Six Major Takeaways from Empower 2024

Written By: Ray Waldron
May 13, 2024
8 min read

Empower 2024 is officially wrapped! We had a great time engaging with customers, speaking with leaders in complex industries, and sharing insights and updates from company leadership. The day was chock full of engaging discussions on where Quickbase is helping businesses of all industries achieve operational efficiency and slash their Gray Work.

Here’s a recap of the top highlights from this year’s conference.

Takeaways from our CEO

With Empower officially in its 10th year, CEO Ed Jennings shared how work has evolved over the last decade, and where it’s heading in the future. Point solutions that once aided businesses are now creating new instances of Gray Work and data fragmentation. Businesses now operate in a world where work is Dynamic – multi-stakeholder, complex and flexible – and must be able to adapt.

The businesses who will succeed in this new era of Dynamic Work, Ed shared, are those who can recognize the changing nature of work and the outdated way that legacy solutions work. Businesses need to see the challenges these old systems present, such as information silos that can’t communicate with one another and lack visibility into critical data, as an opportunity to find a new path forward.

Rather than being bogged down by the old way of getting work done, businesses across industries have a chance to embrace change and challenge the status quo of work. By embracing Dynamic Work Management, these organizations can overcome barriers to efficiency by connecting disparate datapoints, knocking down silos, and creating a path towards a wholly connected workplace.

New product features powered by AI and mobile

Our product team also debuted exciting new features available now on the Quickbase platform. Leaders from the product team have listened extensively to customers to learn their pain points and where we can improve as an organization.

We believe technology should make life easier, not create new roadblocks, and our latest updates reflect that creed. Quickbase is now easier to use, through a deep integration of AI. The AI Smart Builder tool can now enable your organization to build an app through a chat function. This allows users to tell Quickbase what their challenges are, what they’re trying to solve, and how they want to solve it. Smart Builder will then leverage the inputs, alongside existing data and insights, and deliver a tailormade app with just a few clicks.

Additionally, we announced a beta version of a tool that will enable users to build reports and pipelines through Smart Builder’s chat function. This means you can ask Smart Builder to develop a brand-new report or a pipeline with the same ease as building a new application. This functionality extends to smart recommendations as well, with the AI suggesting new reports or pipelines you haven’t considered that use already-existing data and applications.

For those customers who have challenges with field workers, we’ve also expanded the functionality of our FastField integration. Form creation and automatic table inserts are now tighter, creating a more seamless experience for FastField and Quickbase users.

By leaning into AI, we’re evolving the Quickbase platform to be even more flexible and intuitive than ever before. This empowers workers, regardless of technical coding ability, to be able to solve the problems they face on a daily basis. Those closest to the problem can be the ones to solve it.

Making Quickbase Simpler

Quickbase always learns from our customers. and we’ve been able to continue evolving our platform to better meet their needs. One area that we sought to improve upon is accessibility and ease-of-use of the platform.

For those creating solutions and applications with Quickbase, we wanted to make the process as smooth and intuitive as possible. As such, we’ve made some key upgrades that make the platform modernized and easier to engage with.

We’ve created a bigger surface to work with, maximizing screen space, enabling users to use more space to input their data into the platform. The dashboards are even more polished and refined for users, with new spacer widgets that allow you to be even more precise with the layout of the application. Tabs have also moved from the bottom to the top, making them more visible and easier to access. Performance updates have also been implemented to make Quickbase dashboards faster than ever.

Additionally, a new control in the permissions page of the admin console allows for better app governance. This allows for administrators to more easily test out new navigations and functionalities before pushing them live to end users.

Finally, we’ve made updates to our application lifecycle management. Solutions APIs are here for our customers, providing the peace of mind IT needs while business users innovate.

AI at the Forefront

AI is having a profound impact on the way enterprises get their work done today. Across industries, we’re seeing businesses begin deeper integrations with AI as they look to streamline operations and create new efficiencies.

However, much like the deployment of cloud a decade ago, a lack of planning of can kill an AI integration before it starts. When cloud software took hold in the enterprise, businesses were broadly deploying it without a thoughtful hand, leading to inconsistencies and lack of clarity as to which datasets and systems would be hosted in the cloud. With AI today, many businesses are deploying these systems without careful consideration for which use cases it will assist with.

Additionally, if businesses are layering AI systems on top of datasets or information that isn’t high quality, the output of AI usage will be of little benefit to the user. Organizations can’t afford to just run to the shiniest new technology available – rather, they need to spend the time identifying where in the business it can help the most, determining which parts of the use case AI can support, and then spend the time cleaning the data and getting it ready for AI to sift through and analyze.

We’re seeing a rise in businesses using AI for specific use cases such as digital personal assistants, customer relationship management, and assisting security vendors with preventing future cyberattacks. These areas represent use cases where businesses have big databases of information that AI can easily work through, making it easier to comb through data and provide recommendations for end users.

Complex Industries Face Daunting Challenges

During Empower, we spoke with leaders in complex industries like manufacturing and construction who shared their challenges in their respective fields. A key takeaway is that the workforce is shifting. Those entering the workforce in these industries were born in a digital-first era, but are going to work in areas that are still largely dominated by manual processes that slow down progress.

Manufacturing experts Anthony Offredi and Freddie Sabbs spoke at length about the shift towards embracing technology as a change agent, rather than seeing it as a barrier. If data is being stored in spreadsheets and other legacy systems, manufacturers have to be data scientists and Excel macro experts, rather than doing the job they’re there to do. This creates a situation where effective work is getting bogged down by searching for data and tools, killing productivity in the process.

Those in manufacturing and construction are hungry for change, and want to better see, connect, and control their data. By knocking down data silos and eliminating Gray Work in their day-to-day processes, those working in these fields can better understand the data they work with every day. This leads to more efficient ways of working, getting jobs done quicker, and in a less disjointed way.

Speaking of Gray Work…

Gray Work Index Shows Frustrated Teams

We also spent time at Empower highlighting our recent Gray Work Index, which focuses on how work is getting done today, and what roadblocks exist to productive, efficient work.

One of the biggest takeaways from the report is that over half of respondents say that it’s harder than ever before to be productive in their day-to-day operations. Slow, manual processes like email and spreadsheets are causing menial, repetitive tasks to get in the way of meaningful work.

Additionally, the report found that teams in complex industries also tend to create shortcuts for getting their work done. The rub here is that these shortcuts often aren’t company sanctioned, and make data manager’s lives difficult when it comes time for reporting. This results in teams needing to sift through disparate data sources just to make sense of how the business is operating from various tools and sources.

By unifying everything in a single platform, businesses in any industry can cut through the Gray Work and ensure their employees are being their most productive.


We’re thrilled with all of the fantastic participation from our attendees, and hope you can check out some of the sessions if you missed any you were hoping to see. As we continue moving forward, Quickbase believes that every decision behind a project or task has real-world impacts, and we’re there to help streamline that process to make your work as productive and meaningful as possible.

Picture of Associate Content Marketing Manager Ray Waldron set against a lochinvar background
Written By: Ray Waldron

Ray Waldron is an Associate Content Marketing Manager at Quickbase.