Smart Church Solutions decided it was no longer feasible to maintain the mobile app version of eSPACE, their facility and event management software.
But they soon realized that replacing their mobile app with a mobile-optimized website just wasn't cutting it.
So, where did Director of Technology Tom Metz turn? To MobiLoud. In us, he found a solution that was so perfect for what they needed, he initially didn't believe something like this was possible.
Now, Smart Church Solutions have functional mobile apps for Android and iOS that take very little cost and effort to update and maintain, helping them provide a great experience for their customers.
From Native App, to PWA, and Back to Apps
Smart Church Solutions originally had a native mobile app, which delivered a lot of value to their customers.
However, they ran into the problem that a lot of companies have when building native apps from scratch; maintenance. Maintaining the app took a lot of time, money and knowledge.
We found that it was very time-consuming and expensive to maintain. The developers and staff that maintain it left the company, and we didn't want to invest in having to bring new developers and put them up to speed on the app.
Instead of investing in new in-house developers to maintain the app, they decided to take it down and replace it with a Progressive Web App (PWA).
The PWA was meant to offer the same core functionality as the mobile app, but had to be accessed from the user's mobile browser.
It wasn't a smooth transition.
We tried to tell our customers to go to their mobile device browser and use the app on your web browser or save it to your home screen. A number of these customers were ok with this but many others weren't.
Customers immediately missed some of the core features that are only possible with native apps.
We ended up having pushback for not having a native mobile app. Customers wanted push notifications, they wanted to be able to download it from the app store and install it.
Tom realized they needed a native app again, but they couldn't afford the overhead that their old app required.
We thought, "What can we do that's going to keep us from hiring developers on staff to basically revive our old app or build a complete new one?"
Finding the Right Solution
After some word-of-mouth recommendations and a few Google searches, Tom stumbled across the app builder market.
Not all were the best fit.
I looked at a number of competitors, but they required a lot more development on our side to work with their product.
Finally, he found MobiLoud, which seemed perfect for what they wanted to do - launch a native app without an extensive development and launch process.
MobiLoud stood out because there was very little we needed to do on our side to work right out of the box.
In fact, it appeared to be too perfect. Tom's initial reaction, as well as others in the business, was that it couldn't be as simple as it was made out to be.
Honestly, I didn't believe this would really work the way it was promoted. It just didn't seem real. We thought "this is what we want and it doesn't seem to be possible".
Tom figured that the simplicity of MobiLoud was just marketing speak, and that in practice, it would take a lot more work to build a mobile app they way they wanted.
We also thought it would take a lot more development than what we were originally told. You need to have other functionalities, like turning on the flashlight or something that cannot be done on the website.
Their Experience With MobiLoud
It turns out it was possible. Tom was able to build and launch their app with a minimum of fuss.
We didn't have to do a lot of work on our side to make it work well. It's exceeded our expectations, it was a very smooth process and you guys have been great in communicating and kept us updated.
Any extras they needed, they were able to reach out to our team for help with.
We reached out for a few things, as far as using the camera for bar codes and the PDF rendering.
Tom was particularly happy with being able to easily make little tweaks and customization to their app from their MobiLoud account.
I love the ability to change the menu in the bottom as needed just by logging into the portal without the need to republish on the App Stores.
Best of all, MobiLoud allows them to maintain the app without the costly expense of in-house developers.
It's good value for money. The monthly fee is less than the cost of a mobile developer on staff.
It turns out their customers were very happy to have the app back. In just a few months since launching, they received a lot of positive feedback, including public reviews on the App Store.
We announced it back in March, and it was well received. A lot of folks download the app, we have 5 reviews so far and they are all 5 stars.
Not only did it replace what they previously had, Tom says it's even working better than their original native app.
It was a very positive response. Most people are very happy to have the app back and working better than the one we had before for sure.
Tom offers a bit of advice for anyone else who is skeptical whether something like MobiLoud really works as advertised.
I would tell anyone on the fence that it's worth it. If they don't want to have to invest in mobile developers, this is a great solution.
Get in touch with our team to arrange a demo to see how MobiLoud can help you build the perfect mobile app for your business.
Smart Church Solutions assists churches and other organizations with planning, development, management, and utilization of their facilities, and have been in business for 10 years. Their main solution is eSPACE, a facility and event management software system.