New Age Ed-tech Startup 'Allround' Built All Their Internal Tools on Appsmith
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Picture this: An interactive multiverse buzzing with community, friendships, discussions, and most importantly, learnings. Sounds great, right? Online education and how it unfolds under current circumstances is crucial to enabling a well-rounded learning experience for kids.
Allround Club is one such online space that creates a space for kids to hang out, have fun, and learn new skills. On their platform, hundreds of kids learn new skills, such as western vocals, public speaking, dancing, guitar, keyboard, global languages, etc.
Behind such seamless experiences, many internal tools bear the burden and keep organizations fuelled up. Allround builds its internal tools on Appsmith.
We spoke to Srijan Shetty, founder, and CEO of Allround, about how they are approaching their internal tool needs, and in this case study, we will discuss some of the challenges they faced and how they solved them with Appsmith.
An early-stage startup like Allround often needs new dashboards and internal applications. “In the early days when our workflows were not finalized, we used to play around with a lot of different dashboards depending on the use cases. We use internal apps for many of our feature releases, which are built on Appsmith. When we started cracking down our internal tooling problems and started facing scaling issues, Appsmith started really working out for us, and it has been a Godsend! Because In my previous company, we used to build tools from scratch,” says Srijan.
Internal Tools to Manage the Entire Lifecycle
For Allround, their backend needs are broken down into two:
1) What’s the best way to represent the content and structure for the users
2) How to manage the operations
More than 1500 students enrolled in Allround, and managing the expectations and requirements of the different stakeholders is the challenge Srijan was facing. How to give the kids, teachers, and the internal team members a seamless view of things?
“Our internal tools are built to handle content and operations. The entirety of operations runs on Appsmith. We are trying to solve two specific problems with our internal tools: operations and content. Operations would include managing customers, batches, classes, and teachers. We have a curriculum for content that we have to follow; we have quizzes, courses, etc. This content needs to be managed,” says Srijan. Here’s an overview of some of the internal tools at Allround:
Srijan mentions that they recently started using a dedicated content management system. There is a crucial interaction between this system and the Appsmith internal tool to have more fine-grained control over what gets published onto the platform.
“The internal tooling at Allround measures the entire lifecycle, from the start of a trial, all the way to the endpoint, where the client has to renew their subscription.
For content, we have a CMS, and we use Appsmith to control publishing,” he adds.
One Platform to Build Them All
In this section, we will go over a few use cases for Allround and how they have built different internal apps to enable the work of different teams.
Support Desk: All the information related to customers can be found in this app. Customer accounts can be easily tracked by entering their email address/child’s or parents’ name. All information related to account health, payment status, schedule for the classes, etc., can be found via this panel.
From this same panel, it’s easy to see subscription dates, renewal dates, reminders about renewals, and payments can also be made. Within the session view, they can look at the scheduled classes for the day and then join the classes to debug any issues.
Having views like these enables their support team to have observability over the operations, and they can make quick decisions and actions about accounts, reducing dependencies across the team.
Sales: The sales team has apps that enable them to create new discount vouchers quickly and offers and send them to individuals or cohorts. Sales team members can search for a user, auto-populate information from the database, and create a payment link that they can send.
This dashboard also allows sales team members to keep track of product pricing and edit them based on markets for different locations.
Not just this, they have over 31 tools that they have built on Appsmith.
Why Appsmith? Because It’s Fast and Flexible
Building from scratch is a time-consuming process, can run over budget, and be delayed due to various factors. Visual modeling can help prototype apps faster.
For Allround, Appsmith has helped in iterating internal tools fast. The workflows for an early-stage startup are ever-evolving, and there isn’t enough time to go through the usual process of vetting the design, brainstorming, discussing, creating a spec, building, and then doing QA. All this can take months!
Appsmith makes it possible to prototype apps rapidly, saving valuable time between the idea and final deployment. “You want to build tools out quick and perfect them once the workflow has solidified. This approach with Appsmith has made development work a breeze,” says Srijan.
Workflows are ever-evolving, and the need for apps keeps coming up every week at Allround. Stakeholders within Allround usually get in touch with their backend developers to discuss use cases, difficulties, and problems they are trying to measure and solve.
Srijan shares a recent example of how they went about building an app:
“We didn’t have a feature where we could send bulk messages to our customers. We faced this problem over a weekend, where we had reached a limit of 1000 Whatsapp messages, and we couldn’t use the app again. It needed a quick resolution. We do it right now because, on Appsmith, we have a tool to select all the customers and then write a message and trigger an action to send the message. It will send a push notification and a Whatsapp message to all the customers (or selected customers). The app we made is a panel which interacts with our backend APIs and pushes messages out,” says Srijan.
It’s not just rapid prototyping that led Allround to choose Appsmith; it's also the fact that it's open-source. Allround can self-host it, keep their data secure, and make the changes themselves. Srijan mentions that community is also a place where Appsmith shines. Discord is extremely helpful, and they use it actively to solve their issues or find support.
Allround chose to work with Appsmith right from the get-go because building out internal tools required dedicated resources, and it would have also meant a time sink.
“The traditional way is problematic in two ways: 1) There’s a lot of communication, and back and forth that goes into building an app 2) These also require design input. The cycle from the PRD to design to building the front and backend and then synchronizing and deploying is huge. We wanted to cut this short,” adds Srijan.
At Allround, Appsmith is used by around 90 users across the support, sales, content, and running classroom and teacher operations.