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February 06, 2019

Build Powerful Apps for Your Business with AppSheet

Workflow drives any business and helps standardize employee actions. Even small businesses can benefit from standardization to reduce administrative labor. While smaller businesses may not hire additional employees to accomplish admin work, it's often up to the business owner to accomplish the small redundant tasks required to run a business. These tasks may be functions, such as transferring data from paper to digital form and calculating employee work hours. Creating new app-based workflows that restructure your business processes allow computers to perform simple repetitive work and reduce the people hours spent “working in the business” to focus, instead, on “working on the business”. 


Get Full Control of Your Data Structure and Workflow Definitions

AppSheet is one of the leading No-Code platforms for businesses. The formula AppSheet gets right is that the platform allows app creators to decide how data is captured and how the workflow functions while minimizing the need to modify the user interface (UI) or other things.

Mobile UIs have evolved over the last decade to become fairly standardized today. Since creators are developing tools for business, worrying about the basic layout of the app is an unnecessary waste of time and would require an additional learning curve to publish apps for use. AppSheet takes the best practices of a good UI and creates a standard UI that is intuitive, familiar to employees, and just works.

The most important feature that other no-code platforms miss is that AppSheet lets you keep and maintain your data. It can be a spreadsheet in Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or even a table in a mySQL database that you already own and can connect it directly to your app. You retain control over your data so it's easy to use familiar tools like Microsoft Excel to analyze your data. This also has the benefit of keeping costs down since one does not have to pay for another cloud storage provider. It opens up future possibilities to connect your data to additional platforms or services. AppSheet doesn’t box in your data like other platforms do.

The formula to create an app on the AppSheet platform is simple: Create the data structure, connect the data to the AppSheet platform, tie the data source to a view type, repeat the previous steps if needed, and then publish the app for employees to use. Apps can be as simple or as complicated as you want. For example, a simple time clock app for your employees can be set up in less than an hour. Add in some auditing features to this time clock app and you can publish employee labor summaries with a click of a button every two weeks.

In this example, manual inputs such as a sign-in sheet or a traditional time clock create a record that would need to be reviewed at a later date. Whether monthly or bi-weekly, an individual would need to sit down, go through the logs, add up the hours worked, and generate a report to issue to their employees. This is just one example of the time that can be saved by automating business workflows.

Gain Real-Time Awareness of Your Operations 

Another area where app-based automation can help is by increasing the transparency into organizational processes to provide a real-time awareness of operations. For example, say you are a property manager who manages a large group of rental properties, and does not use a maintenance management system because it is cost prohibitive for the size of the portfolio you manage. To provide some structure to your organization, you have your central office admin manage the maintenance and customer call requests via a spreadsheet, or by paper, and the customer input is a phone call, user email, or an in-person visit.

While it may be simple to log these events as they come in, it is the process of completing these tasks that has the largest administrative burden. Once the request is logged, the work requests are transferred for the technician to complete. It is at this point where the visibility into this task gets foggy. The tenant and central office won't be able to see the request’s status unless they expend additional labor to call for an update or they receive a call from the technician. To get a status update, individuals would need to start a chain of calls to figure out where their request is in the queue.

The back and forth in this workflow is required and visibility never improves over time, becoming more labor intensive to maintain as the requests grow:

  • The central office won’t have an up-to-date status when asked by an inquisitive tenant. 
  • The technician may have to retrieve his work orders in person or get an email with the details.
  • The tenant will remain in the dark until the technician either calls or arrives on site.
  • And the owner may remain unaware of the maintenance activities until someone generates a report on a monthly or annual basis.

This is how a simple request snowballs, requiring many additional inputs and outputs which consumes more and more labor until the cost of business operations increases. Instead, spending four to six hours creating a simple workflow app for the tenant, central office, technician, and owners enhances the visibility of the ongoing activities, provides a more professional market presence, and increases upfront data capture to reduce redundant data compilation for monthly reporting or other required business administration tasks.

This is just scratching the surface. In the same example, it would be easy to function stack the newly automated process to capture technician work hours and pictures of issues to document recurring maintenance. When apps start to reference the same datasets, utility increases exponentially and suddenly, your business is automated with similar tools that large corporations use but at a fraction of the cost.

Keep Your Apps Simple

Keep in mind that just because you can create a tool for something doesn’t mean you “should” create a tool. It is easy to get carried away and start to capture too much data. In this case, you start to slow down the workflows of your organization. Keep apps as simple as possible and only capture the data you know you need. When you keep it simple for the end user, they are more likely to use and accept any tool that is developed.

You can get started with AppSheet today with no risk. The team offers free plans that allow you to tinker and learn before you are ready to pay for a plan. You can get started quickly by making a copy of one of their sample apps to jump-start your project.

About the author: Rich Ellis, Owner of CryptoCoach.

At CryptoCoach we offer quick/agile App development for your business workflow. Transform any paper-driven, spreadsheet or email workflow into a mobile or desktop experience for your team.  We also help you tap into a fast-growing community of Cryptocurrency users and learn how to accept Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ethereum or other Cryptocurrencies at your business. There are several Point of Sale (POS) options available ranging from direct payment of crypto to setting up payment processors that will automate conversion from Crypto to US Dollars directly to your bank account or cash in hand.

CryptoCoach's mission is to help business and individuals navigate the rapid change in today's world. We live in a time of another great renaissance where automation will replace repetitive human labor, cryptocurrencies will subvert central banking and the perceived world of unlimited resources will see actual limits.

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