Whether we’re aware of it or not, most of our lives function on an if-this-then-that basis. If it’s cold outside, turn up the heat at home.
About the author
Amit Goldenberg, Head of Technology Partnerships & Alliances, monday.com.
If the new customer signed, send a celebratory email. However, technology hasn’t always let us customize our processes to fit exactly how we like things done. That is, until no-code / low-code mobile apps entered the scene.
The evolution of apps: from fun to functional
Since the debut of the Apple App Store, you can chart the evolution of apps through three basic phases, as outlined by Matthew Panzarino, co-editor of TechCrunch.
First, we had apps that were built to make your device multi-functional. Your smartphone is no longer just a phone, it is an address book, a calendar, a camera. Once these apps caught on, developers started creating apps for any and every niche use case, vying for user attention and download space – from CandyCrush to a Virtual Lighter app. The final and current phase is focused on service and real value, where apps are not necessarily where we spend our time (apart from a select few), instead their value is in making our lives easier.
Much of this service phase has to do with taking those initial practical functionalities – the camera or the calendar – and enriching them with customizable elements to make your experience seamless. Whereas in 2010, you might have downloaded an app to help remind you of all of your work deadlines, today your calendar sends an automated notification gently reminding you – “Don’t forget to prepare for ‘Q3 results’ on Thursday”. The world of apps is an unrecognized hero, changing the way we work.
If you build (apps), users will come
As the appetite for apps grows, many software companies are turning to a modular no-code / low-code framework to give employees even more control – by helping them create apps (and thus workflows) that are unique to their team, their days, their projects.
These frameworks give anyone (yes – anyone, not just developers) customizable building blocks they can use to build complete workflows based on their needs. That means that instead of just a calendar app, and instead of a notification reminding you of an upcoming meeting, you can use a series of if-this-then-that functionalities to prompt “when a deadline is 3 days away, add a 2 hour meeting labeled ‘prep-time’ to my schedule ”.
This complete autonomy over how your apps function not only provides efficiency, empowerment and productivity to our work lives, but is also a great investment into developer resources – no longer is the IT department bogged with personalized requests from departments, but can focus on mission- critical tasks.
Sourcing innovation through app marketplaces
Once users have been given these building blocks that enable them to build any workflow, what you see is an outpouring of creative, varied, and specialized use cases made by real users who are experts in their field.
On the employees’ side, access to these apps offer plug-and-play solutions to even the most specialized workflows. And when developers are given the resources they need to develop apps with little to no barrier to entry, it’s easy to add them to the marketplace so anyone can access them – and sometimes even monetize that usage. That means that once a software has built a no-code / low-code framework, their app marketplace becomes kind of a catch-all for robust use cases built by indie developers, partners, or even customers.
We’ve seen this on our own marketplace at monday.com – from embedded views of complimentary apps like Figma, to completely new functionality like professional document generation, our users have made our marketplace a breeding ground for innovation. Today, the monday app marketplace has 100 custom apps built by tech partners, customers, and indie developers. And we are not alone: companies like Slack and Shopify have also proven the value of their app marketplace.
Slack launched their App Directory in 2015, and since then it has grown to house over 2,000 apps, built by their community of over 600,000 active developers and users. Slack saw so much value in their App Directory, they even launched an $ 80 million VC fund to support these apps-turned-companies.
In Shopify’s case, as of 2020 their app store has more than 6,000 apps, offering Shopify merchants a variety of ways to improve their business operation and their shoppers ’experience. An integration with WhatsApp which sends abandoned cart messages straight to consumers is an example of one of the ways these app integrations are offering Shopify merchants an easy way to nurture their customers.
If the name of the game is user-empowerment, then no-code / low-code functionality is perfectly situated to become the next big thing in software. With little to no developer resources needed, it’s no wonder some of the world’s largest software creators are looking to modular software to give users the power to call the shots (and build the apps).
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