Avoka Blog

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Your Enterprise App Store

Gartner recently published their Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013.

Here is an extract from the article.

Enterprise App Stores

Enterprises face a complex app store future as some vendors will limit their stores to specific devices and types of apps forcing the enterprise to deal with multiple stores, multiple payment processes and multiple sets of licensing terms. By 2014, Gartner believes that many organizations will deliver mobile applications to workers through private application stores. With enterprise app stores the role of IT shifts from that of a centralized planner to a market manager providing governance and brokerage services to users and potentially an ecosystem to support apptrepreneurs. (The highlighting is mine.)

You can find the full article here: http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=2209615

Why?

In fact, the Enterprise App store is the next evolution of the SOE (Standard Operating Environment) – instead of being given a device by IT preloaded with the software you need, you’ll have access to an App Store of approved apps that you may install as required. This also reflects the trend towards BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and the dis-intermediation of some businesses like Insurance (through Brokers), Field Services (through Contractors) and Healthcare (through Contract Medical Staff like nurses).

Gartner are raising this as a strategic trend because they have recognized that there are a number of difficulties running and managing enterprise apps through the vendor application stores, including:

  • You need to publish your app to multiple app stores for different devices.
  • The actual publication process can be quite complicated, particularly on Apple’s App Store, which includes a step where the app is reviewed by an actual person.
  • While new versions of your app can be easily published, there is no general purpose way of ensuring that all users upgrade to the new version. Using the old version could result in problems with integration further down the line.
  • There is no general purpose way to manage apps or their data. For example, there is no easy way to retire an app, or to remove an app or its data from users’ devices (for example, if the device is lost or compromised).
  • There is a risk of of users accidentally installing “phishing” apps, which look identical your real app, but have been modified to compromise your security, sending confidential information to the bad guys.

Your Enterprise App Store – Now!

You can have your own Enterprise App Store now!

Avoka Transact allows you to build intelligent data collection applications that you manage and deploy using Transaction Manager. These data collection applications are automatically synchronized to any user running the Avoka Transact Mobile FieldWorker App, across multiple devices types. The FieldWorker App (iPad or Android and more coming soon) is installed once, and each data collection application is then synchronized into the app. In the same way the Amazon Kindle App provides access to a library of books – the Avoka Field Worker App provides access to your library of data collection applications.

Avoka Transact – Transaction Manager becomes the App Store for your enterprise-class data collection applications. You can control which users have access to which apps, you can control the roll-out of new versions, your corporate data is managed securely and without the risk of being compromised – right now.

The SmartForm Factory "AppStore"

The Avoka Transact “AppStore”

Importantly, since Avoka Transact mobile forms are based on HTML5, they run either in the dedicated Mobile FieldWorker App on Android, iOS or other devices, or for occasional users, as HTML5 forms in a web browser. Design once, deploy to any device or modern browser. Whether you are deploying to a set of dedicated workers in the field, a registered customer hitting your web site via a desktop browser, or an anonymous prospect hitting your web site on their iPad browser, you can easily and simply control what forms they have access to, and easily manage all aspects of the data collection process.

Avoka Transact has been deployed as an Enterprise Data Collection App Store for organizations such as:

  • Federal Government – 900+ Data Collection Apps.
  • Pharmaceutical – Dozens of data collection applications for thousands of mobile sales & customer service staff.
  • Financial Services – Hundreds of data collection applications for Staff, Financial Advisers and Customers to access.

Drilling deeper – Focused applications

SmartForm App on an iPad

SmartForm App on an iPad

In another article (App Stores Coming to an Enterprise Near You) Brian Prentice of Gartner says:

…organizations that are trying to rationalize by creating a managed application ecosystem … are more likely see a great deal of synergy with an app store. The reason is that discrete applications that create management headaches today can be redesigned as collections of smaller, focused applications that users can select from based on their needs.

This is exactly what Avoka Transact provides – it’s a platform that does one thing, simply and effectively – it allows you to build, deploy, and manage data collection apps really quickly and easily.

And the Keys to the Castle – Effective Tooling

The Development and Deploy Process

The Development and Deploy Process

Prentice goes on to say:

Apps are fundamentally different expressions of software than traditional applications. Apps are simple, purposeful solutions that, if well managed, can be created en masse without impacting efforts to rationalise the application portfolio.

There needs to be a focus on simplicity, and churning out lots of these applications quickly. This means effective tools.

Gartner continues this theme in their paper “Nexus of Forces

As the technology matures, however, simpler, more effective ways of doing things are developed, and the device becomes easier to use, although usually by becoming more complex inside.

The management of this complexity falls on the ecosystem of technology providers … and the ease with which pieces fit together … The task of enterprise leaders is to hide complexity under a layer of simplicity.

Avoka Transact perfectly fits Gartner’s definition. At Avoka, we see ourselves explicitly fulfilling the role of “hiding complexity under a layer of simplicity”.

Enterprise Apps fall in to two main categories:

  1. Accessing Data – for example, accessing the information stored in a CRM or ERP system
  2. Collecting Data – for example, Ordering a Product or Performing an Inspection

Avoka Transact is not a general purpose app-builder. Rather, it is optimized for #2 above, the building of apps that collect data, such as Product Ordering, Service Enrolment, Inspections or Audits.

With Avoka Transact, you can build these apps very quickly. However, quick doesn’t mean simple – the apps can include many high-end services you’d expect from a sophisticated mobile data collection application, including wizard style forms, custom styling and branding, sophisticated validations, photos, signatures, GPS coordinates, integration, responsive design, and much more. Avoka Transact’s focus on ease of use means that you can build these applications quickly, simply and reliably, without compromising on features.

One of the advantages of a platform designed specifically for data collection is that it enables non-programmers to produce data-collection apps swiftly and easily, as opposed to native apps, which need experienced programmers with cross-device skills and lots of time.

For more information, you can watch demonstrations of Avoka Transact on our YouTube channel www.youtube.com/avokatech. If you would like a live-online or in-person demo then it’s as simple as getting in touch with our team with your requirements.

Posted under: Avoka Form Factory, Electronic Forms, Field Worker, iPad Forms, Mobile Computing, Mobile Forms, Online Self-Service

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2 comments

  • Hello,
    I’ve been reviewing your videos and have a few questions. Our organization uses Adobe LC to deliver a complete packet of forms. We send out forms as packages, which means that the applicant needs to complete all the forms before they can sign and submit. Does your product allow to set up something similar? If we were to use your product, can we maintain our current set of forms (manage the existing forms via forms factory)?
    Do we need to reproduce all the forms or can we keep our existing HTML and matching XDPs?
    We also print out contractual PDF receipts, would we be able to maintain this functionality?

    Thanks in advance,
    Sam

  • htreisman on December 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm said:

    Hi Sam
    The short answers to your questions are:
    1. There are several ways to deal with multiple forms as part of a package.
    2. You can generally continue to use current forms.
    3. You can generally re-use your contractual PDF receipts.

    The longer answer is that this depends on exactly what you’ve currently done, where you want to go, and a discussion about how that would best be integrated into SmartForm Factory. There may be some tweaking required.
    I recommend that you contact sales@avoka.com, so we can get a better understanding of your current situation and future requirements.

    Happy holiday season to you and anyone else reading this :-)

    Howard

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