Introducing Canvas Seven Point Oh!
We are so proud to introduce you to Canvas 7.0! Why 7.0? Well that just happens to be the release number we are up to after all of these years building the Canvas product. But it also happens to coincide with some very big changes to the product itself. And 7 is a lucky number...at least here in the United States it is. But we have had 86 software releases since launching version 1.0 of Canvas in mid-2009. We have had some very big releases in the past (Launching our iOS version of Canvas, Android, Dispatch, Workflow and others), but this one is bigger in many ways and while it is the culmination of a lot of efforts here at Canvas, it also represents another beginning for us.
Customize. Collect. Share. Learn.
With Canvas 7.0 we are making some serious upgrades to the "Customize", "Share", and "Learn" components of Canvas. "Collect" (Collecting data via your mobile devices) will be getting a lot of love for the remainder of this year and we look forward to sharing that with everyone later on down the road.
PDF Designer (Customize and Share)
This new tool goes out to all of our subscribers that have told us that the Canvas PDF does not look like their own form. We are thrilled to deliver a solution. The PDF Designer allows our subscribers to completely customize the PDF that is generated when a Canvas App is filled out on a mobile or desktop device. Similar to our App Builder, the PDF Designer is a drag-and-drop tool that gives non-programmers the opportunity to tailor the Canvas PDF to their specific business needs. Your colors. Your logo. Your brand. Links to your social network pages.
The most common way Canvas data is shared is via email and the attached PDF document. The PDF can now be an even more powerful tool for our subscribers to speak with and engage their subscribers. Receipts, invoices, estimates, inspections, work orders, service tickets and more are great places to engage your customers. You can easily add images, coupons, and other creative components to drive engagement with your customers. Sharing your data becomes more impactful than ever. Beautiful PDFs that provide clean and clear data to your customers that also reflect your brand will help you provide amazing services and solutions to your own customers.
This is the new tool with a sharp-looking PDF being designed! Learn more about the Canvas PDF Designer.
Canvas Connect for Excel (Learn)
This is a plugin for Microsoft Excel that provides access to your Canvas account directly from inside Excel.
Our subscribers spend a lot of time in Excel. Big companies. Small companies. And everyone in between. Canvas Connect will make the process of using Canvas and Excel much, much faster saving even more valuable time for the folks in the office that manage Canvas and the data collected with it. The tool allows you to download data collected with Canvas, upload Reference Data (customer lists, price lists, etc.), and upload Dispatches. A really helpful thing this tool does is allow you to download data across different versions of your Canvas Apps and only download the fields/columns you need. Subscribers have long requested this ability. Read more about Canvas Connect for Excel.
Professional Services (Learn)
We have long taken on very specific projects for certain subscribers. But it was sporadic and we did not have any dedicated resources for it. We have always gotten questions about integrations and dashboards. Our Canvas API is available to anyone that wants to use it, but it does require a programmer. It is by no means something everyone can utilize. Subscribers could always download their data as a CSV and open it up in Excel (Or many other tools) and create dashboards and do analysis of the data. But not everyone has the time or know-how to pull it off.
So in recent months we formalized our Professional Services offerings and have brought resources onboard to help our subscribers with these things. Want to dump your data into Oracle? SAP? Quickbooks? Freshbooks? We can help you. Using the Canvas API, we can pull the data out of Canvas and put it into virtually any system out there. Our programmers can make it happen for you. Need dashboards? Want insight into your data? We can use Canvas Connect for Excel or other solutions to make it happen for you. Read more about Canvas Professional Services.
Yes! Starting with Canvas Connect for Excel, we are putting more emphasis on "Learn" here at Canvas. This tool was built primarily to enable Canvas subscribers to learn something about their businesses. Microsoft Excel is by far the most common tool used today to manipulate and analyze data. And by making it easier to pull data into Excel we hope our subscribers will use Excel to gain valuable insight into their businesses. Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts are two pieces of Excel functionality that are simple to learn and will allow you to quickly learn something from your Canvas data. Google them! There is plenty of online help to learn this stuff.
Need a hand? Our Professional Services team is now available to you. You can tell us what you want to learn from your data and how you want to visualize it, and we can make it happen for you. Excel might not be the right tool at all. Or maybe you need the data in another system you have to really learn about your business. Reach out to us and let's have a conversation about it.
"Learn" will continue to be an area of focus for Canvas, too. Canvas 7 represents a formal beginning to our focus on "Learn". Stay tuned.
Why does it matter?
At Canvas we talk about our "why" a lot. We talk about our subscribers' "whys" even more. Their "whys" are our "whys", in fact! Yes, we want to help them convert paper forms to mobile forms. But why? In a nutshell we want to help other businesses be more successful by transforming the way they get work done. As my colleague, Bill Rubacky, has said many times, "Mobile devices are doing for mobile workers what the PC has done for desk workers." The PC (personal computer) delivered productivity gains for workers tethered to their desks like no other invention in the history of the world. Mobile devices are doing the same thing for mobile workers.
Part of the way we transform how work gets done is by providing a platform that non-programmers can utilize to leverage the power of mobile devices and take advantage of these huge productivity gains. Frontline managers and individual contributors can jump in and use Canvas to drive amazing gains in productivity for their organizations. You don't need a degree in computer science. You don't have to wait for IT resources to help you. YOU can do it and you can do it quickly so you can solve problems sooner rather than later.
You may have read about the "citizen developer" movement. Canvas is very much part of this movement where non-programmers can create business applications to streamline their organizations. Business units can go out and solve their problems without waiting for IT or needing a specialist to help them.
Thank You Canvas Subscribers
Last but not least, a big thank you to all of our subscribers and partners. We could not do what we do without you. Your passion and energy for Canvas pushes us every single day. We hope you enjoy these new enhancements and look forward to your thoughts and feedback.