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2010 – A New Year, and a New Direction for the Blog!

It’s been a very busy year so far, we are almost into February and we’re getting just getting out our first blog post!  Fortunately we have been hard at work planning our content schedule and strategy around the blog for 2010, and have decided to add a new section to the blog specifically focusing on Mobile Education.  With all of the competing technologies, platforms, operating systems, carriers, it can be difficult to separate marketing hype from actual fact.  Our aim is to focus on one topic every couple of weeks, and try to shed more light on each particular subject.

Not surprisingly for this week we’ve decided to focus on : What a Mobile Computing Platform is, and why it matters (DisclaimerMobileFrame is a software company that focuses on providing the most highly configurable and easy to use Mobile Enterprise Application Platform, that money can buy)

First and foremost what is a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform?

In its most simple form, a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) is a software based mobile computing strategy for providing organizations the means to deploy multiple different mobile applications on top of the same technology stack. Typically this type of Platform approach provides organizations with the ability to extend the data usually enclosed in multiple different back-end enterprise systems, deploy against multiple different types of operating systems, and connect or “Sync” over a wide variety of different types of communication mechanisms.  The platform approach usually involves the ability to scale quickly and easily, with a build once and deploy to a wide variety of different types of devices without the need to actually target a specific device or operating system.  This approach when carefully planned lowers overall total cost of ownership, and provides a central management point for all mobile application throughout the enterprise.

Typically there are several components to a mobile computing platform

  1. Development Environment – Provides the ability to create the mobile application screens, and underlying business logic
  2. Synchronization Server – Allows for bi-directional synchronization of data between the back office business systems, and the mobile worker
  3. Consolidated Database – A Database that serves as the central data repository or the pass through to multiple different back end systems, also referred to as a Staging Database.
  4. Client Software – This is software that gets installed onto each mobile client to run the mobile applications, manage the synchronization, as read / write to the local database if applicable

The Typical Problem:  ABC Corporation has 3 separate divisions that all would like to implement mobile technologies, each with their own unique needs.  When faced with the decision of what to do ABC Corporation must decide if they plan on building or buying their mobile solution, as well as who is going to make the selection of the solution vendor, devices, as well as who is going to manage and support the applications.  Unfortunately many organizations allow for each division to separately manage their own solution, leading to a decentralized approach.

This approach leads to some of the following challenges:

  • Significant development costs
  • High total cost of ownership
  • Decentralized management
  • Hard-coded applications, with the need to re-install whenever changes are made
  • Developed for use with a single device type, and or operating system
  • No out of the box integration mechanisms to manage the data
  • Support related headaches, no centralized management

If ABC Corporation were to take the platform approach, they would gain the following benefits

  • Rapid application development tools
  • Code Re-use
  • Single source toolset
  • Mobility management (device management, etc.)
  • Application updates handled wirelessly
  • Out of the box connectors to multiple different backend systems.
  • Multiple Device support
  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • The ability to make changes and deploy them instantly.

For these reasons and many others, organizations that are interested in going mobile have been looking at Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms, to provide the necessary tools, connectors, and support mechanisms to alleviate many of the common pitfalls of going mobile.  If you would like to see a demonstration of how MobileFrame addresses the mobile challenges within the enterprise, please contact us today!

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