I recently started a blog series on how successful technology companies can leverage Appify to take a giant leap forward in their offering with a minimal investment, freeing up limited engineering resources and reducing technical debt. The first article focused on the Field Service Management (FSM) category, an industry near and dear to me from my time as an alliance and partnerships leader at ServiceMax and General Electric. Field Service Management is often a sector with strong existing technology while balancing a need to integrate with modern solutions. CSG (CSGS – NASDAQ) was exploring how to push innovation, speed, and agility, while maintaining their successful systems and that’s when they began discussions with Appify.
Appify is announcing its first strategic partnership with CSG
Today, Appify announced its strategic partnership with CSG to use Appify’s platform to help field service workforces deliver more extraordinary customer experiences!
When I first spoke to CSG, they introduced themselves as, “The largest field service company you’ve never heard of.” They were correct! Having worked in the field services industry for a decade, I had indeed never heard of them.
The majority of CSG’s business is from the billing services they provide to cable and telecommunications companies in over 130 countries, and many of those companies have field engineers. The more I came to understand CSG, their offerings, and their global reach, the more impressed I was. They provided the underlying software and technology for the companies we interact with on a daily basis.
CSG looks for a mobile solution that can integrate with their current backend
The CSG capabilities on the backend around scheduling and optimization, contracts, asset management were all very impressive. As I read the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) for Field Service Management, their solution was very well regarded, however, they didn’t have the mobile capabilities their customers were looking for and had a heavy dependency on customization. This is typical of existing solutions, not just in FSM, but across enterprise software in general. CSG wanted a solution that enabled their offerings to function for inherently mobile users, and was agile enough to accommodate the unique requirements of customers and prospects, seamlessly integrating their other systems into the user experience.
Speaking of Gartner MQs, in the period between initial contact and final agreement, CSG evaluated every offering in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms, including the laternative Low-Code and No-Code players such as Outsystems, Microsoft PowerApps, and a few others that are not in the quadrant.
So, why did CSG choose Appify?
Let’s be honest, any low-code or no-code solution can create screens and, to some extent, manage a workflow. Even Google AppSheet can deliver on this requirement. Unfortunately, low-code is still just… code. It still depends on costly and scarce resources and suffers the same bugs and pitfalls of traditional software development. No-code, on the other hand, comes with very defined guard rails, and often limits on devices, data sources, integrations, and always limits on functionality and scalability, which confines these tools to fewer use cases or industry applicability – especially in enterprise.
At Appify, we learned from this first generation of No-Code and Low-Code providers. We developed the next generation of no-code platform, architected to deliver to the enterprise without the typical limits of either option. We created a solution that can act as a modern alternative to middleware: bridging the gap between your technology so you can build the modern solutions you need for your teams or customers.
I’m very pleased with the depth of analysis that CSG performed in recognizing the unique core architectural advantages of Appify over other No-Code offerings:
- Appify’s Remote Objects functionality makes it easy for CSG to connect Appify to its technology stack without middleware, and without a single line of code. Appify does not duplicate the data, it continues to live in the CSG database.
- The same Remote Objects capability will also allow CSG Customers to easily integrate their data sources into Appify so they can be exposed in screens and business processes quickly and without code.
- App Themes and Branding, so the App looks like a CSG product or a CSG Customer App, just “Powered by Appify”
- Support for Employee, Partner, or Customer Apps so CSG customers can expose their data as appropriate for the end user experience.
- Configure once and the App works on any supported mobile device or within a web browser
- No-Code, without the no-code limits. Appify offers many Enterprise grade capabilities in the product itself, but sometimes the App must interact with external systems such as quoting engines and external logic so API calls and responses are supported in workflows.
- Integration with external Apps so the Appify app can, for example, pass information to a payment App or parts schematic and interact with it natively on the device.
- Appify Studio which is the administrative hub for Appify would allow CSG Customers to become more self-reliant, making changes to screens and business logic themselves without waiting on CSG resources.
- Appify Studio delivers agility so future prospects can have their unique requirements addressed rapidly driving down implementation times but also lowering the cost of sale.
- Appify is building and delivering the next-gen of no-code platforms so our commercial terms are based on deploying those Apps, we’re not trying to lock you into a particular technology stack or force you to use more of our “other” products.
- Support for Virtual Private Cloud so Appify can live with the CSG environment and CSG can manage it like their own software.
- The Appify Vision! Not only is Appify different from any other similar offering out there today, but our vision is also different, the path that Appify will travel is re-thinking what it means to be a no-code user experience layer.
So, with the power of Appify, CSG recognized that they could get a modern user experience on the front end, but more importantly they could do it faster, eliminate existing technical debt, focus on their core product innovation, be more agile in sales, and give their customers more autonomy whilst being future proofed on technology innovation but also as businesses continue to evolve.
Did we have everything?
I wish I could say yes, but I’d be lying. Early on we identified a number of capabilities that would be critical to supporting CSG Go-To-Market but were not in the platform. However, because Appify is a modern well-architected platform we were able to add a number of significant new Platform enhancements in just 3 months which will be announced over the next few months. Because we’re a platform, those new capabilities will be available to all our customers and to our next strategic partner as they become available.
Was CSG really able to build a no code app on Appify that fast?
There are some data points I can safely share:
- It took a 3½ hour workshop to build the MVP of the new CSG mobile App powered by Appify
- It took about 1 week to integrate Appify into the back end systems and have bi-directional data flow, and there really is no middleware!
- A new prospect surfaced very early on, and due to the new mobile options, we got to participate. Some of the competitors were 2 years into the bespoke development of their solution offering. For CSG and Appify it was 2½ weeks from when we got the requirements until we delivered the solution into the evaluation
That is the power of the Appify no-code solution. Appify had the opportunity to view those that came before us and architected a solution that removed the constraints, delivering our customers considerable advantages, and we’re now bringing that power to software vendors too.
Welcome CSG to the Appify family
CSG has a world-class Enterprise Field Service Management solution, but it had a few areas of the product which needed more. With the Appify Platform, CSG was able to catch up and overtake their competitors, and now have a distinct advantage with new prospects. CSG Field Service Management mobile app is now powered by Appify.
If some of the challenges I talked about sound familiar to your product in your industry then I’d love to talk about how Appify can help you. It’s never too late to catch up and overtake when you’re Powered by Appify!