Thursday, October 05, 2006

More on Buy vs Building Mobile Solutions, Part 2

This seems to be the topic of the week this week - so let me add more thoughts to this topic.

If your organization has .NET programmers that are available now and they have a lot of time on their hands, then yes it is possible to develop your own enterprise mobile application. Here are a couple of questions before you start:

  • Have your programmers completed successful mobile applications before? If this is their first time there is a steep learning curve that must be considered.
  • Is the same programmer going to code the mobile application, code the security, code the synchronization logic, code the database integration and code the business logic? If there are multiple developers/programmers involved - ask question #1 about each of them.
  • Are these programmers going to also write your user guide and document the solution?
  • How long will your programmers stay with your organization? What if the programmer leaves? Who will support it and maintain it?

There are many parts to an enterprise mobile solution. It is rare for even an experienced .NET programmer to have experience in all of the components. Here are some good questions to ask a programmer before you start coding your mobile application:

  • How do you plan to sync the data?
  • What sync engine will you use and why?
  • How will you connect to the enterprise database remotely from the field?
  • How do you handle security?
  • How will you integrate the data into existing database systems?
  • How will you glue all these components together in your application so it all works?
  • How will you support multiple mobile devices- Windows Mobile, WinCE, Tablet PC, Windows PC?

These are all questions that need to be answered before a programmer begins. Here is the problem - often a programmer views their component (the mobile application on the handheld PDA) as 90% of the project. Will that simply is not the case. The majority of the time and effort is in connecting all the different components together, integrating and testing.

I have often heard a comment from a programmer that the mobile application is done, although it takes another 8 weeks before it could be deployed. The mobile application is often the smallest part of the project. Many programmers can code a simple PDA application. However an enterprise mobile application needs much more than a simple, stand alone PDA application. It needs full synchronization, remote connectivity, device management, integration, security and more.

- the reason companies love MobileDataforce's PointSync Suite is that all of these components and features are already developed and available for you to configure. You are not required to figure out all of these issues and code them. PointSync is a RADs-ME tool - A rapid application development solution for mobile environments. It is designed for organizations without the desire or time to program all of these components.

So in summary - anyone with the time, interest, intellect and money to code a complete enterprise mobile solution can. PointSync is for those that need the mobile application without the time and money needed to code it from scratch.

More on Buy vs. Build

Even More on Buy vs. Build

You've got to be kidding - yet more on Buy vs. Build...