HTML5 Common Myths… Busted

Myth: Mobile applications developed in HTML5 are device agnostic, allowing for all features to run seamlessly on all devices and platforms, letting organizations successfully and flawlessly switch to a BYOD policy.

Fact:  HTML5 apps are great and versatile…in certain circumstances.  The bottom line for a CG field-based mobile app is that it needs to support your sales force intuitively and efficiently. At the end of the day, it just needs to work. HTML5 has made great strides over the past two years, including device-agnostic capability and a lower cost of development. HTML5 has found success running apps that are simple, handle limited data, and require little or no customization and design, but the platform does have its limitations. One of the biggest frustrations with HTML5 is the way features and interfaces change from device to device. Many developers prefer a native application as it runs smoother, quicker, and can handle complex processes.

What Are Your Goals At Retail?

After analyzing both platforms, the question isn’t which is better, but rather what do you need your application to do?  Research, experience, and debate among experts have built a case for the strengths and weaknesses of each. But too often, companies select an application that is the lowest cost and hope it can handle their current needs without really examining how their requirements will change over time.  If your sales force operates in a complex, data-rich environment, trying to communicate data accurately, quickly and effectively across various devices using an HTML5 app could end up hurting your team and your bottom line.

Avoid the Costly Mistake

A few years ago, top-tier organizations (LinkedIn, Facebook) had taken the gamble on releasing an HTML5 application and discovered its limitations firsthand. Users complained of a clunky interface, long lag times, and an overall sloppy product. All these problems created frustrated end users, and these organizations quickly reverted back to a native application, however, not before upsetting their users and lightening their wallets.

For an organization to succeed, your tools need to be as good as your people. A native application molds around your sales force, becoming the perfect tool your team needs to make an impact in the field. A native application can handle all the features and data you can throw at the device, making it a powerful mobile tool. A native app makes better use of hardware-specific interactions like pinching and swiping.  It also has the same look and feel as other native applications, decreasing the learning curve.  Reps can always use the GPS, Camera, and Bluetooth.  The Bluetooth connects with third-party devices such as a scanner or a thermometer. These features improve a rep’s store call efficiency by 20% and drives action. The focus of your team’s effort shouldn’t simply be entering data into a system but preparing for their next opportunity.”

Remember The Solution Isn’t A Simple Yes or No

As the battle of HTML5 vs. Native continues, remember HTML5 isn’t a replacement for a native application, rather it’s a complement.


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Seth Nagle, Senior Marketing Manager at RW3 Technologies understands the power of innovation but also its limitations. Attending Salve Regina in New England, starting his career in Silicon Valley, and now living in Austin, Texas; Seth provides a unique tech perspective to a complex CPG and Retail Grocery Industry that is in constant disruption.

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