Friday, November 10, 2006

Managing Mobile Software Deployments

The screen shot above is from MobileDataforce's PointSync Manager. It is the administration screen for managing mobile users, mobile devices, mobile applications, integrated databases, database tables, mobile sycnhronizations and mobile software licenses.

Why am I discussing this today? Because an application like this can save huge amounts of money for a company. Think about it - if you develop your own custom mobile application using .NET it can be powerful, colorful and useful but how are you going to do the following:
  1. Manage deployments
  2. Manage mobile application versions
  3. Manage synchronizations and synchronization errors
  4. Manage different device requirements (i.e. screen sizes, Tablet PC, Laptop, PDA, Palm Treo, etc.)
  5. Manage different user groups (i.e. managers, supervisors, field work crews, etc)
  6. Manage multiple mobile applications on each device
  7. Manage all the database integrations between mobile devices and enterprise databases
  8. Review all successful and unsuccessful synchronizations based upon user group, applications etc, for rapid debugging

These are not the usual issues a .NET programmer thinks about when they raise their hand and volunteer to develop a mobile application. The common thought is that the development of the mobile device application is only about 30% of a mobile project. 70% is the synchronizaton, business logic, connectivity configurations, enterprise database application integration, deployment and testing. Often your .NET programmers will not volunteer for these tasks :-)

The value of using a mobile software platform like MobileDataforce's PointSync, is that these processes and tasks are already developed and available for configuration.