Mobile 2.0 solutions from Focus America, Inc, refers mobile internet services that leverage the social web, or Web 2.0. The development of applications on the mobile through Mobile 2.0 includes, portals, social networking sites and wikis that emphasize collaboration and sharing amongst users. Mobile Web 2.0, with an emphasis on web, refers to bringing Web 2.0 services to the mobile internet, i.e., accessing aspects of Web 2.0 sites from mobile internet browsers.
Mobile 2.0 services that integrate the web with the core aspects of mobility – personalization, localization, always-on and ever-present. These services are increasingly appearing on wireless devices such as Smartphone and multimedia feature phones that are capable of delivering rich, interactive services as well as being able to provide access and to the full range of mobile consumer touch points including talking, texting, capturing, sending, listening and viewing.
· Ubiquitous Mobile Broadband Access
· Affordable, unrestricted access to enabling software platforms, tools and technologies
· Open access, with frictionless distribution and monetization
· The social web meets mobility
· Extensive use of User-Generated Content, so that the site is owned by its contributors
· Leveraging services on the web via mashups
· Fully leveraging the mobile device, the mobile context, and delivering a rich mobile user experience
· Personal, Local, Always-on, Ever-present
Business managers increasingly rely on information that is derived from past experiences, rules of thumb, and other qualitative aspects to decision making. Organizations today, deal with several terabytes of unstructured data that requires surgical expertise in cleansing, formatting, structuring, categorizing, amending and recalling data for multiple purposes basis which organization strategy and growth is dependent upon. Analytics and BI play an extensive role in churning out precise data for enterprise decision management.
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) provides the tools, we provide the knowledge, expertise in the technology, the domain and the support that you will require to implement and or configure these tools to optimally leverage them for powerful solutions.
Refined data is often hidden or remains cluttered in multiple unstructured sources. Analytics plays a very important role in purifying data and making it available for access in clearer formats. Analytics involves data mining and modeling techniques through extensive computation.
A mobile application will normally be structured as a multi-layered application consisting of user experience, business, and data layers. When developing a mobile application, you may choose to develop a thin Web-based client or a rich client. If you are building a rich client, the business and data services layers are likely to be located on the device itself. If you are building a thin client, the business and data layers will be located on the server
· Eliminate Paper-Oriented Processes
· Keep Employees On The Road
· Information Anywhere
· Extend Business Processes To A Mobile Workforce
This whitepaper addresses challenges of mobile system development and some of the architectures used to implement real mobile systems.
Most mobile applications today are an extension of an existing business system or interface with an existing system. There are three major considerations to mobile architecture
· The existing system
· The Handheld Application
The middleware application is needed to provide data transformation, apply business logic, and be a central point of communication for the devices. If a new application is being developed or rewritten then no middleware is required; the appropriate logic can be built into the system to communicate with the devices from the start. However most mobile applications are not rewritten very often and it is not economically viable to rewrite them just to mobilize the application. Furthermore a middleware server also serves as a configuration management server.
The architectures shown here are real-world architectures from actual projects. These mobile systems are in production in numerous locations.
The specific challenges that a mobile engagement will face shall include: projects will include-
· Interfacing Disparate Technologies
· Device Configuration
· Software Deployment And Upgrades
· User Interface Design
· Memory Management
Mobile system development involves using different technologies due to platform restrictions. In the three architectures below, two use both Microsoft and Java technologies. In both cases applications developed in these disparate technologies must communicate seamlessly with each other. Web services, HTTP, and TCP sockets are used to bridge these gaps. A mobile system development team must have the skill and experience to determine the best data transfer design.
Different manufacturers use proprietary methods for loading applications and configuration settings. If an application is being deployed on new handheld devices, there is a greater possibility that the application has to go through intensive configuration changes. After a device is cold booted, the deployed application must be reloaded and typically the 802.11 wireless configuration must be restored. If the users should not have access to the OS then a top-level menu application may be needed to run at system startup. Device scanners must be configured with the correct barcode symbologies and symbology options. Remote management of configuration options may be needed as well.
Beyond device configuration is software deployment. The application or suite of applications must initially be loaded or provisioned on the device. If there are many devices, this may be a formidable challenge. There are software packages that manage device software and configurations. These packages rely on a software client on the device. Proprietary packages must typically be written for the management applications that specify the software and configuration files to load. If no management package is used, the application should be self-updating. Having the users send in their devices to have software reloaded is usually unrealistic.
Designing the graphical user interface (GUI) on a mobile device can be challenging because of the small screen and difficult data entry. If the application or data is complex, the user will need to interact with many screen objects such as entry fields, lists, and radio buttons. Complex screens will need to be divided into separate screens or tabbed interfaces. A wizard-like interface may be appropriate for some applications. Some applications on pen-based devices may require that a stylus is not required and the device's physical keys must be used instead. If a lot of free-form data entry is required then a tablet or notebook PC should be considered.
The most compelling UI design solutions are ones that are simple, easy and natural to use, and completely in sync with users' typical needs and experiences. Achieving these solutions in the design of mobile UI applications requires building a competent and multi-disciplinary team, research, directions, guidelines, and standards. Although the most important of all is involving users throughout the design process.
· Design concepts
· Design patterns
· Initial experience
· User Centered Design Process
· An Agile approach to User Experience and Design
Servers and desktop computers have progressed significantly and performance is no longer a barrier. Handheld computing however, is a different. Many are very slow by comparison. Complex UI, CPU intensive algorithms, and data processing can easily make an application user-hostile. Care must be taken during design to avoid performance pitfalls. One pitfall in Compact Framework development is using ADO.Net DataSets. They are very slow on most handheld devices.
Unlike PCs and servers, most mobile devices come with a set amount of memory and cannot be upgraded. If systems analysis shows that data requirements include having large amounts of data on the handheld, this may limit your hardware choices. Efficient data storage is necessary, and low-level interfaces may be required to make the most of the memory available. Because cold boots typically erase all non-volatile memory in the device, design must ensure that critical data is stored in non-volatile memory.
Security is a major factor in the computing world and mobile systems are no exception. The primary concern that raises in one’s mind is what if the mobile device is lost? Care must be taken that critical business and personal data stored in the device must not be accessed by a stranger. Though today’s systems provide us a wide choice of securing data that includes thumbprint scanners to authenticate users, user login, encryption and many more, the right security measure has to be appropriately chosen while application use.
Data transfer is probably the most significant part of mobile application architecture because of the sheer number of times the data must move from one point to another. Keep the data synced across multiple storage devices is a key challenge. The methods and protocols should be carefully considered during system design.
· Ease of Implementation
· Cost of Ownership
If the application is run on a secured LAN, then security considerations may be low. If cost and ease of implementation are factors, then a less reliable method may be used. If reliability must be guaranteed, then a more expensive communication mechanism should be considered.
· Web Services
· Queuing Services
· TCP Sockets
Web services are relatively easy to implement and existing web services in a service oriented architecture (SOA) or an enterprise service bus (ESB) can be used. Web services are technology agnostic and may be used across most platforms and technologies. They are not well suited for large, binary data files. Security is available, but might be at times difficult to implement between heterogeneous technologies.
Queuing services ensure data delivery. They are mainly configured for store-and-forward capability. There are many queuing packages available for mobile devices and may be cost prohibitive. However queuing technologies for servers are well established and several choices exist.
Transferring data over a raw network socket offers the greatest speed of all methods. If security is required it will need to be implemented in code, usually with an encryption library. Implementation can be quick if only raw file transfer is required. Multithreading will be required on the server so that multiple devices can connect simultaneously. If something more complicated than file transfer is required then another method (such as web services) should be considered so that a complex custom protocol does not have to be developed.
HTTP can provide an easy way for an application to send messages and receive data from another application running a web application. SSL can easily be used to provide security. Implementation is not complicated.
Although usually not preferred, FTP still has a place in system integration. This may be the only way to transfer data to older business systems. If FTP is chosen as a data transfer method, consideration must be given to an appropriate threading architecture with retry capability. Most FTP servers are not configured with encryption, but may be set up to provide it.
Mobile systems can enhance business processes significantly by extending existing business systems. Here are the key points to consider.
· Typically a middleware application must be developed in conjunction with a mobile application.
· In many cases the technology used to develop the applications will be different.
· Identify and understand the technological challenges early in the project lifecycle.
· There must be a plan for configuring, provisioning, and upgrading software on the devices.
· Data transfer is a key component and must be carefully considered.
· Mobile system architectures vary by device application types, networking scope, and data transfer methods.
The iPhone OS (iOS) needs no introduction, it is a revolutionary mobile technology that has changed the way mobile phones are used today. Focus America, Inc offers professional mobile solutions in the enterprise mobile category. We offer the following solutions on the iPhone OS - 3.0 through iOS 4.0 SDK for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.
o UI Design
o Application Development
o Application Testing
We extend our knowledge and professional expertise in applying the iOS-SDK for developing an amazing range of enterprise applications that offers instant access and productivity over mobility. We firmly believe our wide experience in iOS SDK Application Development could effectively make the iPhone 3GS & iPhone 4.0 enterprise valuable to all your key stakeholders.
We currently have experience building apps in the healthcare space but we do not limit ourselves. Our understanding of the iOS platform, the technology, the APIs, hardware and the limitations are holistic that combined with our development methodology and experience will make us the ideal choice of partner for your iPhone application development needs.The iPhone OS (iOS) needs no introduction, it is a revolutionary mobile technology that has changed the way mobile phones are used today. Focus America, Inc offers professional mobile solutions in the enterprise mobile category.
In reality the iPhone is just another phone, but what makes the world go crazy is the visual impact it instantly renders on its users. No matter how great an app is being developed, if the UI is not up to the mark it simply will not make it on the iPhone. We partner with some of the best specialist UI designers for mobile computing to offer exclusive and premium design services for the iPhone.
In enterprise mobility, application development is of two types:
A native software designed and developed to work only on the mobile phone
An existing software that already runs on a PC. The same PC application is modeled to be developed for the phone either redesigned or an adaption of the original PC version for the mobile.
o Further Users can run two different types of custom applications can be developed for the device
o Web applications
o Native applications.
Focus America, Inc follows an in-house development methodology for application development . The methodology is designed to internally standardize mobile application development process and create an efficient platform that seamlessly handles the different stages of application development. The platform also provides ease in traceability, documentation and executing quality assurance.
The methodology allows us to follow a standard process it and also provides flexibility in handling the development of different applications. In general each application functions with its own set of business rules and hence requires flexibility in approach at the same time not compromising on end result.
We strictly follow Apple’s prescription in application development and ensure that the final product released complies with Apple’s core specifications and rules of engagement.
The iPhone OS does not support:
o Development of Drivers
o Background Applications in iOS 3.0
o Dynamic Libraries
o Adobe Technologies – Flash
o Java Programing
We do not recommend development on the iPhone through Jailbreak Technology which is also not recommended by Apple and such applications developed will not get an entry in to the Apple App Store.
Focus America, Inc offers exclusive application testing services for the iPhone. Unlike regular software testing, mobile application testing has extra demands and these demands are microscopic and often forgotten. A mobile is many times diminished in size when compared to a PC or a Laptop and hence the standard approach to testing will not work. Mobile app testing has to be meticulous and tailor made to each application. We understand the nuances of mobile app testing very well and our mobile testing team is not only quality conscious but also technically well prepared to handle and deliver total quality assurance.
Our test framework has been designed to exceptionally handle both software testing based on inputs and results and also the end user experience part of it. We offer end to end testing for iPhone applications whether they are developed by us or by third party.
In the technology world today, mobile technology is the most disruptive and the most volatile; each day hundreds if not thousands of new mobile phones are released with an ever expanding matrix of new browsers, plug-ins, third party apps, programming languages and even more the millions of new users from all around the globe. It is imperative that mobile applications are sufficiently and continuously tested to ensure seamless functioning across this massively complex maze.
Focus America, Inc has a dedicated team of testing experts who specialize in mobile application testing. The development of a mobile app is only one part of the equation, understanding the app and the surrounding hardware and software that are orbiting the main app is another thing.
Key Areas of Concern
· Cloud Computing: Is the cloud holding you up rightly?
· Multimedia: How will the web app perform for users with different versions of Flash, Acrobat, Java, and much more?
· Emerging Technology: Have you considered HTML 5
· Jailbreak: The perils of using Jailbreak technologies
· Plugins: Plugins can painfully slow down the performance of your app!
· Localization: Content Localization?
· Metrics – Unlike traditional software testing, mobile application testing cannot be entirely driven by metrics. Failure in a mobile application is often suicidal and has to dealt with respect, care, hence the focus should be on the ‘Testers’ and not Testing Tools or Metrics.
Focus America, Inc., offers end to end QA solutions and support for enterprise mobile applications, which include:
· Functional Testing
· Usability Testing
· Load Testing
· Portability Testing
· End User Testing
Data Management is the architecture, development, execution and supervision of plans, policies, programs and practices that control, protect, deliver and enhance the value of data and information assets.
Bridging structured and unstructured data is critical. An effective information management strategy helps organizations to interact with all key stakeholders effectively and efficiently.
TThe seamless management of information becomes the very backbone of an organizations making of strategic operational decisions.
Focus America, Inc offers information management services in areas of Data Integration, Master Data Management and Meta Data Management.
Data integration involves combining data residing in different sources and providing users with a unified view of these data. Data integration appears with increasing frequency as the volume and the need to share existing data explodes.
Focus America, Inc has considerable experience in offering data integration solutions through the SAP BusinessObjects (SAP BO) Data Integrator tool. SAP BO Data Integrator allows organizations to easily explore, extract, transform, Load (ETL) and deliver data anywhere at any frequency. Data Integrator from SAP BO ensures, integrity of data, maximize developer productivity, and accelerates data integration performance for all of operational and analytics initiatives.
The typical real-life ETL cycle consists of the following execution steps:
The objective of Master Data Management is providing processes for collecting, aggregating, matching, consolidating, quality-assuring, persisting and distributing such data throughout an organization to ensure consistency and control in the ongoing maintenance and application use of this information.
While organizations evolve and interdependencies with data management within the ecosystem increase, the need for consistency becomes a crucial factor to contemplate with.
Master data management becomes a crucial factor with organizations that are departmentalized and offer multiple services to a single customer. In such organizations the lack of master data management leads to a common situation where the same customer is being approached by different competing or non-competing entities for cross selling solutions without being aware that the customer already has a working relationship or already uses the product or services offered by the company. So typical is the case with mergers and acquisitions. Master data management covers issues of dimension coordination, integration and reconciliation and provides the primary link between transactional systems, business intelligence and performance management.
Processes commonly seen in master data management solutions include source identification, data collection, data transformation, normalization, rule administration, error detection and correction, data consolidation, data storage, data distribution, and data governance.
The tools include data networks, file systems, a data warehouse, data marts, an operational data store, data mining, data analysis, data federation and data visualization.
Focus America, Inc offers end to end services in master data management, assisting organizations to smoothly transition from strategy to architecture and master data management implementation. These include – master data management business value services; reference architecture services and platform & solution development.
o Consolidation of MDM
o MDM Synchronization and distribution
o Centralized management of MDM
o Integrated customer data
o Managed vendor data
Meta Data Management involves storing information about other information. In simple words it is the process of centralized and integrating metadata that produces accurate and consistent information across the enterprise.
If you are in the process of implementing a BI/DW solution, devising and managing the Metadata strategy is a crucial process. It minimizes costs associated with managing multiple metadata resources, and simplifies deployment, administration and use of data.
Focus America, Inc can provide you with open, centralized and integrated metadata solutions so that data changes can be managed and documented from one location. By reducing the number of location or sources. business users can be rest assured of accurate data all through. However by using different types of media references to the location of the data can allow management of diverse repositories
It is part of the metadata strategy to make sure that at any given point in time, the metadata is complete, current and correct. And it is about making sure that users of the BI/DW are aware of the possibilities and how to use these possibilities in the BI/DW. It is very important to monitor the Metadata, constantly making sure that the BI/DW solutions provides data that corresponds with the at the time given business requirements.
Consolidate and audit metadata from disparate tools and sources, including business intelligence (BI). Extract, transform, and load (ETL), relational databases, modeling tools, and third-party metadata into a single repository.
Easily view and analyze the integrated metadata to get information on data usage, comprehensive change impact analysis, and report-to-source data lineage. Deliver trusted data for compliance requirements, data governance initiatives, internal controls, and improved decision-making by providing a central view of all metadata assets and their relationships.
Just as with any other software application involving different technologies testing is a very crucial phase in the software development lifecycle for data warehouse/ business intelligence (DW/BI) projects. Testing for DW/BI poses unique challenges and requires specialized approaches. Focus America, Inc, over the years has developed its internal robust QA framework for this highly dynamic technology area .
QA in DW/BI may be defined as the expected accurate result of in-depth analysis of detailed business data that includes database, application technologies and analytics.
o Characteristics of DW/BI contain:
o Usage of subject-oriented dimensional data model
o Cluttered data from multiple sources
o Integrated tools standard and third party for reporting and analytic purposes
The success of a DW/BI program testing is dependent upon meeting its key objective of ensuring data accuracy and providing a single version of the accurate data through flexibility in Analysis, Reporting and Presentation. This presentation layer is often extended by features such as the ability to slice and dice, drill down and enhanced visualization.
It is the best practice for any DW/BI testing to define the level of data accuracy that is expected from the DW. The tolerance level varies from application to application. For instance, in Sales Analysis accuracy of approximately 90-95% percent is acceptable, whereas, in the fraud analysis or risk analysis in a financial institution or a stock exchange, the accuracy levels are a no compromise.
It is imperative to admit here that any testing activity for DW/BI has to be focused on the key objectives, business rules, defined workflow and the expected results. Ensuring that the DW/BI implementation objective is met by the application while testing. To achieve the critical success factors; data accuracy and consistency in reporting/analysis data in a typical DW architecture passes through several steps of consolidation.
Data passes through several layers of churning, the root cause for data inconsistency and/or inaccuracy can occur in any of these layers, resulting in an adverse impact to the applications end result.
Typical data errors include
Voluminous extraction of duplicate data or incomplete data from source systems
Incorrect mapping of dimensions in the cube
Combination of any or all of the above.
Unlike other applications where testing is focused on user interfaces, due to the criticality of data, testing for DW/BI has to be more detail-oriented. Moreover DW/BI testing demands thorough understanding of ETL and OLAP concepts and the underlying technologies on the part of the testers.
Focus America, Inc’s DW/BI QA framework encompasses and factors all aspects of the application but governed by the end result.
The framework would be comprised of assets/job aids that facilitate efficient planning and execution of DW/BI testing, such as:
o Varying SQL queries against source and target databases
o Varying SQL queries to compare data at each stage of transformation
o Custom-built, reusable test utilities that are macros or component like programs that automate modular functions within the testing framework. These help in
o Reduction in human errors
o Productivity enhancement
o Reusability across different stages and objects
o Templates driven approach to track defects and results
o Test artifacts – The overall plan, strategy that is tailor made to suit each project.
Focus America, Inc understands the criticality and importance of DW/BI testing and that can never be overemphasized. Testing for DW/BI is a niche skill that demands a good blend of ETL/OLAP technical skills and thorough testing skills that seamless blend with the overall objective of the purpose of the application and overall quality assurance. Unlike other technologies, the tools currently available that can be used for DW/BI testing is very limited and at most times do not solve the purpose. In the absence of comprehensive automation, it is essential to define and develop a framework for DW/BI testing that comprehensively covers the various layers and stages of data transformation.
Focus America, Inc has encouraged its QA work force to adopt DW/BI testing as a preferred and focused skill and promote ways to advance these skills.