Mobile business applications: Offline or Online, what’s the difference

(Last Updated On: December 13, 2022)

In this article I would like to share our experience with mobile business applications development and deployment. There are some terminologies that are becoming more and more popular as of today, so I wanted to make sure we address these terms, and explain what they mean in the business mobility world. I will not tackle comparisons between different mobile platforms (i.e. Apple, Samsung…), since I have already addressed this in a previous post Mobile business applications: Apple vs Samsung Tablets comparison, which I invite you to read and share its content.

Mobile business applications: quick reminder

Mobile business applications are software systems or applications, able to run and execute on mobile devices and tablets. These software programs (or Apps) are designed to meet the different business needs of the enterprise. Most of the time, these applications are custom designed for the enterprise. Companies in different business activities are adopting, more and more, mobile business applications to streamline their business processes, improve efficiencies, reduce human errors, and eliminate paper work. The use of such mobile apps in business is very common in the following business verticals:

  • Workers field management
  • Sales Workforce
  • Shipping and delivery
  • Inventory management
  • And many other areas of business

Online mobile business application

An online mobile business application is a set of software programs deployed on a mobile device that are able to connect to an enterprise system and database, directly through online internet connectivity. An online mobile application can read and write data to the main database, on a real-time basis. The only requirement for this to happen is the availability of an internet connection on the mobile device. In other words, an online mobile business application depends 100% on the availability of the internet connectivity on the mobile device.


Offline mobile business application

In contrast to an online mobile application, an Offline business application runs on a mobile platform, without the need of internet connectivity. The user of the mobile device will be able to store data on the device while internet connectivity is not available and then send it to the main database, once Wi-Fi connectivity is found or internet access is back online.

Why would we need Offline applications

Enterprises leveraging mobile applications for their business activities, might find themselves in a situation where they need to access important business data, in a geographical area where there is no internet coverage. A mobile application built with the possibility of storing data on the device would solve this important issue.

Online or offline mobile application: how to select?

There is no one specific criteria used when selecting the type of mobile applications for your enterprise. It all depends on your business needs. A good preliminary analysis, you could do yourself internally with a quick questionnaire, can help you identify the options you need when making the selection. The rule of thumb is that if your mobile users are 99% of the time operating within metropolitan areas, chances are you do not need your business application to work online and offline. However, if information availability to your staff is very important at all times, you have the answer: that you need the offline capability with your mobile business application.

Online or offline, how to do this?

In today’s digital world, the possibilities are there. Using the right technology, people can achieve all of the above. Talk to our team of experts and we will be more than happy to discuss your business needs and give you advice on your mobility projects.


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