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Why Native Apps Win the Day

The growing need for enterprise mobile apps comes as little surprise. As more and more business functions come to rely on data to make decisions, non-technical users are clamoring for apps that get the job done accurately and efficiently. I’ve already talked about why a “code-free” approach can empower employees and accelerate app development. Now it’s time to turn the conversation to the apps themselves—specifically the power of native apps.

There’s been an ongoing debate over native versus HTML5 apps. While some may still believe that HTML5 is better for reusability across platforms or speed/time to develop, it’s hard to argue against native applications, which provide a much better user experience and deliver powerful benefits. In fact, in the past, Mark Zuckerberg has noted that Facebook’s previous focus on HTML5 was one of the company’s biggest mistakes. Shifting their strategy to building excellent native apps changed the game for Facebook—their users got better, faster performance on mobile, and Facebook was able to monetize their platform in completely new ways.

At MicroStrategy, we’ve long been convinced that cross-platform native app functionality – and its ability to build once and deploy across multiple platforms – wins the day, both for the app creator and the end-user. But that’s not the only reason native apps are a better choice than HTML5 apps. There are a multitude of benefits from both a technical and usability perspective:

Similarly, push notifications that deliver personalized alerts based on set thresholds are a powerful way to ensure both app adoption and employee awareness. Users may not proactively open up an app, but alerts invite users into the app to review what’s going on with their business. That same sales rep could be alerted that one of her customers is likely about to jump ship, and that she needs to take action to prevent losing that account.

Offline access

Unlike apps built in HTML5, native apps are able to pre-cache information, which means that users can access the apps offline. Since the app can store information before the user goes to request it, a native app will also have much faster performance, regardless of whether it has access to a Wi-Fi or 3G/4G connection.

Better performance for users

According to Google Research, if a website or an app is too slow or doesn't provide relevant information, 29 percent of people using smartphones will switch to a different site or app right away. In fact, slow loading time accounts for 70 percent of users who navigate away from an app or website. Clearly, speed and performance matter when it comes to ensuring an application’s success. Native mobile apps win out over HTML5 in this area—they can deliver content more quickly than HTML5 apps, because they aren’t constantly communicating back to a server.

Ability to leverage mobile capabilities

Apple and other hardware manufacturers are constantly evolving and adding new functionality to their devices. Software that taps into these built-in capabilities will always be a better choice than an app that can’t take advantage of these features. For example, a native app can leverage functions such as GPS location or push notifications. Consider a sales representative who is visiting a city in her territory and just had a customer cancel their meeting that afternoon—what can she do with that extra hour or two? A native app could automatically pull up her location and display additional accounts in the area, so she could decide which nearby customer to try to meet with instead.

Greater security

It is much harder to hack a native app than it is to access an HTML5 app. When considering the kind of sensitive data companies work with today –including critical business performance or customer information – security is one of the biggest concerns for many businesses.

Mobile apps for the enterprise are crucial for boosting productivity and modernizing operations, and native app capabilities ensure end users are presented with the best experience possible.

Read more about how to rapidly build native mobile apps with MicroStrategy’s code-free development platform here.

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