WalkMe is a company that I've been following for a few years now. It offers a platform that allows application developers to create guides and instructions within those applications that help users learn how to maximize the benefit from those applications. Think of an old school instruction manual delivered within an application itself that is able to contextually react to a user's actions, and you pretty much get the gist. WalkMe is an excellent tool for SaaS vendors who want to maximize the chances that users "stick" to their product.
So it is particularly interesting to see the company move to a seemingly different area, that of enabling mobile developers to more rapidly create their own applications. The idea of WalkMe's applet store is that it provides ready-made and easily integrated common components for them to use within their applications. Instead of having to build the particular pieces of functionality themselves, or having to integrate external components, these applets are curated, purpose-built and ready to go.
WalkMe's initial applets are intended to cover some common pain points -- drive premium upgrades, handle monetization, boost user experience, reduce uninstalls and improve app ratings. Applets currently available cover on-boarding, user engagement and monetization components, and can be codelessly integrated into any app. WalkMe is promising to develop, support and update all of the applets as required.
"We want to let developers focus on their strength by allowing them to utilize ours," says Dan Adika, co-founder and CEO of WalkMe. "As the global leader in digital engagement, we are channeling this expertise to help independent developers drive the next generation of disruptive and game-changing apps. Furthermore, we are allowing developers to enrich the ecosystem and create their own applets to share with the community of independent developers."
This is a move that is unexpected given WalkMe's core product approach, but still a logical move. As application developers need to move ever faster in order to beat the competition to market, they increasingly look to offload non-core activities -- this is the reason for the success of third-party developer components such as Twilio for communications and SendGrid for email.
I do have some concerns about a degree of lock-in here, and wonder how well these applets work within the context of a developer using a mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) platform. That said, it is yet another tool to reduce developers' time to market, and from that perspective, is a useful addition to the development world.
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