The US mobile workforce is on the rise, expecting to grow a sizable 19% from 2020 to 2024 as organizations digitize processes and support larger remote workforces. This uptick can largely be attributed to the labor force disruption caused by COVID-19, dramatically impacting how and where businesses operate. Organizations and developers alike need to prepare for the increase in remote workers with reliable enterprise mobile applications that can function from anywhere, anytime, with or without an internet connection. Mobile applications are especially important for those who work outside the office and travel to different locations for their jobs, like delivery route drivers, field technicians, and remote nurses.
Appian is supporting the growth of remote workers by introducing powerful offline mobile capabilities, coming in Fall 2021. Offline capabilities allow mobile iOS and Android users to use their business apps and submit or update data with or without an internet connection.
Offline capabilities dramatically improve productivity and the user experience by doing the following:
A step-by-step overview of Appian Mobile offline capabilities.
Let’s start with the example of fleet drivers to demonstrate how mobile offline capabilities work. Historically, fleet dispatch and delivery coordination processes have been entirely manual. This manual process meant that thousands of drivers depended on large paper packets detailing their daily duties, such as inventory and transportation plans. This reliance on manual, paper-based processes increased the chance of error and created supply chain inefficiencies.
The following diagram shows how offline mobile forms are evaluated. Everything to the left of the blue line (steps 1 and 5) is completed “online,” while everything to the right of the line (steps 2–4) is completed “offline.”
With Appian Mobile, fleet drivers—or any mobile worker—anywhere can check-in, accept, and track work using their mobile enterprise app. When the user is online, the mobile app connects to the server to check for any tasks assigned to the user and downloads them onto the user’s device. The user can then access and perform these tasks without any network connection. Any tasks performed offline are queued locally to the device. Once the driver reconnects to the internet, the tasks are automatically sent to the server to process.
Step 1: Initial evaluation on the server — When the user refreshes their interface, the data loaded at the beginning of the interface expression is downloaded and cached onto the mobile device.
Step 2: User input — Whether the user is offline or online, they enter information into the form using the mobile device.
Step 3: Offline reevaluation — The data on the form reevaluates based on the user input. The user does not need to be online for this reevaluation to occur.
Step 4: User input stored — The user input is stored on the device if the user is offline.
Step 5: Form submitted — When the user has an online connection, the form is submitted. The server replays all user interactions to ensure consistency and then moves to the next node in the process model, such as writing to the data store entity.
What new functionality will offline mobile offer?
Appian developers can quickly create beautiful, secure offline mobile applications without incremental development work. Here are just some of the features that mobile offline offers:
Appian offline functionality will be available in Appian 21.4, coming in Fall 2021. You can also read more about other Appian Mobile capabilities here.