15 things to consider when you are evaluating in app technology

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In application technology” which is core of our offering is not a new thing. Many companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Salesforce use it in some form or other. Likes of Microsoft have also tried it with not so good reception by users that they ultimately sunset the product.

3 kinds of technology pieces are existing in this domain.

1 – Companies like Anakage who work primarily on desktops. They sit as a desktop application and can work seamlessly with almost all applications with no integration or installation.

2 – Free open source libraries like hopscotch released by LinkedIn which can be used to bring this technology inside any website with little coding knowledge

3 – Various Web based products which can be integrated by websites with one line of code integration. In case websites does not want to include one like of code on all pages then they can get the same functionality through browser extensions for chrome, firefox.

All of the above have its merits and demerits. From top level some of them might look to be obvious choice for your situation but there are many things that will affect your choice. Your technology selection will make the difference between success and failure . Below are 11 key questions you should ask from the vendors in order to arrive at correct decision –

  1. What is your use case ? This is the first question you should ask from yourself. Do you need this technology for training, on the job help, or support. Because complexity or need is different at each level. During training you would also want assessments, reporting and support of various leaning methods. During on the job help your need looks to be simple and you thought that basic flow would suffice but this could not be the case. User needs to make decision while doing his job. During support the need becomes more complex as it needs trouble shooting in most of the cases. Because had it been simple users would already have found it ! Once you decide your use case you should find if vendors support this.
  2. Will a 5 point manual be sufficient or you need new technology? Research has shown that minimalist documents are more effective in learning or doing a task. Is the new technology making things more complex.
  3. What is the profile of end users ? Is it targeted for first time users. In that case a tool with simple capability will work. Will it be used for training program where users already have basic knowledge of the tool. Then simple flow might not be suited and you might want something extra.
  4. Are users internal or external? Who is going to use the product. How are their internet download speeds. Will they install extensions?
  5. Can you make changes to the target application? Can you include one line code in target application. You might not be allowed to if you do not have access to source code.
  6. What is your deployment challenges? What are the installation challenges in your organization. What is IT department requirements. Can you ask users to install browser extensions. What are security requirements of your IT department. What is data policy. Is the data going outside of your organization. What data is being sent. How tolerant your clients are to this?
  7. Should you do in house or buy from vendor? If your need is simple then you can do it yourself using libraries like hopscotch considering that you have technology resources who can understand code.
  8. What is your budget ? Decide between what is the impact and budget you have in hand. Can you pay monthly to vendor or one time effort is all you want to invest.
  9. What are the security issues? How is data being sent. How is communication happening. What encryption is being followed.
  10. Permanent browser extension install vs lightweight download? Will users prefer to download a lightweight application which can be run directly needing no install or they will instead want to install browser extension which will always sit in their browser.
  11. Which browser you use? IE might be more pervasive in your organization.
  12. Which kind of application you want to cover? Is it desktop application or browser based application. Some cover all application where as others cover only browser based apps.
  13. Does your web application uses Java technologies? Then desktop based solution might be your only answer.
  14. How many application you want to cover? During process do you want seamless integration with more than one application which is more common in support cases or is it always single application which is the focus
  15. Do you have old resources which you do not want to lose? Considering that you already have manuals and videos and you do not want to lose them does the vendor support it by integrating existing resources.

We are not giving you any answers because it might look biased and deciding a technology is not a trivial task and you would anyway be spending time doing this. If you want our help during the process do send us a mail at enterprise@anakage.in. Anakage intelligent technology for training, on the job help and support needing no integration or installation goes deep into solving your need because each phase needs to be handled in a unique way

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