You can now listen to this article
I was first introduced to programming as a freshman in college when I took a course on COBOL. Those are the days when I had to use punch cards to create our program. In the late 90s, I used a program called Clipper to develop applications using Ashton-Tate’s dBASE III. Both experiences made me realize I wasn’t that good at programming, nor did I like it very much.
Yet, being able to create computer programs to solve particular problems can be a helpful skill.
Today, it’s easier than ever to have an idea and be able to create a customized programmatic solution.
Amazon Web Services recently announced a new platform called Amazon Honeycode that is democratizing programming. Honeycode is a fully managed service that allows anyone with an account to quickly build powerful mobile and web applications – with no programming required.
Amazon Honeycode empowers anyone to be able to create web-based and mobile apps. It could be applications to track and manage things like process approvals, event scheduling, customer relationship management, user surveys, to-do lists, and content and inventory tracking. Honeycode would allow you to get rid of error-prone methods like emailing spreadsheets or documents or hiring and waiting for developers to build costly custom applications.
Amazon Honeycode allows any business to use a simple visual application builder to create highly interactive web and mobile applications. These applications are backed by a powerful AWS-built database to perform tasks like tracking data over time and notifying users of changes, routing approvals, and facilitating interactive business processes.
Using Amazon Honeycode, customers can create applications that range in complexity from a task-tracking application for a small team to a project management system that manages a complex workflow for multiple teams or departments. Customers can get started creating applications in minutes, build applications with up to 20 users for free, and only pay for the users and storage for larger applications. To get started with Amazon Honeycode, visit https://honeycode.aws.
Spreadsheets as a Band-Aid
Many teams try to use simple spreadsheets as a Band-Aid to manage these tasks. Still, spreadsheets lack true database-like capabilities to sort and filter data, make collaboration with others hard to do, and are challenging to use on mobile devices. Businesses try to solve for the static nature of spreadsheets by emailing them back and forth, but all of the emailing compounds the inefficiency because email is slow, doesn’t scale, and introduces versioning and data syncing errors.
As a result, you might want to have a custom application built, but the demand for custom programming often outstrips developer capacity, creating a situation where teams either need to wait for developers to free up or have to hire expensive consultants to build applications. What usually happens instead is that these applications just never get built. The chasm between using spreadsheets and building custom applications creates a situation where customers often experience unnecessary inefficiency, waste, and inaction.
Honeycode provides the ability to create applications using the simplicity and familiarity of a spreadsheet, but with the data management capability of a database, the collaboration and notifications common in business applications, and a genuinely seamless web and mobile user experience.
Amazon Honeycode relies on the familiar interface of a spreadsheet, but under the hood, it offers the power of an AWS-developed database, so customers can quickly sort, filter, and link data together to create data-driven, interactive applications. Users can easily create dynamic views and dashboards that are updated in real-time as the underlying data changes – something that is hard to do even with powerful relational databases.
Applications built using Amazon Honeycode leverage the full power and scale of AWS and easily scale up to 100,000 rows in each workbook, without users having to worry about building, managing, and maintaining the underlying hardware and software. Amazon Honeycode does all of this under the covers by automating the process of building and linking the three tiers of functionality found in most business applications (database, business logic, and user interface). You can then deploy fully interactive web and mobile applications to end-users so you can focus on creating great apps without having to worry about writing code or scaling infrastructure.
Templates to Get Started Fast
Templates allow you to get up and running even faster. Current templates available include:
- Budget Approval
- Content Tracker
- Customer Tracker
- Demo Schedule
- Event Management
- Field Service Agent
- Simple Survey
- Simple to Do
- Team Task Tracker
You can get started by selecting a pre-built template, where the data model, business logic, and applications are pre-defined and ready-to-use (e.g., PO approvals, time-off reporting, inventory management, etc.). Or, you can import data into a blank workbook, use the familiar spreadsheet interface to define the data model, and design the application screens with objects like lists, buttons, and input fields. Builders can also add automation to their applications to drive notifications, reminders, approvals, and other actions based on conditions.
Once the application is built, you click a button to share it with team members. Using Amazon Honeycode, you can quickly and easily build multi-user, scalable, and collaborative web and mobile applications that allow them to act on the data that would otherwise be locked away in static spreadsheets.
How can an insurance agency use the Honeycode platform? Let your imagination be your guide. One place to start is to look at what spreadsheet you are currently using to track information. Would the functionality be enhanced by creating a web and mobile app? Here are a couple of quick thoughts for where you might be able to start:
Prospect tracking — Design an application where the producer can enter new prospect information.
Prospect grading — Some agencies use a grading system to determine the quality of a new prospect. In a previous agency, we had a 14-point questionnaire every producer had to fill out for new prospects, which gave us a rating.
Renewal processing — Some agencies use Excel spreadsheets to track the renewal process, including marketing activity, what carriers are quoting, etc.
You can get started creating applications in minutes, build applications with up to 20 users for free, and only pay for the users and storage for larger applications.
- Basic — 2,500 rows/workbook with up to 20 members
- Plus — 10,000 rows/workbook with up to 20 members + $10 per month for each additional member
- Pro — 100,000 rows/workbook with up to 20 members + $30 per month for each additional member
Getting Started with Honeycode
It is easy to get started. Visit the Honeycode Builder website, and create an account.
Is your agency using another no-code platform to create custom applications?