Mobile Marketing Solutions

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For mobile related tips please visit: http://MoreThanMobile.com

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Mobile Marketing Solutions

  1. 1. ==== ====To Get Insider Mobile Marketing Info Check This Out:http://MoreThanMobile.com==== ====Mobile strategyThis paper assumes your organisation has an established and accepted business case for mobilityand you are now ready to proceed. When implementing a mobility solution the impacts are notjust on the actual end-user but also the subtle and long-lasting effect to your I.T. strategy andimplementation. Over the past decade we have seen the scope of I.T. grow from a private internalinfrastructure view to publish information to external public access via the internet. I.T. is nowfaced with providing external access to internal systems information and must handle a new set ofquestions; how to support a broad range of mobile devices? How to manage access to informationon internal systems by these devices? How to provide a secure and reliable experience?Opening up the enterprise systems to mobile users requires careful planning to reduce the impactof change to the key stake holders; the end-users and the I.T. management. A strategy for mobilitymust include looking at the areas of:Mobile devices and device managementCommunications (wireless and wired), protocols and costsMobile applications, customisation and usabilityBack-office data requirements and how the data integration pointsCentralised mobile access platform for how data is accessible while mobileSecurity for authentication and encryptionSolution delivery and pricing modelsThe desired outcome of analyzing these points will provide the functional requirements, usabilityand structural design represented as a mobile systems architecture for your enterprise. Theconsiderations of these points are discussed in this paper.Device and device managementThe pace of technology for the mobile worker coming to market continues to increase, notebookand laptop sales now have surpassed desktop PC sales and the billions of mobile phones sold areincreasingly capable of data applications. There is also a complete range of devices in thecrossoverbetween these extremes comprising of smart phones, PDAs, handheld clamshells, tablets,and more. There is a seeming less unlimited number of form factors available, different screensizes, some rotatable, input methods (keyboard, numeric keypad, pen, finger, scanners forbarcode and RFID, speech, and more), processor types and performance, memory sizes fromKilobytes to Gigabytes, ruggerdised construction and not least of all the operating systems andapplication environments.From an device selection point of view, the only reliable rule is to expect a mixed device
  2. 2. environment as todays standard is likely to be unavailable in 24 months. However, minimizing I.T.costs and resources is about adopting and enforcing standards, so what is the solution? Formobility, the answer is to select the appropriate device that fits the requirements of the end-users,and use a mobility device management platform that can run across all the devices in the fleet.The mobility platform abstracts the management of the devices, hiding the individual differences.A mobility platform must enable the management of the devices for enterprise applications,including configuring communications and updating of the applications on the devices to anindividual user or groups of users.CommunicationsIn many ways mobile applications that can replace current manual paper based systems, mayseem to require only limited communication methods for swapping the collected data to backofficesystems. However, a simple requirement as this can lead to many options, a user could plugthe device in to a phone line modem or even an intranet-connected PC to synchronise data, orshould a wireless network be used such as a cellular network or a WiFi hotspot? Each method hasits own costs, performance and latencies, availability, infrastructure investments and securityramifications.Advanced mobile applications that require more immediacy and collaborative solutions will requirepush capability that allows the back-office to send notifications in real-time to the devices.Creating or buying mobile applications that run efficiently over one chosen communicationsnetwork such as a wired LAN may perform poorly when changing to a wireless network.Conversely, when optimised for a low-bandwidth high latency dial-up or cellular network the sameapplication may be unable to take advantage of the high-bandwidth WiFi networks or thirdgeneration wireless.The best course of action is to select the most appropriate communications network(s) for theapplication requirements and use a mobility platform which removes the details of communicationsfrom the application. A Wireless Application Gateway (WAG) that manages communicationbetween the device and back-office will optimise the communications. It also provides value addedcapability such as push notification support and compression irrespective of the chosen network.Client access modesWired networks that have been around for decades provide a reliable and relatively high speedcommunication channel to back-office systems with several key enterprise application modelsexisting as thin client terminal (citrix, web), and multi-tier (client, server and database logical tiers)thick clients. The separation of application execution and presentation to the user is largely an ITmanagement issue and a key driver for which model is chosen. Both models tend to assume acommunications connection is available to manage transactional integrity (record locking) andsharing resources in real-time.For mobility, with its unreliable communications nature it is time to re-assess the appropriateaccess models. Networks are increasing in performance, however, the inherent nature of wirelessmeans that coverage will never be ubiquitous, and interference will continue to have latency wellabove that of the wired networks, applications that run well on the wired network will not likelywork well over wireless in all conditions.
  3. 3. The two most conventional methods were to chose between a thin or thick client model. Thinclients are typically a web browser or specially built client such as citrix, where the network mustbe available for the application to function. These thin client solutions have been unsuccessful in anumber of enterprise mobility solutions due to the lack of capability of mobile web browsers andfrustrating usability issues for end-users. Thick clients provide a fast, response and optimal userinterface but suffer from the burden of managing and updating deployments.Again, a mobility platform provides a solution as a best of both models, the so named, "smart"client model. This enables the optimsied experience of the thick client with the dynamic capabilityof the thin client. Applications and modules can be dynamically deployed to the mobile devices toprovide newer functionality without the administrative burden of updating each device or findingout which software is installed.Mobile applicationsMost organisations that have invested in their own employee data collection processes andbackofficesystems are unlikely to find a pre-built mobile application will be an exact match. The mostcommon choice is to take an existing application and re-train staff, or to create a customisedsolution that is tailor made and can grow as organizational needs demand.Selecting a platform which can provide a rich but simple toolkit for creating mobile applications isessential to success. The application can then mirror current forms and processes which aid inreducing the impact of change to the end-users. The toolkit approach must encompass not onlythe user interface but the data structures and back-office communications as well, providing a onestop location for building a complete solution.Many I.T. projects fail or exceed budgets because be-spoke software developments havecomplexity that is underestimated or the initial requirements were unclear. A mobility platform thattargets non-programmers, such as business process engineers, keeps the focus on the businesssolution. Additionally, coupled with a device management platform, is the ability to easily deploynew versions of the application quickly for field testing and user acceptance.Systems integrationOften quoted about standards, is that there are so many to choose from, and this is no truer thanwith Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) where each system or family of systems will haveparticular protocols for data exchange, typically ranging from the simplest text file import/export tothe most complex information message bus brokers. New standards continue to emerge as thedata access requirements and management change to adopt new capabilities.Designing mobile applications to communication with a particular back-office system may seem tobe the quickest and easiest way to move forward, but this locking in to a particular protocol willcreate a problem when the server system is changed or simply updated. Instead building mobilesystems that are loosely connected to back-office systems is essential to success.
  4. 4. A mobility platform should provide a range of integration capabilities that are independent of themobile application and can change by I.T. administration. The integration options should includehow data is represented and persisted (such as raw text files, and XML) and the protocols used forsharing (such as network drive shares, FTP, HTTP or enterprise message brokers). Full audit logsare required to determine a history of data integration.SecurityFor I.T. system security is the highest priority and protecting company information is paramount.The growth of internet technologies for accessing content has been paralleled with thedevelopment of encryption, identification and authentication. Enterprise firewalls, Virtual PrivateNetworks (VPN), intrusion detection, central authentication servers are the norm for keepingintruders out.Mobility has the potential to compromise a number of these standard security systems andweaken then protection of the enterprise networks allowing unauthorized users to gain access viasecurity holes, or to obtain corporate information from a lost of stolen mobile device. Securityoptions must be enforced on the mobile device and during communication with the enterprise.A mobility platform should provide data synchronisation and access via secure channels, such asHTTPS or VPN. Multi-factor authentication of the user and the device, such as using uniqueidentification built in to the device or network SIM (subscriber identification module) cards, ornetwork features such as caller-id.From an application design point only required data needs to be kept on the mobile device andother data can be purged.ServerMobile applications require an application gateway to communicate with that ensures back-officeapplication services are always available. This in turn requires that the gateway itself be runningon a stable and scalable Operating System and Application Server. This must also integrate intothe enterprise network architecture for authenticating users and accessing back-office data. Itshould be capable of transactional growth as demand increases for mobile access to data andback-office services. Application platforms based on scalable architectures and industry-standardsshould be used, such as the J2EE or .NET architectures. These architectures can deliverenterprise or carrier based performance and reliability.Management of the mobility platform server should allow multiple and custom administration rolesto allow for delegated tasks within the I.T. team. Remote access to the server, via web, provideseasy access to the system without additional client installation.Solution delivery optionsWith the growth of internet e-mail there has been growing acceptance to the benefits of
  5. 5. outsourcingdata systems for high availability and remote access to the systems without dependenceon other corporate infrastructure. This is also the case with Wireless Application Gateways, andthe operational requirements and costs provide for the following licensing models:Application Service Provider (ASP) - limits capital expenditure, system maintenance, etc. (ideal fornon-IT based companies). Does not grow assets and is not an investment decision but ratheroperational expensed.Managed Service - Similar to ASP, but requires capital expenditure for hardware by the companybut out-source the management & monitoring.Software - The most common model of software licensing seen today, which requires capitalexpenditure for hardware, software licensing and on-going operations are managed in-house.Both ASP and managed service can provide a cost effective and fast to market capability. Themobility platform and service provider thus offer a flexible solution that can be launched quicklyand business benefits can be assessed.ConclusionThis paper has demonstrated a number of technical areas that should be considered beforeadding a mobile extension to the corporate network. This information can be used tocomprehensively assess the capabilities of commercially available mobile application gateways.The gateway selected for the enterprise must have a history of proven and working solutionscoupled with an on going ability to change that future proofs the investment with continuallyprogressing mobile application technologies.For More Info: www.retriever.com.auArticle Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Matt_Vaughn==== ====To Get Insider Mobile Marketing Info Check This Out:http://MoreThanMobile.com==== ====

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