Karma. Anyone who has spent too much time in Excel spreadsheets needs some.
Good karma, that is.
The Karma Platform is a new way for small and medium-sized business to get out of Excel spreadsheets and onto the web, with data capture and data analysis available anywhere, anytime, while managed from a central location.
“With a simple drag and drop, Karma turns your spreadsheets into fully-functioning applications,” Andras Kora, a Karma representative, says.
The great thing about Excel spreadsheets is that they’re simple, quick to create, and cheap to make and share. But they’re also hard to keep track of, hard to share, and hard to keep current. Web apps are great for sharing and keeping data up-to-date, but they’re typically expensive to create, expensive to update, and not extremely flexible.
Kora says his Budapest, Hungary-based startup is the solution.
“Karma Platform makes your business API economy ready in 1 minute,” he says. “It also allows you to immediately adapt to the ever changing business needs and keep you agile. No code writing skills are required, use what you already know: the language of spreadsheets.”
Creating an app is as simple as creating a spreadsheet, he says. Upload the spreadsheet to Karma, and the platform automatically creates an app that mirrors the business logic inherent in the spreadsheet, including calculated fields. Apps such as managing invoices or subscriptions, or a mini customer relationship management system, or perhaps a digital record of an organization’s digital devices for IT, are simple to create. Apps that require heavy multi-dimensional data, on the other hand, are not suitable.
But the apps are more advanced than you might think:
“We recently deployed a system for an energy trading company that supports deal capturing [and] managing market data and cash flow calculations on large amount of data,” Kora told me via email.
Change management is easy … simply update the original spreadsheet with new rows and new calculations, and re-upload it to Karma. The system instantly updates the web app and makes it available on the web, optimized for desktop, tablet, or smartphone. Karma uses the Google Web Toolkit, J2EE, and can be implemented with multiple database options: MySQL, MS SQL, or Oracle.
And even more powerfully, multiple spreadsheets can be joined to the same database, with fine-grained access rights to allow the right users access to the right data. In addition, Karma offers API access to integrate these apps to the rest of what your company might be doing — which essentially can take this solution into the realm of enterprise, as a large company could use this for simple, quick needs, while still integrating core data and apps into an overall corporate architecture.
Karma Platform is currently still in beta but is already offering cloud-based services to companies for around $1/user/day, as well as larger solutions to enterprises at variable pricing. Karma recently tried its hand at an Indiegogo campaign but was unsuccessful in reaching its relatively-modest $25,000 goal.
That’s most likely due to the fact that crowdfunding works best for things crowds are interested in … not business apps. But the platform is interesting and potentially extremely powerful for businesses.
Perhaps we need a crowdfunding site for enterprise apps.