From ‘mobile if we must’ to ‘mobile because we should’: Enabling lightning-fast collaboration through low-code apps

Teddy Kitchen,

When it comes to building and deploying mobile apps, there is frequently a huge difference between expectation and reality. In theory, mobile devices have been highly mature platforms for software applications for many years. If an app works on desktop, it shouldn’t be hard to have it work on mobile as well, right? But in reality, creating mobile apps is not easy, garnering them a reputation among developers for being difficult to build and expensive to maintain.

Mobile apps should be loved, not feared

The difficulty and expense of mobile app development has led many companies to take a “mobile if we must” approach that restricts the availability of mobile apps to use cases that are absolutely necessary. Mobile apps are built out for specific functionalities like enabling field workers to do their job on the go, operating in areas without a network connection, or automating work using mobile capabilities like barcode scanning or location services.

All of these use cases are powerful ways to get value out of a mobile channel, but such a restrictive view of mobile app development results in an uneven and disjointed experience on the part of users, and especially on the part of ‘digital natives’ who expect mobility to be feature-rich, unified, and seamless. It also misses out on a lot of opportunity to fulfill the true promise of mobility: collaboration.

The problem with traditional approaches to mobile application development is that they force businesses to prioritize effort based on fear rather than opportunity. Rather, the decision to deploy a mobile app shouldn’t need to come only from a hard and rigid requirement. Thanks to the advent of low-code development environments like the Pega Platform, it doesn’t have to. At Pega, our Center-OutTM approach means that mobility does not require building a separate app from a desktop application that already exists. Instead, mobile apps are simply new channels of the same application that provides functionality via the desktop.

Increasing productivity via mobile

People reply from mobile 54% faster than they do from desktop email apps, which highlights just one reason we know that every application benefits from adding a mobile component. Pega’s collaboration tools are specifically designed to make mobile collaboration seamless.

Imagine a bank that has built a desktop application for handling business loans.  Getting a loan application from submission through pay-out is a complex and collaborative process involving a lot of communication between different personas. Within this process there are multiple personas that must review and approve the loan at different stages, including managers and VPs.  Additionally, agents must add documents and get feedback on rates, amounts, applicant credit reports and other factors.

Pega apps are designed to crush complexity

By breaking the process out into steps, and by defining the right personas for each of the participants, you can greatly simplify the loan process and make it much easier to change.  By adding mobile channels for key personas, you can accelerate loan approvals even further - even the most productive employees are not in front of a computer screen 100% of the time.

Pega Mobile is built specifically with collaboration in mind. Things like pulse messages come through immediately via mobile push notifications which can be responded to without even opening the app. Notifications can also be opened that instantly jump into the context of the relevant case. Approvals via push notification can save hours or even days when a case might be waiting on one user’s action. Users can collaborate much in the same way on Documents, Spaces, or any other place where work needs to be done.

Not only does Pega Mobile streamline work collaboration, increasing productivity and allowing employees to respond to events that need attention immediately, but with our new low-code authoring tools, it has never been easier to build and deploy them.  Most importantly, our center-out architecture means that any changes to your process are automatically reflected in your mobile apps. No expensive refactoring or time-consuming updates needed. 

Rethinking mobility as a channel rather than an application allows us to shift the mindset from “mobile if we must” to “mobile because we should.” It frees us from the otherwise restrictive, slow, and arduous task of building and maintaining mobile applications. Instead, we can think about applications holistically in terms of the challenges they are meant to solve, and the experience of users. What this means is greater efficiency and lightning-fast collaboration. It also means is faster development, increased agility in response to changing requirements, and rapid innovation as the notion of ‘legacy code’ quickly becomes a thing of the past.

 

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About the Author

Teddy Kitchen is product architect for Pega Mobile