ClickAppStore Bundles Hundreds of Biz Apps Into One Portal

— May 13, 2011

ClickSoftware Technologies Ltd., a provider of automated workforce management and optimization solutions for the service sector, announced that it is bringing the app store concept to the broader world of business applications for enterprise mobility.
 
The patent-pending ClickAppStore includes hundreds of ready-to-use mobile business apps, and a unique integrated development environment (IDE) in which IT professionals can assemble business apps into end-user solutions using primarily no-coding "drag and drop" wizards. ClickAppStore also offers tools to build user interfaces that are effectively device agnostic and enable its applications to run on just about any tablet or smartphone.

Aimed at system integrators, IT departments, ERP/CRM companies and product developers of vertical industry solutions to mobilize back-office products, ClickAppStore also includes access to consulting, training, and outsourcing services.
  
“In different forms, ClickAppStore has been in use internally for over two years to deploy mobile workforce management solutions for some of the most demanding clients around the globe, including Sempra Energy, Vivint, ETSA Utilities, Portugal Telecom, YES, Questar Gas, Skanska, OnStream and more,” says Dr. Moshe BenBassat, ClickSoftware’s chairman and CEO. “Thousands of end-users are already using our ClickMobile family of products which includes ClickAppStore’s apps, and thousands are in the process of deployment using a wide variety of devices including iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry Torch, Android smartphones, Windows Mobile devices, Panasonic ToughBooks, Windows-based tablets, Ultra-mobile PCs, and more.

"The launch of the ClickAppStore is a natural extension of the growing number of system integrators and clients’ IT staff that have joined our own teams in using ClickAppStore tools to adapt, configure, or extend the ‘out-of-the-box’ functionality of our own mobility products," he adds.
 
ClickSoftware is currently working with select clients and partners to access and use the ClickAppStore for key projects. It will be opened up to a broader population of mobile business application enterprise developers later in 2011. The open environment will ultimately become a central forum for IT professionals to access future ClickAppStore innovations and third-party developed applications. To register your interest in joining the ClickAppStore, please email clickappstore@clicksoftware.com.
 
In the business world, end users cannot simply download an application and start using it right away--because while a mobile business application runs on a mobile device, it is rarely self-sufficient to stand alone and provide value. In the vast majority of the cases, it is part of the overall enterprise IT environment and shares data, business objects, and workflows with back-office systems, as well as other mobile applications and users in different business roles, and needs to be integrated with them. Therefore the structure and processes of consumer-focused app stores as we know them today are inadequate for business mobility.
 
“Leveraging years of experience of developing and deploying enterprise applications for mobile workforce management, we architected ClickAppStore as a ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) store that offers in one place all that is needed: modular units (the apps), and workbenches and tools to configure, modify, assemble, test and package an end-user solution," says BenBassat.

"And if you need some training or consulting, expert staff are there to help. Furthermore, ClickAppStore also offers outsourcing services for all or part of the process,” says BenBassat. A typical example for outsourcing services would be scalability and quality assurance testing that requires unique knowledge, experience, and methodology as well as special hardware, software and test data generation tools.
 
Key Elements of ClickAppStore
 
ClickAppStore addresses the unique needs of developers of mobile business solutions for enterprises and consists of five key elements:
-          Apps Repository: A substantial and growing collection of functional and technical mobile apps which can be used either independently or in tandem with other apps to provide an end-to-end workflow for mobile business users.
-          Starter Kits: A special collection of apps which are full working solutions for specific industries or business roles, to considerably reduce the time-to-market, cost of ownership, and level of technical skills required. Starter Kits are highly adaptable to create the best fit with the mobile user’s role, requirements and business need.
-          Mobility Studio: A visual integrated development environment (IDE) for assembling and modifying the behaviour of apps primarily through drag-and-drop and configuration wizards.
-          Advisory Services: Professional and experienced assistance in the form of training, guidance, templates, and best practices for developing and deploying mobile solutions.
-          Outsourcing Services: Active participation by experienced mobile implementers in performing mobile application development and deployment, including back office system connectivity.
 
ClickApps and Examples

Most of the apps were originally developed for the needs of the service sector; many are more broadly applicable to other industries and uses. Sample categories of Apps include: Work Orders, Mobile Workers, Time and Attendance, Maps & Location Awareness, Asset Management, Scheduling, Parts execution, and Dashboards. Hundreds of ClickApps are already in use today, such as:   

The UpSell App extends the typical capabilities of a mobile worker to enable the selling of new services and upgrades while in a customer’s home or business (currently in use for a satellite repair technician). As ingredients in this app, the developer assembles several more atomic apps including: “Signature Capture App” and “Remote Activate App” to activate a new service just purchased from the worker’s own mobile device, giving the consumer instant gratification.
 
The TimeSheet App enables a mobile worker to report timesheet-related data which is automatically routed to back-office systems and close the loop with payroll. As an example of the power of ClickApp Store's application composition, much of the timesheet data is collected automatically as the mobile worker interacts with tasks. The TimeSheet App also supports a manager review and approval part.
 
Both apps require extensive communication and work-sharing with back-office systems. These are pre-integrated and included in the infrastructure of ClickAppStore.
 
Starter Kits and Examples

Two Starter Kits currently offered in ClickAppStore include:
 
The ClickMobile Starter Kit for industries with field service and asset management workforces, covering most functionality required by individuals and crews – deployment requiring only configuration of existing functions.

The Minimal (Base-Line) Starter Kit for developers of mobile business applications in other dissimilar industries, who prefer to start from only the “bare bones” – all that is absolutely necessary for a mobile business solution to be “minimally functional.”

Each Starter Kit is pre-integrated with all of the required “plumbing” for connectivity, back-office integration, server-side and its databases, as well as basic elements of the user interface (UI).  Sybase’s Mobile Platform (SMP) is one option for pre-integration including SQL Ultralite for device database, Mobilink for synchronization, SUP for back office integration, and Afaria for device management and file transfer. For server-side database the options include SQLServer, Oracle, and SQL Anywhere. Online and offline modes of working are fully supported, allowing users to work in areas with no reception, with automatic synchronization as connectivity is re-established.  

ClickAppStore also offer apps to facilitate the usage of the mobile device features inside business applications; such as the built-in camera, barcode and credit card reader.

“Utilizing ClickAppStore to develop and deploy business applications for the enterprise, companies will shorten time to market, reduce the level of technical skill required, and lower the cost of ownership due to the ease of adapting new functionality and new devices. ClickAppStore is the first ‘DIY’ store for developing and deploying mobile business solutions by IT staff with minimal technical skills,” concluded Dr. BenBassat.
 
For more information about ClickAppStore, please email clickappstore@clicksoftware.com .

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