This Philippine company wants to ‘Uberize’ app development
Published 22 February 2021
In an innovation of sorts, businesses can now build apps for customers with no coding skills needed.
BlastAsia, a Philippine software engineering company recently announced the launch of Steer, a platform which would allow businesses to develop apps for customers with no prior knowledge of coding required. Additionally, it also allows customers to order and check the status of their apps directly from their smartphones.
This platform, therefore, is a transformation of the traditional Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, “Uberizing” SaaS.
The term “Uberize” comes from ride-hailing app Uber, it refers to a business strategy where a service is carried out using mobile technology.
“We saw a gap between what businesses need and how they can adapt technology to suit those needs,” explained Arup Maity, President and CEO of BlastAsia.
“We envisioned Steer to become a powerful go-to platform for any business that relies on its customers placing a phone call to get a service to go digital,” he added.
With Steer, customers are also able to manage workflows and records via their phones, tablets, and laptops, all of which are powered by cloud technology. The company collaborated with tech titan Microsoft’s cloud computing arm, Azure for said cloud service, spending three years on the platform.
“Azure is one of the easiest cloud technologies that we’ve come across,” said Roy Saberon, Head of IT at BlastAsia.
“It’s also one of the most comprehensive in terms of all the different products that you can find in one place. The help we received from Microsoft in building Steer was instrumental. They are very responsive,” he added.
Cloud to power for SMEs
To bring their vision to life, BlastAsia needed a powerful cloud service to support its users. So, it went to Microsoft Azure, building from its experience as a Microsoft Gold Partner for Application Development and Cloud Platform. It initially used the free version of Azure to understand how to take advantage of Microsoft cloud technologies.
“Azure is one of the easiest cloud technologies that we’ve come across,” says Roy Saberon, IT Head at BlastAsia. “It’s also one of the most comprehensive in terms of all the different products that you can find in one place.”
Maity added that in building Steer, BlastAsia used different tools and services such as Service Bus, Cosmos DB, and Cognitive Services. Azure allowed us to choose from a range of the latest technologies for Steer., he added.
It took three years to build Steer into a dynamic, flexible and user-friendly tool that allows businesses to digitize their operations. Throughout the development process, BlastAsia worked closely with Microsoft.
Microsoft provided full support and with the depth of knowledge on Microsoft products and use, BlastAsia launched Steer at the right time—right before COVID-19. Today, Steer is helping businesses go digital and adapt to work-style changes triggered by the health crisis.
“The help we received from Microsoft in building Steer was instrumental. They are very responsive,” says Saberon.
BlastAsia hopes to democratize digitization across businesses both big and small. It designed Steer to let non-programmers easily build customer self-service apps without paying high costs and investing too much time.
“The best thing is that you can build an unlimited number of apps under the same license,” Maity explained. “We are hoping that this will encourage our clients to not just stop building one or two apps, but continuously build more solutions and go completely digital.”
BlastAsia is confident that they will be able to help a larger number of companies with Steer. “Moving forward, our goal is to help about 2,000 companies to go digital by the end of next year. Not only in the Philippines, but all over the world.”
In the next three months, the BlastAsia team will be making Steer even more efficient and easy—to the point that its clients won’t even need to call the company for help when setting up. BlastAsia wants to continue transforming businesses, one do-it-yourself (DIY) cloud solution at a time.