The boundaries of the Internet are extending beyond the desktop to dynamic, mobile devices. Providing anytime access from anywhere through a new class of wireless intelligent devices offers today's enterprise the potential to redefine how communications, decision making and business are conducted. Will this evolution into mobile Internet solutions represent an unwiring or an unraveling of your e-business intelligence strategy?

Mobile Architecture

The wireless technology landscape changes daily. The vendors you partner with today may influence your organization's ability to truly deliver on the promise of anytime/anywhere access. Key infrastructure decisions must be made regarding handheld devices, mobile data management and enterprise architecture.

Supporting Multiple Device Types: Handheld device technology is advancing rapidly. It is very likely that a portfolio of mobile devices will find their way into your enterprise wireless landscape ­ PDAs, Web phones, palm PCs. Your mobile BI strategy will need to consider support for multiple messaging formats, different levels of intelligence, various screen sizes and graphics capabilities from multiple equipment classes.

Mobile Data Architecture: Intelligent wireless devices need to support a data model which corresponds to the enterprise model of the corporation. Conversely, less intelligent devices force design constraints demanding new techniques around data vocabulary, standard wireless tags and abbreviated data formats.

Mobile Enterprise Architecture: Device constraints and wireless bandwidth limitations make content management in a pervasive computing world more complex and less robust. Also, keep in mind that security is paramount. A mobile computing model means new users, new virtual locations and unsecured access points. Yet the experiences of early adopters of mobile solutions have demonstrated that a mobile architecture that effectively contemplates the mobile portal, application architecture and content dissemination can indeed form the foundation for rich, enterprise business solutions.

Mobile Enterprise Solutions

Mobile commerce and wireless solutions, like any new technology, bring challenges, considerations and, most importantly, opportunities ­ opportunity to radically change the way a business works: how it interacts with its customers, how it connects with its workforce and how well it leverages partnering relationships. Two prime opportunities for high-impact application of mobile decision support are in sales and supply chain.

Real-Time Sales

Deals can be won or lost based upon your ability to respond quickly to customer demands. Decision- enabling information can be available in real time through wireless technology so your sales team is never out of touch from key customers or the base office. With access to important business information anytime and anywhere, your sales professionals can shorten cycle times, respond to impulse buying and improve the efficiency of each sales call.

Not only will your sales force be empowered to make better decisions more quickly, but they also will be able to do more and do it faster. Opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell are enhanced because dynamic promotions, product bundling and pricing options can be delivered directly to your sales representative ­ while sitting in the customer's office.

Consider taking initial steps by delivering personal productivity applications to your sales team on a wireless platform. Enhance the communication and collaboration of employees, contractors and business partners with mobile e-mail, calendar management and scheduling, instant messaging and directory services. This may be the quickest path to get mobile decision-making technology into the hands of your users. This can precede integration with business intelligence systems and still deliver value, while establishing the foundation for subsequent applications.

Internet Speed in the Supply Chain

The speed and scope of change driven by the Internet economy are placing unprecedented demands on supply chain functions, processes and activities. The upshot of these developments is that the new economy has changed the way people and companies buy, sell and market goods and services and how goods are manufactured, packaged, stored and transported.

A core tenet of an effective e- commerce model is that an enterprise needs to operate at Internet speed. This implies flexible, adaptable operations; the ability to scale capacity up and down quickly; compressing cycle times from weeks, to days, to hours; and so forth. Deploying wireless technology to enable mobile decision making and collaboration allows a business to redefine the meaning of Internet speed. With a wireless solutions platform and anytime/anywhere access, true real-time operations, collaboration and execution are possible. Wireless technology enables real-time tracking and location systems, cross-enterprise collaborative planning and dynamic inventory management to improve customer service, quick response, and demand and supply matching. In today's supply chains (which should be viewed as value webs), the interactions are simultaneous and many-to- many; operations are co-managed, products are co-developed, and material must be visible and tracked in real-time. This has significant implications for the deployment of mobile decision support.

Today's mobile computing enablers may be constrained in ways such as screen size, graphics capabilities, and content management and delivery bandwidth; but the possibility of exciting applications enabling a true mobile decisioning environment are still very real. Concentrate on determining which content is most relevant to facilitating your mobile computing model and defining content delivery strategies. Next, move beyond simple information access services to dynamic mobile-commerce transactions and real-time decision making with tight integration to back-end systems and business intelligence engines. If you can quickly capitalize on this emerging space, your organization will move a step closer to your customers and a step ahead of the competition.

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