POINT-TO-POINT vs. MEAP THE RIGHT APPROACH FOR AN INTEGRATED MOBILITY SOLUTION

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1 POINT-TO-POINT vs. MEAP THE RIGHT APPROACH FOR AN INTEGRATED MOBILITY SOLUTION

2 Executive Summary Enterprise mobility has transformed the way businesses engage with customers, partners and staff while exchanging critical information. Innovative applications are only part of an overall mobility solution integrating them with existing systems in a scalable manner is equally important and can be even more challenging. There are two commonly used approaches for building integrated mobility solutions: Point-to-point integration and Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP). This paper explains why an enterprise mobility integration solution is needed, describes and compares the two approaches, and provides a guide for how to choose the right mobility integration technique for your organization. The paper also examines various MEAP platforms available and the key differences between popular platforms. From a mobile application development standpoint, there is another widely used approach: cross-platform development frameworks. These frameworks allow developers to build once and deploy across multiple device platforms. However, these frameworks lack integration and mobile device management capabilities, and therefore we have excluded them from consideration for the purposes of this whitepaper. To learn more about cross-platform development, download our whitepaper: How to Choose the Right Architecture for your Mobile Application -

3 Enterprise Mobility Solutions Gone are the days when employees would sit in front of their desktop computers all day to do their work and communicate with coworkers and clients. More and more companies are adapting enterprise mobility solutions to make it easier for their employees to work out of the office using mobile devices and cloud services to perform business tasks. The two most popular enterprise mobility deployment techniques are: 01 Point-to-Point: An application deployment technique which allows mobile users within the organization to perform a business operation and engage with co-workers and customers. It is mainly designed for smaller organizations. of Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP): An application middleware designed specifically for mobile enterprise application users. It allows controlled access to all mobile applications hosted on a particular platform. Employees and enterprise customers can access and exchange data from any mobile device to perform a number business operations. Definition of MEAP There is a general tendency to combine MEAP/middleware tools with cross-platform mobile development tools. We would define MEAP as a platform that includes: Comprehensive integration capabilities Connectivity to corporate systems such as ERP, CRM, etc. Mobile application development Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for building mobile applications Mobile Device Management (MDM) capabilities Support for device provisioning, secure transmission of data, remote configuration, mobile asset tracking, policy identification and adaptation, etc. Mobile Application Management (MAM) capabilities Support for provisioning and access control to mobile applications used in business settings (configuration settings, user authentication, push notification services, application usage analytics, etc.) 03

4 As the name implies, cross-platform development frameworks provide the ability to develop once and deploy across multiple platforms, but mainly on the client/device side with minimal support for integration. Since this paper is about integrated mobility solutions, we focus on the MEAP approach, with the view that cross-platform frameworks are outside the scope of the discussion. MEAP Examples Cross- Platform Development Frameworks Examples Point-to-Point Solutions vs. MEAP Point-to-Point Approach Typically, a Point-to-Point (P2P) integration solution is used to develop an independent native application for each business requirement, using individual resources/middleware to handle the data and control layer of the application. This solution is useful when data segregation is possible and independent security for the application is required. MULTIPLE MIDDLEWARE FOR EACH APPLICATION DATA WAREHOUSE NATIVE APPS AS REQUIRED AND BASED ON LOCATION POINT-TO-POINT DEPLOYMENT ARCHITECTURE 04 03

5 Approach P2P Solution Pros User experience is rich (typically based on native application development). Less expensive to build compared to MEAP if the features required are straightforward. Cons Need to build each application based on the specific business requirement, with limited reusability. Any changes required in the application need developer involvement. Performance is higher compared to MEAP since there are fewer applications to handle. Requires additional integration with identity management. Requires third-party connectors to integrate with external systems. MEAP Approach Gartner Group has developed a concept called the Rule of Three for determining when to use a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP). According to the rule, you should use the MEAP approach for enterprise mobility if the business requirements include (i) Three or more mobile applications, (ii) Three or more mobile OS (Operating Systems) and (iii) Integration with at least three back-end data sources. IPAD DESKTOP MOBILE ENTERPRISE APPLICATION PLATFORM (MEAP) IPHONE BLACKBERRY MEAP DEPLOYMENT ARCHITECTURE 03 05

6 MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT POLICY ENFORCEMENT SOFTWARE DISTRIBUTION CLIENT AGENT INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT EAI TOOLS + LOGIC SERVER APPLICATION LOGIC CLIENT APPLICATION UI+ LOGIC DIRECTORY SERVICES AUTH HTTP(S) VPN CLIENT APPLICATION RUNTIME WEB APPLICATION SERVER MULTICHANNEL ACCESS GATEWAY OFFLINE NATIVE STORAGE EAI ADAPTERS SERVICE BUS WEB SERVICES DATABASE CONNECTIONS HTTP(S) VPN HTML5 BROWSER ENTERPRISE PACKAGES DATA SOURCES RELATIONAL NoSQL DATABASE OFFLINE BROWSER STORAGE S ERVER (CLOUD OR ON-PREMISE) DEVIC E MEAP ARCHITECTURE BLOCK DIAGRAM Source: robtiffany.com Approach MEAP Pros Highly scalable architecture. Pre-integrated to identity management system. Supports multiple platforms native (ios, Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry), web (XHTML browsers) and hybrid applications. Can leverage device features seamlessly. Plug-in or connectors are available to communicate with systems such as SAP, Oracle, CRMs, etc. Web service layer runs on DMZ to secure the entire infrastructure. The solution can be deployed on premises or in a cloud. Cons Initial investment is high requires upfront payment for the solution, maintenance fee and user based fee. Dedicated administrator is required to maintain the MEAP server. User interface and usability are sub-optimal. Initial implementation time is higher

7 Comparing Point-to-Point and MEAP The following table summarizes the key differences between Point-to-Point solutions and MEAP. Parameters Point-to-Point Solution Mobile Middleware/MEAP User Interface Cross-device platform support Typically a native application rich user experience Unique solution for every mobile device/ mobile OS Not as great as point-to-point One solution across a wide range of mobile devices Device Management Each device update needs to be managed individually Builds are specific to each type of device Remote locking of mobile devices and remote wiping of data are supported Flexibility & Change Management Remote Installation and Updates Connectivity Security Scalability & Redundancy Implementation Cost Performance Each application update needs to be managed separately Multiple proprietary tool sets are required for managing & monitoring applications, security and devices Not part of the solution but possible to distribute them over the air individually Multiple integrations required to connect all backend systems Each point-to-point solution has its own security controls Requires additional hardware and software to support additional users and/or mobile applications Initial investment is low Decreases as number of hosted mobile applications increases New applications can be placed in a pre-defined shared location in the middleware Centralized management of data Single tool for managing all devices, applications and security Allows OTA provisioning to many devices and mobile operating systems simultaneously Pre-integrated with all kinds of backend databases and other applications Data resides in a centralized server Controlled at one location with single console Flexibility in expanding mobility Seamless user experience with increase in number of users and/or mobile applications on the platform Initial investment is high High, with optimized services between client and server networks 03 07

8 Overall Cost Customizations are expensive. IT cost increases with increase in team size (mobile enterprise app users) Lower administrative, maintenance and support costs Cost-effective if many mobile enterprise applications are to be supported supported Summary Comparison Between Two Key MEAPs The table below summarizes the differences between two popular MEAPs: Kony and SAP Unwired. We have selected only these two MEAPs for comparison to illustrate key parameters you should evaluate before deciding on the right MEAP for your enterprise. Parameters Kony SAP Unwired NATIVE APPLICATION CAPABILITIES Single code base for all native UI components Native UI components have to be developed specific to each platform using native languages Access to all native capabilities Supported with code written in native Native code generation User experience Rich UX Not at present Browser-dependent. Code must be written specifically for each native platform PLATFORMS SUPPORTED Device platforms iphone, Android, BlackBerry (4.2.1 and above), Windows Phone (5.0 up to Windows 8), Symbian, Palm, J2ME Windows Mobile 6.0, 6.1, 6.5 (Standard and Professional), Windows XP, Vista and 7 (32 bit and 64 bit), BlackBerry 5.0 and 6.0, ios 4.2 and 4.3 Desktop clients/kiosks Windows 7 Windows XP, Vista and 7 Device-optimized mobile web Eight dedicated websites for 15+ browsers, five form factors, from WML to HTML5 Not at present 08 03

9 Number of operating systems for native applications supported Access to HTML5 capabilities PLATFORM FEATURES Language used Cross-platform debugger Quick UI preview on all platforms Foreign function support from single codebase Ability to seamlessly create native deployable binaries for all platforms Extensions ability to augment existing APIs without knowledge of underlying SDK Drag & drop widgets for UI development Coding required for consuming data from network services and mapping it to the UI widgets (80% of the application codebase) Wrapper-based solution (uses WebView for rendering) Synchronization capabilities Ability to download a new version of the application without accessing app stores Mobile Application Management with App management capability Lua/Javascript, all glue code is auto-generated Not required By default purely native, optionally WebUI can be used for rendering. Also supports offline sync, supported via Kony App Store and Kony App Management Container Mainly Java,.Net and Objective C are also used Not at present None. Need to build and compile the projects to view the UI Not at present Requires usage of platform specific native SDK tools (to be configured and understood), but glue code has to be manually written for each of native SDK Needs to be done outside the developer platform, all data mapping code has to be handwritten, a hybrid web based container approach. Also supports offline sync Requires additional license and component via Afaria 09 03

10 Integrated Development Environment (IDE) Eclipse plugin from Kony Eclipse IDE INTEGRATION AND CONNECTORS Backend system integration Web Services support REST/SOAP Sybase ASE 12.x and 15.x, Sybase SQL Anywhere 11.x, Oracle 10g and 11g, MS SQL Server 2005 and 2008, UDB 9.1, SAP R/3 4.6 and higher, SOAP and REST (XML) Services Extensible connectors to consume data from SAP, web services, XML, Java API Oracle backend support Connectors to Siebel, PeopleSoft and SharePoint Connectors to SAP Five ways to connect to SAP JCO, Gateway (OData), Web Services, HTTP, iway, and SAP Namespace (inside SAP) i.e. no middleware Information not available Supports JCO, Gateway and Web Services SMS/MMS (2-Way & push) SMS/MMS 2-Way and common push APIs Not supported 03 10

11 Choosing the Right Approach What approach works best for your enterprise? While each organization will have a different mobility strategy, when it comes to selecting mobile enterprise applications, you will reach a point where you have to decide between a point-to-point solution and MEAP. As always, the right solution for your organization depends on your business requirements. The following figure illustrates key factors that will help you decide on a mobility solution that s appropriate for your organization. POINT-TO-POINT SOLUTION Focus is on building a small number of applications to run on a few mobile operating systems only (Blackberry, ios, Android, Windows mobile) Out-of-the-box solution is acceptable, and does not require much customization Requires very few internal updates Requires device-agnostic solution MEAP (MOBILE MIDDLE WARE) Host multiple mobile applications across multiple mobile operating systems Simplifies integration to back-end systems Cost-effective over the long term POINT-TO-POINT SOLUTION VS. MEAP According to industry experts, a MEAP solution works best for organizations looking for over three mobile applications or above 150 users. This decision-making chart will help you select between the two enterprise mobility approaches. However, before making a decision, you need to understand the pros and cons of both types of enterprise mobility solutions and the cost involved in switching between the two solutions in the future should that become necessary. Hi Lo PERFORMANCE TCO PER USER POINT SOLUTION PERFORMANCE POINT SOLUTION TCO MEAP PERFORMANCE MEAP TCO Source: [Sybase White Paper]: What s the point? Comparison of Middleware Vs. Point Solutions Users Applications DECISION MAKING CHART 03 11

12 Conclusion Of all the factors driving the need for mobility, the main parameters to consider are the number of applications, the device platforms to be supported, the amount of flexibility and control you need for managing the servers and how quickly you plan to scale up. A point-to-point solution is the most cost-effective and fastest approach for an immediate, single mobile application deployment. MEAP is best suited for organizations with a well-defined mobility strategy and a vision for expanding their use of mobile applications. If you have any questions or need more information about building an integrated mobility solution, please write to the author Kavyanidhi Narayan, Sr. Manager - Marketing at or give us a call at We look forward to hearing from you! 03 12

13 About RapidValue RapidValue is a leading provider of end-to-end mobility solutions to enterprises worldwide. Armed with a large team of experts in mobility consulting and application development, along with experience delivering global mobility projects, we offer a range of mobility services across industry verticals. RapidValue delivers its services to the world s top brands and Fortune 1000 companies, and has offices in the United States and India Mobility A RapidValue Information Solutions Series Whitepaper Jan 2013 Feb Enabling Mobility RapidValue

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