Despite having been generally available for mobile systems like iOS for over two-and-a-half years now, you don’t hear much about something called the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP). That may change soon, as a new set of mobile apps for human resources professionals, developed in conjunction with Sybase’s parent company SAP, are demonstrating an emerging pathway for other developers to develop custom enterprise apps in the same vain.
The SUP system is designed to work with enterprise applications to generate RESTful Web services. Those services are exposed as APIs, and are generated for use by one of the three leading mobile platforms. There’s a reason for this: SAP wants its mobile apps to look like they belong on the platforms on which they run, so iPad apps look like iPad users expect.
Part 3 of the video set that begins here (this is Part 1) shows the creation of a Hybrid Web Container.
“SUP allows you to deliver across multiple mobile devices and form factors – iOS, Android, and BlackBerry – and what we’ve done on top of this platform is provide what we call the Hybrid Web Container,” explains Nick Brown, SAP’s senior vice president for mobile strategies. “In essence, it’s an HTML5-compliant container with native extensions into the device that allows you to access things like camera, video, and voice (which the current HTML5 does not include). This Hybrid Web Container runs on top of WebKit [or] Silverlight for Windows, and allows us to have a secure, encrypted conversation with a native store to our HTML5 container.”
The process of mobilizing
The container is essentially a basic Web form with everyday controls for entering, editing, and deleting data. Folks who’ve been designing on-screen forms since the days of Access (some would say these still are the days of Access) will be immediately familiar with this process. The underlying mechanics of these container forms are in HTML5, Brown tells us, although you can adjust and tailor the CSS to suit your company’s style or the general style of your mobile platform.
Sybase calls the act of making its enterprise databases available on mobile devices “mobilizing;” you do this using the SUP development environment. Dragging and dropping table names from the database list into a diagram creates what SUP calls a mobile business object (MBO). That object is used as a kind of prototype for the SUP server to determine how data transactions are to work between the server and mobile clients.
“Let’s take something simple like leave request approval – I want to mobilize that,” Brown says. In the SUP environment, you define how you generally want forms to appear on your target platform of choice. Then you identify the data that’s relevant to the decision making process – for leave request approval, that would include who’s making the request, for how long, when, and how much leave time remains. That’s pretty obvious, but it would also be helpful if the app could report if anyone else has requested the same holiday.
SUP takes that subset of the data model, and then performs code generation. The code that’s generated is specific to individual mobile platforms, either for HTML5 or native apps.
Productivity apps from SAP
The latest mobile productivity apps from SAP itself that use the SUP platform, announced last week for release this quarter, include SAP Manager Insight (shown above), which gives HR managers direct access to key performance indicators (KPIs) for employees. “Productivity to us means we’re providing something to an employee user of a company that helps them either perform a role within their responsibility in a corporation, or generally initiate or move a process forward that’s part of the overall back office abilities,” says Brown.
Another example is Employee Lookup, which gives a mobile user access to not just the general data about contacts, but also the structure of the organization they work for, in a map that can be traversed by finger. “Other things would be simple request creations, like a leave request to go on holiday; capturing and recording my time; and creating expense reports,” SAP’s Brown adds. “A lot of these users may be non-traditionally targeted users for corporations, who were previously supported via a paper process or a Web portal. Now, with BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policies at work, we see a real opportunity for our customers – even within SAP – to enable people to access this type of functionality in business processes more easily. A much broader audience can be addressed through mobility.”
Brown offered this illustration: Suppose a user is fairly high up in an organization, and manages other managers. She wants to obtain metrics across the entire management team, including employee retention rates and satisfaction rates. A tablet-based app could access this user in ways that Web portals couldn’t. “So I can look for issues, look for challenges, find managers who need coaching or removal, or managers I want to exemplify in the organization.”
One of the problems SAP saw with the Web portal approach is that managers tended to use the goal-setting procedures for those portals perhaps twice per year at best. Performance tracking needed to run six months or more, because that was the period between average uses. And in those organizations, managers didn’t institute rewards often enough to keep their employees happy.
So the SUP platform has SAP designate a subset of its Human Capital Management (HCM) functionality, and use that as a prototype to create a mobile interface. “You take that data model, that subset of functionality, and you put it on SUP, and then SUP compiles those databases and those workflows to the targeted devices, so you can just focus on UI – either HTML5, or native UI functionality on the device” the SAP VP says.
“Any Web developer who understands HTML as their primary development platform can take our HTML5 applications, or their portal applications,” Brown continues, “and leverage this container to deliver customized [functionality] with their labels, their look-and-feel, as well as support the look-and-feel you would expect on the devices.”
The addition of Google Cloud SQL gives developers access to a cloud-based database server, meaning they won’t have handle all of the heavy lifting of relational databases.
“You can now choose to power your App Engine applications with a familiar relational database in a fully-managed cloud environment,” wrote Google Cloud SQL Product Manager Navneet Joneja in a post on the Google App Engine blog. “This allows you to focus on developing your applications and services, free from the chores of managing, maintaining and administering relational databases.”
According to Google, Cloud SQL frees App Engine developers from maintaining and administering databases, as Google manages the database for them. Google Cloud SQL adds high reliability and availability, Joneja wrote, because data is replicated synchronously to multiple data centers, and machine, rack and data center failures are handled automatically to minimize end-user impact.
Joneja added that Google Cloud SQL is a familiar MySQL database environment with JDBC support for Java-based App Engine applications and DB-API support for Python-based App Engine applications. Google Cloud SQL offers a comprehensive user interface for administering databases and simple integration with App Engine, he added.
The service includes import and export functionality, so developers can move existing MySQL databases to the cloud and leverage them via App Engine.
Google said Cloud SQL is available in a limited free beta for now, and pricing will be announced roughly 30 days before it becomes a pay service.
Google’s launch of a cloud-based database comes on the heels of Oracle’s massive move into the public cloud space, which was announced at Oracle (NSDQ:ORCL) Open World and includes a cloud database service that lets users move their existing Oracle databases to the cloud. Salesforce.com, too, has made a major cloud database push with the launch of Database.com, its multi-tenant cloud database service, which Salesforce made generally available in August.
Menurut aktivis Teknologi Informasi dan Komunikasi, Bona Simanjuntak, istilah silent charging cukup dikenal di kalangan CP dan operator dalam melakukan modus penggerusan pulsa untuk keuntungan yang pastinya lebih besar di sisi operator yang berbanding 40%–60%.
Modus silent charging adalah melakukan pendaftaran secara ‘paksa’. Bila ditelisik memang terkesan random, padahal terstruktur rapi dengan berbagai metode filtering yang sebetulnya bisa dikaji lebih lanjut.
Salah satu metode filtering tersebut adalah memilih daftar pelanggan yang paling ‘rajin’ mengisi pulsa dan kemudian mempetakannya berdasarkan daerah serta sub-metode lainnya.
“Yang pada akhirnya terbentuklah sebuah data target yang valid dan bisa ‘dirampok’ bersama,”.
Sementara sistem smart charging sebetulnya penjelmaan dari metode penggerusan pulsa terhadap pelanggan yang benar-benar ingin mengikuti layanan, tetapi tidak terus menerus.
“Aturannya jelas, ketika pelanggan tidak memenuhi persyaratan yang telah ditentukan — dalam hal ini pulsa yang ada tidak memenuhi standar yang diberikan — maka layanan harus dihentikan,” kata Bona.
“Tetapi dengan mekanisme apa yang diistilahkan dengan smart charging ini justru pelanggan akan di-charge dengan paket yang lebih murah dan terus menurus terpotong hingga benar-benar habis,” jelasnya.
Mekanisme ini sejatinya masih dalam perdebatan, apakah bisa dikategorikan dengan modus atau bukan? “Tetapi bisa dibayangkan apabila terjadi pada masyarakat dengan kelas ekonomi pas-pasan dan ditambah dengan mekanisme UNREG yang sengaja dipersulit,” imbuh mahasiswa Pasca Sarjana Ilmu Hukum Universitas Borobudur ini.
Kasus pencurian berkedok SMS Premium pun dinilai Bona hanya sebuah pengalihan besar yang paling mudah dilakukan oleh regulator karena ketidakmampuannya membuka kasus ini lebih dalam lagi.
“Kominfo melalui BRTI harusnya lebih jeli melihat hal ini dan berani melakukan penelusuran lebih lanjut, bahkan bisa menetapkan aturan main yang lebih jelas untuk melindungi masyarakat dan industri kreatif kita dan tidak sekadar menyalahkan content provider yang notabene merupakan sapi perahan dari operator yang terkesan dilindungi oleh regulator,” ia menandaskan.
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