Local software firm offers self-service apps

A Philippine software product engineering firm is offering businesses self-service apps solutions, targeting 2,000 local and international companies to go digital by the end of next year.

Arup Maity, president and CEO of BlastAsia, said the company's vision is a world where everyone can build digital solutions.

To democratize digitization across businesses, big and small, Maity said, BlastAsia created a new platform called Steer which enables non-programmers to 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 (Do-It-Yourself) apps under the same license,” explained Maity.

“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.”

Companies can build apps for customers to order and check status using their smart phones, as well as for internal teams to manage workflows and records using their phones, tablets, or laptops.

These apps are fully integrated to back-end processes and systems and are built in a short time - with no coding skills needed.

“We saw a gap between what businesses need and how they can adapt technology to suit those needs,” Maity pointed out.

“Custom software development is not for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)—it takes too long and has a high upfront cost and risk associated with it. Steer is our response and solution to help businesses 'uberize' their business model."

To 'uberize', he explained is to change the market for a service by introducing a different way of buying or using it, especially using mobile technology.

BlastAsia wanted to provide a solution that would cater to the specific needs of SMEs—and so the Steer platform was born.

Their research showed 86 per cent of consumers prefer not to talk with customer support and would rather use a self-service app.

Yet, only 2 percent of companies successfully address this issue.

This is why SMEs can lose critical business to larger and more digitally transformed enterprises.

“We wanted to build a software as a service (SaaS) product that is secure and reliable, one that our clients can sign in on their own, set up their apps, and roll out these apps across their organization without even the need to talk to us,” Maity elaborated.

“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.”

To bring their vision to life, BlastAsia needed a powerful cloud service to support its users.

The software company turned 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 Microsoft Azure to understand how to take advantage of Microsoft cloud technologies.

“Azure is one of the easiest cloud technologies that we've come across,” said 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.”

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 and launched Steer right before COVID-19.

Today, Steer is helping businesses go digital and adapt to work-style changes triggered by the health crisis.