Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Dr. Gopala Krishna Behara, Raju Myadam, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Article

Corporate Applications on a Mobile Device Near You

Web services as the lingua franca of the mobile enterprise

In the enterprise building mobile applications is as much about integration and the corresponding challenges as it is about pure application development.

Recent industry reports reveal that more than 70% of mission-critical data and most of the pivotal business logic that runs worldwide commerce still resides on existing host systems. Based on this dependency, as well as their speed and power, host systems are unquestionably here to stay for most large organizations and will continue to be a foundation for business success as organizations design and implement new business initiatives.

However, many of those same organizations have also invested in packaged applications (SAP, Siebel, Oracle Applications, PeopleSoft, etc.) to manage their businesses. When building mobile solutions that leverage these systems, enterprise developers want to use the existing business logic of these applications (to ensure data integrity, security, etc.) and not have to recreate this logic in new systems.

For many organizations a mobile enterprise solution will need to expose business functions from numerous core business systems in a single, seamless, easy-to-use interface, delivering real business value.

That core business functionality is housed on multiple platforms, including structured data such as databases and unstructured data such as host, ERP, CRM applications and middleware. Without a comprehensive mobile platform with built-in connectivity to these core systems, delivering mobile solutions becomes very difficult.

Therefore, in the enterprise, mobile applications are an extension of the company's existing systems and processes and are very rarely standalone applications in their own right. They are about allowing a mobile workforce to have real-time and continuous access to corporate business processes and information.

Many mobile enterprise applications require real-time access to multiple existing business systems. For example, to provide the sales team with a complete view of the customer, the mobile application might need to interact with the corporate SAP system for sales information, the Siebel system for customer care issues and the mainframe for customer records. To be practical, (limited real estate, data bandwidth, etc.) the mobile enterprise solution should only provide the specific data required for the task and not try to be general-purpose.

As such, mobile integration follows the same principles and tenets as any other integration issue in the corporation. Today's guiding principle for integration is Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and its major delivery mechanisms XML and Web Services. SOA promises to decouple the end devices and their operating environments from the integration of mobile services with corporate applications. The adoption of XML and Web Services will help this come about.

Today, the consensus supports the adoption of mobile middleware. It's clear that off-the-shelf integrated application adapters combined with the capability to define and coordinate transactions across multiple back-end corporate applications (with process management) is the recipe for delivering corporate business processes and applications to mobile devices.

Mobile Computing
The spike in laptop, notebook, and tablet-type devices over the last few years underscores the demand for information that travels with people as they move around. These devices have become essential tools for many different types of mobile workers, from sales people to service technicians, who need to access and enter data electronically.

In recent years, the market for small handheld computers such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) has grown rapidly and trends are pointing toward exploiting mobile technology even more. Research shows that while laptops are still the mobile device of companies, smaller handheld devices are being used to deliver mobile e-mail to field personnel. The RIM Blackberry has been at the forefront of this new age of mobile communication, but other vendors are able to deliver mobile e-mail on other handheld devices such as those using the Microsoft Windows Mobile and Symbian platforms. In addition, many employees have purchased handheld devices and are looking to leverage these devices in their business lives. Many companies now face the challenge of coming up with a strategy that turns PDAs into useful productivity and communications devices. These companies face an equal challenge due to the rapid evolution of PDA technology - much faster than conventional PCs and laptops.

Nowadays most of these devices come loaded with more than one wireless option for data communications including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), and other 3G network technologies such as EDGE. All of these devices come with browser support, which in most cases, goes beyond support for Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) to support standard HTML-based Web sites. Most of these modern devices also support development frameworks, such as J2ME and the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework, which creates new opportunities to develop solutions beyond mobile e-mail. With this, the availability of literally thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots has meant that a combination of 3G GPRS and Wi-Fi can realistically be used to deliver the mobile infrastructure needed by the enterprise.

The real opportunity for companies is to move beyond mobile e-mail and begin to leverage the millions of mobile devices already in the hands of salespeople, service representatives, and customers, delivering corporate information directly to the point where it's needed.

The Mobile Internet - Reality versus Hype
In the past the media - with plenty of eager help from overzealous marketing campaigns - has generated a massive amount of hyperbole about the potential of the mobile Internet. By confusing "Internet-capable" with "can do everything that the wired Internet can do," the mobile Internet has been over-sold. Many companies' inflated expectations have been dashed by the realities of yesterday's first-generation implementation of the mobile Internet.

If we look back to the year 2000, it was estimated that by 2004 the number of Internet-capable cell phones being shipped and used would outstrip - by a large margin - those that didn't have a data communications capability. That milestone was reached in half the time.

According to Forrester Research in 2005 mobile networks covered 80% of the world's population, which means that more than five billion people are within range of a cellular network. And a quarter of the world's population - some one-and-a-half billion people - use mobile services. In addition, 78% of those users are connected to GSM networks, with the greatest penetration of mobile use in Europe followed by the United States.

IDC has estimated that more than 55 million mobile devices were sold in 2005, a boost of 165% over 2004. In other surveys IDC has said that approximately 40% of these devices will possibly require middleware in an enterprise environment. It's estimated that there are tens of millions of phones capable of running J2ME applications - all of which can integrate with the enterprise through their HTTP and Web capabilities.

Gartner, the research company, estimates that mobile terminal sales is likely to reach 848 million by 2008. Gartner also estimate that in the third quarter of 2005 shipments of Smartphones exceeded 12 million units. World Smartphone shipments surpassed those of PDAs for the first time in 3Q04 by 1.2 million units, and in 3Q05 this gap widened to nine million units.

Lessons Learned
Mobile Internet pioneers have learned some important lessons:

  1. The mobile Internet is not suitable for all of the same applications you find on the wired Internet. The key is choosing applications that fit in the screen space and speed constraints of today's mobile devices. Applications that provide on-the-spot order entry, sales force automation, customer lookups, and equipment service are all excellent candidates for mobile Internet use.
  2. Mobile Internet technology, at all levels, is moving very fast - handsets, network speeds, interoperability standards, and protocols are all evolving rapidly. Mobile phone manufacturers, network infrastructure players, and mobile network providers are investing massive amounts of resources in developing and deploying the next-generation networks. Today's devices have bigger full-color screens as well as faster networks that enable even more types of applications and services to go mobile.
  3. Mobile network technology is not a North American technology, or European, or is it GSM-specific or tied to any transport network or technology. Mobile applications mask all the local differences and enable worldwide deployment of mobile applications using virtually any handset and wireless network.
Many corporations have started to deploy mobile applications to small projects and a substantial number in experimental or pilot stages. The types of mobile applications being deployed range from packaged mobile applications, used to deliver solutions for specific groups (such a field service), to custom mobile applications where they need access to multiple corporate systems in a singe solution.

When it comes to the benefits of mobile technology in the enterprise, most companies cite better employee productivity as the major gain, with the advantages of real-time access to corporate information a close second. The more information people have at their disposal, the better decisions they will make.

Forrester defined mobile enterprise technology as a set of technologies - including networks, infrastructure, and portable devices - that enable employees and systems to use applications in a mobile environment. Key deliverables from mobile-enabling corporate applications include a boost in customer service, an increase in productivity, and a reduction in costs.

The concept of multi-channel and multi-modal applications means that corporate applications should inherently be able to support access from any device. Of course, in reality this is not the case and won't be for quite some while. In the meantime, mobile application middleware will deliver solutions that allow both legacy custom-developed applications and contemporary packaged applications to be accessed from handheld devices from a multiplicity of vendors. Obviously, any mobile middleware solution should have built-in support for as many enterprise applications, old and new, as possible.

Back in 2004 Gartner said that companies should plan for a widening range of mobile application platforms to become available. It advised companies to plan on mobile applications becoming a strategic part of their IT portfolio and not just tactical solutions.


More Stories By Roy Mitchell

Roy Mitchell is a senior product manager at NetManage (www.netmanage.com), a software company that provides solutions for accessing, Web enabling, and integrating enterprise information systems. Roy has more than 10 years of product management experience in enterprise software solutions.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CAST Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CAST was founded more than 25 years ago to make the invisible visible. Built around the idea that even the best analytics on the market still leave blind spots for technical teams looking to deliver better software and prevent outages, CAST provides the software intelligence that matter ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will discuss how from store operations...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...