The power of apps created without coding lies in the simplicity with which they bring innovation for companies and individuals alike. No-code platforms allow you to build crucial apps that would otherwise take months to build – as well as tons of resources. Some of the most common apps that you can craft with no-code are list apps.
Whether you’re an innovation manager at a large company looking for novel ways to digital transformation, a small business owner, or just a professional who wants to find new ways to work and organize daily life, list apps are a valuable asset that you can apply widely. The use and sharing of endless Excel files or Google Sheets can be difficult to operate with, as spreadsheets tend to have many versions, and can’t be properly viewed on mobile devices with small screens. List apps make working with your business data easier and smoother.
Such apps can be employed for the distribution and sharing of information, as well as for efficient collaboration between different team members. They speed up the collection of information from different parties and reduce the necessity for numerous calls and email exchanges.
With the help of Open as App, you can set up a list app to collect data in much quicker ways, as well as to ensure a faster and unimpeded flow of information. The actual building process is simple and straightforward.
In the sections below, you can check out a practical use of list apps in the innovation department of an investment bank, as well as get to know the exact steps you have to take to create your first no-code list app.
How an innovation manager benefits from the power of list apps – and how you can too
We recently introduced a case study about Miguel Salinas, an innovation manager at an investment bank. It explored how a professional like him can use Open as App. More specifically, by using the no-code platform, Miguel created a trend scouting app to help the innovation efforts at the bank he’s working at.
The challenges for innovation managers and forward-looking professionals
The challenges in the field of digital innovation that professionals like Miguel are numerous. They apply not only to innovation managers like him but also to various other stakeholders in small and large businesses that are striving for digital transformation.
First and foremost, Miguel is looking for the right solutions that will help his organization stay at the forefront of innovation. These new tools should bring a higher level of flexibility for the teams, as well as positively affect the bottom line.
Besides the business-level benefits that Miguel is looking at, he’s also seeking effective and practical ways to boost the digital skills of the rest of the staff. That’s essential for the overall innovation potential of the whole organization.
To collect new ideas and identify solutions that can meet these needs, Miguel attends various innovation forums and events, such as SaaStock. That’s a common strategy for innovation managers and business owners on the hunt for innovation.
But he stumbles upon new challenges in this process. While scouting for new tools and work concepts, Miguel needs to create his own system for organizing all the new data that he is collecting.
After each attended event, Miguel needs to record the data about intriguing startups that he has discovered. The information that he has to input includes name, contact person, phone, email, city, and country. Miguel also adds the technology category of the solution. Additionally, he wants to enter the finance stage of the startup and the release state of the product, which he needs as an indicator of how feasible its potential use appears to be. Miguel also wants to include which departments at his company may find the respective solution as useful and interesting. That’s a lot of data for each entry – and he needs all this information well-organized and shareable.
The traditional solution that has been accessible to most people until now is the classic Excel spreadsheet. It’s the go-to place for organizing data in day-to-day work. While it is undoubtedly one of the most useful and popular tools in the modern workplace, despite all its benefits it has its limitations – and Miguel experiences them first-hand.
The challenges with Excel or Google Sheets when organizing innovation ideas
Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheets are difficult to use on mobile devices because of the way that they represent the data. Reading and using the information on a small screen can turn into a nightmare. When you’re attending a huge event such as SaaStock, the last thing you want to deal with is scrolling through an endless spreadsheet on your phone. Instead, you need a flexible solution that works well on mobile.
The next important challenge when using a spreadsheet for running an innovation solutions database is the tedious sharing process. Collaboration gets difficult when you have to send updated versions or a reminder with a link of the same file over and over again to different stakeholders. This may happen a few times per day, resulting in endless piles of files that are disorienting and hard to navigate. Miguel and professionals like him need a fast and flexible solution for sharing data and receiving the input of other people in it.
Data security is yet another issue that pops up when collaborating with Excel databases. It can be tricky to relay sensitive company or contact information when sending files over email or chat platforms. There are limitations to the control of the privacy levels, and the data may need to exit the business’ digital premises. This is not an option for enterprises, as well as for many other companies. A safer solution is necessary instead, which can guarantee data security even for remote work.
Creating a trend scouting app without coding
In the case study that we explore, Miguel discovered a way that he can solve the issues with using Excel outlined above. His choice was to try out a no-code platform to create a list app. With its help, he figured out he can better organize, manage and share the data that he collects continuously from his scouting efforts.
For Miguel, this is a symbolic move. His work to promote innovation at his company starts with an innovative way to organize the research process necessary for digital transformation.
List apps creation process
With Open as App, Miguel was able to create a list app for his scouting data within 20 minutes. How did this work out?
The first step was to link his existing Excel spreadsheet with the no-code platform. It automatically analyzed the data in the file and presented the result. Miguel could immediately spot a red highlight. Open as App had identified that there were a couple of empty columns that were impeding the machine reading of the information. He could easily identify the issue, so he deleted the unnecessary columns.
The platform’s analysis now showed all the data. It even displayed drop-down menus for different categories, such as the technology category. Next, Miguel could choose the format of the app. Open as App suggested a ‘list’ format. He tried both ‘card list’ and ‘list’ options, and eventually went for the card list format.
Afterward, Miguel went on to tweak the organization of the data in the app. He could change the order of the columns, as well as the details in the menus. While experimenting around with the no-code platform, he discovered also that it can rework his Excel file in the format of an automated dashboard with an evaluation of his data.
After playing around with Open as App’s features, Miguel went on to publish his list app. With the QR code that he got, he instantly opened it on his smartphone and tested the app.
Sharing and working with list apps
On the next day, Miguel continued tweaking the app in order to finalize it and share it with his colleagues. He opened the Open as App dashboard and accessed his newly created app. Then he chose design features and colors so that the app matches the branding of his company.
When he was satisfied with the looks of it, Miguel shared the app with a small circle of colleagues to test it. He continued improving the app based on their feedback. For example, he added new fields in the app, such as appointment information and the next steps for each scouting entry.
The final step was that Miguel shared the app with the other management peers at his bank. He invited them for a group rollout through an email. They could easily open his scouting app on their smartphones within a few clicks, using the Open as App client app.
The essential features of the app meet the requirements of Miguel and his colleagues for ease of use, sharing capabilities, and security.
With the help of the app, his scouting efforts are now organized in a neat list tool that is interactive and sortable. Miguel and his teammates can review the products and companies that he has identified and added in the list in detail. The app displays the type of technology and the potential business case for each entry, such as productivity, time-saving, and cost savings, among others. It contains all the necessary data for handover to a business unit that has an interest in a specific solution, such as contact details and communication status.
The app updates automatically, whenever the Excel database is changed. The synchronization works both ways, so whenever there is a new input in the app, it’s also visible in the source file.
How to build list apps in no time with Open as App
If you want to thread on the path of Miguel Salinas and his experience with creating a list app without coding in no time, here are the basics about the app creation process with Open as App. Don’t miss out on our tips on planning and creating no-code apps as well.
How it works
You can use the no-code platform Open as App to transform and make the most of your business data, just like Miguel did with his innovation scouting. With its help, you can turn a list in Excel, Google Sheets, or a database into a mobile app with no coding involved.
You just need to link your source files to the platform, and it automatically creates an app based on the data in them. Open as App also enhances it with data analysis.
You can choose the exact format and design so that it best matches your needs. For example, you can select between a normal list and a card list with a details menu, a checklist, a schedule, or a map.
The app that you build can be used both online and offline. It boasts many functionalities that help your use of the list, such as sorting, grouping, filtering, in-app-calls, and a chart evaluation of your list that is automatically added.
Get started with the app creation
The step-by-step process of app building is simple and straightforward. It consists of the following:
- You first need to upload an Excel file, Google Sheets, or a database, link to a file from Google Sheets, OneDrive, Dropbox, and similar platforms, or log into your database via the Open as App dialog box.
- The platform automatically recognizes and analyzes your data and its structure. It reshapes it in the format of a list, indicating any additional logic that it has identified.
- Some fields may appear in red, which means that the platform has identified a problem with them. Usually, it’s a good idea to prepare your source files to be machine-readable, which means removing empty columns and duplicates, and similar clean-up activities.
- When you have established the readable data for the app, you can choose the exact list format that you prefer.
Design and add functionalities to your app
The next step is a creative one. It’s time to set the design of your app, which you can do with ease via the Open as App platform.
You can use different templates for its appearance, as well as choose the exact color palette. You are also able to alter its structure and content too. You can play around with tabs, elements, and images and arrange them in the best fitting way.
Besides the actual design and colors, you can also add extra features to your newly created app. They include:
- Maps based on any geolocation data in your Excel or Google Sheet
- Schedules and calendars
- Data filtering by user
Publish your app
When you have finalized the structure and design of your app, you can publish it, making it visible only for yourself. Then you can open it via the Open as App client app on your mobile device.
Once you’ve tested it and want to share it with more people, you can seamlessly distribute it to others. You can do that by setting the app sharing settings from private to public.
It’s your turn to create list apps
Miguel’s use case of creating a list app for his scouting innovation efforts is a great example of building a highly useful app without coding.
Are you ready to get started with your own app creation? Build your first list app in no time with our app creation wizard.