Enterprise Mobile Application Development Platforms - MADP and MXDP

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What is a Mobile Application Development Platform?

Technology leaders are increasingly investing in mobile application development to build mobile apps that create operational efficiencies and enable digital transformation.

While there’s an increase in the usage of mobile apps for both enterprise mobile apps and consumer apps, businesses that choose to build their own mobile apps constantly face the challenge of finding developers with the right skillsets, matching user expectations, customizing user experiences; all the while reducing the time to market. The right mobile application development platform (MADP) solves these issues and more.

A robust MADP centralizes the entire application lifecycle — right from designing, developing, testing, deploying to managing and analyzing the mobile and multi-experience applications across various operating systems, devices and touchpoints.

Gartner defines a mobile app development platform as, ”a product or suite that offers tools, technologies, components and services that constitute the critical elements of a platform to create mobile apps (iOS and Android), as well as responsive web, conversational, wearable or augmented reality (AR) apps.” ”

The Era of Multi-channel/Multiexperience Apps

Long gone are the days when a business could successfully make do with just a website or a mobile-responsive website or a simple mobile app. Today, as digital touchpoints continue to evolve, organizations need to engage with customers on multiple digital channels ranging from standard iOS and Android devices to augmented reality (AR), progressive web apps (PWAs), conversational apps (voice assistants and chatbots), immersive apps, and wearables. This digital evolution has led to the emergence of multi-channel or multiexperience apps.

With the high cost of development and difficulty in finding highly skilled resources, it would be unrealistic for enterprises to build separate apps for the myriad digital experiences. To meet this challenge, leading mobile application development platforms have expanded their value proposition to offer multi-channel app development.

Gartner recently launched a Magic Quadrant for Multiexperience Development Platforms that captures this evolution and represents a new benchmark for modern application development. They define a multiexperience app development platform (MXDP) as a platform that offers both professional and citizen developers a range of front-end development tools and back-end services that enable rapid, scalable development of user experiences across devices and channels.

By 2023, more than 25% of the mobile apps, progressive web apps and conversational apps at large enterprises will be built and/or run through a multiexperience development platform.

2019 Magic Quadrant for Multiexperience Development Platforms

A good MXDP can scale to multiexperiences like:

  • Mobile and Web Apps

    With a shared design language and a single set of application models and integrations, enterprises can now use a multiexperience app development platform to deliver iOS and Android native mobile apps, (progressive) web apps, and responsive web apps that offer top-notch user experiences and are easy to build.

  • Smartphone and Tablet

    Users today access information from multiple devices. For instance, consumers may prefer smartphones for quick research or light reading but would use a tablet for complex tasks like filling out purchase orders, HR onboarding forms, or for pulling business reports. An MXDP supports application development for multiple devices like smartphones and tablets and can leverage device capabilities like camera, fingerprint, navigations, and more.

  • Emerging Tech like Wearable, AR/VR, IoT, and AI

    With one design system for all app types, MXDP can enable visual modeling for AR/VR that is platform and framework neutral. A multiexperience app development platform can also support 3D visualization, collaboration and data exchange technologies to create an immersive user experience across multiple digital channels. Emerging tech applications include companies using IoT sensors to track temperature, air quality, geographic location, etc. of the shipping container and transmitting this information to a central system; or using AR-enabled glasses to track down a package in the warehouse by superimposing digital information onto the shipment; or AI-powered voice assistants and chatbots that can guide users across the app and help them find solutions.

What problems can you solve with mobile applications?

Application development platforms have increasingly become a core part of an organization’s digital initiatives. It’s no surprise that by 2021, at least one-third of enterprises will have deployed a multi-experience development platform to support app development.

MXDP can be used to build enterprise mobile apps and customer-facing apps that can help businesses:

  • Enhance Customer Engagement

    Customers across B2E, B2B, and B2C are looking for digital touchpoints that are convenient, simple, and transparent. With most people checking their phones 150 times per day, mobile apps can help businesses provide value to its customers and retain their loyalty.

    Companies are increasingly building consumer-facing mobile apps to digitize common jobs like service request, shipment tracking, etc. An easy yet effective way to increase customer engagement with these apps is through notifications. Think reminders for recurring tasks like stock refills, weekly reporting, vendor payment, etc. Another highly rewarding method to increase customer engagement with the mobile app is through gamification.

  • Increase Operational Efficiency

    Today’s workforce increasingly relies on their mobile devices. 78% of organizations are building employee-facing apps, and nearly one in five are building more than 10 such apps. Organizations can increase employee productivity and decrease operational costs with enterprise mobile apps (EMA). EMAs — when integrated with common business systems like ERP or CRM — allow employees to have easy access to the right data at the right time and make informed business decisions.

    Enterprise mobile apps are especially helpful to empower employees in the field. For instance, rather than having to search the internet, a salesperson out on the field can use the enterprise app to tap into a variety of customer data like financial reports, market analysis, third-party reports, etc. just before the crucial client meeting. Another valuable use case can be for workers on the construction sites. Construction managers can use the mobile app to pull real-time budget information from the company’s database, enabling them to make sound financial decisions.

    Enterprise mobile apps also make it possible for employees in the field to enter data first-hand from the ground back to the central company database enabling a single point of data entry and eliminating rework.

  • Develop New and Innovative Products Faster

    With a single set of application model and integrations across the web, mobile, and native mobile, an MXDP makes it possible for businesses to experiment and innovate with new apps without significant resource or cost requirement. The flexibility of the platform allows businesses to respond faster to changing customer needs and market opportunities and scale the app across new digital experiences like wearables, AR/VR, voice, chatbot, and IoT.

    The reduced time to market ensures companies can launch new features or functionalities often while the multichannel presence ensures the customers have the freedom to interact per their preference – where they want and how they want.

  • Increase User Adoption

    Employees and customers are used to consumer-grade UI that offers an easy-to-use and a smooth user experience. With MXDPs, companies can build apps that are highly customizable, integrate with device capabilities, and offer a consumer app-like experience (think: native apps); resulting in increased user adoption for the business.

    An enterprise mobile app with high adoption rates translates into improved compliance and employee productivity for the company, while a consumer app with high adoption means increased customer satisfaction.

What are the different types of mobile apps?

There are four types of mobile apps an organization can choose from to build its enterprise mobile application: web app, hybrid app, native app, and progressive web app.

Web App

A web app runs on an internet browser. Web apps are easy and quick to build. However, they cannot leverage device functionality and lack the enhanced user experience. Unlike native apps, a user cannot have a shortcut to a web app on their home screen, instead, they access it through a web page or a URL, just like a website.

Hybrid App

A hybrid of native and web apps, hybrid apps offer a middle ground between a native app’s superior features with a web app’s development simplicity. Hybrid apps are written in languages like HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, and using technology like Cordova or PhoneGap for packaging so that one app can run across multiple platforms or OSes.

Native App

Built for either Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android, native apps are coded for the chosen OS. An app for Apple would be written in Swift or Objective-C, while Google’s app will be in Java. Since these apps are platform/OS-specific, they can integrate seamlessly with device features like camera, GPS, and contacts and offer far better user experience with sophisticated micro-interactions like infinite scroll and subtle animations. Native apps are quick to load and can be written to offer offline access. These apps are highly customizable and usually have the best performance.

Progressive Web App

A progressive web app (PWA) is a new generation of web apps. PWAs can be built in languages like HTML, CSS or JavaScript and are distributed through URLs instead of an app store. While not as customizable as native apps, PWAs offer native device functionality like push notifications, download an icon on the device screen, and the ability to work offline through Service Workers.

Native vs Hybrid vs PWA

Overall native apps offer the most sophisticated and intuitive performance, but ultimately the business requirement and maturity level will dictate the decision.

Developer Experience
ParametersNative AppHybrid AppPWA
PerformanceBest performance with the highest retention rate from the user base.Least performance with a low retention rate.Better performance than hybrid apps.
SecurityMost secure.Limited security. Uses third-party plugins to access device functionality which could compromise the security.Limited security. Quite secure if hosted over HTTPS. But third-party plug-ins may open the app to some security risks.
Use caseMass-market apps, consumer apps, media-rich apps.Enterprise mobile application.One-time, simple interaction apps (no media, geo-location, etc.), low bandwidth apps
Speed to marketBefore MXDP and React Native, the advanced functionality and the need to code the same app for iOS and Android resulted in longer development cycles and high cost for native apps. However, with the right MXDP, the time and cost to market are considerably brought down.Limited functionality and a single codebase results in faster development with low cost.Limited functionality and a single codebase results in faster development with low cost.
End-user Experience
ParametersNative AppHybrid AppPWA
The complexity of app featuresHighly customizable and works across devices.Limited scope for customization but works across platforms, devices.Limited scope for customization.
Coding requirementThere was a need to develop and maintain different codebase for the different operating systems. But with a good MXDP like Mendix, developers only need to develop a single codebase and can reuse most of the code. Ability to reuse most of the code and a single codebase.Ability to reuse most of the code and a single codebase.
Integration with new techCan integrate with the latest technology like IoT, AI, AR/VR.
Supports conversational and voice interfaces like chatbots, Alexa, and Siri.
Limited integration to new technology.Limited integration to new technology.
ResourcesTraditionally native apps demanded highly skilled developers who can code for iOS and/or Android. However, MXDP eliminates the need for iOS-or-Android-specific coders and supports a single codebase.Doesn’t call for learning different programming languages. In fact, if the developer can build apps using web technologies, it would set a solid foundation to develop hybrid apps.Doesn’t call for learning different programming languages. In fact, if the developer can build apps using web technologies, it would set a solid foundation to develop PWAs.
Existing community/ecosystemHigh community support with ReactNative open source community, 15x GitHub starred repositories, pre-styles components, and guides, tutorials.Limited to Cordova (hybrid packaging) and JavaScript libraries.Can leverage most of the JavaScript libraries.
ParametersNative AppHybrid AppPWA
Quality of user experienceConsumer-grade user experience.Lacks personalized and intuitive user experience like native apps.Better user experience than hybrid apps. PWAs are responsive.
Page speedPage opens 2X faster than hybrid apps.The pages of hybrid apps are the slowest to load.PWA pages load faster than hybrid apps but slower than native.
Device integrationSeamless integration with device capabilities and clean use of device features like the back button and list management. Intuitive connections to device functions like FaceID, share data, and more.
Supports micro-interactions.
Limited access to device features.Can access some device functionality like push notifications, vibration.
Offline-firstCan offer offline-first approach, allowing users to work with poor or no connection.Lacks offline access.Offers offline access.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you Develop Mobile Applications?

    Begin with the application concept and planning stage and move onto putting the different components of the application together. Once core functionality is complete, launch the app. Revisit and update the application until full desired functionality is realized. Utilizing a low-code development platform like Mendix facilitates being able to plan out, build, deploy and improve multiexperience applications intuitively.

  • What Smartphone Platforms are Supported?

    Apps built on our platform can run natively on devices running Android or iOS. Mendix applications will work on Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, HTC, Motorola devices and most other smartphones.

  • What is Cross Platform Mobile App Development?

    Cross platform mobile application development ensures that an app works across all devices, regardless of screen resolution or operating system. Since Mendix apps are cloud-based, every application is available on different platforms out of the box.

  • What Mobile Application Development Tools are Available?

    Every application built with Mendix is intuitively configurable to suit the needs of the three main device types: desktop, tablet and mobile. With our web and desktop modelers, it is easy to set up different layouts and UIs for each experience. Additionally, as digital touchpoints continue to evolve, Mendix also supports multiexperience application development for emerging technology like AR/VR, IoT, AI to help create an immersive user experience.

  • What Types of Mobile Apps Can you Build?

    Applications built with Mendix are only limited by the developer’s imagination. Some examples of applications built by Mendix users include IoT enabled logistic smart apps, customer portals for insurance and medical customers, and a pantheon of digital transformation apps across countless of industries. Visit our gallery for examples of real life applications.