Mobilizing the enterprise
Extended Systems, iAnywhere, and Intellisync keep users connected to the enterprise
Connectivity to CRM and ERP systems is more out-of-the-box. Using the OneBridge Integration Server’s data driver, I attached to a Siebel system wirelessly. Once set up, a Web-based GUI tool helps IT staff customize the way mobile devices interact with back-end applications.
If you’ve graduated to the Integration Server, the final piece of this solution is OneBridge Presentation Server. Put simply, Presentation Server allows you to render application data to almost any mobile-device Web browser using standards such as XML.
Although it wasn’t possible to test fully, OneBridge appears to scale well. The product distributes synchronization processes and data access and employs asynchronous communication. Furthermore, it does not require temporary data storage, which reduces its burden on server resources and contributes to its speed.
SQL Anywhere Studio’s small footprint and handheld-optimized synchronization have made it the predominant choice for SQL programmers who must mobilize data-driven apps. About a year ago, iAnywhere acquired AvantGo, giving the company a complementary mobile Web content synchronization engine and development platform, now called M-Business Anywhere. iAnywhere also offers Pylon Anywhere for providing remote access to Notes and Exchange, plus several vertical mobile packages.
Because of this a la carte approach, iAnywhere isn’t centrally managed, but it does support a wide range of devices and runs on multiple server OSes.
I tested M-Business Anywhere Application Edition by first synchronizing basic Web sites to both palmOne and Pocket PC handhelds. Next, I successfully deployed a more complex SQL database application that included XML Web services, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and DHTML. Initially configuring M-Business Anywhere Server isn’t difficult, but it does require manually editing certain files such as those for a proxy server. From here on, a central Web-based administration console allowed me to add users and perform other routine tasks.
M-Business Anywhere is founded on content channels. As the admin, I created group channels to synchronize specific Web sites to different types of users, and intuitive forms reduced the process to a few simple steps. Users can also self-register personal channels, such as news or weather. Finally, I created public channels that contained general intranet material for users to add to their devices.
As with the other products, M-Business Server is accessible via LANs and various wireless networks. The client software, which is easily operated, had no problem automatically updating channels when users synced their devices locally and through the T-Mobile GPRS digital wireless network.