Wp   Beyond The Thin Client On Erp
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Wp Beyond The Thin Client On Erp

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Why SmartClient is the smarter decision for enterprise applications

Why SmartClient is the smarter decision for enterprise applications

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Wp   Beyond The Thin Client On Erp Wp Beyond The Thin Client On Erp Document Transcript

  • W H I T E P A P E R Beyond the Thin Client Why a Smart Client ERP Solution May Be a Smarter Choice Executive Summary Over the last decade, browser-based “thin client” applications have come to dominate the enterprise application space due to their ease of deployment, updating, and administration. However, while thin client applications address IT deployment issues, they typically fail to meet end-user expectations in terms of robustness, performance, and usability. Given that user adoption is critical to the success of enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects, today's organizations must place high importance on the user experience in selecting an ERP solution. So what are your alternatives if your organization wants an ERP application that is not only easy to deploy and access, but also creates a rich user experience? This white paper compares and contrasts the two primary alternatives to thin clients— enhanced thin clients that use technologies such as ActiveX, AJAX, and ASP.NET and the new generation of “smart clients”—and examines the differentiating characteristics that could impact your ERP implementation. It concludes that a smart client ERP application is a better solution for most enterprise users, based on performance, usability, total cost of ownership, security, and ease of integration.
  • Introduction Finding a Better Alternative Today’s IT organizations are under pressure to deliver IT professionals have faced a major challenge in realizing robust, usable, and efficient business applications that the benefits older Windows-based applications offered meet the increasing expectations of business users and over thin clients, without adding the complexities and the executives who need contextual access to business high management costs that were associated with these data and tools to help them stay competitive. These traditional “rich clients.” To address the shortcomings of applications must also be flexible enough to enable the both thin clients and the previous generation of Windows company to adapt to ever-changing market conditions rich (client/server–based) clients, companies have been and demands. looking at two main alternatives: Over the last decade, browser- based “thin client” applications • Thin clients that have been enhanced with the use of Users now expect faster and more technologies such as ActiveX, AJAX, and ASP.NET to have come to dominate responsive applications that enable mimic a richer user interface (hereafter referred to as the enterprise application them to perform their daily work in a space due to their ease of "enhanced thin clients") flexible and efficient manner that is deployment, updating, and • Smart clients, which promise to take full advantage of not always possible with thin client administration. the rich client model, providing a rich user experience, applications while at the same time reaping the benefits of thin However, while thin client clients applications address IT deployment issues, they typically fail to meet end-user expectations in terms of robustness, performance, and usability. Users now expect faster and more responsive applications that enable them to perform their daily work in a flexible and efficient manner that is not always possible given the inherent limitations of thin clients. Add these factors together and it becomes clear that a new category of client application is required to meet expanding business-user needs. Given that user adoption is critical to the success of enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects, today's organizations must place high importance on the user experience in selecting an ERP solution. So what are your alternatives if your organization wants an ERP application that is not only easy to deploy and access, but also Since both of these clients are superior to pure thin creates a rich user experience? clients, this white paper will focus not on thin clients but This white paper compares and contrasts the two primary on the differences between these two main alternatives. alternatives to thin clients—enhanced thin clients that use Enhanced thin clients typically use AJAX, ActiveX, or ASP. technologies such as ActiveX, AJAX, and ASP.NET and NET technologies to expand the capabilities of traditional the new generation of “smart clients”—and examines the thin clients. These technologies allow developers to create differentiating characteristics that could impact your ERP more dynamic, responsive applications for web delivery implementation. while retaining advantages such as the ability to leverage the internet and provide easy remote access to data. A smart client is a .NET technology for building rich internet applications that provide users with a highly interactive user interface. Smart clients aim to provide “the best of both worlds” and bridge the gap between web and desktop applications by adding the intelligence to manage data and connectivity to produce a superior user experience. While smart clients provide the benefits of a rich client model with thin client manageability, they also provide more flexibility and capabilities than traditional rich client applications. CDC Software | Key Drivers of ERP System Adoption in the Pharmaceutical Industry 1
  • These two client technologies, smart clients and multi-threading, which drastically increases performance enhanced thin clients, are both necessary technologies; by allowing different tasks to occur simultaneously. In they do not replace each other so much as provide addition, smart clients can perform well in low-bandwidth companies with a greater range of options. When looking and high-latency environments because they take to choose the right enterprise applications, especially criti- advantage of client-side caching, whereas thin clients cal department-spanning applications such as enterprise are seriously compromised by bandwidth limitations and resource planning (ERP) systems, a company must latency. examine the characteristics of the underlying client technologies and determine which option best suits their Smart clients minimize server round-trips by enforcing requirements and target users’ profile. Companies should certain logic on the client side and maintaining user evaluate clients comprehensively, examining the impact of interface (UI) definitions locally. This results in substantially an application’s client on performance, usability, deploy- better performance than thin clients, which download ment and maintenance, ease of integration, security, every screen with each click or have to go back and forth total cost of ownership, and to the server for each and every request. more. What follows is a com- The key success factors of any ERP Unlike AJAX-based clients, smart clients load the parison of the two core client project are Usability, Interoperability appropriate net data when they load a form. This means alternatives to assist business and Performance that users don’t have to wait to retrieve data each time decision-makers in evaluating they navigate from one tab to another tab within the same their options. form. Performance These factors combine to give smart clients the clear Application performance is typically—and most advantage when it comes to application performance. practically—determined by measuring how quickly a user Smart client application users enjoy a faster, more respon- can complete an end-to-end business task. This measure- sive usage experience. ment depends on two factors: In the context of ERP, where the application is being used 1. How quickly the user can retrieve data and access to call up important customer data in time-sensitive con- functionality over a local or wide area network (for texts, such as during a service call, this responsiveness is example, how long it takes to open a form) critical to delivering a high-quality customer experience. 2. How quickly they can complete the business task Usability and User Interface once they are in the application and the information is One of the key success factors of any ERP project is retrieved. usability. ERP is a back-end application, where users Factors that affect the first point include bandwidth, are forced to use the system or they can’t do their jobs. latency, server round trips, compression, and perfor- Likewise, the value of the system is directly correlated to mance optimization. Factors that affect the second point the extent to which it is used and integrated into every are screen design, navigation design in relation to the front-office activity. business context, number of clicks required to complete To improve user’s productivity and make their life easier, the task, ability to multi-task, availability and presentation companies must make sure that usability, flexibility, per- of information, number of applications the user has to formance, and multiple access methods are among their access to complete the task, and so on. top priorities in selecting an ERP application, in addition Smart clients can take advantage of local resources (CPU, to ensuring the right functionality and manageability. They hard disk, peripherals, etc.) to do work at the local level— must also ensure that the system is flexible enough to on the user’s computer. Given the power of workstation mirror their processes, rather than forcing them to adapt and notebook hardware that has been available for the their processes to the system. past few years, users will therefore usually experience Heavily weighted factors in ERP usability include greater responsiveness and performance from a smart performance, ease of use, tight integration with Microsoft client application. In contrast, thin clients generally do not Office, quick access to data and functionality, access access local resources, and if they do, it is through an from anywhere (offline/online/home/mobile), integration extra layer, such as COM, which requires information to with other applications, and minimized clicks. Evaluators be passed back and forth to the central server. should also look for the best use of screen design and Smart clients can not only take advantage of the local navigation to optimize screen real estate for presenting CPU, but they also have the advantage of permitting data and functionality, as well to create an appealing, familiar, and comfortable interface for end users. CDC Software | Key Drivers of ERP System Adoption in the Pharmaceutical Industry 2
  • Unfortunately, for most business users, browsers are Smart client solutions can be composed of functionality slow and cumbersome to navigate, and toggling between from more than one client application, with each applica- screens is painful, putting even enhanced thin clients at a tion collaborating with the others to provide just the right disadvantage. In addition, the individual browser specifies functionality to the user. Such "composite" applications the limits of what can be accomplished graphically in the can integrate client-side software resources into a user interface, which limits a company’s ability to tailor coherent solution or extend the functionality of an existing and streamline the interface and make it more user- application to provide smart client features. friendly. Additional usability advantages of smart clients over When business users are enhanced thin clients include the ability to update data expected to do the major- With Microsoft ClickOnce in certain sections of the application without having to ity of their daily work in an technology, smart clients match and refresh the entire display, as well as the ability to use application—as is the case even exceed thin clients in ease of keyboard-driven shortcuts. Furthermore, smart clients can with enterprise resource deployment and maintenance gracefully switch between connected and disconnected planning applications, where all customer interactions are states, rather than losing data and work when a connec- expected to be recorded in tion drops. the ERP system—usability and the user interface simply As is evident from the discussion above, several key cannot be thought of as secondary considerations: they user interface and usability requirements are difficult for can have a significant impact on the utility of the system browser-based applications to handle. While individually to its users and the speed with which they can complete business tasks, not to mention whether they embrace they may seem minor, cumulatively, they can have the system in the first place. A rich highly interactive user a major impact on the user experience. A poor user interface such as those made possible by smart clients experience often hinders ERP adoption, jeopardizing the offer a more compelling experience and is more likely to attainment of an ERP implementation’s business goals. encourage adoption than similar web-based applications. Deployment and Maintenance If an application is CPU-intensive, such as corporate applications that do a lot of complex data-sorting, editing, Web applications have always had a clear deployment and manipulation with the use of graphic-intensive charts advantage: no need to install software (other than the and graphs (as is often the case with ERP systems), users browser, of course) on users’ computers makes for an are more likely have a better experience with a smart easy and rapid deployment. With the cost of deployment, client–based application that can take advantage of local maintenance, and administration playing a significant part CPU power to offer a more responsive application. Typical in the overall cost of an ERP application, thin clients have web-based applications are very sequential and linear for the last several years been favored by cost-conscious in nature. Smart clients, on the other hand, allow you to organizations. branch off at any point and to multi-task in a non-linear, The emergence of smart client alternatives that leverage decision-tree-like fashion. Microsoft ClickOnce technology, however, have begun Smart client applications combine standard Windows to seriously challenge one of the major AJAX and tools with the point-and-click functionality of web pages. browser-based development advantages. With Microsoft This familiarity and ease of use means users can log ClickOnce technology, smart clients match and even on and start using them at once, reducing training exceed thin clients in ease of deployment and mainte- requirements. Since smart clients still share many of the nance: features of browsers (such as back and forth, history, and • Smart clients are centrally deployed and managed and favorites), the learning curve for users is reduced. require no administration on client workstations. With browser-based applications, however, some of the • The ClickOnce technology installs the application via browser features that users expect to work may not work, a simple hyperlink, without the need for administrator such as managing “state.” (Web browsing is inherently oversight. “stateless”—that is, the browser doesn’t “remember” • Smart clients are downloaded over the web (HTTP), just anything from moment to moment—but users expect like file copies. applications to “remember” what they’ve done.) For • Smart clients update seamlessly in real time, without example, hitting a “back” or “refresh” button or closing user action, by downloading net meta-changes from a a window in a thin client application could result in an centralized server. unanticipated loss of data and work, whereas with a smart-client application, users can be easily prompted to In addition, unlike with thin client applications, powerful save their work before exiting or leaving a page. servers are not needed to support smart clients, since CDC Software | Key Drivers of ERP System Adoption in the Pharmaceutical Industry 3
  • smart clients leverage the computing power of every leaks. Smart clients provide APIs that give administrators desktop and laptop to process data and display informa- the flexibility to use the web programming approach that tion. Smart client applications can support hundreds of works best in each browser. end users from a single, inexpensive server. Thin clients using AJAX can handle some user interface Development logic programmed via JavaScript and make subsequent requests for more functionality/data from the application Taken together, the development advantages of a smart application and Total Cost of server. This poses a challenge, in that when using client-side JavaScript, applications don't have a powerful clearly ease and accelerate development for organizations, Ownership (TCO) framework of class libraries to fall back on (such as the .NET base class libraries). Because of this, in some cases resulting in a significantly lower total Out-of-the-box applications developers have to move logic back onto the server and cost of ownership while providing seldom meet all the needs create a cross-process call over the web to reach it, or greater flexibility to closely meet user of complex organizations “as write their own. In addition, JavaScript is an interpreted is,” which makes the ease of scripting language and quite inefficient compared with full demands, providing an accelerated development on an applica- compiled .NET-based dynamic link libraries (DLLs) used time to value, increased user tion’s platform extremely as client tasks by smart clients. effectiveness, and efficiency and important, as companies often satisfaction for end users and IT need to modify or add on Smart clients, on the other hand, can validate input from staff alike to the core system, or even the user before making calls to the application server. This develop entirely different appli- user interface logic can be programmed with any .NET cations to complement it. Thin language. The UI logic renders data to the client via calls client and smart client development offer very different into WinForms namespaces. This reduces the develop- scenarios to technology teams, which can dramatically ment time required to write .NET Windows Forms–rich impact an application’s total cost of ownership. Internet applications compared with writing thin client applications. Companies can very easily create other smart client– based solutions to meet the needs of different parts of With smart clients, developers can leverage the full the organization with a low total cost of ownership. Smart capabilities of Visual Studio libraries to reduce coding client solutions can become an integral part of an orga- times when creating client tasks for smart clients. Writing nization's information infrastructure, accessing corporate JavaScript, in contrast, is no different than coding in data and services and providing a powerful and familiar Notepad, as users do not have access to Visual Studio working environment. Web Services provide a natural way Intellisense. This increases the risk of issues due to for companies to expose data and services, and smart the need to remember specific methods and go back client applications are the ultimate consumers of these and forth to understand available API calls, as well as Web Services. For these and other reasons, smart client introducing an increased risk of typos and spelling errors. development is on the whole less expensive and faster Debugging a client task in a smart client is also much than enhanced thin client development. simpler than debugging client scripts such as JavaScript, because smart client users have access to the full Visual Thin client developers face unique challenges and con- Studio debugging environment. straints due to the applications' reliance on browsers. Due to the pervasiveness of Internet Explorer (IE), developers The user interface for an AJAX application is rendered must commonly rely upon this browser as their main as a combination of HTML DOM objects and CSS styles, delivery method. ActiveX, MSXML, and XMLHTTP provide while the user interface for a smart client application IE-supported options for enhancing a web application’s is rendered via Win32 calls on the Windows operating features, but developers are then subject to the limitations system, providing greater flexibility. The smart client of Internet Explorer. New IE releases, which are becoming approach to “skinning” and branding requires only increasingly automatic and unavoidable, often wreak rudimentary knowledge of page styling, sufficient to set havoc on web applications and cause procedures to colors and fonts. Even when deeply customizing look and break, resulting in unacceptable production downtime. feel, you don't have to deal with browser layout inconsis- Meanwhile, alternative browsers such as Firefox and tencies. Many properties that require programming with Google Chrome are gaining popularity, introducing more other kinds of applications, such as color and the ability to complexity and cost into testing and programming if make an item “read-only” or hidden, can be done without companies want to support more than just IE. programming in smart client applications. In contrast, smart clients are browser-independent and are tied only to the operating system, rather than the specific versions or updates of the browser. Smart client– based applications are not subject to destructive browser issues such as timing-dependent bugs and memory CDC Software | Key Drivers of ERP System Adoption in the Pharmaceutical Industry 4
  • Security Lastly, smart client forms can easily integrate and embed web pages by dynamically creating a parameter-based Customer data is one of a company’s most vital assets, URL in the context of what the user is doing. For example, and data security is of equally high concern to a company a smart client could integrate Google Map plug-ins to and its customers, who need to trust that their data is map the location of a customer right within the customer safe. Unfortunately, because they rely on browsers for form, without leaving the existing page. data access and transfer, thin client applications are prone to various security weaknesses that smart clients Ross ERP: are able to avoid. For example, changes in browser secu- rity settings can result in issues for thin client applications Smart Client Innovation at Work (for example, disabling scripts and downloads). Ask any ERP expert what really makes or breaks an ERP implementation, and you'll get the one or more of these Since smart clients are web applications that do not use answers: usability, interoperability and performance. browsers to access data, data is shielded from the secu- rity holes, bugs, and malicious codes that are associated CDC Software understands this, and it's why we've built with browser-access applications. the next-generation Ross ERP with a Smart Client solution your users will love. Integration Built on the Microsoft .NET platform, Its use of Microsoft's ClickOnce deployment technology Integration is often one of the makes it easy to implement and update. The Ross ERP Ross ERP Smart Client takes full greatest sources of expense smart client downloads to the C:Document and Settings advantage of all of the benefits and complexity when imple- folder of the user’s computer. All users have full permis- of smart client architecture, menting applications. Smart sion to their individual folders; therefore there are no secu- combining the best of "thick" - a rich clients alleviate this challenge rity considerations for installation. But most importantly, it user experience, high developer because they can interact offers features your users will love: an intuitive interface, productivity and responsiveness with other applications much deep integration with the Microsoft tools they use every - and "thin" clients - broad reach, more easily than other kinds day, and the ability to tailor and personalize the solution easy change management and ease of clients. Because they utilize to match unique business processes and individual of IT deployment - to create a truly Web Services, smart clients user needs—all made possible by a combination of the are also less dependent on underlying smart client foundation and a next-generation superior ERP solution platforms and browsers than application that takes full advantage of smart client other available options. innovations. A major integration advantage of smart clients is their User productivity is at the heart of Ross ERP Smart Client. support for the Composite UI Application Block (CAB). The Ross ERP Smart Client is modeled around the busi- This architecture allows developers to plug in and ness structure, rather than the database model, it makes combine disparate applications using web, WinForm, and navigation much easier, improve search Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) technologies to create a single coherent solution. Such solutions can be reporting capabilities, allows users to move through the formed by coupling desktop applications or by providing a system more easily with far fewer clicks to access, and generic “shell” application that houses multiple lightweight supporting better decision-making and helping them applications that are combined to form the solution. deliver better experiences to your customers. Smart clients extend far beyond mere UI widgets, provid- Smart Client capabilities offer increased user visibility, ing a comprehensive data-binding architecture, a powerful business automation, usability improvements, accelerated cross-browser toolset, and metadata management that performance, and enhanced interoperability to support radically reduce duplication and complexity. improved critical business decision making in a more timely manner, and to gain measurable competitive Smart client forms also support .NET controls. This industry advantage. means that .NET controls that you may have developed for another application or purpose can easily be dropped onto a smart client form and be used and re-used without re-programming. These .NET controls can provide integra- tion of functionality or features from your other enterprise applications through the use of Web Services, providing a “one-stop shop” for end users, who save time by working within a single application. CDC Software | Key Drivers of ERP System Adoption in the Pharmaceutical Industry 5
  • Conclusion In essence, smart clients take all the benefits of Windows clients and thin clients, remove the drawbacks of tradi- Both smart client and thin client technologies have their tional Windows clients, and add new advantages and flex- place. Enhanced thin client technologies are typically well ibility to reduce an application’s total cost of ownership as suited to consumer-targeted applications. On the other well increase user adoption. Smart clients do more than hand, businesses seeking enterprise applications such just address the shortcomings of other client options; they as ERP typically have a finite number of users and need also offer many new capabilities. Smart client technology an application that mimics their business processes and has opened the doors to ongoing innovation. Developers offers a rich and highly interactive user interface. For now have access to technology and capabilities that these businesses, a smart client application usually offers allow them to create business applications that far exceed a more flexible, powerful, and usable solution. former possibilities. Smart clients represent the future of corporate desktop CDC Software has been a pioneer in leveraging these applications. In contrast, the use of AJAX, ASP.NET, and new capabilities, as evidenced by Ross ERP Smart Client, ActiveX in enhanced thin clients is more of an attempt to its leading enterprise resource planning solution that takes dress up old technologies to cover up their flaws. While full advantage of smart client capabilities. CDC Software they allow developers to do new things with old technolo- has invested millions in revamping Ross ERP’s user gies such as reducing full-page refreshes and working interface using Microsoft smart client technology, while asynchronously, they oust control from the presentation preserving the proven Ross ERP architecture; and this has tier and cannot effectively leverage the power of today’s been welcomed wholeheartedly by the market and our inexpensive yet powerful workstations. Thin clients simply loyal base of industry-leading customers. cannot provide the performance and the rich and interac- tive experience that today’s corporate users demand. Looking ahead, CDC Software continues this path of inno- vation, migrating Ross ERP to the Windows Presentation This is not to say that thin clients and Web 2.0 are things Foundation, which allows for richer media content such of the past; they just have a different purpose. Thin as videos, further enhancing the user experience. Without clients are better suited for consumer-based applications question, Ross ERP is today the most flexible enterprise that anyone and everyone can access. Smart clients application on the market, offering the lowest total cost are meant for corporate users who value multi-tasking, of ownership. With Ross ERP’s intelligent application of interactivity, a rich user interface, integration with Office smart client technology, our customers enjoy unmatched Applications, minimized clicks, and best use of screen ERP usability and flexibility today, and they will be able to design very highly—all features that lead to user adoption, realize more and more benefits as we unleash the added a critical success factor in the deployment of a enterprise power and capabilities of this new technology. resource planning system or any other enterprise applica- tion. Microsoft has spent millions of dollars developing and embracing smart client technology, and this new technology has been welcomed enthusiastically by developer communities. With the smart client, Microsoft has addressed the shortcomings of traditional Windows clients, including: • Difficulty deploying and updating • Heavy DLL administration • Lack of access from the Internet • Poor performance • Lack of integration capabilities • The limited capabilities of older desktops CDC Software | Key Drivers of ERP System Adoption in the Pharmaceutical Industry 6
  • Table 1: Comparison of Enhanced Thin Client and Smart Client Architectures Enhanced Thin Client Smart Client Can leverage local processing power to deliver superior Slower application response time because browser performance must retrieve both the application user interface and the data Can be multi-threaded, allowing different tasks to occur Performance simultaneously Cannot take direct advantage of local processing power Performs better in lower bandwidth and higher latency environments Slow and cumbersome to navigate; does not Excellent user experience with responsive and interactive behave as expected by user (e.g., saving data) applications Usability Linear in nature Provides multi-tasking capabilities (non-linear) Rich and sophisticated user interface User interface limited by browser constraints and User Interface potential compatibility issues between browsers Navigation structure can mirror business structure, rather than data structure Can be easily deployed, updated, and maintained from a central Deployment and Can be easily deployed, updated, and maintained web server with Microsoft ClickOnce Technology enhanced with over the web, but may require certain security rights, CDC's unique Updater Service for incremental updates Maintenance e.g., for ActiveX control downloads Does not require administration rights on the local PC Faster and easier to develop and debug Limited by browser constraints, and code created is Ultimate consumer of Web Services, which can be reused Development not reusable across the enterprise Can leverage the full .NET class library Low cost of customization, integration, and development result Low as long as customization, integration, and Total Cost of in low TCO development are minimal Ownership Can use less expensive servers because it can take advantage Requires more expensive servers of local processing power of workstations Offline None—connectivity is required Users can work regardless of bandwidth and connectivity Capabilities Reliance on browsers for data access and transfer Data is not accessed through a browser and is thus in a trusted Security can introduce security issues environment and shielded from browser security holes CAB architecture and Web Services enable developers to easily Integration can be complex and limited by browser Integration constraints combine disparate applications to create a single coherent solution (can plug in disparate technologies) Optimal User Best for use by consumers and light business users Best for use by heavier business and corporate users Profiles (mostly B2C) (mostly B2B) CDC Software | Key Drivers of ERP System Adoption in the Pharmaceutical Industry 7
  • Additional Suggested Reading Hill, David. What Is a Smart Client Anyway? URL: http://blogs.msdn.com/dphill/articles/66300.aspx Hollis, Billy. Back to the Future with Smart Clients. URL: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms953304.aspx Jupiter Research. Smart Client Applications: The Best of Both Worlds—The Desktop and the Web. URL: http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/5/e/95eafbc3-4d5d-4648-8aa6-589391068fb5/JupiterSmartClient.pdf Microsoft. Smart Client Application Development. URL: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/isv/bb190536.aspx Microsoft. Smart Client Development Overview (Level 200) [Webcast]. URL: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032278657&CountryCode=US Smart Client Software Factory. Composite Smart Client Applications. URL: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc540675.aspx Smart Client Software Factory. Deploying Smart Client Applications with ClickOnce. URL: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc558871.aspx Smart Client Software Factory. Introducing the Smart Client Software Factory. URL: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc540671.aspx Thin Client vs Smart Client [Discussion thread]. URL: http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=927032&SiteID=1 Wikipedia.org. Smart Client. URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_client About CDC Software CDC Software, The Customer-Driven Company, is a provider of enterprise software applications designed to help ™ organizations deliver a superior customer experience while increasing efficiencies and profitability. CDC Software’s product suite includes CDC Factory (manufacturing operations management); Ross ERP (enterprise resource planning) and SCM (supply chain management); IMI warehouse management and order management; Pivotal CRM and Saratoga CRM (customer relationship management); Respond (customer complaint and feedback management); c360 CRM add-on products, industry solutions, and development tools for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform; Platinum HRM (human resources); and business analytics solutions. These industry-specific solutions are used by more than 6,000 customers worldwide within the manufacturing, financial services, health care, home building, real estate, and wholesale and retail distribution industries. The company completes its offerings with a full continuum of services that span the lifecycle of technology and software applications, including implementation, project consulting, outsourced business services, application management, and offshore development. CDC Software is the enterprise software unit of CDC Corporation and is ranked number 12 on the Manufacturing Business Technology 2007 Global 100 List of Enterprise and Supply Chain Management Application vendors. For more information, please visit www.CDCsoftware.com. USA: Global Headquarters United Kingdom Spain Netherlands CDC Software CDC Software CDC Software CDC Software Two Concourse Parkway Pioneer House Frederic Mompou 5 Sparrenheuvel 32, 3708 JE Zeist Suite 800 7 Rushmills Ed Euro 3 Postbus 967, 3700 AZ Zeist Atlanta, GA 30328 Northampton NN4 7YB United 08960 Sant Just Netherlands USA Kingdom Barcelona t: +31 30 288 8454 Spain t: +1 770.351.9600 t: +44 1 604 630050 f: +31 30 288 5238 f: +1 770.351.0036 f: +44 1 604 630495 t: +34 93 480 28 50 f: +37 93 480 28 55 For more information or a complete list of our worldwide offices, please visit www.rossinc.com. Copyright © CDC Software 2009. All rights reserved. The CDC Software logo and Ross Enterprise logo are registered trademarks and/or trademarks of CDC Software.