With mobile devices so universal, organizations can pretty much count on workers and customers having wireless e-mail or SMS (Short Message Service). The same can’t be said for accessing enterprise applications; they usually require time-consuming rewrites and must be further tailored for specific handhelds or smart phones. But what if you could quickly meld the two technologies and e-mail queries to your whole application library? That’s the novel idea behind ClairMail’s ClairAccess.
In simple terms, a user sends an e-mail request that’s interpreted by an appliance or hosted service. After looking at the message header and user’s mail address to validate the request, ClairAccess runs a script that retrieves the data from an existing back-end application and sends it to the mobile device, with the transaction encrypted in both directions.
Beyond this simplicity, there’s more that makes this solution so elegant. No application is required on the sending device; it works with any mobile device that has e-mail or SMS capabilities, and soon, IM. For IT staff, applications don’t go through costly redesigns, which can take months. Rather, developers code the transaction scripts in Java or Perl, a process that typically takes a few days. Moreover, scripts interact with just about any data and application platform behind your firewall, including legacy mainframes, Unix, or Windows.
For even faster setup, ClairMail offers 20 predefined Action Scripts for several vertical markets, including finance, as well as sales and support systems such as Salesforce.com and Remedy. Furthermore, the system is scalable, so it has the potential for providing widespread customer access, such as allowing users to check their bank account balances.
ClairAccess is a sensible way to make back-end systems available to mobile users, allowing enterprises to mobilize data without changing their applications.
Cost: Annual fee ranges from $60 to $500 per user
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