Keeping employees in the loop on important company news and information is key to helping them make the best possible decisions, no matter what their job role. At Star Flooring & Decorating, operations manager Drew Voge implemented a Company Announcements app that delivers important information to all Intuit QuickBase users — using the updated QuickBase app Home pages to deliver timely information.
The Company Announcements App is one of more than 250 apps available for free in the QuickBase Exchange. In this interview, Voge shares more about why he developed the app, who it's for, and why he chose to share it with the rest of the QuickBase community.
Tell us about Star Flooring & Decorating
Our company provides design, estimating and installation of flooring and tile products for the new home builders in the Oklahoma City market. My role here is in Operations Management, where much of my focus is on process development and improvement. There are few tools better suited to process development than QuickBase, which is how I got into QuickBase app development.
What does the Company Announcements app do?
The Company Announcements App is a very simple method to allow managers to provide announcements or other communications to all of our employees. These communications would include things that aren't in the scope of what occurs within our various QuickBase apps themselves — in other words, it isn't information that would be generated in a QuickBase report.
Why did you develop the app?
In our business, we've really been working to transform our users' QuickBase dashboards into home pages for everything work-related — in other words, a "one stop shop" for all the communications and resources they need to do their jobs. Beyond the reports they use from our QuickBase apps, we've been building in things like links to other company resources, a repository for company documents, and other resources. Our goal is that their QuickBase dashboard be the first page our users log into when they arrive at work, and is open on their desktop all day.
Some of the tools included in the recent dashboard update fit right in with what we are trying to accomplish. The new link bars for outside URLs and the ability to embed web pages allow us to incorporate many parts of our business that exist outside of QuickBase right into the application.
Another goal with our QuickBase apps is limiting email whenever we can. Along those lines, we wanted a simple way for management to quickly place announcements or notes that would appear at the top of their page each time an employee logged in. My goal was to make that as simple as possible for the management users who would utilize the function.
Like so many things in QuickBase, it was simple to develop, quick to deploy, and is very easy to use each day. All our managers have to do is click a button on their homepage titled "Update Announcements," and change the text in a single box. When they click "Save", their announcements appear on every user's homepage. It doesn't get much simpler than that.
We are going to start using multiple announcement fields in our QuickBase apps. This will allow us to deploy department-specific announcements that only appear for certain user groups, as well as one for all users for things like benefit enrollment deadlines and upcoming events. One of our managers wants to start putting in "quotes of the day" for his department. Really, it's a blank slate that has multiple uses.
What motivated you to share it to the Exchange?
So many of the things I've found useful in our applications I got from other users. Many of these came from the community forums where QuickBase users share ideas and help other users accomplish what they need. Even though it's so simple, I thought there might be someone else out there that could utilize something like the "Company Announcements" app.
Who would find it useful?
I think just about any organization that views their dashboard pages like we do could find an app like this useful. If you find you need to send out email "blasts" to everyone in your organization to communicate information, you might find something like this more useful.
Why did you set it up as an "example" style app?
For me, I look at almost every app that is added to the app exchange. The vast majority of the time, the app itself isn't one that we would need. However, I'm always looking for ideas we could use. Different developers come up with new and different ways to solve unique problems or requirements they might have. Even if our industry isn't remotely the same, often the problems are similar and so are the solutions.
Since the Exchange opened, I've already found several concepts that I'll be incorporating into our applications in some manner. For many developers like myself, the concept of "example" apps have more usefulness than full applications. It's easier to see how you could incorporate them into your applications.
What advice do you have for other app builders?
Utilize the resources that are available within the QuickBase community. Each time I think I've found a unique problem or situation, I'll find someone who solved something similar. When I first started developing applications, I would struggle for days trying to solve a problem or develop a solution for a user's need. I've since learned that if the solutions isn't obvious to me right away, I go to the forum or app exchange and see what other users have done.
There have been many times where I've come across solutions that I wasn't even looking for. Luckily it is easy to update and change QuickBase applications, as I re-worked many aspect of ours based on concepts other users shared with me. There are so many helpful and creative people in the QuickBase community that are willing to share their knowledge and experience. It's a great resource for developers.
Intuit QuickBase is a cloud-based workspace for customizable business applications that helps teams work smarter by automating tasks and workflows and delivering real-time insights through visual reports. More than 450,000 business users rely on Intuit QuickBase to improve productivity.