How to Tell if You Need a Custom App

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Michael Reuter

Sometimes during a 360 Sync demo or conversation, a light bulb will go off in a customer’s head: Applied Software made 360 Sync from scratch . . . what else can they build? See the Applied blog for “What does it take to make a world-class app?

For every new app, the basic Applied workflow goes like this:

  1. What is the problem you’re having?
  2. How do you work around it now?
  3. How would you want to do it in a perfect world?
  4. When do you need it?

Broken Workflows

Do you have a broken workflow in your company? You may have no idea how to fix it, and you may not exactly know what you want, but you do know that what you’re doing is awful and should be done better and easier.

The Applied Software development team will ask you many questions and to figure out what is going wrong, how often it happens, what your frustrations are, why you feel the workflow is stupid and outdated. Don’t worry if you feel like you’re all over the place during this phase, because the important thing is to identify the root of the problem. Instead of demonstrating a workflow for your professional satisfaction and enjoyment, the Applied team gives you an opportunity to get all your frustrations out there. 

Workarounds

Every company with broken workflows either has to figure out workarounds or abandon the process. If abandoning isn’t an option, how do you take care of this issue right now? What do you hate about it? What’s your biggest time-killer? What do you think could be done better? What parts do you like? Would you rather use another software or workflow, but there’s a piece missing?

Each step in a workaround is important – each pick and each click. If it’s clunky or slow or embarrassing or frustrating, that’s okay. What the team is looking for is the honest truth about what is working and what isn’t. They may even ask if they can record your workflow for review later. These will be the most fruitful interactions, because the more the team understands your situation, the more they can use their experience to determine where and how it can be improved.

Although you may think the solution is obvious to a developer, usually it isn’t.

Solutions

Once the team knows what you hate, or what isn’t working, we’ve taken our last big bite of brussels sprouts. Now it’s time to start thinking about dessert.

How do you think your problem would be best solved? What would save you the most time or cause the least headache or give you more confidence in your process or workflow?

Even if you don’t have suggestions for a solution, the give and take of this process may produce an “aha” moment that leads to the solution.

Manual or Automated?

Applied had a client who was changing the way they managed data. They wanted to move the data from their servers and place it on the cloud so that everyone had access to it whether they were at their computer or in the field or on the road.

Doing this without any help would have been a completely manual process – going into each project from the last decade or more and manually updating files from project to project. It would have been a monumental, time consuming, frustrating task for a huge group of people.

The client brought their need to Applied Software. They were interested in automating using 360 Sync, but they needed it to work with SharePoint. They were planning to transition to SharePoint in a few months and needed something to move files from their server to SharePoint and Autodesk BIM 360. Eventually, they just wanted to move files between SharePoint and BIM 360 as they phased out their local servers.

Teamed up with the client, we agreed to build the SharePoint integration, applied the right resources to the project and expedited development. We tested it internally and with the client. They suggested a few tweaks and improvements, which were implemented to better fit their workflow. The solution was delivered on time and fit their needs.

Clients come to Applied with problems to solve. The team diagnoses the problems and solves them quickly. If you have a broken workflow, you’re not alone. Partner with the problem solvers at Applied Software and get a solution that fits your individual needs.

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