Month: March 2017

[Infographic] The path to successful mobile apps

path-to-mobile-appsIn today’s business world, mobility has become synonymous with productivity in the workplace. The use of mobile technology has become a core aspect of everyday life, both at home and in the workplace.

70+% of the U.S. workforce will soon consist of mobile workers and mobile access has redefined how your employees work. They expect instant access to connected applications and information and this access has redefined how your employees work. They expect on-the-go access to their day-to-day business applications. The apps must fully work on all mobile devices and they also need to look good and be user-friendly. Otherwise, 60% of your employees will abandon your mobile app and revert to e-mailing PDFs around.

How will you deliver? Mobile apps that work on multiple platforms take forever, are absurdly expensive and require skills that are extremely difficult to find. If you don’t get it right, employees won’t use them.

That’s where a low-code platform like frevvo comes in. Check out this new infographic on how a platform like frevvo can help you overcome the barriers and get on a path to successful mobile apps.

Right now, our customers are creating customized apps for routine day-to-day approvals in days and weeks using existing [citizen] developers.

They don’t need HTML5 or CSS3 or Android app development skills and it doesn’t take 6 months and $100K to roll out a first beta version of the mobile app only to find out that employees hate the user experience and won’t even use it.

With frevvo, you too can easily start with a pre-built template and modify it to meet your business requirements. It’s easy and hundreds of customers are already doing it. We can help.

Learn more by visiting our website where you’ll find several customer success stories. Explore some of the examples and contact us for more information.

[Video] Install and Modify a PO Template

purchase-order-videoPurchase Order Approval is a very routine day-to-day workflows. Many customers choose Live Forms to digitize this workflows.

Starting with one of our pre-built templates, you can easily customize it to create your own fully electronic, mobile-capable and business-ready PO in very little time. You won’t need expensive and hard-to-find skills like iOS/Android app development or HTML5/CSS3 expertise to create a beautiful, electronic app that just works on all devices.

At frevvo, we just digitized a completely customized Purchase Order approval workflow for a University customer in 45 man-hours.

Watch this short (7 min) video to quickly see how. We’ll show how to:

  • Install a pre-built PO workflow template with a single click.
  • Modify it to meet business requirements (we’ll add a Finance step).
  • Run it in frevvo’s Cloud.

Hundreds of customers are already benefiting. Why not give it a whirl? Sign up for a free trial and see for yourself. It takes 30 seconds, and you can install a template and try it out instantly.

70+% of U.S. workforce will be mobile

PeopleFirstI came across this article about an IDC forecast on the U.S. mobile workforce. It links to an older version of the article but a newer one is here (payment required). IDC suggests that by 2020, the number of U.S. mobile workers will grow to 105.4 million and will make up an astounding 72.3 percent of the total U.S. workforce.

“Mobility has become synonymous with productivity both inside and outside the workplace, and the mass adoption of mobile technology in the United States has cultivated an environment where workers expect to leverage mobile technology at work” – Bryan Bassett, Research Analyst, Mobile Enterprise: Device Solutions at IDC

Your employees expect to work on-the-go using their mobile devices – everything from responding to customers to routine day-to-day collaboration with colleagues. Yet, it’s practically impossible to find skilled native app developers and building mobile apps is absurdly expensive.

What’s a CIO to do? Turn to a platform like frevvo. Apps built using frevvo are wow-code, citizen-developer friendly, fast, effective and incredibly affordable. And, they just work automatically on all devices: desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

At frevvo, we just digitized a completely customized Purchase Order approval workflow for a University customer in 45 man-hours.

You too can effectively support those 3 in 4 workers who are rapidly transitioning to working on their mobile devices. They can fill out forms, sign documents, approve expenses, attach receipts and everything else in their daily work routine anytime, anywhere and from any device.

Check out our website for some examples and this short (4.5m) video on creating beautiful, responsive mobile web forms with frevvo.

[Webinar] 45m to automate PO approvals

roiPurchase Order Approval is one of the most common day-to-day workflows. Many customers choose Live Forms to digitize this workflow and quickly see positive ROI.

Join us on this webinar where we’ll show you how to:

  • Install a PO template with a single click.
  • Run the template.
  • Edit the template and modify it.
  • Add users & roles for routing.
  • Add the workflow to a portal and use it on multiple devices.

Webinar Details
Date: Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017
Time: 1.30 PM EST
Duration: 45 minutes (including Q&A)

Register Now

Visual Rule Builder: business rules without the JavaScript

I9-02.png
Federal I-9 in Designer

In recent articles, we’ve discussed how frevvo and other low-code platforms are making it easier for citizen developers who aren’t coders-by-trade to create effective, high-quality apps.

Here at frevvo, we’re constantly working on improving our product to reduce the need to write code. Our customers are organizations (companies, Universities etc.) that use frevvo for real-world business forms like Purchase Orders and Employee On-Boarding. These forms usually have dynamic behavior – in frevvo, that means business rules. One of the most common business rules is where you want to show or hide certain parts of the form (a Section or Tab or any control) depending on data that’s been entered into the form elsewhere.

Show/Hide Alien Authorization Numbers in Federal I-9

Let’s take a look at an example – an employee on-boarding workflow where the user has to fill in a Federal I-9. The Federal form asks for Eligibility Status and for one of those statuses – an alien authorized to work until a certain date – the employee has to provide additional information. In earlier versions of frevvo, you’d have to write a business rule in JavaScript. Something like:

if (CitizenStatus === ‘WorkAlien’) {
AlienNumbers.visible = true;
} else {
AlienNumbers.visible = false;
}

Seems simple enough but these JavaScript rules and their interactions with each other can quickly get very complex and difficult to understand. Dynamic behavior then becomes much harder for citizen developers to implement effectively.

Enter the Visual Rule Builder

When you create the above rule, you can use visual wizards as shown below:

rb-01
What’s the condition that causes this rule to fire?
rb-02
What action(s) should be taken when the condition is true?

rb-02b
[Optionally] What action(s) should be taken when the condition is false?
You can specify multiple conditions and a logic expression to evaluate them e.g. “A and (B or C)”. You can also specify multiple actions e.g. Show Alien Numbers AND Hide Citizen Information when the condition is true and vice versa when false. The Visual Rule Builder will generate a rule as shown below:

rb-03

If you need to edit the generated code, you can click Rule Code and make changes manually to the generated JavaScript. And, of course, the existing JavaScript-based rules continue to

um-01
Show/Hide Section

be available – some things are impossible to do using wizards e.g. connecting to an HTTP URL and parsing the result in specific ways.

When you run the form, it works as expected. Choose the appropriate option (alien authorized to work …) and the required Section shows up. For any other option, the Section in question is not visible exactly as desired. As with all frevvo forms and workflows, it’ll just work automatically on mobile devices.

Simple and easy. Now, of course, this is the first iteration of the Visual Rule Builder (it’ll be released shortly with V7.2) and it can currently generate a subset of rules. For the others, you’ll have to use the existing Rule Editor. However, like everything in frevvo, we’ll keep improving it with every version so your citizen developers will be able to do more and more with it.

Mobility Part 4: Low-code platforms are the future

mobile-apps-10
43% of organizations use low-code platforms to support their I.T. strategy

Demand for mobile apps is exploding but continues to exceed development capacity and available skills. Companies are looking beyond native app development to other options using citizen developers.

They’re turning to low-code platforms including frevvo. Images in this article are from the OutSystems 2017 State of Application Development Report (opt-in required) – a provider of low-code mobile app development tools.

Low-code platforms dramatically increase productivity since they enable citizen developers not just coders-by-trade to develop applications. Citizen developers at many frevvo customers have helped to create incredibly effective, high-quality apps quickly and at reasonable cost.

At frevvo, we recently created a fully digital Purchase Order approval for a University customer that looks great, works on mobile devices and meets business requirements in just 45 hours. It’s hard to imagine anyone coding an app that quickly.

mobile-apps-12Companies have little choice. In today’s business world, they must respond quickly to a rapid changing environment. Taking months to create a web portal or mobile app is simply not an option for most. Mobile developers are extremely expensive if you can find them.

As the various underlying technologies mature and platforms like frevvo get better and better at taking advantage of these advances, there’s huge benefit and tremendous ROI to be gained from using a low-code approach for an increasing array of projects.

With every release of frevvo, there’s a little less code to write – whether through new and upgraded wizards or the Visual Rule Builder or a new connector (SharePoint is coming soon, major upgrades to the Database Connector are in the works) or an ever-increasing variety of pre-built templates. I’m sure other platforms like OutSystems are no different.

Hundreds of customers are already benefiting. Why not give it a whirl? Sign up for a free trial and see for yourself. It takes 30 seconds and you can install a template and try it out instantly.

Mobility Part 3: Citizen Developers deliver results

In Part 1 and Part 2, we talked about how demand for mobile apps is exploding but there are many barriers to overcome. Companies are looking for new ways to tackle the mobility challenge by choosing the right technology to fit the problem and spreading development among more people.

mobile-apps-7

Alternatives to Native App Development

Everything needs to work on mobile. But it doesn’t have to be a native app. As technology has matured, companies have discovered that they no longer need to take a native-only approach to app development. Progressive web and responsive web have rapidly become mainstream as companies realize that these apps meet their business needs but they’re also much faster and cheaper to build. They also don’t require the same skill set that native app development does addressing one of the most important barriers to mobility.

Nowadays, mobility is about reaching users through all channels, especially mobile web browsers, as users often don’t bother to install an app.

As a result, I.T. professionals preference for native app development has steadily declined to where just 17% prefer it in 2017 down from almost 30% 2 years ago.

User expectations are exceedingly high and they want apps that not only deliver function, but that also look and feel amazing and alternative approaches are increasingly able to deliver.

Citizen Developers offer a viable alternative

mobile-apps-4An obvious side effect is that companies are looking for less technical, cheaper and easier-to-find skill sets like HTML5, JavaScript and UX over specialized mobile app developers. A growing number are turning to citizen developers who are not coders-by-trade.

Two-fifths (43%) are already supporting or planning to support citizen developers and it’s a trend that’s on the rise. Gartner predicts that 70% of  large enterprises will empower citizen developers in the next 3 years.

These citizen developers can genuinely help companies get things done without the need to hire people with hard-to-find and expensive skill sets.

mobile-apps-8In companies that support citizen developers, over 50% are already prototyping and building departmental applications and almost a third (30%) are building employee-facing applications. Customer-facing and enterprise applications remain the province of professional coders by and large but citizen developers are making strides there as well.

Low-Code, Great UX and Citizen Developers

At frevvo, we see these trends converging in our customers. They’re often using frevvo for employee-facing applications like Purchase Approvals or Travel Authorizations.They definitely want to digitize these on mobile devices and they need to look great otherwise employees won’t use them. But, of course, spending $500K on a native mobile app each time is a non-starter.

That’s where we come in – citizen developers with skill sets that already exist in many organizations can certainly drag & drop fields onto e-forms, setup basic workflow routing and, in some cases, even do some integration (wizards, wizards, wizards …). Of course, I.T. still needs to get involved at some stage e.g. SQL database integration and JavaScript-based business rules.

Technologies like frevvo allow app development to be spread out among more people. That in turn eases pressure on IT teams, freeing them up to meet business needs.

Automating these applications can deliver tremendous ROI with customers saving over 50% of the cost and seeing positive returns in under 3 months. And we’re working every day to further reduce the required skill sets e.g. with our upcoming Visual Business Rule Builder (more on that in a future article).We’ll write more about it in upcoming articles. In the meantime, check out our website for some examples and this short (4.5m) video on creating beautiful, responsive mobile web forms with frevvo.

Concludes in Part 4.

Graphs and many of the insights in this series of articles can be found in the OutSystems 2017 State of Application Development Report (opt-in required). Credit: the afore-mentioned OutSystems report for all images in this article.