Kony Visualizer Puts Mobile Apps Features Control in Hands of Those Closest to the Business Processes
Kony Visualizer Puts Mobile Apps Features Control in
Hands of Those Closest to the Business Processes
A BrieﬁngsDirect interview on creating dynamic and engaging user interfaces with drag-and-
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Sponsor: Kony, Inc.
Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BrieﬁngsDirect interview, coming to you
from the Kony World 2015 Conference in Orlando.
I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host throughout
this series of penetrating discussions on the latest in enterprise mobility. We're
here to explore advancements in mobile applications design and deployment
technologies across the full spectrum of edge devices and operating
For our next innovation interview, we welcome Ed Gross, Kony Vice President of
Product Management. Ed is focused on the Kony Visualizer Product, including requirements
prototyping, development oversight, release planning, and lifecycle management.
Welcome to BrieﬁngsDirect, Ed.
Ed Gross: Thanks, Dana. Glad to be here. It's an exciting event that we're having here at Kony
World. We're in the process of educating our customers here on our latest releases in our product
portfolio. One that I'm most excited about is the 2.0 release of our Visualizer product, which
brings a number of next-generation capabilities with it.
Visualizer is a tool by which you can create engaging and dynamic user
experiences on all platforms for mobility, including tablet and desktop as well.
What it does is present an opportunity for designers to take back control of the
development process of both designing applications and creating rich next-
generation user experiences.
If you look at how applications are designed typically, it's a very rigid process of
creating wireframes and mockups and then throwing those materials over the
wall to developers. Designers today, prior to the Visualizer, didn't really have a suite of tools that
they could use to create these applications directly using the technology.
Right now, designers create sort of mockups and proxies of that design to hand over to a
developer to implement. We thought it would be great if designers had a tool by which they can
directly create that user experience in the native and Web channels using the underlying Kony
With Visualizer you can go in with this what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG)
environment. It’s actually called WYSIWYM (what you see is what you
mobilize). It’s a term that we coined because it’s a unique approach and
something we believe to be a new paradigm in designing applications.
What I can do as a designer is just drag and drop widgets onto my forms. I
can create dynamic interactions that really showcase the native capabilities
that we have with Visualizer. I can then take that design and publish the
actual app to the Kony cloud. Then, using an app on my phone or tablet, I can then download
that design directly, look at all the native interactions, review them, and get a feel for the actual
application without having to write any code.
This is a true native experience, not some sort of web-based proxy, mockup, or set of wireframes.
I'm actually creating the app product itself within Visualizer with this WYSIWYG canvas.
We provide access to all the native capabilities. For example, I can use a cover ﬂow widget, a
page widget, a calendar, or a camera. I get access to all those rich native capabilities, using what
we call actions, without having to go down and write code for all these different platforms.
Fundamentally, what this also represents is a collaboration opportunity with business and IT. If
I'm a designer working under the marketing arm of an organization or I'm a designer or a
developer in the IT organization, by using what we call app preview, I can take this design,
publish it to the Kony cloud, and bring it into the shell application that you could download from
any of the app stores.
Then, I can review and write notes on this design. I can send those notes back to the cloud.
Ultimately, the Visualizer user can see those comments that I've left across the entire application.
They can act upon them and iterate through that design process by republishing that app back to
the cloud so that the business user or the developer, the designer, whoever is actually reviewing
this application, can annotate on it.
The fundamental principle here is that you are not just creating a set of assets to hand over to a
developer. You’re actually creating the app itself. What’s really fundamental is that we're
essentially giving all of the power and all of the control back to the designer, so that the designer
can ﬁnalize this application and then simply hand it over to the developer using Kony Studio.
The developer can take it from there without having to rewrite any of the front end of the
application. The developer doesn't need to be concerned with creating all of the user experience
components by writing code or creating views. They focus on what they do best, which is
hooking that application into back-end services and systems, such as SAP, Siebel, or any
enterprise service bus connectors.
If you want to integrate with a Web service like an XML, SOAP, or JSON service, you do all that
in the studio. You don’t worry about writing all the front-end code. You make it production ready,
you wire it, and you do the fundamental business logic of the application and the integration with
Because what the designer has given you is already complete, and so it cuts down all those
cycles. It also cuts down on defects. What we saw before Visualizer was that most development
projects had very large numbers of defects associated with the user experience.
What I mean when I say is that if today you take an application that was developed using other
technology and you break down all the defects according to what category they belong in, such
as, integration defects or user experience defects, or performance defects, we ﬁnd that 70
percent to 80 percent of the defects categorically are associated with poor implementation of the
In that typical waterfall process that I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of gaps We hand those
assets over to a developer, and the developer has to make a lot of assumptions in that process.
They have to ﬁll in a lot of the holes that the designer may have left, because the designer is not
going to make sure that they design and spec out every single tiny component of that application.
What winds up happening is that a developer somewhere in that lifecycle will make assumptions
and implement something in a way that doesn't satisfy the requirements of the business. So you
have to go through that whole process of designing and developing over and over again.
With Visualizer, you have the capability to quickly iterate. You publish that app design, you
get feedback from the business, as I had mentioned earlier, and even during the development
process, reiterate through that design process. That integration between Visualizer and our studio
project is completely bidirectional.
At any point in that development process, you can transfer that application design back in
Visualizer, make any adjustments, and then reimport it back into Studio. So your product suite is
very well-integrated. At Kony, it’s something that we believe is a true differentiator.
Our core focus is mobility. So we ensure that the developer and designer experience is world
class by tightly integrating the entire design and development process and making sure that those
two processes are as close as possible to what we call the metal, the underlying channel, and that
they can occur in parallel streams. You no longer have to go through sort of a tradition paper-
based design process to move forward with implementing your app design.
Gardner: Tell me, Ed, what is speciﬁcally new or some of the highlights in Visualizer 2.0 as
well as Framework 6.0.
Gross: Historically at Kony, we have supported a broad swath of devices. From 2008, look at all
Symbian devices, BlackBerry devices, all the way up through iOS, Android, Mobile Web, and
even Desktop Web, Windows, etc. What we did is look at our layout model where we had
previously recognized that we're going to push forward to the next generation of application
By doing so we introduce the different paradigm to layout your application using what we call
ﬂex layout that’s supported on the next generation of what we call Hero devices. It's focusing on
those devices, those smartphones, that can provide that next-generation level of experience that
we’ve become used to.
If you look at Android, iOS, and Windows devices, that’s our core focus as well as Web and
Mobile Web. We really up-leveled the entire experience so you can design very engaging
experiences using ﬂex layout. We've also introduced a number of capabilities around animation,
so that you can get those advanced animation and dynamic interactions that you become used to
in consumer grade applications with Kony.
We've also introduced a suite of APIs around this as well. The developer can create very dynamic
experiences, or the designer in Visualizer can create these wonderful experiences using what we
call Action Editor to access all of those animation components and a bunch of native
components, such as the ability to advanced device level actions like invoke a camera or map
widget or send an SMS or an e-mail, all without having to write code.
Gardner: A recurring theme here and in the industry at large is the need for speed, closing the
gap between the demand for mobile apps and what the IT organization and the developer core
can produce. Is there anything about Visualizer and Framework that helps the DevOps process
along. Perhaps it's being able to target a cloud or platform-as-a-service (PaaS) type of affair,
where you can get that into production rapidly. How does what you brought to the market now
help in terms of speed?
Gross: There are number of things. The ﬁrst principle here is that we're signiﬁcantly and
seriously reducing the time it takes to get from design to development through this process.
We're seeing a 15x or higher improvement in the time it takes to develop the front-end of an
application, which is signiﬁcant, and we believe in that very much. That's probably the most
There are tools underneath the hood that support that, including the app preview that I’d
mentioned that lets you get on the device native without having to go through any of the
development cycles. So it’s a drastic improvement.
There's also, a huge reduction in the amount of errors in the process. It also increases your
capability to iterate. That is really core. You can create multiple designs and use those designs to
socialize your idea, your business process, or what impact that will have on your users upfront.
So I don't have to go through an entire waterfall process to discover that my user experience may
not be right and may not be an effective use of my information architecture, for example. I'm
able to do all that up front. And all this is supported with the underlying cloud infrastructure at
Kony. When I publish my app preview, or if I publish this to a developer, it’s all supported within
our cloud infrastructure.
To get down to brass tacks, I as a designer can publish my project to the Kony cloud and share it
with a developer, what we call our functional previews of that application. That app preview that
I’d mentioned is all supported with the underlying cloud platform.
Then, when you look at Studio, our Studio product is highly integrated with our MobileFabric
solution, and we’re working in our next release to increase that integration even more. You can
invoke our mobile cloud services from our development environment. We're going to be working
to merge that entire Studio environment with our Visualizer design components, drastically
improving the design and design or develop an integration experience.
Gardner: And to tie this into some of the other news and announcements here at Kony World,
this is targeted at many of your partners and independent software vendors (ISVs), new ones that
were brought in and the burgeoning cloud of supporters. Is this also what you expected, for ISVs
to use to create those ready-to-deploy apps like Kony Sales, or are these for custom apps, or all
of the above?
Custom app support
Gross: All of the above. Visualizer, if you look at the lowest level, is really built to support
custom app design and development. That’s the traditional core of the Kony technology, the
Kony platform stack. We're introducing a new product, Kony Modeler, this month, and that
product is actually built on the foundation of Visualizer and our underlying developer
When you design a Visualizer, you're essentially designing either custom applications or our
model-driven business applications such as Kony Sales. The conﬁguration of those applications
inside of Modeler as a business analyst or business user does is also built on the Visualizer stack.
So everything you do is highly visual, and this speaks to the user-centered development
methodology that we see now.
User experience-driven applications are the future, and we recognize that at Kony, we put the
user experience ﬁrst, not the data model, not writing other kinds of models. We really focus on
driving user expectations, increased performance for B2E applications, increased productivity,
and it all relates back to user experience.
Gardner: Before we close out, I just wanted to hammer down a little bit on that ISV community
and why they would look to Kony. It seems to me that they're focused on the logic and
understanding their industries and businesses.
They don't want to have to rewrite code. They don’t want to be in the platform business. What is
it that reduces the risk for an ISV who considers the Kony approach? Perhaps it’s in terms of the
number of end-point devices, the ability to write once, run everywhere, the quality and speed
issues you brought up. Give me a bit more insight as to why an ISV should think about Kony
when going to mobile markets?
Gross: Well there are a number of things that I'll recap. The ﬁrst one is that you’re greatly
reducing the time it takes to get from design to the end product, which is key. Number two,
you're able to reduce man-hours in the development process of the front-end experience.
able to write once for all these different channels. A fourth point that I'd like to bring up on top of
these is our service-level agreement (SLA), which is unique in the industry.
At Kony, we have a unique SLA that says that within 30 days of a new operating system release,
we will provide support within the Kony platform. Nobody else does that. We guarantee that
support across our ISV channels and our direct customers, so that they don’t have to worry about
revving up to the next version of the given channel. We really take care of that. We mask our
customers from that, so that they can focus on innovation.
Gardner: Well great. I'm afraid we will have to leave it there. We have been learning about how
advancements in mobile applications, design and deployment technologies are bringing new
productivity beneﬁts across the growing spectrum of edge devices and operating environments,
and we’ve seen how quality, speed, and value are rapidly increasing, thanks to the Kony mobility
platform and the new tools like Visualizer 2.0.
So a big thank you to our guest. We’ve been joined by Ed Gross, Kony Vice President of Product
Management. Thank you, Ed.
Gross: Thank you, Dana.
Gardner: And a big thank you too to our audience for joining this special series coming to you
directly from the Kony World 2015 Conference in Orlando.
I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host throughout this series of
Kony sponsored BrieﬁngsDirect enterprise mobility discussions. Thanks again for listening, and
do come back next time.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Sponsor: Kony, Inc.
A BrieﬁngsDirect interview on creating dynamic and engaging user interfaces with drag-and-
drop ease. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2015. All rights reserved.
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