Which mobile integration is better: SDK or web-widget

Which mobile integration is better: SDK or web-widget

When it comes to integrating a mobile application with a SaaS based helpdesk CRM (like Zendesk, Freshdesk or Zoho Desk), there are two main options: using a SDK (Software Development Kit) or a web-widget. Both have their pros and cons, and the choice will depend on the specific needs and requirements of your application and helpdesk.

A SDK is a set of tools and libraries that developers can use to integrate the mobile application with the CRM. The SDK typically includes documentation, code samples, and other resources to help developers understand the APIs and implement the integration. Pros of using a SDK includes the ability to access all the features and functionality of the mobile OS and the ability to customize the integration to fit the specific needs of the mobile application. Cons include the need for developers to have a good understanding of the SDK and the CRM APIs, and the need to do additional testing and quality assurance to ensure the integration is working properly. For detailed explanation of advantage of SDK over web-widget, please see section below ‘Reasons to use SDK’.

A web-widget based integration is a simpler option that does not require developers to have a deep understanding of the CRM integration components. Instead, the integration is done by adding a web-widget to the mobile application that allows users to access the CRM directly from the application. Pros of this option include the ease of implementation and the ability to access the CRM helpdesk without having to leave the mobile application. Cons include the fact that the web-widget (may) prove limited in providing access to all the features and functionality of the CRM, and that it may be less customizable than a SDK based integration. Please see section ‘When to use a web-widget’ below if you wish to deploy it for your integration.

Reasons to use SDK

A SDK (Software Development Kit) based mobile application integration can be a better option for a SaaS based CRM helpdesk than a web-widget based integration for a number of reasons.

One of the main advantages of a SDK based integration is the access to mobile features such as reading SMS OTP, camera and GPS. Although latest web-widgets do allow the same. For example, a CRM may need to take a photo of a customer’s product for a warranty claim, or track the location of a customer’s device for troubleshooting. With a web-widget based integration, these features, traditionally, would not be available, whereas a SDK based integration would allow full access to the device’s capabilities.

Another advantage of a SDK based integration is the increased security capabilities. A SDK based integration allows for more control over the security measures put in place, such as encryption and authentication. For example, a CRM helpdesk may require customers to log in with a secure token, or encrypt sensitive data before it is sent to the server. These features would not be possible with a web-widget based integration.

Additionally, a SDK based integration allows for a more seamless integration with the mobile device, resulting in a better user experience. For example, a CRM helpdesk may want to create a push notification to alert customers of new updates, or allow customers to access the helpdesk directly from their device’s home screen. These features would not be possible with a web-widget based integration.

When to use a web-widget

Firstly, web-widget based integration operates within the browser, which provides a layer of security through standard browser security protocols. In contrast, SDK based integration operates within the device’s operating system, which can make it more susceptible to security breaches. For a SaaS based CRM, this is particularly important as sensitive customer data is often stored and processed. Also, since web-widgets ride over the browser layer, they can have accesses to all those features that the latest browsers offer. This includes camera, location and storage as well.

Secondly, web-widget based integration is more user-friendly as it does not require users to download and install any additional software. This allows customers to access the helpdesk easily and quickly, which can improve customer satisfaction and retention. In contrast, SDK based integration requires users to download and install the SDK which can be a barrier to entry for some customers.

Lastly, and critically, SaaS or PaaS companies generally roll out latest features over the web-widget vs. SDK. This is due to their applicability on a wide range of devices or anything that uses a web browser. With SDK it takes longer time. Every SDK update will not only require version control at the provider’s end, a similar change process needs to be followed by the client organization as well. This is one of the reasons that PaaS providers have to keep many versions of the SDK as not all clients upgrade at the same pace and may not use most compatible libraries in place. This leaves clients struggling to find the most apt version for their requirements. It is also observed that multiple versions of SDKs miss out on features between them leaving clients high n’ dry as they move to the latest one. Besides this, bugs of SDK take longer to identify and fix, largely because not all mobile end-users auto-update their installed app.

In Summary, when it comes to deciding which option is best for your mobile application, it is important to consider the specific needs and requirements of your application and helpdesk. If your mobile application requires deep integration with the CRM, and you need to access all the features and functionality of the mobile platform, then a SDK based integration is likely the best choice. However, if you simply need to provide users with quick and easy access to the CRM helpdesk without leaving the mobile application, then a web-widget based integration may be a better option. Ultimately, the choice will depend on the specific needs of your application and helpdesk, and the resources available to implement the integration.

In either of the above cases it is never too easy to identify the right fit for your mobile strategy. Most of the mobile development architects tend to go for SDK approach, without knowing every piece of capability, limitation or even vulnerability of the provider’s product. Here, an experienced partner of the CRM developer can play a pivotal role in guiding the client organizations to the right set of tools to deploy. At TecRivulet, we try to identify the exact needs and align them with the overall mobile application strategy of the clients. With our experience of handling various SDKs, TecRivulet can suggest the best version to use or not-use to the clients.

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