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Businesses looking to build their own apps have some new mobile development and analytics tools at their disposal.
Small organizations may have a hard time hiring in-house developers because of the scarcity of talent available. In those cases, Kony's enterprise mobile app development platform, which received an update this month, allows IT to use little or no code to build and quickly deploy apps.
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It's also important for IT to have visibility into issues that occur with enterprise apps. A new analytics dashboard from Kinvey helps admins keep tabs on app performance and view errors in real time.
"Analytics is a tool that companies don't use often but should because it's highly valuable," said
Jack Gold, principal analyst and founder of J. Gold Associates, a mobile analyst firm in Northborough, Mass. "If you're not getting feedback on usage, how would you know if you're successful?"
Kony updates enterprise mobile app development platform
Kony Visualizer 7.0, the latest version of the company's flagship app dev platform, makes it simpler to build mobile apps with the consumer-friendly interface and feature sets that employees expect, said Thomas Dolan, CEO at QRS Music Technologies, a digital music equipment and software provider in Naples, Fla.
"To get apps to the market faster, it's huge," he said. "Compared to just a few years ago, it's like night and day how fast you can get apps built."
Ty RollinCIO and CTO, Mobiquity
Using Visualizer, developers at QRS Music built an Apple Watch app that allows customers and employees to control an old-fashioned piano that can play music on its own. The app can control what song the piano plays, set up a playlist, record performances and save recordings to the cloud.
Also new in Visualizer is integration with Adobe Photoshop. Developers can use Photoshop to create different designs for an app's user interface and then import them into Visualizer.
"The biggest thing is ... I can lay it out, design it and draw it to the way I want it to look and not worry about the coding," Dolan said. "You can bring in snippets of designs whenever you want in the process."
Prior to using Kony, QRS Music had a hard time updating apps to work with new versions of Google Android and Apple iOS, Dolan said. Employees and customers complained about apps not working after updating OSes on their devices, and the company had to scramble to ensure that its apps supported the latest releases.
"Now we don't have to worry about adjusting," Dolan said. "Kony takes care of the OS updates, so the app doesn't have to adjust after they come out."
Visualizer 7.0 is available as a free entry-level model or a paid enterprise version for more advanced customers. Both offer enterprise mobile app development features for smartphones, tablets, desktops and smartwatches, but the advanced version adds integration with Kony's mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) platform and tools for debugging, app testing and performance. It also includes the company's Protected Mode security option, in which apps can detect attacks, jailbreak attempts and more.
Kinvey Operational Intelligence
To help IT troubleshoot mobile app issues, Boston-based MBaaS provider Kinvey in February launched a new analytics platform. The tool, called Operational Intelligence, presents IT with real-time metrics around error codes, network latency and application access policies. The dashboard aggregates app usage data into charts, graphs and tables, allowing admins to better see how employees use each app and what specific actions cause errors to occur.
"You can identify exactly what the issues are, and you have proof to go to the necessary people and say, 'This is what I need, guys,'" said Ty Rollin, CIO and CTO at Mobiquity Inc., a mobile software and services provider in Boston, and a Kinvey partner and customer.
The ability to detect network latency issues is the most important, because it can affect the business from a productivity standpoint, Rollin said.
For organizations that have to follow compliance regulations, such as those from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, Kinvey's ability to track that security requirements are being met while employees are using the apps is crucial. Any actions that go against compliance policies are clearly visible on the dashboard for administrators in real time.
"It definitely changes the way you work," Rollin said.
Kinvey Operational Intelligence is available as part of the enterprise edition of the Kinvey MBaaS platform, which starts at $240,000.
Visualizer 7.0 is available as a free entry-level model or a paid enterprise version for more advanced customers.
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