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Your Guide to No-Code Development

Want to learn about no-code development? You’ve come to the right place. Recently, we created a resource center where you can learn all about the technology, AppSheet’s bread and butter. Visit our “What is No-Code Development” page to find: A download of AppSheet’s latest white paper, Business Uncoded: An Introduction to No-Code App Development. Customer stories from no-code development early adopters. A library of sample no-code apps for you to explore, copy, and customize. Explore no-code development Check back frequently for updates to the page. In the meantime, comment below with any questions you have about no-code development, platforms, use cases, or whatever else you’d like to know about the technology. We'll do our best to answer your questions. Have no-coding!

AppSheet Acquired by Google Cloud

Dear AppSheet Community, Today, I’m pleased to announce that AppSheet has been acquired by Google and will be joining the Google Cloud team. Before I explain why this is the right step, I want to be very clear that our customer-centric focus will not change. We have built relationships with you, in some cases over many years. I know many of you personally. We value these relationships deeply and we will continue to invest in, and broaden our relationships with you. With that said, I would like to share the most important details: The AppSheet services you use will continue. In fact, they will grow and expand once we integrate deeper with Google Cloud.  Our team is joining Google Cloud and will continue to run our service. We will continue to support customers—new and existing.  AppSheet will continue to work cross-platform. While we have always integrated deeply with G Suite and Google Cloud data sources, we will continue to support and improve our integrations with other cloud-hosted data sources like Office 365, Salesforce, Box, Dropbox, and databases hosted in other clouds. And while the majority of our mobile app users run on Android, we will continue to support and improve the way our apps run on iOS and on web browsers. Our core mission is unchanged. We want to “democratize” app development by enabling as many people as possible to build and distribute applications without writing a line of code. That continues to be our mission, and it aligns well with Google Cloud’s strategy to re-envision digital transformation with a business-user-centric application platform. Why does this acquisition feel like the right next step? First and foremost, we are philosophically and strategically aligned with Google Cloud in a shared commitment to a no-code platform. The AppSheet platform has been live for more than five years. As we’ve matured, so has the IT industry, and there is now a tremendous pent-up demand for enterprise automation. With the rise of low- and no-code platforms, citizen development has emerged as the strategic way for modern organizations to invest, innovate, and compete. As we engaged with various leaders in the Google Cloud team, we found to our delight that Google Cloud shares our commitment to a no-code platform. Like anyone who works in the technology industry, we admire the amazing, innovative technology that Google has created over the last two decades. There is great potential to leverage and integrate more deeply with many of Google’s amazing assets like G Suite and Android to improve the functionality, scale, and performance of AppSheet. Moving forward, we expect to combine AppSheet’s core strengths with Google Cloud’s deep industry expertise in verticals like financial services, retail, and media & entertainment. For more perspective on what this means for us together, you can read the blog from Google Cloud’s Vice President, Amit Zavery. In short, we can now deliver a better platform for our customers and reach and empower many more users. There will likely be a period where we have to settle into the new environment before forging ahead, but you should start seeing the benefits of today’s announcement soon. It is an exciting time for all of us at AppSheet. I appreciate your continued faith in us and I know we could not have reached this stage without you. Our journey together continues and I look forward to it. -Praveen

Guide to Construction Apps -- Top Tools for IT Managers and Construction Leaders

As time goes on, the needs of your business change. The problems that may have plagued your field workers in the past might not only still exist, but be hanging around with new troublemakers. Mobile applications are a great way to find powerful and flexible solutions to your workers needs. Over the course of this guide, we’ll walk through a couple key steps every construction manager in charge of IT responsibilities should take. We will also explore sample apps like this Inspection Site app below to give you ideas of what you can do: We will also share about how innovators like KLB Construction's Richard Glass are spearheading digital transformation. 7 Steps to Digital Transformation at Your Construction Company Step 1 - Identify your construction app stakeholders and determine each party’s needs. Step 2 - Identify any constraints. Step 3 - Choose an app platform. Step 4 - Build your construction apps. Step 5 - Test your apps. Step 6 - Deploy your apps. Step 7 - Manage, maintain, and update your apps. Step 1 - Identify your construction app stakeholders and determine each party’s needs. Look how productive they look! As they say, "Behind every great construction field team, is a... proactive construction IT team?" The construction industry is being transformed by digital innovation in the mobile space. Let’s start with figuring out who’s going to be actually using the construction app(s). Each type of user will have unique needs that a robust app platform should be able to accommodate. Four common stakeholders include: End User - The person who's actually using the app. We have to think about how we design our app with the End User's needs in mind to make sure we are helping, not hindering, them from accomplishing their tasks. Contractors - Contractors may need to access parts of the construction project management system. These users may have separate needs including specific security filters to limit access to sensitive data. Management - Management may not be performing the field services, but they will need consistent, high-level reports on project status, expense reports, and more. IT Team - The IT Team may be a standalone corporate division or simply an entrepreneurial front-line worker. In either case, any apps or app platforms must be easy to design and implement in the hands of an IT Team charged with ensuring security, stability, and performance. Two other stakeholders that may be relevant depending on the nature of the engagement include: Client - A client may or may not have interest in the everyday activities surrounding a construction project. Typically, a client might only be interested in some form of consistent reporting on project status or budget control. Government/Municipal Authorities - For projects in heavily regulated environments, active government oversight and intervention may necessitate tools that can be adapted for external participation. While it’s tempting to jump ahead and begin looking for solutions, taking time to identify key stakeholders and their unique needs is a time-saving, utility-maximizing process that should never be skipped. Be sure to speak with at least one person in each category of stakeholders before making any assumptions. Through this process, you can also learn what the current processes are for the given task you’re trying to digitize. Learning about what existing processes are already utilized can allow you to design apps that provide a more seamless transition for your workers. If the solution you ultimately create can’t significantly beat the status quo, it probably isn’t worth doing. A well designed suite of tools can help you increase onsite productivity and efficiency.   Step 2 - Identify any constraints. Constraints of all kinds, while sometimes limiting, also serve as useful guideposts that can help inform product development decisions. A few constraints to consider include: Scope What is the overall end-goal of your construction app(s)? Is the feature set you're exploring best suited for a mobile app form factor? Cost What is your team’s IT budget? Does your team have enough budget to hire developers or external consultants to build apps? What are you currently spending on app-related needs? What are you currently spending on the work function you're seeking to fix? Time When do the app(s) need to be ready? Are there any bottlenecks that may affect the app development process? Safety What safety precautions are worth considering? How are accidents typically handled through the present system? Safety first! Even when we’re talking about building out mobile-first workplace productivity apps. Legal What processes must be documented? And in what form? Will signatures, photos, or any other forms of documentation be needed? People/Technology Is your team utilizing standardized hardware or primarily personal devices? Are you looking for iOS, Android, iPhone, iPad specific solutions? Do you have someone who can build apps quickly and on time? How many app requests do you have?  Data What kind of data is your team collecting? Does the data need to be captured in real time? How will the data need to be processed and displayed? Connectivity Will your construction teams likely be working in any cellular dead-zones? How important is offline work capacity? If only balancing time, cost, and quality were as easy as drawing nice triangles... Step 3 - Choose an app platform. With hundreds if not thousands of construction app solutions out there, navigating a technology procurement decision can be tedious if not downright exhausting! The first decision you and your team may need to make is the classic buy vs. build decision. “Apps that are built for a smartphone and tablet, that have a complex user interface, or that require a significant back-end can cost anywhere from $250,000 to $1,500,000.” Even the simplest of apps can cost at least $25,000. This is what paying for proprietary mobile app development feels like... For all but the largest constructions firms in the world, coding your own apps from scratch is not a realistic possibility. Even if you could, in most cases, 3rd party solutions provide better bang-for-the-buck and greater functionality with proven solutions. Presuming you’ve decided to buy a license to an existing solution, your next decision would be choosing between an out-of-the-box construction solution and using a low-code or no-code platform to build a suite of custom, feature rich apps. Out-of-the-box solutions  on the surface appear to be quicker to set-up, but often that isn't the case in the long run. Not only do these solutions force you to work within preset constraints, but they also cost more to maintain. You know what your business's needs are, so why not design around that?  Platform app solutions are customizable by nature, and these apps may lend themselves to more functional product use-cases in the long-run. With even a limited IT team, no-code platform apps are often quicker, cheaper, easier to customize and iterate. A well-integrated platform solution can also help IT managers avoid the classic challenge of utilizing too many disparate systems that can’t “communicate” effectively with each other. A view of your phone after installing multiple apps to do what the one app you create can do... As an example, consider Richard’s experience from KLB Construction: “Mobile apps are lagging in the construction industry, and it’s under-served by technology. Off-the-shelf software typically does not represent how we do things. Being able to customize the app for our purposes makes it more user-friendly and more likely to be adopted by the field.” Whatever route you ultimately end up choosing, be sure to explore software reviews and find out what real users have to say about the product: Best Mobile Application Development Software Best Construction App Software Step 4 - Build your construction apps. Depending on the app product or platform you choose and your team's initial competency, building and integrating a full suite of construction management apps can take anywhere from a few hours to a few months to get started. In this time, it’s best to focus on establishing the core functionality of what you need. We all must walk before we can run, you know? You may even consider building out a product road-map that includes what you’ll include at the start of your initial construction app launch and what features and functionalities you’ll build in over time. This product road-map should synthesize insights you’ve already gathered in your stakeholder, constraint, and app platform research. Bucketing Similar Functions into Apps No single tool can fulfill every function you need. Because of this, you might consider bucketing similar functions into a suite of connected apps. A few ideas include: Estimator - For contractors on the go, utilizing a mobile estimator tool can increase productivity and help save time. Punch List - Wrapping up any construction project involves closing the loop on work items. If your organization currently uses a paper or email-based system for punch lists, you might consider switching to an app-based version that works seamlessly with your teams.  Blueprint Management - Having cloud-based shared and current blueprints is an important function for most construction projects. Utilizing a single tool with a clean user interface can help engineers, architects, and contractors work collaboratively, quickly, and accurately. If you’re building apps through the AppSheet platform, you can get started quickly by integrating your data from Google Docs, Box, DropBox, SQL, and more.     Or, you can copy these generic versions of construction apps to get you started: Construction Daily Reports Daily reporting is essential for foreman and project managers who are tasked with staying on top of resources and personnel. A functional app can replace the stream of paperwork and emails that can clutter daily reporting. Site Inspections Safety inspections are an essential piece of any well-run construction project. This app allows users to capture key information for inspection reports while leveraging cloud-synced photos and GPS/map technology. Package Delivery Management Getting the right packages or deliveries delivered to the right building or job site can be a challenging undertaking. An effective internal logistics app can simplify this process for suppliers, drivers, and site managers. Field Survey Project management was never meant to be contained in the four walls of a cubicle. Putting the tools for real-time, on-site project management into those on the front-lines can help any organization retain data integrity and manage resources effectively. Learn more about this sample app. For AppSheet users, here are a few more things to keep in mind: Consider leveraging any sample app materials that may be relevant for your use case. Great apps and app platforms will always come with rich resource libraries and support to help you make the most of their product. As an individual charged with IT management responsibility, be sure to do your research and build a strong foundation of product-specific knowledge. Perfect is the enemy of good enough. Remember, you’re building a functional business application. It may not look as slick as the latest social media app, but it also does not need to. Whew! Step 5 - Test your apps. In theory, practice makes perfect, but with software, testing makes… “better.” No amount of tests can replicate all the realities of a live app, but it can certainly help! Consider identifying a subset of the construction team to engage in field tests. A simple way to go about doing this would be to provide them with basic training and ask them to complete a battery of standard field tests (i.e. processes they would normally use the app for). Have participants report back to you with data on functionality and usability. You can modify this simple Google Form to suit your needs if your solution doesn't have built in feedback functionality. For AppSheet users, users can always provide feedback to app creators through the "Feedback View" on the menu (see below).  Once your testing consistently returns satisfied end users, you’re ready to deploy your app to the team. Step 6 - Deploy your apps. You made it! You’ve successfully procured and created an app solution for your team. Before you celebrate too soon, expect the unexpected as you deploy your apps to live users. Even stock photo models need time to celebrate! In the process of releasing your app, consider hosting a universal team training event either in-person or through a webinar. Be sure to cast a compelling vision of why your team is making the change and how this change will ultimately benefit them. Change isn’t always appreciated and habits can be difficult to break. Even after the app is fully deployed, bugs, user error, and unexpected challenges are par for the course when it your apps makes it to the field. What’s important is keeping a level head and having a platform with strong help documentation and support options. "If we make it easier than paper, we increase adoption.” -Richard Glass, IT Manager at KLB Construction. Step 7 - Manage, maintain, and update your apps. In today’s ever-changing world, no product is every truly “done,” but that's a good thing! Users change. Needs change. And great software should have the ability to change too. As an IT manager or someone functioning in an IT leadership capacity, it’s your job to stay ahead of the game and ensure that the apps you build meet the needs of your team. Here’s a checklist of questions to keep your apps ready-to-go: Are there any known bugs? If so, what actions are currently being taken to address them? Is there a strong on-boarding process/documentation in place to help new users learn the system? Are there any new upcoming projects that may require distinct needs? Do you need more or fewer software licenses? Are there any new technologies (e.g. augmented reality) that have the potential to shift our future business processes? For AppSheet users, are there any new data sources that should be integrated? And now, it's your turn! So there you have it! 7 steps to transform your construction firm from technology laggard to industry trend-setter. What have been your experiences implementing mobile apps across your construction firm? What lessons have you learned? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below or join our community forum and talk to others in your field and beyond! This post was updated on November 14th, 2019.

How AppSheet Employees Use AppSheet to Power Their Business

We're proud to be the team behind AppSheet. But our pride comes not from building, selling or marketing the platform, but from using it. No one on the sales or marketing team at AppSheet has an engineering background. Yet when we join the company, our first task is to create an app with the platform and present it to the rest of the team. Understanding the process as a citizen developer is one of the most important aspects of our work. To that end, we've created a number of apps to power our work at AppSheet headquarters. A sort of "perfect circle of efficiency", if you will. In this post we're highlighting a few apps our team has created that helps make our day-to-day easier. We've created over a dozen apps so far for the AppSheet business. These apps are bundled together in what's called the "AppSheet Suite". These apps cover support, operations, project management, content creation, and more.  One of our most oft-used apps is the Employee Directory. It contains the contact information for every employee in the company. The list can be viewed by department (Engineering, Sales, Marketing) and can be edited as we add new faces to our team. You can make your own version by copying our sample app using the button below:   Another popular in-house app is the "Project Planner". Our Product Marketing Manager uses it as a way to organize daily tasks, including short and long-term objectives. The app displays the status of projects and their timeline to completion, color-coded for convenience. Employees can also add new tasks or share it with others who can leave comments. Our marketing team has found this app to be very useful when we are working on pushing out content, scheduling strategy meetings and interacting with our customers. It's broad enough to be used by almost any company with these goals.   The "Time Tracker" app helps our team keep on top of multiple customer projects at once and how much time we are spending on each one. Through the app we can filter by customers or by tasks, and see a simple display of how much time we've spent working on that project. This can be especially helpful for any company that juggles a number of clients or bills them by-the-hour for services.   As our company grows, we've been using the "Out of Office" app more to keep track of our team members' daily schedules. Whether they're working from home or out on vacation, they can note it in the app for all employees to see. The app tracks vacation time taken by employees, and shows upcoming vacations. Employees can add new entries by date using the drop-down menu, and classify them by the type of leave they're taking (paid, unpaid, sick leave, etc.) If needed, the employee can also add any notes to explain the absence. This is especially helpful for companies where some or all of the employees may be working remotely during the week. The real-time updates make sure everyone's on the same page (and no one is getting work calls during their vacation!). AppSheet is a business that has been made more efficient through the use of no-code apps, just like our customers. Our team is made up of citizen developers who embraced a new platform and have created their own apps to help them be more efficient at their jobs. We think this is the future of business in the digital age, and we're proud to share some of our most popular in-house apps with you. 

How American Roofing & Metal used SmartSheet data and the AppSheet platform to transform their business

Background There comes a point in any growing company’s life when you look around and realize that your underlying systems and processes are outdated and need a refresh. For American Roofing & Metal, a full-service roofing contractor and metal fabricator launched in 1904, this moment of realization came after a period of rapid growth.   The scope of the company’s operation was increasing by the day and its underlying management strategy—which relied heavily on paper-based tools at the time—was struggling to keep pace. The company needed to change the way it communicated, and quickly.   An American Roofing & Metal project: The Henry B Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio Maximizing SmartSheet with AppSheet To achieve this goal, the American Roofing & Metal team set out to find a no-code platform that could interface with its Smartsheet data. Waite and his team assessed the market. AppSheet met all of the criteria and, very importantly, also offered a seamless integration with Smartsheet, a software solution for collaboration and management. “Smartsheet allowed us to custom develop processes and automate repetitive tasks. Still, we needed a better and simpler way to interface with our field personnel, project managers, production departments, and salespeople who are out on job sites and on the road.” Over time, American Metal & Roofing leveraged Smartsheet and AppSheet to built and deploy a Job Site Info App, Pick Ticket App, Project Manager Job Site Inspection App, Manager Access Only App, Emergency Contact App, and Human Resources App. Collectively, these apps empower the business's day to day operations and have resulted in reduced paperwork, stress, and greater team collaboration and efficiency. To get the full story with screenshots and app building tips, get the case study below.

Solvay and AppSheet: The No-Code Approach to Digital Transformation

Last week AppSheet was at the Forrester Digital Transformation and Innovation Forum in Chicago. It was a great event and all the sessions featured some aspect of digital transformation with guidance on how companies should look at managing the technology side of the transformation equation. It’s a big topic and most companies I spoke with are currently in the trenches, making process and technology decisions to drive their digital transformation initiatives forward. Undertaking these kinds of projects takes grit, ingenuity, and a willingness to embrace the unknown. Certainly, that’s how Solvay approached their digital transformation journey. For those of you unfamiliar with the company, Solvay is an advanced materials and specialty chemicals company. Headquartered in Brussels, with more than 26,000 employees located in 61 countries, it made the ambitious decision to introduce mobility into its shop floors. Why the focus on shop floors? Well, Solvay’s plant-specific processes were paper-driven and the company wanted to replace those paper-based processes with app-driven automation. So, Francis Boulu, Industrial Data Analyst, in collaboration with Solvay’s digital office, selected AppSheet’s no-code platform to build the first set of apps. Of course, this was not Solvay’s first digital transformation project as many teams and industrial plants had been working on digital solutions designed to automate processes. But this transformation project was a bit different as one use case led to another, resulting in AppSheet becoming the no-code platform for more than 400 citizen developers. Today, there are approximately 1,000 deployed apps (and counting) and AppSheet is an integral part of Solvay’s software suite. The digital mobility team continues to find new use cases for apps built on AppSheet’s platform. All in all, Solvay is now more operationally efficient after working with AppSheet. The workforce is better supported with a no-code platform that allows them to build and support their own applications. You might even say that Solvay and AppSheet are the perfect combination for digital transformation initiatives. For the full story, download the Solvay case study.

4 No-Code App Development Misconceptions

In the past, when companies needed custom software to power their operations, they’d either hire in-house developers or contract a third-party agency to build apps for them.  Both options are very expensive.  Instead of covering those prohibitive costs, organizations of all sizes are increasingly using no-code platforms to build apps that support their unique processes and workflows—all without breaking the bank. No-code platforms enable rapid application development and deployment at a fraction of the cost. No-code represents the next phase in the evolution of software development. Like all new technologies, there’s some uncertainty surrounding no-code platforms. Let’s set the record straight by debunking four common misconceptions about no-code platforms. Misconception #1: You can’t make complex enterprise-grade apps with a no-code platform There’s a perception that no-code platforms can only produce “simple” apps, and that if you’re looking for an enterprise-grade application, you’re better off looking elsewhere. Some folks also believe that no-code apps struggle to scale. Both sentiments couldn’t be further from the truth. AppSheet’s no-code apps, for example, are used by industry leaders for all sorts of mission-critical processes. Popular use cases include streamlining inspections, keeping track of inventory, project management, process digitalization, and more. As you search for a no-code solution, look for a platform that is data source-agnostic and works with various data formats. With the right no-code platform, scalability is easily attained, and you have control over how that happens. For example, you can look for a solution that scales using data partitions or security filters, depending on your app’s specific needs. Organizations can use no-code platforms to build powerful enterprise-grade apps. Husqvarna, for example, used a no-code platform to build applications that track and manage every piece of equipment (35,000 product SKUs in total) sent from its headquarters in Sweden to its warehouse in South Carolina. Misconception #2: Like low-code platforms, no-code platforms require trained software developers Low-code platforms do need software developers. But that criteria doesn’t extend to no-code platforms. Thanks to no-code platforms, we’re entering a new phase in application development where any team member can become a citizen developer, helping build apps that support their company’s unique workflows. Check out this case study to see how Janis Majors, head of special projects at M&O Partners, used AppSheet to build several custom applications without having any technical expertise. Misconception #3: No-code apps are not secure You’re probably wondering: If any average employee can build an app with a no-code platform, doesn’t that increase the chances that the apps they end up building might be full of security vulnerabilities? Not at all, as long as you are using a platform that includes built-in security features and extensive compliance certification. As you begin your search for a no-code platform, ask yourself what kinds of security requirements your organization has. For example, you might be interested in SOC 2 Type 1 compliance to ensure that your apps comply with existing internal policies and regulations or you might be looking to build a HIPAA-compliant solution to keep personally identifiable information secure. If security is a top priority, look for no-code platforms that include built-in security features. With the right solution, citizen developers can define the security model of the apps they build, require users to sign in, set authentication providers, and implement domain authentication, and more. Leading no-code platforms will also ensure that data is encrypted both at-rest and in-transit. With the right solution in place, you won’t have to worry about a third-party provider storing your data; your information will simply pass through their servers, and data will always sync from the original source. As you can see, no-code application platforms can be highly secure, and with the right solution in place, your team always has the ability to adjust security measures as needed. Misconception #4: IT will lose control over no-code apps Some IT leaders believe that they won’t have much oversight over apps created on no-code platforms. The fear is that no-code apps will lead to “shadow IT,” i.e., technology that is used without IT’s knowledge or permission. To address this concern, look for no-code platforms that give administrators tools to manage users, teams, apps, and compliance. In short, citizens developers build apps while IT manages and governs the release of those apps—IT retains the same control over no-code apps as they would have over any other apps in their software suite. Rethink What’s Possible with AppSheet AppSheet is the platform of choice for making secure, complex, enterprise-grade apps with minimal technical experience or training. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that AppSheet was named a leader in the 3Q18 Forrester Wave Report for mobile low-code platforms. More and more users are trying AppSheet, experiencing the app-building process for themselves, and enjoying great business outcomes because of it. Learn more about no-code development: Top Five Reasons Companies Are Turning to No-Code Development Platforms 7 Things to Look for in a No-Code Development Platform What is a No-Code Development Platform?  

5 Ways Custom Mobile Apps Increase Productivity

As businesses continually strive to lower costs and increase productivity, it comes as no surprise that more and more companies are investing in new technologies. Despite this, a recent report from McKinsey indicates that U.S. productivity growth has been steadily declining since 2004. The good news is that it’s possible to reverse that trend by using custom-built apps that are designed to support your company’s unique workflows while empowering on-the-go workers. Today’s mobile workforce needs apps that work well across all devices—phones, tablets, and laptops—while offering a seamless experience as employees move from one to the next. With the right custom mobile app in place, your team’s productivity will improve—even when your workers are out of the office. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five ways mobile apps help employees in all industries work more effectively.  1. Mobile apps increase employee engagement Employees become more engaged when they’re able to use modern tools that make their jobs easier and allow them to accomplish more. The importance of an engaged workforce can’t be overstated. According to Gallup, highly engaged teams are 21% more productive and 22% more profitable than their non-engaged counterparts. Studies also indicate that 70% of U.S. workers are unengaged at work—making them much more likely to be on the lookout for their next gig. On the flip side, 87% of engaged employees say they are unlikely to leave their employer. Since it costs more than $4,000 to replace an employee and takes an average of 42 days to fill a position, this has significant budgetary and productivity implications. A way to further increase engagement is by using a no-code development platform to empower your employees to build the custom apps they need. No-code platforms enable everyone on your team—even non-technical workers—to become citizen developers and participate in the app creation process. This approach increases engagement in two different ways: workflows become more efficient and employees learn how to use new tools. This is a big deal: A separate study from Gallup found that 87% of millennials highly value professional training and career growth in the workplace. Encouraging employees to participate in no-code mobile app creation not only satisfies these demands, it also directly benefits your company through digital transformation.  2. Mobile apps increase efficiency by eliminating mundane tasks There’s nothing an employee dreads more than having to repeat the same time-consuming tasks over and over again. According to IT Chronicles, office workers spend an average of 69 days each year on administrative tasks. Collectively, these wasted hours amount to an annual $5 trillion loss for companies around the world. How, specifically, can mobile apps increase efficiency? Building a custom mobile app enables organizations to collect, share and unify data to support different use cases. Employees no longer have to toggle between several spreadsheets to do their jobs. Instead, they can use a custom mobile app—which they might have even helped design. 3. Mobile apps reduce errors and improve production quality If your business still relies on a manual paper filing system, it’s time to consider upgrading. Swedish-based machine manufacturing giant Husqvarna recently used AppSheet to build a custom mobile app that digitalized inventory across its 150,000-square foot North American warehouse—home to over 35,000 SKUs. Prior to building with AppSheet, Husqvarna had 12 employees who were responsible for manually counting inventory and storing that data on paper.  Within eight months of using AppSheet, Husqvarna’s team created 41 unique apps. This led to productivity gains, more visibility into key metrics, fewer tracking errors, and increased employee engagement, among other benefits. 4. Mobile apps facilitate telecommuting and field technician productivity It’s no secret that employees today, and millennials in particular, expect more flexibility when it comes to working from home. In fact, experts predict that remote workers will account for 34–50% of the workforce by 2020. Research has shown that remote employees are actually more productive than their in-office counterparts. A recent Stanford study, for example, found that remote workers take less sick time, are less distracted, and are 50% less likely to leave their organizations.  However, if your business relies on employees filling out manual forms in the office—or if your employees are only able to access work-related files and documents from their work computers—they won’t be working remotely anytime soon. This also makes it harder to attract top talent, as remote working enables you to attract employees from all over the country—or even the world. Mobile apps enable employees to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and other key business tools from any connected device. In other words, employees can get their jobs done at any time from anywhere in the world. 5. Mobile apps increase productivity by connecting data In the past, organizations relied on several different software solutions to facilitate their day-to-day operations. The typical software suite might include tools to manage HR, accounting, inventory, supply chain, customer transactions, security, payroll, and more—all made by different vendors. Custom apps enable businesses to centralize all of this data—which means employees can access each system through a single interface. Research suggests that businesses with poor data quality lose 6% in revenue each year. Simply put, the more centralized your data is, the more accurate it will be—leading to greater productivity and profitability across your organization. Take Team Productivity to the Next Level with No-Code Apps Custom mobile apps help businesses realize significant productivity increases. These tools increase employee engagement—particularly when you empower your team to build their own custom apps. And they also make your company more efficient while reducing errors and streamlining communication.  Add it all up, and custom mobile apps save your business a lot of time and money, enabling you to improve productivity and reclaim countless hours by streamlining mundane tasks. That’s the ticket to a happier, more loyal workforce and a healthier bottom line.  

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

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