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PHOTO: Matt Popovich

Its been in the works for a while, but Mountain View, Calif.-Google has finally announced the general availability of App Maker, G Suite’s low code environment that that will enable digital workers build custom business apps. App Maker has been around since the end of 2016, but only organizations that are signed up to the Early Adopter Program have had access to it.

Now, though, according to a G Suite blog post, it is being made generally available making it easier for teams to improve digital workflows and processes. “Analysts estimate that the right custom mobile app can save each employee 7.5 hours per week. Yet, too few businesses have the means, let alone the resources, to invest time and effort in building custom apps. Why? Because their IT budget centers on big enterprise apps like CRM, ERP and SCM and beyond those priorities, IT executives’ attention focuses on security and governance,” Geva Rechav Product Manager at App Maker, wrote.

App Maker enables users drag-and-drop widgets around a user inface that can create apps that can be refined using scripts, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and JQuery content. Google has also been building it up since it was first launched and now offers a platform that is:

  • Open - App Maker now offers built-in support for Cloud SQL (GCP account required), offering high performance, scalability and convenience.
  • Fast - Responsive templates, samples, a drag-and-drop UI design and declarative data modeling make it easier for IT developers.
  • Connected -App Maker makes it easy to connect with the data and services enterprises need, all while making apps more powerful be it Gmail, Calendar or Sheets.You can also use Apps Script to access over 40 Google services, Google Cloud Platform and other third-party services that support JDBC and REST.
  • Managed - G Suite administrators now have visibility over the apps running in their organization including owners, usage metrics and OAuth permissions.

App Maker is now available to all G Suite Business and Enterprise customers, as well as G Suite for Education customers

Microsoft, Adobe Deepen Partnership

Adobe and Microsoft have also been busy and announced a deepened relationship earlier this week that will see Adobe integrating Adobe PDF technologies front and center into Office 365. This means that Office 365 users can create, manipulate, and view high-quality, secure PDFs across the online versions of Office 365, from the toolbar in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and SharePoint. Adobe has also said that it will deeply embed Sign with Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the next few weeks and begin hosting Adobe Sign on Microsoft’s Azure platform.

Ashley Still is vice president and general manager of Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Creative Cloud enterprise. She explained that the addition of PDFs to Office 365 is just another step in the depending relationship between the two companies.

She explained  that Adobe added its e-signature technology and a key component of Document Cloud to Office 365 last year and that within months of that announcement there were hundreds of organizations accessing that technology through Office 365. However, she said, that wasn’t enough for digital workers. “They need to deliver amazing digital customer journeys that onboard customers without the need for paper. A paper-based process is unlikely to be a great experience for anyone these days, unless you are giving away cash! And, our joint customers need to empower their organizations to streamline all document workflows, not just the subset of documents that require a signature, she wrote in a blog post.

There are literally dozens of use cases where PDFs will be useful in Office 365. She cites the example of a sales team that can now pull PowerPoint and PDF files together directly in SharePoint to create a new customer proposal, and even get that proposal signed without leaving SharePoint

Adobe has also upgraded Adobe Scan, Document Cloud’s free mobile scanning app that uses your smartphone camera to turn any paper document into a high-quality PDF. As a result, the app bow turns physical business cards into sharable digital contacts on iOS or Android smartphones.

The ongoing partnership between the two companies is offering digital workers all kinds of possibilities and with both working provide digital workers with the best work apps possible, it seems unlikely that the partnerships will stop here.

Kofax Develops Robotic Automation

Meanwhile, Irvine, Calif.-based Kofax has added artificial intelligence and machine learning to its Kapow Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software to build smarter robots. Kapow automates and digitally transforms a wide range of human and information intensive processes across front and back office operations.

It also allows users to develop and deploy smart robots that mimic human actions while driving improvement using AI and machine learning. There are a lot of improvements to this version of RPA, but they are all designed to improve the way Kapow robots interact across desktop software, traditional enterprise and browser-based systems and web sites. These interactions enable it to aggregate data, transforming it into actionable information, triggering responses, and communicating with other applications.

Kapow claims to have robots deployed across 600 enterprise customers, BPO providers and shared service centers around the world and is used across a wide range of use cases in banking, insurance, manufacturing, retail, logistics, government and other vertical markets. Kofax, you will remember, was bought by Lexmark in 2015, then sold on to Thoma Bravo in 2017.