This week I had the chance to attend a workshop led by MicroStrategy, the Business Intelligence company, to learn how to build an app in no longer than a few hours. To be honest, this sounded a little bit upbeat to me: evaluating app features is one thing, but developing them myself in only a few hours?
After a short introduction into the company’s worldwide operations, products and services the attendees were handed out a kind of script, which should lead us through the different steps for becoming a true app developer. Still skeptic, I started with the first task. Following the instructions, I created an app homepage on the personal computer, which immediately showed up on my tablet.
Excited from this success, I continued with clicking, dragging and dropping, typing and sizing. It reminded me a lot on my decades old experience with building a house, a farm or a car with my Lego kit. In the end I was entirely puzzled by this genius piece of digital work I was responsible for: a retail shop app containing a comprehensive product list, filter options, a barcode scanner, an interactive map with all of ‘my’ stores and the respective sales figures, multimedia documentary as well as a calendar containing all of my meetings and cool features like the app showing up different content when changing the orientation of the device.
At the end of the day I came to the conclusion that it’s not only possible to develop a mobile app without coding skills, but that it’s easy, fast and even fun – through the right platform, of course. This is why software vendors that offer such a modular approach are gaining substantial ground. Another example that is pushing a similar approach is banking software vendor Avaloq who is also increasingly relying on a building kit approach. This market is still in its infancy and it will be well worth keeping an eye on it in the coming months. It also shows why apps are such a fast and customized weapon in the fight for new clients and market share. Within only days you can change your offer, adjust it to new customer needs or respond to your competitor’s last move.