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Web apps are back: Why busi­ness own­ers are into the SaaS craze


Elliot Ander­son

Last month, Ryan, our founder and Cre­ative Direc­tor, wrote up a blog post for his per­son­al blog at ryan​lee​tay​lor​.com enti­tled: No, hon­est­ly, web apps are back”.

The piece seemed to res­onate with folks, and he spent the next week field­ing com­ments on Threads and LinkedIn from those who thought he was dead right and those, of course, who didn’t.

Here’s the thing: Umlaut has mor­phed and changed over the years as an agency. As we approach ten years old, what it was before I joined is absolute­ly not what it is today.

We start­ed as a brand­ing agency. We gave com­pa­nies a per­son­al­i­ty and made them sing. We con­nect­ed them with their cus­tomers and clients in new and excit­ing ways.

Then, com­pa­nies start­ed ask­ing us for more. If we could cre­ate a brand, then what about their web­site. One thing led to another.

In more recent times, com­pa­nies have changed again. Not sat­is­fied with being ser­vice providers, they now want to offer a plat­form to dis­trib­ute a lit­tle slice of their offer­ing in new and excit­ing ways.

And with that comes the need to cre­ate apps. I mean, if you’re a ser­vice provider in 2024 and you don’t have a SaaS plat­form as an exten­sion of your com­pa­ny, then who even are you?

I jest, of course. But only part­ly: this is a trend we are see­ing more and more of.

At the end of the day, all of this, from core brand­ing to web­site and final­ly to SaaS plat­form, is just an exten­sion of the com­pa­ny brand. It’s a dif­fer­ent and excit­ing way to present your brand to the world and to meet your cus­tomers where they are. That’s why we see app devel­op­ment as a core ser­vice at Umlaut.

So, when Ryan wrote this piece, he was react­ing to the land­scape as he saw it.

I par­tic­u­lar­ly love this excerpt:

Well, for starters, they’re ver­sa­tile, acces­si­ble, and cost-effec­tive. You can spin up a web app any­where, from any device. If you’re a good web prac­ti­tion­er, you’ll fol­low best prac­tices that bake in acces­si­bil­i­ty from the get-go. And you don’t need to devel­op sep­a­rate code­bas­es to sat­is­fy the whims of every tech Tom, Dick, or Sally.

Why? Well, apart from a dash of that unde­ni­able Ryan sar­casm right towards the end there, there’s the feel­ing that web apps are acces­si­ble, espe­cial­ly from a SaaS per­spec­tive, and they lend them­selves to those com­pa­nies that don’t want the added com­plex­i­ty of which native plat­form to choose, or how to sup­port both. Ryan goes on:

Oh, and let’s not for­get that if you sell your app on the web, your cus­tomers remain yours, not Apple’s or Google’s. And, you don’t lose 30% to them for the priv­i­lege of giv­ing away that vital cus­tomer rela­tion­ship. I know the notion of cus­tomer ser­vice has long been prised away from us by tech com­pa­nies that insert them­selves into every facet of our lives, but it needn’t be that way. And by build­ing on the web, it isn’t.

I couldn’t have put it bet­ter myself.

It’s so easy as mem­bers of the cre­ative com­mu­ni­ty to get stuck in the weeds of which plat­form is bet­ter than the oth­er, or which tech giant we’re sup­posed to sup­port, or which lan­guage we should build with, but let’s be hon­est, at the end of the day, busi­ness own­ers could care less about any of that.

All they want to know is that we can build the things they need.

And I’m here to say that if our recent work at Umlaut is any­thing to go by, then web apps are well and tru­ly here to stay, and the need for them is grow­ing at quite the lick. We opened up an entire­ly new ser­vice area on the back of it.

So, yeah, hon­est­ly, web apps are real­ly back. Every­thing that is old, as they say, is new again, huh?

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