Expert Interview Series: Amina Waters of Pusher on Improving Customers App Experiences in Real Time

Amina Waters is Head of Marketing at Pusher, the leader in realtime technologies and developer tools.

We recently checked in with Amina to learn more about what businesses should be doing to create more effective apps more efficiently. Here's what she shared:

Can you tell us about the mission behind Pusher? How are you hoping to help your clients?

Our mission is to empower all developers to build better applications for our highly connected world. Our platform of highly-scalable APIs allows developers to write less code and ship their apps faster.

In this day and age, user experience is at the center of the customer journey and customers are becoming more demanding. We help companies of all sizes to deliver a satisfying, real-time experience to their customers. We make things fast, simple and cost-effective.

Our community of over 150K developers worldwide use our APIs for in-app notifications, activity streams, chat, real-time dashboards and multi-user collaborative apps and much more. Companies like the Wall Street Journal, Mailchimp, Deliveroo, Lyft use Pusher because we scale massively and they trust us to support their business growth.

What are some of the challenges facing businesses today when developing the infrastructure to build their digital products? What are the most common mistakes or oversights you see businesses making in developing their infrastructure? Why should brands consider outsourcing this function? What are the benefits?

Many businesses reach the build versus buy dilemma. If they choose to create real-time features in-house, they will need a lot of resources, both in terms of time and financial resources and the end solution might not scale very well.  Essentially, they  would invest three-plus months and two developer salaries to get something similar and then pay a monthly maintenance fee.

With Pusher, a similar setup will cost them significantly less and they can be up and running by the end of the week so they don't have to worry about maintaining and scaling the infrastructure. Their development team can instead focus on building the key features of their app that solve the business problem they are addressing, in turn, providing a richer feature set to their end users.

What types of apps have gone out of style or aren't as popular?

We’re seeing software developers moving to build more interactive apps as users have come to expect great user experiences where information updates in real time as soon as it is available. Therefore, apps that require users to constantly tap refresh buttons and then tediously wait for new information to appear just don’t cut it anymore, and they will pay for this with lower user involvement.

Can you talk to us about how brands should be using data to improve their products?

Pusher serves as a bridge between a customer’s database and their application to publish data in real time, but this can have all sorts of impact on a company’s bottom line. For instance, Printful are a merchandise fulfilment platform who use Pusher in three ways: to update live orders on their marketing website - which saw a direct impact on signup conversion as social proof, to update the progress of design file uploads for the customer, and to queue fulfilment orders internally so that no single order is claimed by more than one employee.

How can brands be developing their infrastructure to better manage their data?

The rise of hosted PaaS ("Platform as a Service") tools like Pusher makes it easy to offload the management of data infrastructure so that developers can focus on building the core features of their apps instead. For instance, Pusher plugs into legacy software code bases seamlessly with documentation and libraries for all the major programming languages. Since data is published directly from the customer’s server, they don’t have to refactor any of their existing code base to take advantage of Pusher’s real time data delivery at scale.

What types of web apps do you find are especially useful in today's business world? What are people looking for?

Many of the new enterprise tools being built by our customers, such as InVision and Front, leverage Pusher’s real-time data delivery to build fully collaborative tools hosted in the cloud. This means that employees on a team, whether distributed globally or sitting next to each other, can collaborate on documents or work processes that are always up to date with the latest information. It gives organizations who choose these tools an edge, since they can do their work with less friction regardless of where their employees are based.

What digital trends or innovations are you following in your world today? Why do they interest you?

As someone who has worked in and around the tech sector for over 20 years, I’m really excited by the increasing pace of change in consumer tech - and the great opportunities that unlocks. Things used to be hard to use, or expensive, or not very useful, or just plain limited because they didn’t work together. Now, thanks to voice UIs, IoT, smartphones and ubiquitous high-speed networks, almost anyone can build themselves a cheap home automation network or tailor a personal assistant for their lifestyle.

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