Miguel Salinas [name changed], an innovation manager for an investment bank, is attending SaaStock in search of startups that can help him achieve several goals at his bank. Miguel wants to increase the digital capacities of the company and is looking for startups that develop services for the purpose.
He just listened to Open as App’s pitch at the semi-finals and decided he would drop by their booth to find out more. He stops by and starts inquiring about their tool and its capabilities. As they demo the app creation platform for him, he’s focused on thinking how all of this could help him lead innovation at his company.
A multitude of app ideas pops up in his head. He’s already imagined dashboard apps for the management board but also apps for the staff in the branch, to provide clients with individual financial recommendations on the spot. Miguel also wants to create a type of list app that will help him in his role as an innovation manager to keep track of new and interesting companies he meets at SaaStock that can help him further the goal of increasing the bank’s digital capacities.
Of course, he’s also concerned about the security of the data, and whether the platform supports database integration. As it turns out, creating an app offers greater security for the data, by limiting access to the original spreadsheet, while at the same time offering greater efficiency and user-friendliness.
List apps are a frequent use case for Open as App. From simple contact lists to whole CRM-type apps, these are some of the most popular apps on our platform. As in the case of Miguel, this type of app can help in keeping track of companies that he wants to recommend to his management peers.
Here’s why Open as App has been useful to Miguel and how you can use it to create your own list app, for your own purposes.
Miguel’s Story: Increasing digital capacities and embracing change
Heading over to SaaStock, Miguel had several things in mind. Speaking to his bank’s CEO, Helen, the week before the event, they discussed a number of priorities that Miguel should focus on.
Helen told him: “We want our teams to be digital and our clients to believe in our digital competence. Yet, we still share and even print Excel files and waste time turning them into PDF reports. No way! I think we have a great chance to stand out, in particular with regards to digitizing and sharing company reports and adding mobile readiness to them.”
After their talk, Miguel made a short summary of the priorities that he, as the innovation manager, would focus on in the coming months and during his attendance at SaaStock. These included:
- Find solutions that help drive innovation at the bank and improve its competitive advantage
- Increase the bank staff’s overall level of digital skills
- Drive greater flexibility and faster results through digital solutions
- Achieve company culture change through networking with other companies and sharing best practices – invite people from other companies or visit them for a week
After Miguel met with Open as App at SaaStock, he decided he would give the platform a try over the weekend. His first goal was to create a trend scouting list app, something to help him keep track of the many startups he’d met and spoken to at the event.
The Challenge: Finding and keeping track of opportunities
Innovation management is an essential aspect of every enterprise’s functioning. As an innovation manager, Miguel must keep an overview of the capabilities in a company, and determine when and how to develop and upgrade these.
To do so, he must be aware of the various structures and how they enable or impede the development of new capabilities. He must also understand the company culture and how to make the best use of it, so as to succeed in implementing changes. Finally, he must develop a strategy that is aligned with the overall business goals and does not disrupt them unnecessarily.
Scouting for opportunities to develop a company is a central aspect of Miguel’s job. How to best collect and analyze data about such opportunities is a frequent challenge that Miguel faces, and typically Excel lends itself as the most immediate solution.
Why using a spreadsheet can impede innovation
Of course, when scouting for trends and opportunities, for an innovation manager like Miguel it all starts with a spreadsheet. Data must be gathered and ordered. Unfortunately, while it is a great tool for keeping records, Excel isn’t so handy when it comes to keeping an overview of those records, maintaining them, and recognizing opportunities at a glance.
This is one of Miguel’s personal challenges which he is determined to resolve as soon as possible, so as to address the issues he and Helen discussed. Moreover, he also recognizes that the widespread use of spreadsheets or PDF reports created from them in the bank makes processes clumsy, drags out meetings, makes collaboration inefficient, and compromises data security.
An app, on the other hand, would retain the tight security standards at the bank while allowing for much greater efficiency in working with the data, because it is so easy and convenient to use. So he is also determined to see if Open as App can’t itself become one of the tools that will drive innovation at the bank, not just for him personally.
With all of this in mind, Miguel sets out to create his first app with Open as App over the weekend.
The Solution: Creating a trend scouting app
It’s Saturday morning and Miguel sits down to give Open as App a try. His wife isn’t happy about him working on the weekend, as he’s been away all week. But to both their surprise, it only takes Miguel 20 minutes to create his app from start to finish, including its layout and design.
He imports his spreadsheet list of interesting startups and tech solutions he’s recently encountered into Open as App. The spreadsheet is immediately recognized by the platform, along with all its different categories and various cell formats. Instantly, Miguel has a prototype of his app and only needs to rearrange columns, select extra features like in-app-calls, or allowing users to edit fields and he changes the look of his app.
Seeing how easy and fast it is for him to create an app, Miguel shoots off an email to his team and management to share the app. To him, Open as App offers a solution to both of his challenges – creating a good list app, as well as introducing a new tool to improve digital capabilities at the bank.
Miguel’s app is met with a lot of support and enthusiasm and within days he invites Open as App to the bank’s internal innovation days to present the platform. He also sets up a demo project for the head of sales because of the potential Open as App holds for the sales team.
Why use Open as App?
Miguel’s challenges included creating an app to assist him in driving innovation as well as finding digital solutions for the bank. Open as App helped him tackle both of these challenges for the following reasons:
- Easy to use and understand – Open as App does not require users to have any coding skills or knowledge whatsoever. This makes it highly accessible and instantly usable while creating only a minimum of disruption to the bank’s digital culture.
- Provides immediate results – Apps created with the platform are immediately ready for roll-out. As many of Open as App’s case studies show, the adoption of the platform unleashes employees’ creative powers in unanticipated ways. Users quickly become proficient in creating apps. In some cases, this has translated into an efficiency gain of reducing data preparation from 3 weeks to 3 hours.
- Resolves long-standing issues – Creating an app helps protect data and reduce the amount of shadow IT, such as the proliferation of countless copies of the same spreadsheet. Moreover, with an app, data cannot become corrupt because the app does not grant access to the original data source – this is only accessible to admin users.
- Flexible and scalable – Open as App is incredibly flexible and can be put to many uses – from lists to calculators, to financial forecast and reporting apps, the possibilities are vast. It is also scalable and can be put to use both by individual employees, for their own daily needs and tasks, as well as on the level of teams or even a whole company.
- Offers one environment for apps – If apps are created individually and by different external developers, this requires them to synchronize how they document their code. This also means that any app can present an unforeseen security risk. With Open as App, this problem is resolved because the app environment is already provided, and the platform is set up only once.
- Keeps established ways of working – Open as App does not require people to change the way they’re working. To work with the platform, you still need to use spreadsheets. With the help of the app creation platform, you can simply make the end result much more efficient, safe, and easy to use. In other words, work habits and routines are only improved but not changed.
All of these advantages are applicable regardless of the type of app you want to create. Miguel created a list app for himself, but his colleagues used Open as App to resolve their own challenges. The only condition for using the app creation platform is to have structured data in a spreadsheet or a database.
Features of Miguel’s list app
When creating his list app, Miguel wanted to include all the relevant data that he needed to assess the trends and tech solutions he was following. His idea for the app was that it should help him access and work with all the relevant information in an easier and more fluid way. Here are some of the key features that he included in his app:
- Company list and data – a tab that lists all companies or solutions that Miguel is interested in, and provides detailed information for each one of the them
- Data categories – companies are categorized and can be ordered by the specific field they operate in, their size and type, etc.
- Business targets – Miguel has a separate field that specifies the specific business targets that he wants to meet in relation to each company – e.g. increase productivity, save costs, accelerate business processes.
- Personal notes – the app has a separate field for Miguel’s personal remarks about the company, their product, how their meeting went, and more. He has the option of choosing whether to keep these notes private or make them public to his colleagues who also have access to the app.
- Internal feedback – this section of the app is intended for data collection – it stores information about the level of interest shown within the bank for a certain solution, who is interested, of what use that solution would be to them, etc.
- Next steps – here Miguel can change the status of the progress he has made with a certain company, and what is coming up next. That might include getting in touch, setting a meeting, trying a demo of their product, or something else.
With this app, Miguel has all his list of innovation possibilities directly on his mobile device. This is particularly useful and important when he visits the next summit. There he can input new information on the go – something that would be very difficult to do with a spreadsheet on a mobile device. Moreover, the app also provides him with an instant evaluation of the data through charts and graphs.
How was Miguel’s list app created?
The primary requirement for Miguel to create his app was to have all his data in one spreadsheet, organized and structured in a consistent way. This included all the charts and graphs he wanted to have in his app, as well as all the categories of different data, and how they relate to each other.
Since Miguel had been keeping all this data in a spreadsheet already, there was little to be worked on the data itself and all he needed to do was to upload the spreadsheet to Open as App and perform the following steps:
- Upload his spreadsheet to the platform.
- Select a ‘list app’ layout.
- Let the platform analyze his list and then select those columns which he wanted to be able to view and/or edit in his app.
- Structure and configure his app according to his needs and to make usability as easy as possible.
- Select any charts and graphs from his spreadsheet he wanted to have included in the app.
- Publish the app, try it out, and share it with his colleagues at the bank.
- Implement edits to the app to improve its functionalities, and start using it right away.
These steps are all it took for Miguel to create his app in about 20 minutes. Yet, this minor investment in time has a big payoff for him as now he is able to keep track of all his ideas and projects for innovation at the bank with very little effort. His app is always accessible on his phone, and he has all the latest information available at hand.
Moreover, his data is securely stored, inaccessible by anybody who Miguel hasn’t shared the app with. The same goes for the apps created by his colleagues which now allow them to service clients in a faster and much more efficient way or to share reports internally with less effort and in real-time.
Would you like to try creating your own list app? Thanks to our Free plan, you can get started with Open as App straight away, and build your first app within minutes. If you’re happy with the result, you can get access to more functionalities and features by subscribing to our Basic our Enterprise plans.