Many customers of Kinvey are large Salesforce users. They have moved their entire CRM operations from legacy vendors to the Salesforce SaaS Service.
After their move from on-premises software to cloud-based SaaS services, these customers are making the next platform shift, enabling mobility for their users instead of a desktop-web experience.
One vertical market where we see the transition to mobile-enablement happening in full force is pharma. Within the pharma market, enabling sales people in the field via mobile eDetailing apps helps improve productivity, consistency, and traceability of the sales process.
Customers use mBaaS to help build eDetailing apps because many SaaS CRM platforms don’t provide them the flexibility of creating a custom eDetailing solution that fits their businesses processes. Instead, most SaaS services provide mobile frameworks that force you to conform to their way of writing applications.
We had a similar situation with a Kinvey customer, a top-5 pharma company that recently decided to deliver an eDetailing app for their sales team.
Deliver a contextual eDetailing tablet app for sales reps in 32 geographies. The app must provide access to data and collect information in a compliant manner for each geography, work offline via native experiences, and have low total cost of ownership to build, launch, and enhance the app.
The company’s salespeople are split across multiple geographies, and based on geography, each rep needs to see custom content from the company’s Salesforce instance, as well as send custom information back from the app. Using only Salesforce to build the app, the company would have had to use geography-based business logic customized for each geography’s needs, and directly tied to an app for that specific geography. The resulting project scope suggested this would require 32 individual apps to service all salespeople.
Additionally, each page in the native iOS app experience showcased data from multiple Salesforce objects. Using Salesforce’s tools alone, this would have made offline experience enablement very difficult, as the company did not employ Apex developers as part of the mobile team. The resulting architecture and large number of apps created prohibitive upfront and long-term maintenance costs.
The customer realized that by combining Salesforce’s capabilities with Kinvey they would be able to overcome these challenges. They used Kinvey’s iOS SDK to authenticate users and marshall data between the app and Kinvey’s backend, and the iOS SDK’s offline caching and sync capabilities meant that they could enable offline experiences with just a few lines of code.
Additionally, the customer used Kinvey’s Salesforce Data Link Connector (DLC) to convert the app’s queries to Kinvey with matching queries to Salesforce, decoupling the frontend application’s requests to Salesforce from the backend integration into the system.
Finally, the customer built a web-based console that allowed a business analyst to customize the data access policies by geography, determining how different users would be able to receive and send data on a per screen basis.
The new app lives on a decoupled architecture, built on Kinvey, where the authentication and data access at the app layer is separated from authentication and data access in Salesforce. The company was able to build just one app to service their entire sales team instead of 32, and offline access in the app worked from day one without an extensive development effort.
Importantly, the new architecture enabled the web-based console that allows a non-technical analyst to define, manage, and update the business rules governing what content salespeople in differing geographies can access and update. This simply would not have been possible using Salesforce and tightly coupled business logic.
The company estimates that it saved more than three million dollars on development and maintenance costs by leveraging Kinvey — and that’s just for this one project.
Because this top-5 pharmaceutical company has a global presence, this eDetailing use case is relevant across more than 100 business units, though the frontend experience would need to change (i.e. they would need a new app) for most. But because of the decoupled architecture built on Kinvey, the customer does not need to worry about creating new integrations with their Salesforce instance – they can simply leverage the existing DLC – or the web-based business rules manager, and can instead focus on customizing the app experience for each additional app and product need. The customer expects this to save them further millions down the line.