Frank, a Notes® developer, arrived at his office one morning, coffee in hand, ready to tackle the crisis of the moment: Investigating why one of his agents had generated millions of documents on the test server overnight.
Suddenly, Frank’s email notification went off. It was his boss, requesting a meeting to discuss giving the company’s field managers remote access to one of their Notes applications.
“Great,” thought Frank, sighing heavily as he went to the kitchen to get a caffeine refill. “Now I can look forward to spending an hour of my life explaining why no one wanted to use the last application we tried this with. We couldn’t get a reliable network connection in the field, and the UI was just awful!” He could already hear the frustrated support calls from the field managers...
Can you see yourself in Frank’s position?
It’s great that we have the technology to mobilize our Notes® applications. At a fundamental level, you can simply create a couple of web pages and then point a BlackBerry® browser at the server to access the application. This is fine—if your users have both a reliable connection and plenty of bandwidth to push and pull data every time they click a button. Or, if they have the patience to use a mouse pointer with a trackball to click that 2x2 pixel checkbox!
Let’s face it: This is not the mobile utopia your users have been led to believe in from all those commercials on TV.
So, what about outsourcing your application to a ‘mobile expert’ team of consultants, who can recreate your application using the relevant native language and IDE? Well, the initial cost can be quite high; however, it may be justified given the business value the application will provide. But haven’t we all heard that 80% of an application’s cost comes from maintenance, adding new features and fixing bugs? If you take your initial cost and multiply it by five, you might have a more realistic figure… And maybe the ROI will remain the same. Then again, it might not.
But there is another way: You can extend your Notes skills and do it yourself—with Teamstudio UnpluggedTM!
Available on April 8th, Teamstudio Unplugged provides an easy and efficient way to mobilize any of your existing Notes applications. Leveraging Notes 8.5.1 and above, you can add new XPages—which act as views and forms for the current data—to existing applications.
The special Teamstudio Unplugged Replicator – an .nsf that sits on the Domino server – sends the design information and data straight to the BlackBerry. The client acts as a type of workspace (see diagram) that Notes users are already familiar with, while the applications on the workspace act more like native BlackBerry apps.
Once the application is on the BlackBerry device, users can access it and work with it—with or without a continuous live network connection.
In addition, Notes administrators can use Teamstudio Unplugged to centrally manage access to applications, using Domino® credentials, ACLs and security already established within the BES server. Selective replication options mean that, although your CRM application may be 50GB, the region (or customers) in question may only take up a fraction of this space. As a result, you can access only the data you are interested in, making replication time easier and application usage more personal.
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So now, when your boss asks you to mobilize an application for the field, you can tell him that, with Teamstudio Unplugged, he can have an app that has the look and feel of a native Blackberry application, with a UI his users will already be comfortable with, and that can be managed centrally and maintained in-house.
Frankly, we think that’s pretty cool!