ZSL Migrates Delphi2007 based insurance application to .NET Environment

Delphi Application Migration to .NET Environment

The Customer

A leading UK based ISV which provides tailored and scalable Insurance Software, was looking to migrate one of their core selling product written in Delphi 2007 to a scalable Microsoft .Net Platform. The legacy product is widely used by Agents, Brokers, Underwriters and Insurance Companies within the UK and European Insurance industry.

The current Client -Server application required heavy workstation investment for users to access the application placed centrally. This would ease out software maintenance but at the cost of hardware.
Inability to support multi databases restricted selling the software to customer specific database requirements.

Customers demand on latest technology and usability narrowed their sales target and had direct impact on their revenues.

Product integration and deployment costs were significantly high as compared to their competitors. Improved system performance and scalability were two vital project requirements communicated by the customer.

The Challenge

Upon being selected to migrate the ISV’s legacy Delphi application, ZSL took stock of a number of immediate project challenges and deliverables including:

The application - 301601 lines of functional code written in Delphi.

Understanding all features and functionality of the legacy Delphi application.

Understanding the purpose of the third party components used in the application.

Mapping the third party components from Delphi with the components available in Microsoft
development platform.

Converting non-GUI product based components into Dll’s to be used in the new application

Identifying the system interface requirements with third party software and tools.

Enterprise Mobile Device Management Solution

The advent of mobile device usage in businesses has practically expanded the work place boundaries much to the gain of both enterprises and employees. Business mobile applications have gained more limelight and greater adoption among enterprises and its employees. Say it anytime access to data or technological sophistication, employees today, prefer to import work activities into their smart phones and tablets. This is looming to become a bigger challenge for enterprises to manage their business mobile apps and mobile users from the aspects of security, compliance, administration, upgrades, support and maintenance.

Every enterprise is bound to follow specific compliance strategies and policies. In the current trend of “Mobility in Business” and “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)”, it is quintessential to provide and manage remote data access and secure privacy for both organization data and users, which is quite complex. And even more challenging is to reduce their mobile device and user management costs.

For More Info Visit: http://mobilepowercenter.zsl.com/PDF/Mobile-Device-Management-Solution.pdf

Top 5 Myths About Mobile BI that Enterprises Need to Watch

In the last post we were discussing about Business Intelligence of leading-edge organizations goes mobile and how mobile BI helps the businesses and today we will discuss about “Mobile BI Myths” in this article.
Mobile dashboards and BI are among the hottest topics in the industry and justifiably so: mobile access to data is a critical tool for decision making.
Today we will examine the five common myths associated with mobile business intelligence and uncover the facts about cost, implementation, and capabilities. We will also explain why companies should move forward with their mobile business intelligence projects.
#1 Same Mobile BI to All Users
Mid-sized and larger companies would find themselves hard pressed to move their entire mobile workforce onto the same device – making the successful widespread use of mobile BI nearly impossible.
In the past, most of the companies originally deployed their BI applications on Blackberry devices because they were it was most popular among business users and provided the easiest way of accessing corporate information. That has changed with the introduction of the iPhone, Android-based devices and the iPad, mobile users expressed a preference for iPhones and Android-based phones. In addition, web browsers have become device-independent, allowing them to deliver BI content to almost any device.
#2 Each Mobile Device required a Native Application
Most business intelligence tools on the market these days lack the ability to exploit each device’s native capabilities, therefore require companies to build custom reporting and analysis applications for each type of device in use.
With thousands on mobile users of different versions of difference mobile devices will be using mobile BI in an enterprise. With the wrong mobile BI platform in place could be an obstacle that IT simply cannot overcome.
There are a few rare, advanced solutions designed to eliminate the time and effort associated with creating and maintaining multiple versions of various BI assets for each mobile platform.
#3 Mobile BI is only consumed on mobile phones and smartphones.
Few years ago when the majority of mobile BI consumers used BlackBerry and Palm devices, then came iPhone, Android based phones. Devices such as the iPad eliminate the shortcomings of iPhones (mostly related to small screen size) and are actually driving the trend toward large-scale BI adoption for obtaining a high-level view of business operations.
#4 Mobile Users Are Always Connected
Many mobile BI solution vendors aren’t including features that allow users to perform reporting and analysis when disconnected. There are times when Internet connections – particularly Wi-Fi – may be rather slow. This can frustrate users, forcing them to disconnect from the web, but they may still need to gather important intelligence on their way to a meeting or a customer visit.
It’s important to make sure that capability is included in a mobile BI platform and empowering them to work in disconnected mode.
#5 Mobile BI users can’t perform ad hoc or deep analysis.
Many companies shy away from mobile business intelligence because their users need the ability to interact extensively with data from their smartphones and tablets. Some of the more advanced platforms can deliver advanced reporting and analysis tools without the need for specialized software by leveraging the native capabilities of any mobile browser “to empower mobile workers with analytic functionality that can be applied to virtually any data from any enterprise source.”
In spite of the abounding myths, mobile business intelligence doesn’t have to be expensive, hard to implement, or difficult to use. In fact, companies that chooses the right solution, with the right capabilities, will realize low TCO and rapid ROI, while empowering their mobile users with the ability to access and interact with timely, complete corporate information from any smartphone or tablet.

Business Intelligence of leading-edge organizations goes mobile

BI, as most of us know is defined as the ability for an organization to take all its capabilities and convert them into knowledge, ultimately, getting the right information to the right people, at the right time, via the right channel. It majorly involves using computers to identify, extract and analyze business information and data. In plain terms, intelligence in business involves computers analyzing data. With too much having said and told about Business Intelligence, let us take a dive and see the progression in this domain— Mobile Business Intelligence
What is mobile BI?
Mobile business intelligence software extends desktop business intelligence (BI) to mobile devices. They optimize traditional BI reports so they can be viewed easily on a small screen and are ideal for displaying Key Performance Indicators and alerts with simple charts, graphs and spark lines. 
The use of mobile BI software on an upswing!!
Of late, the use of mobile business intelligence (BI) software has been on an upswing and it’s easy to see why. The following major factors have combined to create a potent fertilizer for fuelling the technology’s growth namely: 

The rise of smartphones and tablet computers usage that provides anytime anywhere access and ease of usage 

Demand from business users for up-to-the-minute data to help support decision-making have
    According to David Roe, four major trends will emerge in 2014. He notes that Gartner Inc. predicts that mobile analytics will be one of the leading trends. This predication suggests that mobile BI is likely to be adopted throughout entire enterprises with multiple business units adopting mobile BI. By 2014, 33% of business intelligence will be garnered through mobile devices. This adoption and utilization will not be limited to C-level executives.
    To take this one step further, Aberdeen’s research suggests that the organizations with mobile business intelligence in place or those currently considering it: 

    Have high performers deploy and then refine role-specific systems that provide the appropriate analytics to the appropriate employees to help in decision making; 

    Track productivity gains and demonstrate return on investment; 

    Ensure that the BI infrastructure can support the mobile BI challenge.
      Top trends in Mobile BI
      By far, the number one trend in mobile BI is how rapidly top-level executives make decisions using it. Because information is readily available to organizations utilizing mobile BI, they take, on average, about one-third of the time to make decisions than organizations that have not employed mobile BI strategies.
      Mobile BI addresses a big complaint against analytics and information management for many years – not being easy to consume, chart and data overload, devices not secure.  Not anymore. Tablet devices are just right for mobile BI – small enough to carry and large enough to be effective. The early success of the iPad for BI has caught many experts by surprise.

      Tablets’ big screen size and touch screen facility makes Mobile BI Services more user-friendly and easy-to-use. There are many Mobile BI apps coming in the market, but we need to mention Apples’ iPad, for growing popularity of tablets among users. Other Mobile BI apps include BIRT Mobile, Roambi, Micro Strategy Mobile, SAS Mobile, IBM Cognos 8 Go!

      With senior/middle management employers kept available on a 24×7 basis, more organizations will are adopting this technology and Mobile BI will continue to grow rapidly which is transforming the BI platform for the better.

      Everything about Mobile Apps that you want to know!

      What are Mobile Apps?
      Mobile Apps are applications or services that can be downloaded and installed to a mobile device, rather than being rendered within a browser, which helps to meet personal use or business requirements for the user. The app may pull content and data from the Internet, in similar fashion to a website, or it may download the content so that it can be accessed without an Internet connection. A mobile app may be a mobile Website bookmarking utility, a mobile-based instant messaging client, Gmail for mobile, and many other applications.
      The small-business demographic is pushing the envelope when it comes to mobile technology adoption. The fact is that they have really being doing so for the last decade.
      The Corporate Mobile App Strategy Survey, published by partnerpedia.com, found that 78 per cent of the large companies with 500 employees or more had a desire to purchase apps. Of those, 90.2 per cent intend to buy mobile solutionsfor use by employees, while 43.9 per cent wanted apps for customers. The survey, which also included responses from companies with less than 500 employees, found that 22 per cent are buying apps for contractors.
      And, close to 40 percent of small-business owners are using five more mobile apps to run their business, according to an ongoing survey conducted by J2 Global.
      The number of mobile business apps – some cloud-based, some residing on the device – is proliferating. We can expect to see even more being developed as a result of the new HTML 5 standard, says David Bradshaw, a research manager at analyst IDC. HTML 5 makes it possible to develop apps simultaneously for different mobile platforms, so that a business that chooses to roll out a sales app. There are also a growing number of apps designed specifically for mobile use. These can be very generic or targeted at particular sectors.
      Business Advantages of Mobile Apps:
      If personal mobile phones and tablets are now an integral part of working life, how can enterprises turn this to business advantage? Many organisations have started carefully, by allowing employees to access the firm’s email and calendar applications from their mobile devices. Even this can save time and money.
      The advantage of an enterprise app store is that the IT function can configure apps appropriately before they are downloaded, and create blacklists or whitelists of apps for users. IT then has a single point from which to manage the provisioning and decommissioning of apps and the implementation of security policies.
      However, most of the companies allow users to choose their own mobile apps, because users understand their own needs better than the IT function. Whichever approach is chosen, it is still hugely important to put security policies in place to protect corporate data.
      Mobile Apps are popular with business owners and their customers. With today's market going mobile, Apps help you keep pace:
      Benefits for Business – Apps:
      • Build relationships
      • Build loyalty
      • Reinforce your brand
      • Increase your visibility
      • Increase your accessibility
      • Solve the problem of getting stuck in spam folders
      • Increase sell-through
      • Increase exposure across mobile devices
      • Connect you with on-the-go consumers
      • Generate repeat business
      • Give you tools that are driving the "New App Economy"
      • Enhance your social networking strategies
      Symantec's 2012 State of Mobility survey has revealed an uptake of mobile applications within enterprises across the globe.
      Commissioned by Symantec, Applied Research spoke with 6,275 organisations in 43 countries from August to November in 2011.
      The survey highlighted an expansion of both adapting and customising mobile software for business purposes across the board -- 71 percent of enterprises stating that there were at least current discussions concerning the ways in which custom mobile applications could assist their business, including the idea of custom 'stores' for employees to download authorised and corporation-related applications.
      In terms of an improvement in business practices and increased efficiency levels, according to the survey, 73 percent of small and large corporations alike have enjoyed a positive result through the adoption of mobile technology.
      What’s New in Mobiles apps market?
      As the smartphone market grows, so too do the apps you can use on them, uses of mobile app technology to get you up to speed with your handheld device and its potential.
      Following are the trending Mobile Apps top opportunities that are already taking hold of the mobile app market or that we expect to take off in the near future.
      Mobile Health
      In the recent days Mobile apps are changing the way healthcare industry do business, permeating every step of the health and core aspect of their operations.
      Nine percent of all cell owners have apps on their phones that help them track or manage their health.
      "I was surprised to see that almost one in ten cell phone users have a health app. I thought it would be lower,” said Susannah Fox, Associate Director of Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and author of the report, 85 percent of American adults who use a mobile phone today 17 percent have used their phone to look up health or medical information. The percentage goes up to 15 percent for mobile phone users aged 18 to 29-years-old. Only 8 percent of mobile phone users aged 30 to 49-years-old and 11percent of aged people use health apps.
      Urban cell phone owners are also more likely than those who live in suburban or rural areas to have a mobile healthapp on their phone.
      Many consumers also have health-related apps on their smartphones to get nutrition information, count calories, calculate body mass index and learn new exercises, the survey found.

      Localized Deal Updates
      The explosion of location-based technology was revolutionary in the app world. Now we’re using that location information to deliver personalized and relevant updates and alerts. The number of apps and services that support hyper-local experiences is on the small side, but this is an area that is ripe for growth.
      Location-based services like Loopt, Foursquare and Gowalla are all investigating ways to let users know not just when their friends are nearby, but what offers are available in their areas.
      Mobile Travel
      Mobile technology has revolutionized the travel industry: Countless travel apps have popped up, promising to enhance your experience in foreign lands. There are lots of useful travel mobile apps helps users to book the flights and also allows passengers to virtually "check in" into airports using foursquare. Customers may also share their experiences through other social networks.
      Half of the airlines have already implemented mobile services for flight search and check-in with close to half also providing boarding passes, ticket purchase and flight status notifications.
      The latest Airline IT Trends Survey reveals that a whopping 93% of airlines have mobile services for passengers as a top investment priority over the next three years, with 58% investing in major programmes. It predicts that information technology and communications (IT&T) spend as a proportion of revenue is expected to stay stable, at around 1.65% in 2012.
      While only half the respondents, made up of more than 50% of the world's top 100 airlines, expect IT spend in 2013 to increase in absolute terms.

      Social Media
      Mobile social networking is social networking where individuals with similar interests converse and connect with one another through their mobile phone and/or tablet. Mobile Social Apps that can connect you to twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Flickr together where you can post status updates, share photos, videos, likes, retweets. For instance, the photo sharing apps that support the widest range of share targets tend to be more popular. Even apps like Path — which by design are meant to be private — have learned that it is essential to allow users to post their data to other networks, like Facebook.
      Mobile Commerce
      The world is increasingly becoming mobile. The technology creators of today are creating goods for the mobile consumer. The concept of social commerce can be taken literally, as in making a purchase directly through a social media property. Far more important is the degree to which content shared through social media is influencing purchasing decisions, which is happening on a massive scale. 33 million consumers shop with a mobile phone according to research firm Experian Simmons. 24% of U.S. adult online iPhone users and 21% of Android users have used a shopping application in the past three months. (Source: Forrester, 2011)
      The ways of communicating with your customers is changing and businesses need to adapt to these changes in order to stay ahead of their competitors.

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