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Santiago Uribe

Santiago Uribe
Santiago is the VP of Product at AppSheet. He is a relentless customer advocate. He loves building partnerships and driving customer adoption. Prior to AppSheet, Santiago worked at Microsoft, got an MBA from CMU and worked in international trade development in New York and Bogota, Colombia.

Recent Posts

How to Approach Your Boss About Making Apps

Since you’re reading this post, you probably don’t need much convincing about the benefits of building your own business apps. You’re already aware that apps can automate manual tasks like audits and inventory and replace traditional paper and spreadsheet-based management systems. You’re also aware that you can use a no-code development platform to build robust apps quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. Your boss, however, may require a bit of convincing before they give you the green light to start designing your own apps. This can be a frustrating experience—especially if your boss is stuck in their ways and is reluctant to ditch tried-and-true business processes in favor of digital solutions. Remember, just because you know that apps can benefit your company doesn’t automatically mean that others will immediately get it. After all, not everyone thinks rationally—particularly in the workplace. According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, 95 percent of all cognition—including decision-making—occurs in the subconscious mind. Most decisions, in other words, are driven by unconscious urges and emotions—not simple logic. That being said, moving your no-code app project forward may require a bit of persuasion. To realize the true promise of no-code, you may have to sell your idea to your supervisor. The reward, of course, is that if you can get approval, your team will be able to work faster and more effectively. You will look like a rock star while your department flourishes. Here are some things to consider before asking your boss to invest in no-code development.  Anticipate pushback No-code is still a relatively new concept—and a revolutionary one at that. As such, many people are still under the impression that no-code platforms can only be used to create rudimentary apps for very basic processes. This, as it turns out, couldn’t be further from the truth. For example, global chemical manufacturer Solvay used AppSheet to replace many of its mission-critical paper-based processes. The company has deployed approximately 1,000 apps to date, with more on the way.  This is just one example of how companies can succeed with digital transformation with no-code apps, and there are many more. Beyond that, many managers are stuck in their ways and aren’t always open to adopting new tools and processes. Not everyone operates with a Silicon Valley mindset, after all. If you work in a traditional warehouse in middle America, for example, you may face more traditional views about how businesses should be run. This is all not to say that you can’t drive a cultural change in your company. It just may take some persistence and creative thinking. Respect the Ellsberg Paradox The Ellsberg Paradox says that people will overwhelmingly choose something that is familiar instead of taking a chance on something that is unknown. In business, we see the Ellsberg Paradox all the time when people avoid trying new processes even if it means continuing with a system that’s broken. To counter the Ellsberg Paradox and get approval for a no-code app platform, avoid uncertainty when approaching your boss about using no-code apps. Build a robust business case and demonstrate how your solution is secure and has proven to be effective in a variety of business settings. Establish common ground When pitching a new idea, timing is everything. Instead of rushing into a discussion about no-code app platforms, look for the right opportunity to open up a conversation and take it from there. When the perfect opportunity presents itself, channel your inner salesperson and get ready to start selling. For example, you could mention a common pain point—like how poor inventory management is impacting productivity, delaying projects, angering customers, and eating into your bottom line. Build a story to sell your idea, establish common ground on a particular area of focus, and offer a no-code platform as a viable and cost-effective solution. Come to the table with an example Seeing is believing—especially in the business world. It may be worth your time to build a sample app that you can show your supervisor to get your message across effectively. That individual will be impressed that you were able to design an app so quickly and will be curious as to how you were able to accomplish it. With AppSheet’s free plan, you can design a sample app quickly by leveraging data from your preferred source—like Google Sheets, Excel, or Dropbox. Believe it or not, you can build a functioning sample app in a matter of minutes. With a powerful sample app on your mobile device, convincing your boss to give no-code development a whirl couldn’t be easier.

Using Microsoft Word and Google Docs to Create Templates for Your Apps

Two of the most powerful functionalities of the AppSheet platform are Workflows and Reports. We are happy to announce the ability to add Microsoft Word documents as templates for automated messages.  With Workflows and Reports, you can extend the reach of AppSheet apps and interface with other services, including sending push notifications, SMS, PDFs, and email. All of those services are in addition to the richness of our Web API. Thousands of emails and pre-formatted PDFs are sent every day through AppSheet workflows and reports; one thing that App Creators have done since day one is making their own templates using Google Docs as the tool to configure the document. At AppSheet, we use templates across multiple internal apps, including quote and invoice templates that we send to customers for any of AppSheet's Business Subscriptions. If we send you a Business Subscription proposal, it was entirely created through an AppSheet app! The only limitation with Google Doc templates is that many of our users that use Microsoft, Dropbox, and Box had to add a Google account to achieve the same result. Today we are happy to introduce the ability to add Microsoft Word documents to workflow rules and reports. Creating and Using Templates with Microsoft Word Documents Creating templates with Microsoft Word works the same way as with Google Docs. Simply create a Word document template and add it to your workflow or report. Just make sure the template file is available in the cloud drive of choice and select it when you create a new workflow rule or report.     If you want to learn more about the process and the type of templates you can create, we recommend getting started with our help site. Remember that the key is to include variable information, picked from the app, between double arrows like <<[Column Name]>>. How App Creators are Using Templates In the time it took me to write this blog post, over 4,000 emails were sent via workflow rules and reports on our platform. There are thousands of templates being used to send those emails. Here are some ideas you can apply to your apps: Summary information after capturing data. After hitting save in a form, trigger a workflow rule to send summary information from the form, including images. Receipts and ticketing. If you have field technicians performing work, an app that captures signatures can also send a formatted receipt or closed ticket back to your customer with their signatures included. Order summary. Once a collection of items has been added to an order, send an order summary including a table with all items that are part of it. Invoices. Yes. You can create an invoicing app with AppSheet! That's what we use in-house! Send documents for signature. Create rich word documents with all the legalese you need and include placeholders for the variable info. AppSheet will create a PDF that you can then send to a third party for print and/or signature. Do you use templates for emails and PDFs in your apps? What kind of information are you sharing? Let us know in the comments.

Feature Friday: Performance, Security, and a New Feature Request App

Welcome back to Feature Friday! This week we're sharing a few new updates from the engineering team that can help improve your app security & performance. Feature of the Week: New Security Options Last month we introduced device-level encryption to AppSheet apps. This allows you to add an extra level of security to apps by encrypting the app data in the device. Many users already have phones encrypted and password protected by default; in this case, the feature would add an additional layer of security. Navigate to Security > Options to find the encryption option as well as two other new additions: Secure PDF Access and Secure Image Access.  These two options limit PDFs and images to be rendered only within the app; no external app can open these files. For secure images, this also means that images cannot be included and rendered in AppSheet email and PDF reports. However, you should still have access to the files through your cloud drive. Feature Feedback App: Submit, Comment, and Vote on Features We recently launched an AppSheet app where all app creators can submit, comment, and vote on feature requests. The app is managed and tracked by the engineering team and is a major resource for determining new platform features! Check out the app and let us know your thoughts. Download a CSV of a View Create an action that triggers the download of all rows available in a view. This is particularly helpful when you want to just download a subset of rows that belong to a slice and you want to share those rows as a CSV file. We'll be adding more capabilities to the CSV functionality, including workflow exports. So stay tuned! Improved On-Device Storage We've upgraded the on-device storage framework for our apps on Android and iOS devices. With the new framework, apps should experience performance improvements, especially in the amount of data that can be stored locally. This is helpful for apps that run offline and need to cache large data sets before they can be used in the field. All users will be migrated to the new device data store by the end of August, so you don't need to do anything to enable this in your apps. :)  What do you think about these features? Share your thoughts in community.appsheet.com. See you next week!

Feature Friday: Integrate AppSheet Apps with Virtually Any Service!

Welcome back to Feature Friday! This week we are proud to announce AppSheet's new integration capabilities that make it easier for other services—or even other AppSheet apps—to communicate with your apps. We are also happy to announce our first dedicated Zapier integration which makes it so simple to define the type of actions you want to trigger with incoming integrations to your app.  Feature of the Week: AppSheet Integrations You can now integrate thousands of external services to AppSheet applications. AppSheet integrations rely on a powerful API for both incoming and outgoing communications. The API can be used to add, delete, and update table records as well as invoke any actions defined in the app.   What are some uses for the integration feature?  Integration is particularly powerful when you need to "inform" an AppSheet app of a change that happened elsewhere and want to use the new information to change the data in your app. For example: After a payment is confirmed, you may want to update the status of a customer in your CRM AppSheet app. After one of your field technicians finalizes a job and reports it in their field work app, you want to update another AppSheet app that tracks the number of hours it takes techs to complete jobs. After a new FIFA World Cup score is reported, you want to get a push notification with the score in your custom-made AppSheet app that tracks World Cup results.  There are thousands of other possibilities: from external services to AppSheet apps, and from AppSheet apps to external services.  We'll keep sharing ideas and best practices about integrations in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned! Other Goodies: Zapier App, Updates to Android, and Device Data Encryption Zapier App Zapier is available as an inbound channel in your AppSheet account. This will give Zapier access to any apps you want to enable with inbound actions. How to install it? Go to this link. We need lots of people trying it to get out of beta. So please try it out and give us your feedback.     Android Goodie #1: AppSheet Icon Actions  If you have one of the latest versions of Android, you can do a long-press on the AppSheet icon to trigger quick actions. You'll see a list of recent apps used and you can drag and drop the icon to your home screen for quick access.   Android Goodie #2: In-App File Picker For columns of type "File", Android users can now pick available files from their device. We're working on the iOS version of this feature, so stay tuned! Device Data Encryption Security-oriented users generally have their phones or app encrypted by the operating system and password-protect access to their phones. We recently introduced in-device encryption as an extra layer of security for apps and documents. Enable app-level encryption in the device by going to Security > Options > Encrypt device data. What do you think about these features? Share your thoughts in community.appsheet.com. See you next week!

Feature Friday: Make an App with NFC Features

Welcome to Feature Friday. This week we'll dig deeper into our recently released NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities. You can now enable a multitude of scenarios with NFC tags and AppSheet. Continue reading below to learn more. Feature of the WeeK: NFC Support for your apps NFC technology is commonly available in most modern smartphones, making it a powerful option to add to your mobile apps. We are happy to introduce NFC support for AppSheet apps. This includes using NFC for data capture and using NFC to launch apps on Android devices.  NFC allows two devices communicate only when one is in short proximity of the other. One of the devices is usually a tag (or card) that is storing information that the other device can read. This means you can create NFC tags that populate specific information into AppSheet applications. To do this in AppSheet, it's as simple as making any field NFC Scannable: Some of AppSheet's enterprise customers in industrial sectors have highlighted how NFC support will enable new scenarios for auditing and reporting with AppSheet apps where they didn't have a cost effective solution in the past. Here are some ideas of what you can do with NFC: Production line asset tracking. Use tags to track items in different stages of a production line, use AppSheet to quickly capture tag information for the item Safety Audits. For fixed locations in a manufacturing floor. You can use NFC tags to record a specific location or asset where they are supposed to perform an audit or inspection.  Check-in and time-sheets. Provide employees with an encoded card so they can use it to quickly check-in to an app available in a fixed location. Launch apps on Android. Create AppSheet app shortcuts and use an Android 8.0 or higher device to automatically launch an app, or even better, launch a pre-filled form. Imagine prefill key items of a form in the shortcut and have the auditor tap on the card, launch the app and confirm the final steps of the form. Geocaching game. Ok this is not an industrial application but we just realized in the office you could make a nifty geocaching game by storing codes in a card with instructions and then hide them. Treasure hunt! What do you think about the most recent release? Share your thoughts in community.appsheet.com. See you next week!

Feature Friday: A New Data Source + More Goodies

A couple of updates this week. We've released support for Airtable as a data source for AppSheet apps. We've also added a couple of UI updates in the platform and starting to beta test NFC Support. Read on! New Data Source: Airtable Airtable is a popular cloud database and we've recently added support to it as a data source for AppSheet apps. You can add your Airtable account as a data source by following the guide in our help site. You can now make your Airtable data do even more! Try it out and give us feedback. More Goodies Turn-off format rules What if you have many format rules in your app and want to temporarily turn them off to test other versions or functionality of your app? You can now do it directly in the app editor: Apply actions just to a Slice When you create an action, you may want to choose to display it over a particular slice of your data. Maybe you want to show a "Reserve" action in a slice for available rooms only or want a specific combination of actions to be available only to a specific slice. To add an action to a specific slice, create the action first and then go to Data > Slices and add the action to the slice of your choice.  Force a sync in deep links If you rely on actions to navigate to other views in your app or to other apps. You may want to make sure there is a sync when the user taps on an action, especially when you need the user to see refreshed data from a recent transaction, update, approval, etc. We've introduced an option to force a sync when you do a deep link in your actions. Slice System Views We recently introduced default system views in the UX menu. That means that when you add a table to your app, there will be a default system Detail and Form view for the table. A recent release now lets you have a default system view for slices that you create over that table. This will let you have multiple detail views of the same table by simply creating slices for each detail view you need. Coming Soon... NFC support We're adding our first layer of NFC support to AppSheet. You'll soon be able to capture data by tapping on an NFC tag. Stay tuned!  What do you think about the most recent release? Share your thoughts in community.appsheet.com See you next week!

Feature Friday: Start New Specs and engage with users

We're adding new and improved features this week to the AppSheet platform. Spec returns with more categories and includes more images powered by the Noun Project. We also added an update to the New App launcher and a couple of user engagement features for your app. Check the new features below. New updates to Spec. This week we added a couple of improvements to Spec. First, we added more categories based on app usage, making sure that Spec covers more and more scenarios and gets better at understanding the types of apps you want to build.  Second, we added an integration with Noun Project so the nouns in your app have an accompanying placeholder image as well. You'll notice it as you add some more commonly known nouns.  We also let you select multiple items from the selection box. This means you can list things in the same text box and then have the ability to select them from the list by holding the shift key in your keyboard.  This is a significant step for our platform, and we'd love to get your feedback. Please go to www.appsheet.com/spec and play with it and give us feedback in the tool itself or in community.appsheet.com   More goodies:   User notifications: You'll see a Notify button at the top left of the editor menu. This takes you straight to the broadcast notifications pane. Useful if you need to send a quick message to your app users on their devices. Track app invites: In the Users pane, along with the whitelist, you'll see if each person has responded or not to the app invitation by signing up for an AppSheet account. if not, you can click a link to send them a reminder.   Get app user feedback: We learn so much from the feedback we get from App Creators across the world, and we want to make sure you have access to similar resources so your apps get better and better through the feedback from your users. Starting next week, new apps created in the platform will include a feedback section for app users. This feature is available in secure plans only when the user enables security. This option can be turned off via the UX > Options menu   What do you think about the most recent release? Share your thoughts in community.appsheet.com See you next week!

Feature Friday: Spec Your App Out

It's been a while since we published our last Feature Friday so It's time to change that. This edition we have a new way to start creating apps, an update to our charts view type, and some additions to expressions, read on! Feature of the Month: Spec. Yes, this is a very cool one that the engineering team has been working on.  Our goal is to make app creation accessible to everyone, and a way to remove those barriers is by helping App Creators get started by defining the facts of their apps, in plain English.  Enter Spec. Spec lets you define your app in a simple interface, start by describing what your app is about and continue adding entities to it, other records, views, and details about the app... you know, the specs of the app. Another place where you'll see Spec is in your existing apps. If you navigate to Info > Dashboards, you should see a version of Spec for your app. Right now you cannot edit your existing apps using Spec (only create new ones) but we are working on updates that will give you more access to Spec features while working in the editor. This is a significant step for our platform, and we'd love to get your feedback. Please go to www.appsheet.com/spec and play with it and give us feedback in the tool itself or in community.appsheet.com   More goodies:   Scatter Plot: We've added the ability to create scatter plots in chart views. To create a scatter plot you need at least 2 numeric columns to create the scatter plot. If you add a third numeric column it will increase/decrease the size of each data point presented in the chart.  Scatter Plots are available in UX > Views > Chart View  Dynamic start views: You can now use an expression to define the initial view in your app. For example, you can use the email address to provide a starting view that matches the user profile. You can still point to a specific, fixed view or you can choose a dynamic starting view using an expression. You can change the starting UX view dynamically in UX > Options > Starting View.    New Expressions: We've added additional expressions for typecasting. Sometimes you may want to extract or run an expression and use its result as a date, a decimal, a number, date-time, or time. Using the DATE(), DECIMAL(), NUMBER(), DATETIME(), and TIME() expressions you can get the right type of data to include in your app. A good example is extracting a date from a Date-time column. If you have a date-time column in your app - let's call it [check-in] - you may want to use just the date part of it by applying DATE() to it: DATE([check-in]). What do you think about the most recent release? Share your thoughts in community.appsheet.com See you next week!

Discover AppSheet Resources

  Did you know there are over 100 YouTube videos, 257 knowledge base articles, and over 3000 monthly comments in the AppSheet community?  Whether you are just getting started with AppSheet or want to give more power to your apps, we've created this blog post to point you to the best resources to learn more about the platform.     You are a new app creator App Design 101. These introductory articles available in our help page (help.appsheet.com) introduce you to the main concepts that power the AppSheet platform. It's a must read for the data-driven app creator! AppSheet Support Page. The support resources page in your AppSheet account includes a nifty search tool that will include results from sample apps, community posts, how-to apps, and help.appsheet.com AppSheet YouTube Channel. We have multiple playlists in our YouTube channel. The Getting Started playlist and the How to Make an App series will provide a great overview, tips, and guides. AppSheet Partners. If you want to hire an AppSheet partner to work closely with you and guide you in the context of the particular apps you are building. You can get started by contacting one from our partners page. AppSheet community. The AppSheet user community has app creators from all over the world, over 3000 comments are posted per month and answered by community moderators and members of the AppSheet team. This is one of the best places to get quick answers about AppSheet.     You're moving forward and want to gain more skills. AppSheet Office Hours. A series of live webinars where the team answers questions form the AppSheet community. On average 25 to 30 questions are answered live, including live demos! Feature Friday. A blog post series that showcases new features and capabilities recently added to the AppSheet platform. Find and Copy a How-to App. The support resources page in your AppSheet account includes a nifty search tool that will include results from sample apps and how-to apps, which you can copy for free and take a see some of its features are implemented. AppSheet Partners. If You want to move forward but want a third party to help you with training or even creating and managing your app. Hire an AppSheet Partner     You are an administrator and want to get resources about account management, security, and compliance. AppSheet Corporate Plans. AppSheet corporate subscriptions provide more power, services and management resources for AppSheet apps created in your organization. Service Organization Control Reports. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of AppSheet's SOC 2 reports, please contact us to initiate the request.   Note: Updated January 3, 2020.