It's not everyday that Podio gets an official new app type, but today we are delighted to herald the introduction of the new Contact app!
Just to clarify, there are three distinct app types in Podio. Standard, Event and now Contact. When the folks at Podio create a dedicated app type, other than standard, it's a rare thing indeed.
Arguably the very point of Podio is that teams can and should create their own apps with a set of fields that uniquely represent their quirks and requirements.
However, some use cases are so pervasive that they justify their own app type. More specifically, in order to guarantee reliable integration with other products and protocols, certain field types must be present. Having a dedicated app type guarantees that. So just as an events app must have a date field, a contacts app must have a name and email address field in order to work. In fact, in the case of contact apps, Podio has specified no fewer than nine fields which you cannot remove (it's for your own safety!) from the app. These fields are critical to the understanding that other platforms have of what to expect from Podio.
So why the change? Well, for years now one of Podio's key strengths has been its flexibility. The problem is that although users do want flexibility, they only want a certain kind of flexibility. They want to build their own apps, but want to know that they're getting things right. So if they ask the question "how should we 'do' contacts in Podio?", they want and need a clear answer. They want the right answer. Until now, there hasn't been one. We have always recommended that folks use their own contacts app, rather than native Podio workspace contacts, but that has always left the residue of a discarded native feature lurking in the shadows. Now things have been rationalised and tidied up.
The benefits are that contacts can be easily linked across apps and workspaces, and exploited to the max with Podio's lovely new(ish) reference badges. It's also easier to sync contacts with other platforms via PieSync (we're yet to review it) and certain data, such as address data is more beautifully and consistently structured. The only negatives are a) that we have to wait for a conversion tool to magic our existing contacts apps into Contact apps with a capital C, and b) we would have liked to see separate First Name and Last Name fields. It's overall a very very welcome feature release though.
Well done Podio, thank you <3. This has needed addressing for a while, and you've done it! Next up fully integrated email? Enhancements to dashboards and reporting? We'll let you choose :-)