We recently welcomed Smartbridge, LLC to DSI’s partner network, after which Smartbridge employees participated in an initial DSI training session. Here’s a recap of the experience as written by a Smartbridge attendee:
I had the opportunity to attend a two-week training session at our corporate headquarters in Houston, provided by our partner DSI. It’s been a while since I attended a two-week, 8 to 5 boot camp-style training program and hence was skeptical as to how I would survive through the two weeks. To my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed it.
At the end of the two weeks, we built an application to receive POs by interfacing with Oracle EnterpriseOne, a satisfying accomplishment. The cool thing about the application we built was that we developed it once but were able to deploy it to different types of mobile devices (iOS, Android and Windows).
Throughout the training we focused on ins and outs of DSI’s Mobile Enterprise Platform. Once we understood how to install and customize it, we began developing mobile applications using the mobile platform. Here are a few highlights of the major capabilities and features of the platform that drew my attention.
Believe it or not, all of the application development and administration of the platform can be done from a web browser, which avoids the need to have specific tools to be installed on your desktop (which is the case with many other major development studios).
Web-based development gives you the flexibility to use virtually any computer to do your job as long as you have a browser installed and have Internet connectivity.
The platform consists of three tiers: the client (mobile client), middleware server and the ERP system. Multiple deployment options are available that provide the flexibility to configure the system for high availability. The installation can also be configured to be Centralized or De-Centralized.
- Single Sever, Single Installation
- Single Server, Multiple Installations
- Multiple Server, Multiple Installations
Middleware Server Components
The middleware server has two main services and several agents that are responsible for taking care of specific functions. Each of these components runs as a service.
- MEP Manager Service – Responsible for all system functions, Agent Control and Monitoring, scheduling, licensing etc.
- MEP Watch Dog Service – Monitors the status of Manager Service and restarts it if needed.
- Communication Agent – All requests from the devices are sent to the communication agent
- Asynchronous Function Agent – Takes care of Asynchronous function calls
- Data Replication agent – Takes care of data replication between the ERP system, middleware server and the device
The DSI platform, by default, supports integration with the following ERP systems via connectors. The connectors will have to be registered in the platform. Once the connectors are registered, the APIs exposed by the connectors can be invoked to call a business process.
- JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
- JD Edwards World
- Oracle E-Business Suit
- Lawson M3
Integrated Application Change Control
The mobile platform comes with an integrated Application Change Control system. You can define multiple environments (Development, QA and Production). The mobile platform allows you to check in and check out code components, create projects, add objects to projects, migrate projects between environments and also publish them to mobile devices. All of this can be done though the web interface.
Develop Using Flow Charts
All of the development is done using flowcharts – you do not have a write a single line of code to develop an application. You do not need to have hardcore developers who know a certain programming language to build mobile applications. Business analysts also should be able to build applications using the mobile platform. All you need to know is the requirement and the logic that is needed to fulfill the requirement.
Powerful Administrative Features
All of the administration features can also be accessed via the web browser. Here are some of the administrative tasks you can accomplish using the admin console:
- Set up and manage users, define user roles
- Register and manage devices
- External table registration
- Configure and schedule backups
- M0nitor and manage agents
Disconnected Operation Mode
This is one of the features that stands out and separates the DSI solution from the rest of the competition. The system has inbuilt capability to work in disconnected mode. A device is considered to be in a disconnected mode if it is unable to reach the middleware server. This could happen because you are in a location where there is no network connectivity.
However, you need not stop what you are doing on the device. You can continue to use the application on the device as usual, and all of the transactions that you perform while it’s disconnected are stored locally on the device. Once the connection is restored, transactions are synched back up to the middleware server and the ERP system.
DSI platform has inbuilt label printing capability, using a solution called Unibar for label printing.
There are many more features that I have not talked about here. If you are looking for a mobile solution that needs to interact with an ERP system, you will not be disappointed if you choose to go with DSI’s Mobile Enterprise Platform.
This post originally appeared on the Smartbridge blog.