SoftScience Group, Inc.

Multi-Paradigm Integrated Solutions

White Papers

Multi-Paradigm Integrated Solutions

The right paradigm for the right job

By David Neal
President, SoftScience Group, Inc.

Computer technologies have exploded into multiple paradigms over the past couple of decades. These discrete paradigms – centralized data servers operating on larger hardware systems and networks, desktop software applications, browser-based web delivered content, and now the melding of mobile communications with computers in what are essentially small hand held computer devices – each paradigm brings particular strengths (and weaknesses) to the modern corporate information systems platform framework.

Backoffice - Desktop - Mobile - Web

Software system designs from the SoftScience Group can seamlessly incorporate naturalized back-office enterprise database layers with desktop software applications for core operations, linked to mobile apps for field operations, and a strong web presence for customer interaction.

(Credit ‐ illustration by SoftScience Web Media)

A modern enterprise information infrastructure often includes backoffice database systems, desktop applications, web presences, and mobile apps. The SoftScience Group has been providing software solutions that leverage the strengths of each type of computing platform to provide holistic multi-paradigm information systems where appropriate to the business objectives of an organization.

Not many software development organizations have expertise across these multiple paradigms. As a result, the business potential for truly integrated, yet appropriately distributed separation of tasks across the different specialized platform channels has not often been optimally achieved. Picking the right paradigm for the right job should be a pressing modern software engineering challenge.

Backoffice - Desktop - Mobile - Web

Software system designs from the SoftScience Group can seamlessly incorporate naturalized back-office enterprise database layers with desktop software applications for core operations, linked to mobile apps for field operations, and a strong web presence for customer interaction.

(Credit ‐ illustration by SoftScience Web Media)

SoftScience Group, Inc. brings a holistic engineered approach to enterprise information needs in order to provide an appropriate mix of conventional software solutions in conjunction with web-based and mobile technologies. Software system designs from the SoftScience Group can seamlessly incorporate naturalized back-office enterprise database layers with desktop software applications for core operations, linked to mobile apps for field operations, and a strong web presence for customer interaction.

A robust enterprise information strategy typically requires a combination of software paradigms. Conventional back-office integrated database systems typically drive software available at the desktop together with web-based and now mobile applications. The best architectures use a naturalized integrated data layer to maximize the reuse of an enterprise's declarative knowledge. Desktop applications do the heavy lifting for routine internal business computing and an effective web and mobile presence is essential for interacting with the external world.

...

The personal mobile device paradigm

Backoffice - Desktop - Mobile - Web

One of the key areas of opportunity for businesses to better leverage is the proper use of mobile technologies. Mobile platforms have thus far mostly been used as receivers of content, for marketing engagement with customers, or for providing entertainment content. SSG believes that the specific device strengths of modern smartphones – geolocation awareness, high quality built-in cameras, good quality sound capture/recording, and their small device size also are potentially powerful productivity strengths for some types of active business data acquisition. The advent of other wearable devices will add to the available mobile platform mix in the near future.

The employees of a business enterprise that are performing job tasks away from an office computer could easily be gathering business data as they perform their duties if the barriers to data collection were reduced by the proper application of mobile device technologies. By creating specialized apps for team members to use that turn a smartphone or other mobile device into an unobtrusive remote data capture device, a business can efficiently extend the boundaries of it's internal information systems out into its field locations.

One example of this concept is to use the devices to capture real time work progress data for a variety of core business operational activities. For construction workers performing project tasks at different job locations, a smart phone app could enable the business to collect – in near real-time – extremely valuable operational information about the project.

A company smart phone – which can be easily accessible to a construction worker – can deploy a software app that combines the camera feature with bar code scanning software modules to provide a powerful data collection tool for materials tracking. Combine the time and location data-aware features of the device, and the app then also has powerful materials use and inventory management capabilities. Such an app can also function as a valuable work-task time completion data recorder as well.

Backoffice - Desktop - Mobile - Web

At the time of pickup/delivery of project materials, the app can be used by a company worker to scan in the bar codes and quantities of the materials purchased/delivered. The data can be immediately transmitted to the company's central backoffice database layer and then be used to generate records of the purchase transaction, update the materials inventory for type, quantity, and current location, and associate the material on hand to the particular project. Now various departmental management desktop applications will immediately have use of the remote smartphone generated information. Financial and accounting will know that the purchase and materials custody transfer transactions have occurred. The operations and logistics people will know what material is located where and the project managers will know whether or not they have the right material on hand to complete the sequence of tasks immediately ahead.

Backoffice - Desktop - Mobile - Web

During the actual completion of the work tasks, a construction worker could easily use the same smart phone app to collect materials use data by scanning materials items as they are used/consumed during the completion of the task. This data transmitted back will provide real-time project management information as the actual materials use can be compared to the construction materials estimate for the project. The elapsed time between material items being installed also yields valuable management information about the labor productivity, project task completion schedule, and other important feedback data. By comparing this previously uncollectable data against project estimators' initial project estimates, the company can improve future estimates and bids, can identify problems with under-performing team members and can give management the earliest warnings that particular projects are not going according to plan, so adjustments can be made sooner rather than later.

Backoffice - Desktop - Mobile - Web

The same smart phone app can be used to take image data of the project completion at various points in the process. Such visual records can be used in real time to help manage the project, keep the customer informed through distribution via a web portal, and provide a record for future use if questions about the suitability and quality of the work is ever needed.

...

The laptop and desktop computers are still the business workhorses

Backoffice - Desktop - Mobile - Web

Beginning in the mid 1980s, a revolution in the operating systems available for micro computers (as they were called) ushered in the era of desktop computing. The introduction of a graphical user interface (GUI) for micro computers made the power of business software available to the common business worker.

Prior to this revolutionary shift, computer use required special knowledge in order to make the computer hardware execute software code. After the Macintosh OS and Windows OS platforms abstracted away most of the arcane knowledge previously required to simply run computer programs on the mainframe and mini-computers available at the time, non-technical employees were able to utilize the power of the new desktop computers in the daily performance of their duties.

During the more than three decades since computing moved to the desktop, a huge body of software applications have been written for virtually every industry and business function. This wealth of proven code means that the desktop paradigm will likely remain the workhorse for business information processing for the near and medium term future. However, the desktop workhorse is increasingly offloading part of its workload to the mobile and web-based computing paradigms.

...

Backoffice servers are where an enterprise's knowledge lives

Backoffice - Desktop - Mobile - Web

Backoffice servers – whether they are physical machines or cloud-based virtual machines – are where an enterprise's declarative knowledge is stored and made available for further use. Whether enterprise data is stored in bulk non-normalized form unlocked through search algorithms, or stored in a naturalized data layer pre-structured for business task utilization, database design and implementation with all its integrity and security concerns, is the heart of an enterprise's knowledge base.

With more than 20 years of information modeling and naturalized database design, SoftScience Group's information architects have produced reusable database designs that can be rapidly deployed for enterprise level data layer implementations. Automatic generation of database schemas can produce a new database layer that can be further customized to extend its functionality to meet the unique needs of a business enterprise. Such a mass-customized data layer captures the informational elements of a company's business practices that make that business unique and successful. Rather than trying to fit a round informational peg into a square hole, SSG's naturalized approach allows a business to fit its unique oval peg into a perfectly matched oval hole.

For example, an off-the-shelf customer relationship management solution may handle most general customer relationship functions well, but if a business is in a complex vertical market, the customer data that needs to be tracked may be more detailed and specialized than that which can be handled by the information fields generally provided by the off-the-shelf software. With a naturalized data layer, the data model can be easily extended to encompass the specialized needs.

Along with reusable data layer designs, user interfaces have been designed for many business tasks. These UI designs combined with libraries of business logic can used to rapidly deploy powerful applications quickly using a variety of implementation platforms. Specialized data loading routines can be written/used to rapidly populate the new data layer from existing data sources.

...

The web browser is a universal information window on the world.

Backoffice - Desktop - Mobile - Web

With the increasing sophistication of web browsers' ability to render more complex information displays, and with the maturation of web scripting languages into full fledged programming environments, many of the business applications that used to exist only on the desktop platforms can now be built as web applications. The wealth of business database design, application interface design, and business problem solution logic that SoftScience Group has developed over the past 25 years is available for translation to the web-served application space.

Web applications are much more amenable to deployment under a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, enabling a software vendor to provide software to business customers with a lower up-front cost while providing a steady long-term stream of income to the software provider.

SoftScience Group is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the new software paradigms offered by the web's increasing sophistication because of the combination of multi-paradigm knowledge held by key personnel. Most traditional software engineers do not have significant knowledge of the panoply of web platform technologies that must be woven together to produce powerful web software applications.

Similarly, since the web paradigm has developed primarily from the need to display information in a largely unidirectional way in order to support the Business to Consumer (B2C) relationship, most web developers do not possess the depth of business application development knowledge or problem domain knowledge required to design, build and deploy industrial strength business software applications. Most web developers have had a primary focus on effectively serving interesting and (hopefully) engaging content to a target set of users that the organization wished to reach for marketing purposes or for optimal engagement with advertising-laden entertainment and informational content.

Use of the web browser as a platform for serious business productivity purposes is an emerging opportunity that is partly unrealized because the technical skill sets related to web-based presentation technologies and the skill sets needed to produce computationally sophisticated business software are not often found within the experience base of many software development professionals or firms.

...

Very few firms have software development teams with extensive expertise across these multiple computing paradigms. Most are unable to deliver the kind of comprehensive multi-paradigm information solutions that would be optimal in the diverse computing platform environment that is so rapidly evolving. SoftScience Group is available to provide those teams for comprehensive multi-paradigm software development efforts.

GET IN TOUCH!