at a particular crew and see all of their buildings on a map as well as any issues related to them. There is a lot of neat functionality you can create with this.” Byland working on an app. Looking forward Right now, the team is in the process of migrating its data to a centralized server. The team hopes to further streamline project management by combining audit data with installation data. “The tools we are currently using for auditing are all stored locally on the device. Data has to be uploaded, downloaded, restructured, and put into our spreadsheet—it’s not directly connected.” Moving forward, all photos and data will be easily accessible to an installation crew. “AppSheet has already saved us a significant amount of time while providing us with better data management,” says Byland. “But once we make the jump to a centralized server and are using AppSheet for the audit as well as the installation, the benefit will be incredibly significant for us as a company.” AppSheet also recently added the ability to upload a floor plan, which is something that the team intends to take advantage of. Instead of working line by line, crew members will be looking at a map and seeing a visual representation of what’s where, with icons indicating what’s completed, remaining issues, and so on. “AppSheet, moving forward, will be an integral part of our company,” says Byland. “More and more processes will be put on the platform.”  Learn how other organizations are using AppSheet to get more done more effectively: How Front Range Excavating Streamlined Management and Saved Thousands of Dollars Using AppSheet How SmartD Created a Series of Apps to Accelerate Pesquera Exalmar’s Digital Transformation M&O Partners Moves Full Speed Ahead With More Streamlined Processes 

10 Amazing AppSheet Customer Apps

One of the most rewarding parts of being a no-code platform provider is seeing the innovative solutions created by our customers whose apps improve lives and make it easier for workers to get more done. From non-profit animal response organizations and telecom companies to boutique construction firms and global powerhouses, companies of all shapes and sizes are boosting productivity and revenue with customized no-code apps. To give you a better idea of the creative solutions your company can build, let’s take a look at 10 examples of amazing no-code apps built by our wide range of customers. 1. Husqvarna Husqvarna is a Swedish-based manufacturer of outdoor power products, including chainsaws, lawn mowers, trimmers, brush cutters, and more. The company has a North American headquarters in South Carolina. There, they had an ambitious goal: to automate the entire warehouse—with over 35,000 unique product SKUs—using custom no-code apps. In eight short months, and without hiring a single developer, the Husqvarna warehouse team created 41 custom apps to manage inventory, personnel, forklift drivers, goods reception, and quality tracking. For example, the company’s Track Lift app lets the team know who’s using cherry pickers and forklifts at any point in time. As a result, up to 40 lift drivers and team leaders have access to up-to-date information about who is on what lifts when, the condition of each machine before and after use, and more. Instead of using a radio to check on availability, the team can simply reference the Track Lift app to see what’s being used and what isn’t. Read Husqvarna's story here.   2. KLB Construction KLB Construction is a leading heavy-highway civil contractor operating out of the Pacific Northwest. The company’s team consists of over 250 employees, all of whom used to rely on mountains of paperwork to do their jobs. Three years ago, KLB found AppSheet and has created more than 20 apps to manage and enforce safety guidelines and regulations and digitalize workflow and processes. “Before the apps, everything was 100% paperwork,” explains Aiesh Ragih, KLB’s senior project manager. “We used to write daily reports using KLB forms, work orders—all manually. Apps have made all the managers more efficient." The Foreman Daily Reports app (see the mockup screenshot below) is organized by job, providing a daily digital view of what is happening at a job site. This app replaces KLB’s paper Foreman Daily Log, a triplicate log. With the app, the site foreman can stop by a job site and digitally fill out a daily report to record what work was completed, etc., with accompanying photos when needed. Back at the office, all the reports can be reviewed to get a clear picture of activities at all sites. Read KLB Construction's story here.   3. M&O Partners M&O partners is an international sales hub that connects buyers and suppliers in the offshore oil and gas industry. The company has projects, suppliers, and customers all over the world. To scale its network and streamline project management, M&O used AppSheet to create several custom apps. For example, the project implementation app assigns tasks to users around the world and enables M&O’s distributed team to coordinate projects across time zones. The company also built a network management app that tracks things like company names, staff members, membership status, project information, the services companies are receiving from M&O and more, making it easier to stay on top of each client account as the business scales.  Here’s a screenshot of the company’s Deliverables Dashboard app, which provides the management team with an overview of deliverables in all ongoing projects. Deliverables are shown on a map in different colors, which represent different levels of urgency and importance. The arrow actions allow users to quickly change the urgency/importance of a selected record as statuses change or needs shift. Read the full case study to find out more about M&O and the apps they built. 4. Access RV Access RV is a full-service RV dealership that offers the largest selection of truck campers, fifth wheels, motorhomes, and lightweight trailers in Utah. They are based out in Salt Lake City and serve Provo, Ogden, Clearfield, and other surrounding areas. The company developed custom apps to streamline operations across their three main departments: sales, rentals, and parts and service. Access RV’s owner, Spencer Jones, says that AppSheet saves him one or two hours each day by eliminating the need to manually file paperwork and update Excel spreadsheets. That’s an average of 468 hours saved annually, or 58 entire working days reclaimed, thanks to no-code. Here’s a screenshot of their master app, which contains sales, rentals and workload data:   5. I-care Group I-care Group provides machine measurement services to industrial companies around the world. The company, which is headquartered in Belgium, has offices in Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the U.S., and Australia. To increase productivity, I-care Group used AppSheet to develop 15 custom machine measurement services apps. According to Julien Grégoire, the company’s reliability engineer, these new apps enabled their technicians to be more efficient in the field. I-care Group’s apps also increased the accuracy of the machine data that their technicians collect. Prior to using AppSheet, this information was written on paper files and then manually uploaded to Excel which took more time and led to more unreliable data. Nearly 350 employees across I-care use the apps to quickly find all kinds of company-specific information about accounting, marketing, corporate values, human resources, company cars, and more. The apps also contain employee contact information, so colleagues can easily track each other down. “The goal is to avoid all repetitive questions and improve internal communications,” Grégoire says.  The following app, an FAQ app, explains to I-care employees the internal processes of the company.  6. TigoUne TigoUne provides telecom services to residents across Colombia. The company’s vast network of cell towers needs regular inspections. Seeking a more efficient way to store the associated data, Sebastian Arango Alzate, a field audit supervisor at TigoUne, migrated audit data from paper files to AppSheet and has never looked back.  “The best feature of our application is the quick modifications that can be made, without going through a long and tedious development process,” Alzate says. Currently, over 80 employees use their custom app. Read Alzate’s app story here. 7. PEGAfrica PEGAfrica provides affordable solar energy to residents in remote areas of Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal. To grow their business, PEGAfrica sends representatives door-to-door to sell solar panels to off-grid villagers. Prior to using AppSheet, the only practical tool available to their sales team was WhatsApp, which was becoming increasingly burdensome to use. Today, over 100 salespeople use their custom apps to communicate sales territories, view customer records, and share crucial information—like which clients owe payments. PEGAfrica also uses their app to analyze sales performance internally which enables them be more strategic about where to send salespeople and allocate resources.  8. Arrivage Consumers are increasingly interested in supporting local farmers and knowing where their food comes from. Farmers, on the other hand, are always trying to sell their products before they expire. Enter Arrivage. The company made an app that connects farmers with buyers. Chefs and grocery store owners use the app to check the real-time status of farmers’ inventory based on their individual sheets. Already, more than 200 farmers have signed up and are using the app to manage their inventories and the condition of their crops. What’s more, 75 buyers have signed up to check to see what food is for sale and who’s selling it. The app enables farmers to promote current and future inventories with expected availability dates and pricing information. Buyers are given the option to browse the food supply by different categories, including farmer’s profiles, locations, prices, types of food, whether the food is organic, and more. The Arrivage team can customize what appears on the app’s landing page, and buyers can call, text, and email by pushing buttons on the app. Here’s what the Arrivage app looks like: 9. New Incentives  New Incentives is a non-profit organization that helps ensure infants in Nigeria are immunized against deadly diseases. Oftentimes, New Incentives’ employees are delivering services in underserved, remote areas without connectivity. To help fulfill their mission, New Incentives used AppSheet to build an app that enabled offline access and helped the organization maintain high service quality in even the remotest of communities. 10. Rotary International Rotary International is a service organization that brings business and professional leaders together in support of world peace. In the fall of 2017, disaster struck the Caribbean, and Rotary jumped into action. Managing resources during crises is extraordinarily challenging, so Rotary turned to AppSheet to create apps that kept all members of their members in touch, no matter where they happened to be.  With the apps, Rotary members were able to coordinate the immediate distribution of relief supplies—like food, water, clothing, and emergency shelter—across affected communities on several islands. Here’s what Rotary’s app looks like:  When you add it all up, over 200,000 apps have been developed and deployed using AppSheet’s platform. With many more apps in the pipeline, it’s safe to say that the possibilities are limitless. Do you have an idea for a no-code app that could transform your company? Talk to the team to learn how your company can use custom apps to get more done in less time. 

Aerospace Startup Boom Technology Builds Its Own Quality Management App

Commercial supersonic transport may soon become available again, thanks to Boom Technology—a Colorado-based aerospace startup working to develop a Mach 2.2 airliner called Overture, which is scheduled to take flight in 2023.  In order for Overture to become a reality, the team must first complete a viable prototype. Right now, Boom is moving full speed ahead to develop the XB-1—a subscale model of the Overture, which shares the same technological composites and features. The XB-1 is a massive project, with around 150 employees working together to design and manufacture the craft.  More than 3,700 parts will need to be manufactured and assembled, with fabrication occurring in-house and through third-party suppliers. Challenge: performance issue documentation At this stage of the project, it’s critical to identify and resolve performance issues in a timely manner. Faulty parts need to be entered as records into a non-conformance report (NCR); each record needs to be closed before the aircraft can be completed. “We will not fly this aircraft if there are any open records,” says Ryan Bocook, Boom’s manufacturing engineer lead and app creator. “They all have to be closed before we can fly.” Right now, there are around 50 open records—a figure that may balloon into thousands by the end of the project. If the team is not careful about closing open NCRs, they will pile up thereby delaying the launch. Bocook, an industry veteran, was well aware of this pitfall at the beginning of the project. He knew that relying on a traditional paper-based inspection process would not work in this type of fast-paced environment. Instead, the team decided that building a custom app would be the best way to manage its workflow. “There are a lot of off-the-shelf manufacturing quality management solutions like TIPQA, but they are all fairly complex and time-consuming,” adds Bocook. “They are also very expensive, with some leading platforms costing tens of thousands of dollars annually. We are trying to run a nimble operation and needed to be able to change things on the fly and customize our app as we go along.” Solution: AppSheet’s no-code platform Bocook wanted something that could interface directly with his data in Google Sheets, which is what led him to AppSheet. “I liked that I could go under the hood and piece together together a relatively simple platform on my own, making it more complex as I learn how to use it,” says Bocook. “I found the user community to be very informative.”  Bocook also liked the fact that AppSheet allows his team to control user access, ensuring that only authorized individuals can enter data into specific fields. “We wanted to set it up so that anyone in our company could log in, create a record and say ‘I have a problem.’ However, we didn’t want everyone to be able to say how to handle that problem. AppSheet’s ability for us to set permissions was huge.” The App Bocook hit the ground running with AppSheet, and successfully built a functioning app in just one week’s time—as opposed to waiting several months or longer if he had decided to outsource the project to a third-party development agency. Bocook built an app that his team could use to create, manage and close NCRs. The app includes a main dashboard, with different pages for open and closed NCRs. Each NCR is assigned a unique number and an “owner” who is in charge of seeing it through to completion. The app also contains additional fields including correlating systems, NCR descriptions, process order data, engineering disposition, signature sign offs, and more. In the app, employees can attach pictures to NCRs. Plus, the app includes a “tag you’re it” feature which notifies employees when approvals are needed. When someone is tagged, he or she receives an email explaining the problem and outlining the next steps that need to be taken. “The email chain will fire out an email to the originator and tagged team members whenever a message goes out,” Bocook says. “Whoever is in the NCR Owner ‘tag you’re it box’—we call it the hot potato—is the person who owns that record for that time being.” Results So far, the project is working out as planned. The team has avoided many of the complications that come with a paper-based management system and is on track to complete the prototype on schedule. The NCR management process has been completely digitized thanks to AppSheet, resulting in a much safer and more efficient operation. “We’ve all experienced the challenges of dealing with paper management systems,” Bocook says. “Not only do you waste a lot of time running around chasing paper, but you can lose items or think an item is closed when it hasn’t been addressed. With AppSheet, you can attach a formal analysis to an NCR to officially close it with no guesswork. It’s much nicer than stapling a PDF together.” According to Bocook, the team has embraced the idea of using AppSheet and was able to get started with minimal training. “AppSheet is a one-stop shop for configuring a high-performance aircraft,” Bocook says.  

How to Manage Stock: Three Free Inventory Management Excel Templates

Inventory Management Has Never Been Easier Inventory management apps (like Inventory Management App and Store Inventory App ) have been on AppSheet’s top 10 most popular sample app list since we started tracking this in 2016. Over the last two years, we’ve seen tremendous growth in the number of inventory management use cases with no end in sight. The Inventory Management App has the following powerful features: The app automatically enters dates and uses the phone/tablet camera as a Barcode reader. A daily email report reminds the user to reorder stock. You can navigate the different inventory items by Category. An independent view to see all items that need to be restocked. Current stock data is connected with sales and purchasing data. Why the trend? Businesses and organizations are automating data capture by tracking and updating inventory data in real-time through bar code scanning or image capture. What does an Excel spreadsheet have to do with this? Well, it’s actually a great starting point for creating an app that automates the inventory management process for you. My recommendation: Start with a spreadsheet and turn it into an app using an app maker platform like AppSheet’s. Of course, we’re not the only platform out there but we’re the only one that can easily take a spreadsheet and turn it into an app! If you are considering making an inventory app on your own, you will need to begin the process with a spreadsheet and there are some great Excel inventory management templates. The following sections describe some free inventory management excel templates that can help you get started. Of course, you can just use the templates and adopt them to your own business needs or you can turn them into apps—it’s up to you!  General Inventory Manufacturing Inventory Warehouse Inventory General Inventory Excel Never tracked inventory but want to start tracking it now? This easy-to-get-started template has all the key items you need to track. It’s made up of three tabs: Daily Stocktake records stock coming in and going out of a company on a daily basis. Stock Database allows you to enter more detailed information about each item. Stock Inventory links Stock In and Stock Out columns to Daily Stocktake, and after you enter Initial Stock, the spreadsheet will calculate Final Stock for you. Of course, to meet your business needs you can add or update columns. For example, to manage reordering, you can add columns for reorder levels and reorder quantities. Bonus: I modified the above excel template and convert it into an Inventory Management App. The app enables inventory managers to do the following: Use a bar-code scanner to record stock in and stock out (your phone or tablet can serve as a bar-code scanner); Automatically calculate current stock level; Display on a view what items need to be restocked; Send “Add Stock” email notifications to the purchasing department. Copy the excel template and the app, and customize your own way. If you want to learn how the app was made, read this blog.  Manufacturing Inventory Excel Template This template works for any business that purchases raw materials, manufactures in-house and then sells products to customers. For example, a bicycle producer, a furniture manufacturer or even a car company. This template is made up of three main tabs—Sales, Parts and Inventory. Orange columns allow you to enter data. Based on that, the template calculates and auto-fills data. In the Sales tab, you enter Sales_Quantity and the template calculates Sales Quantity per day and send the data to the Inventory table. In the Parts tab, there are Parts, Parts_Barcode and Low Inventory Alert. I suggest you use Parts_Barcode if you have a lot of parts. With Barcode, you can easily scan a part and update its sales and production data. Low Inventory Alert or Re-produce Point tells you market demand exceeds supply and you need to produce more. In the Inventory tab, the template auto-generates Initial Stock and Daily Inventory. Initial Stock is equal to the previous day's inventory. Daily Inventory is equal to Initial Stock plus Daily Production minus Daily Sales. Bonus: I converted this spreadsheet into a mobile app. You can use it on iOS and Android devices. The app fosters team collaboration—manufacturing team, sales team and warehouse inventory team can enter data simultaneously. It allows inventory managers to check inventory data anywhere and any time. It eliminates data entry errors and data migration errors from paper to computers. It enables sales managers, production managers and inventory mangers to pull historical data, conduct analysis and make decisions on that. The Inventory View shows each part group's Daily Inventory and previous day's Inventory. Warehouse Inventory Excel Template The template is for companies who have warehouses and put their raw materials in bins of different sizes in different bin locations. The template has three tabs—Inventory List, Inventory Pick List, and Bin Lookup. The Inventory List tab tracks the quantity of SKUs in different bins and locations and flags SKUs that need to be reordered. The Inventory Pick List tab allows users to easily locate where to pick up an item and the quantity of the item. The Bin Lookup tab acts as a bin database where information such as size, location and bin number are stored. Bonus: An App for Streamlining Inventory Updates This app can replace paper logging of product inventory, for quicker input, real time analysis of stock levels and alerts when items require a check or re-order. Features include: Barcode and NFC Tag scanning for quick inventory edits; Custom Formats to highlight popular products and the ones with low inventory level; Email Alerts on low inventory products; Charts on receiving and shipping. What’s Next? These are just some of my favorite Excel templates for inventory management. You can use them as is OR easily create your own apps. Check out our sample inventory management apps here and here—and note, they were all made from spreadsheets! If you have other favorite Excel templates, let me know by submitting a comment or tweet. I'm always looking for templates to add to this list! Related stories: Free Excel Templates for Small Business 10 Excel Templates for Simplifying Your Life How to Turn Google Sheets into a Stock Management App Ready to take your inventory tracking to the next level? Copy the following app and customize in your own way!   

How SmartD Created Apps to Accelerate Pesquera Exalmar’s Digital Transformation

In recent years, technology has played an increasingly important role in almost every aspect of our lives. The proliferation of technology has had a tremendous impact on the business world. Companies generate more data than ever before. In order to make sense of it all and ensure you’re accessing accurate information at the right time, that data needs to be managed in an efficient and orderly way. This is why more and more companies are starting digital transformation initiatives that enable them to ensure they always have access to the real-time data they need to drive their businesses. Several companies in Peru, for example—including Pesquera Exalmar S.A.A., the country’s third-highest producer of fishmeal—have already started the digital transformation process to increase productivity and efficiency. Courtesy of Pesquera Exalmar S.A.A. Pesquera Exalmar S.A.A. has 25 years of experience and more than 1,000 employees. The company is responsible for extracting hydrobiological resources, processing and marketing flour, fish oil, and frozen products of marine origin. It has a fleet of 23 fishing vessels, six fishmeal and fish oil plants, and two plants that produce frozen hydrobiological products. Due to the size of the company and the scope of its operations, Pesquera Exalmar generates a ton of data every day. The data comes from various sources and, as such, doesn’t serve as a single source of truth. Some data might be duplicate, obsolete, or inaccurate. Digital transformation commences At the start of 2017, Pesquera Exalmar decided to leverage technology in a way that enables them to digitally manage all of their data. Juan Vega, the company’s CIO, guided the digital transformation process. His main objective was to make the company's core processes—operations and fleet—more productive in order to reduce costs and maximize profits. To accomplish this, he focused on two key areas: Identifying workflows and user requirements; Collecting, organizing, integrating, and analyzing the associated data.  Once that was completed, Vega and his team designed the solution architecture, paying close attention to how the tools would link data stored in various repositories, including spreadsheets, field instruments, other software solutions, and the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Due to the size of the project, it was broken out into stages. Finally, Vega and his team used Microsoft Power BI to manage the data and generate indicators quickly via visualization. Once the digitalization of both the operations and fleet organizations was on track, the company decided to expand its initiative to also include its security and maintenance functions. First, the team identified the processes that could be improved, like safety inspections and the supervision of maintenance projects. To accomplish this, Pesquera Exalmar needed a tool that would help them manage tasks performed in the field more effectively. After doing their due diligence, Vega and his team concluded that mobile apps were the answer to their problems.  Pesquera Exalmar ended up contacting SmartD to create two mobile applications on AppSheet’s no-code platform. Thanks to AppSheet’s flexible design, those apps would also be integrated into the previously created system.  AppSheet, SmartD's strategic partner, is a company that has customers all over the world. AppSheet has been used to build more than 438,000 custom applications for all types of companies. SmartD is AppSheet’s representative in Peru and—with AppSheet’s no-code development platform—designs and implements applications that meet the needs of their clients in a quick and cost-effective manner. Security inspections Pesquera Exalmar operates under the OHSAS 18001:2007 certification, thus ensuring compliance with global occupational safety and health standards. This is why the company continuously generates reports on security inspections in its vessels and offices throughout the country. Prior to AppSheet, generating these reports was a time-consuming, cumbersome task. Each worker involved in the process had to register security inspections and fill out a physical report with observations about the inspection and the corrective and preventative actions that needed to be taken. They’d also have to take pictures with their phones to document the work. Once that was done, the workers would go to their computers, transcribe what was written on their physical report, download the photos from their phones, and create a final report. Altogether, this process took a lot of time that could be used on other important tasks, like planning, training activities, prevention measures, and more. Thanks to AppSheet, the whole process is much smoother. Pesquera Exalmar now uses their SSO Exalmar mobile app to record security inspections with their phones, capture pictures in real time, and add signatures of all people involved. Once a supervisor flags the information as complete, the app automatically sends a PDF report with the push of a button. Users can also access critical information from their phones, such as the number of total inspections, the number of inspections by supervisor, the number of inspections by area, the number of inspections by type, and more. The app also sends alerts and notifications when inspections have been registered and completed. Remotely supervising maintenance work In order to ensure the quality of their operations and the proper functioning of their vessels, Pesquera Exalmar’s fleet receives continuous maintenance. Although maintenance jobs are outsourced, the company still needs to supervise these tasks and monitor progress on a continuous basis. To do this, supervisors are responsible for detecting and recording the necessary maintenance work for the equipment, machines, and systems on the vessels. They also set deadlines so their team knows when projects need to be completed. In the past, all of this work was done manually. Data entry on a computer, in particular, was extremely laborious. Thanks to another new app called Supervisión Mantenimiento, managers can supervise maintenance work from their phones. The mobile app enables supervisors to assign jobs, set deadlines, take pictures, record progress, and more. After the process is complete, a PDF report can be generated with a single tap of a button. What’s more, Supervisión Mantenimiento allows users to see the most crucial data—like total supervisors, supervisions by vessel, supervisions by supervisor, supervisions by state, supervisions by motive, and more. Users also receive notifications on their phones that remind them how many days are left before each deadline Easy to use Though the company knew that mobile apps had the power to transform their operations, Pesquera Exalmar was worried that their operators would have a hard time adapting to the new workflows AppSheet enabled. That wasn’t the case. Thanks to AppSheet, Pesquera Exalmar’s mobile apps featured an intuitive design that very clearly enabled employees to do their work in less time. It’s easy for users to navigate their way around the app. And if any employee had a hard time figuring it out, SmartD was there to provide interactive and didactic training. Users could also access the manuals we created if they needed extra help. While the fear of change often causes employees to be wary of new technology, users learned to use the app quickly and had no problems with it. How the data is used Pesquera Exalmar’s staff manages their applications. They can access them from their phone, tablet, or desktop, depending on the user's preference. Generally, phones are used to record information in the field. When there’s a lot of data to edit, the company suggests that its employees use a tablet or a desktop in order to view the data in a complete and detailed way.  Access everywhere It’s not always possible to have internet access. Generally, when workers are on ships, internet connections fail. At best, service is intermittent. With AppSheet's mobile applications, users can make changes that are stored internally on a mobile device until a network connection is available and the data syncs with a cloud-based database, making the information accessible across the entire company.  This feature is very important for the company because it allows them to keep their data in a single database, making it easier to visualize their global indicators in real time and, by extension, make the right decisions. Digital transformation in progress Pesquera Exalmar continues with its digital transformation plan, looking for tools that allow them to manage all of their data in real time.  Moving forward, the company plans to continue using AppSheet’s mobile apps as they streamline data collection and reduce the time spent preparing reports. Thanks to AppSheet, Pesquera Exalmar is able to manage all of its data from one central location, ensuring that their employees are able to track data in real time—accelerating their digital transformation journey.  

M&O Partners Moves Full Speed Ahead With More Streamlined Processes

M&O Partners is a multinational sales hub that connects buyers and suppliers in the offshore oil and gas industry. The company has four main locations in Brazil, the U.S., Norway, and Singapore, with sales partners across Europe, North America, and South America. Since launching in 2009, M&O Partners has successfully executed over 100 internationalization projects, helping companies expand from their local market and successfully enter international markets. The company maintains a global network of over 50 suppliers and has clients in more than 15 countries. M&O is currently in the process of scaling its network and is building an app to coordinate projects for over 100 companies across 10 major global markets. Here’s how AppSheet’s no-code platform is making it happen. Courtesy of M&O Partners   M&O finds AppSheet M&O’s journey with AppSheet started about four years ago when Head of Special Projects Janis Majors discovered the platform while researching online tools such as Smartsheet, Microsoft Project, Zoho, and others. Majors also evaluated several no-code app platforms, but couldn't find any platform that could meet their needs until he came across AppSheet. Majors—who had no coding experience whatsoever—was intrigued by what a no-code platform could do for his organization. He believed the right solution could radically change his company’s approach to project and process management tools, by offering a platform where in-house development could substitute external developers. “AppSheet has something others don’t have—an enthusiastic user base, and responsive customer support. All in all, AppSheet looks like the best companion for the future and a perfect match for our expanding operation,” Majors says. “I kept AppSheet on my radar and returned to it when we began formulating plans for the next phase of our company.” Challenge: Custom software at an affordable price  Software development is expensive. Companies often spend beyond their means by hiring new employees to develop custom solutions or acquiring new technologies that come with hefty licensing costs. Majors and his team wanted to avoid that pitfall. They were drawn to AppSheet’s no-code platform because it allowed them to avoid hiring pricey in-house developers or having to turn to third-party agencies. Before making a decision, M&O had to make sure the platform met specific criteria. The company needed to retain control over the user experience (UX), and they also needed to ensure the platform could meet its strict requirements for security and access management, since the company deals with lots of sensitive data. Also, it was important that the apps would be able to do the heavy lifting in terms of data processing and functionality, to avoid having to develop custom backend systems. The team was in luck. When it came to UX, the AppSheet editor gives developers almost complete control over an app’s look and design. It allows a creator to determine everything from aesthetics (e.g., font, colors, and branding) to how information is displayed across the app. AppSheet also has a robust security framework built around four key pillars: authentication, auditing, application access control, and data access control. “AppSheet checked all of the boxes,” Majors says. “We determined that this platform would fit our needs and decided to proceed.” Solution: How M&O uses AppSheet Majors, like many citizen developers, approached AppSheet with a massive amount of data. “At first I had almost 50 data sets in one app,” says Majors. “My initial thinking was that it was better to try and make everything function together at first. However, the app quickly ballooned and became very cumbersome to manage and update.”  The issue wasn’t the amount of data M&O was using, but rather the way it was structured inside of the app. The AppSheet team advised Majors to split the functionality into separate apps—a tip that Majors said was crucial.  M&O hasn’t looked back since. Majors and his team are currently working on developing six different apps which will all work together within the AppSheet platform, sharing the same pool of data sets. The beta version is currently being used to manage a sample of live projects, while the finished suite will be rolled out later this year. Here is a brief overview of each app: A project implementation app runs all projects on top of specific processes, where each step is assigned to different users worldwide. The app distributes notifications to end users and provides an interface where they can execute tasks, upload documents, and pass along responsibilities to the person assigned to the next step in the project. The interface also provides users with necessary input and documents created in earlier steps, as well as the tools and templates they need to complete their current step. The app also creates pdf’s of deliverables, such as reports based on project data, that can be sent directly to the project client. A process management app manages the processes that all projects use. This is the core of the system, since the processes are what makes project automation possible. Processes will change over time as jobs get updated and new ways of doing things emerge, and this app is where M&O can add and edit processes as they go along. A network management app manages the members of the network, which is planned to reach 100+ companies within the next year or so. The app contains detailed information about the companies and their staff members, membership statuses, the services they are receiving from M&O, project information, and more. A tool management app ties in with the processes, with an interface to create the tools that users need for the various project steps. This includes a report generator, which can produce custom pdf reports from project data through a Word template. Other tools are an interface to input meeting notes, a repository of various templates, and various input forms for project data. Tools can be customized and attached to steps in a process, so that end users will find the tool at the step where it’s needed. A top-level management dashboard gives managers a detailed overview of every project. A system admin app manages backend operations. Administrators can use this app to edit the technical elements of the network, and to define common elements that all apps use such as graphics, help pages and system messages, settings, user authorities, and so on. They’ve designed the apps to have a simple and intuitive interface so that suppliers, project managers, and agents can easily understand the specific actions they need to perform during a project and when each of them needs to be executed. All of these tasks will take place within M&O’s secure apps. The app will also serve as a valuable resource for M&O, as it will provide real-time visibility into all customer projects taking place simultaneously across its global network while also serving as the main managerial interface for the M&O team. “We will be able to track, follow, and participate in hundreds of projects from a centralized location and with a lean team,” Majors says. Majors is now working to make sure that all of the apps work together smoothly. “Data coordination needs to be seamless behind the scenes,” says Majors. “This is somewhat difficult, as all six of the apps are interacting with a large shared data repository and pulling specific information to match their functionality. But we see that we are able to make it work.” Results: Powerful Applications Delivered in Less Time with Less Budget  Without AppSheet, M&O would have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in developer salaries and software creation costs to develop the same functionality, and with less agility. We were curious, however, to learn what Majors’ experience was like learning to use AppSheet. Remember: Majors doesn’t have a technical background. On top of that, his project was quite complicated. “I found the learning curve to be a bit steep if you go beyond simple, stand-alone apps,” Majors admits. “But after a while, you will find that it’s a logical system to work with.” Majors elaborated on his experience using AppSheet’s expressions, which can change the behavior of an app and provide advanced functionality. “These expressions run throughout the system, tying data together. It was a bit tricky at first, but postings in the very active user forum provided help for some of my more complex needs.” Majors went on to say that while you don’t need to know how to code to use AppSheet for an operation this complex, you do need to have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish. “It’s important to have an organized and logical approach to what you want to do with your app,” Majors explains. Majors also added that he appreciates AppSheet’s user forum, which contains a trove of useful information from AppSheet’s robust user base. What’s more, AppSheet regularly updates their platform, taking user feedback into account. Majors has seen AppSheet leverage feedback to build user-requested features and enhance the UX. “AppSheet is continuously getting better,” Majors says. “There is constant development. And you can do lots of useful things on the platform that you could not do years ago. I'm happy to see that there is increasingly better documentation and help pages becoming available.” The company sees great potential with the platform and is going “all in” moving forward—despite other no-code app platform providers. “AppSheet is an excellent tool and I don’t want to scare anyone from using it,” Majors says. “As we say in Norway, it’s a ‘raisin in the sausage,’ meaning a very pleasant surprise.” Majors also offered some helpful advice for app creators. “The best tip I can give developers is to create one new slice for each and every view. It's the only way we could have several different detailed views for the same table—and to control which one to show and where.” Editor's Note: AppSheet works with a variety of customers from different vertical markets whose projects range in scope and complexity. Some companies make very simple apps, while others—like M&O—are highly advanced. Ultimately, AppSheet can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. Check out these resources to learn more: How Rotary International Is Using Apps To Help Rebuild The Hurricane-Ravaged Caribbean How a Chef, Farmer, Pig, and an App Made Farm-to-Fork a Reality How AppSheet Turned an Idea Into a Habit and Goal Tracking Business Spreadsheets and Beer: A Better Match Than You’d Think 

7 Things to Look for in a No-Code Development Platform

Your team needs custom apps to do its best work. Instead of hiring expensive in-house developers or working with a third-party agency, you’ve decided that a no-code app development platform is the way to go. But how do you decide which no-code development platform is best for your business?  To make the decision-making process easier, we’ve put together a list of seven key attributes that you should consider when looking for a no-code platform. 1. Ease of use Your no-code development platform should be easy to use. If your team can’t figure out how to use the platform intuitively, doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose? Generally speaking, there are two kinds of no-code development platforms: Data-driven solutions analyze information and automatically create an iteration of an app, which is then updated by employees via intuitive tools. Drag-and-drop platforms enable employees to build apps from scratch with user-friendly modules. AppSheet falls into the data-driven category. We believe that using data to inform the initial development process helps organizations build more powerful apps in a lot less time. Users can turn their sheets into apps within a matter of minutes using our platform, without writing any code. 2. Scalability The no-code platform you choose for your organization and the apps you build with it must be able to grow with your business. Otherwise, you might find yourself having to build another app before you know it. If you want your app to scale, look for enterprise solutions that are designed to solve these problems out of the box. AppSheet’s data partitioning and security filter features, for example, allow users to easily scale to large data sets without limitations. 3. Reporting capabilities Different companies have different needs and different motivators. To make the best decisions, they need to be able to create custom reports that allow them to make the most sense of their data. Look for a no-code platform that enables your organization to create custom interactive and insightful reports so you can identify bottlenecks, see how your team is performing, and allocate budget and other resources effectively. 4. Affordability Like anything else, you pay for what you get. You can’t expect to buy the cheapest tools and get the best results. At the same time, unless you have an unlimited budget, you’ll have to consider price with any solution. As you research your options, you may come across low-code development platforms that offer similar benefits. You’ll still need developers to work with those systems, however. According to Glassdoor, the average U.S. software engineer makes $103,035 a year. Since no-code platforms enable employees with no coding skills to build powerful applications, the savings can be significant. 5. Security In 2016, Uber’s systems were breached and sensitive data was exposed. Since then, the company has forked over nearly $150 million in fines and other fees. You don’t want to suffer a similar fate. And you probably can’t afford to, either. That being the case, look for a no-code development platform that places a premium on security. That way, you can keep your customers happy and avoid fines while keeping customer data and proprietary information secure. 6. Documentation and support It’s easier to succeed with no-code development when a vendor offers robust educational materials and strong support services. Your team will be able to figure things out on their own, and experts are always just a phone call away if they’re needed. Look for platforms that offer extensive documentation designed to help your team learn the product at your own pace. You may also want to look at whether the vendor has an active forum, as engaged user communities are great sources of wisdom. 7. Reputation of vendor The right no-code development platform has the power to transform your organization. But you can’t simply choose to go the no-code route and expect everything will work out perfectly. Success starts with partnering with the right vendor. To find the best match, research sites like G2Crowd, Capterra, and Gartner Peer Insights to see what users are saying about each platform. Editor’s notes We might be a bit biased, but we believe AppSheet can help organizations like yours build budget-friendly, powerful apps that greatly improve productivity. Our data-driven platform builds strong prototypes right off the bat (try it for free!), and citizen developers can easily use our intuitive tools to update each app as needed. This efficient and effective approach makes it that much easier to meet your business goals. Check out this customer success story to learn why one of Colorado’s leading construction contractors decided to use AppSheet to build a custom app to streamline process management instead of buying a proprietary solution. Other blogs you will find useful What’s the Difference Between No-Code and Low-Code Development? Top Five Reasons Companies are Turning to No-Code Development Platforms 4 Ways to Build an App Without Code How Husqvarna Became a Thought Leader in Warehouse and Inventory Management