Customer Feedback on mPharma

Friday, January 15, 2010 , Posted by Johnny Fuery at 9:43 AM

Originally Published 2004-04-08 03:21:35

mPharma pros:

+ (most emphatically and repeatedly conveyed) platform independence. They have an old PDA app operating in Italy that they cannot continue using because their PDAs are dying and the app doesn't work on PPC 2003. They won't have that problem with us. He even mentioned that he liked having Palm as an option, even given my disclaimer that I couldn't guarantee good performance of our custom code on Palm. (he asked how long it would take to clean it up, I said I didn't know, but that the other pros he mentioned -- outlined below -- would still of course apply. I guesstimated a few weeks. I don't think they're planning on supporting palm in their corp IT anyway)

+ Performance. "Your on device performance is PHENOMENAL." He went on to point out that the device performance was better than the laptop, noting things like searching, sorting, and page transitions. Several of the users said this in passing as well, even given some of the speed bumps we encountered (which centered around sync times because the siebel guys forgot to tell us they were doing a data backup in the middle of the day during a demo/training session -- Argh)

+ Flexibility. This centered around ease of deployment and the quick turnaround on changes, so some of this is because Tony and I rock . Still, the automated updates of new code on the fly was absolutely key here. For the past two weeks, we've lived (however informal the process) extreme programming -- dev/deploy/qa/demo/train nearly simultaneously -- all against a moving server (siebel) system undergoing the same treatment. It hurt a lot, but it wouldn't have been possible at all without our flexible platform.

mPharma cons:

+ Lack of internationalisation. He actually was ambivalent about this one, because we're so flexible. We were doing language translations on the fly, literally, as we went -- switch windows, search for "less", change to "menos", etc. He pointed out that in Siebel's mobile solution, the language widgets are all centralized, allowing a single translator to change everything en masse once. We, on the other had, require multiple instances of the app to handle this. This was a double edged sword for the client, however, because the de-centralized approach combined with our flexibility means that each country can has the ability to customize the ui. He didn't even mention the limitation on internal AG client english alerts. In short, Siebel manages internationalisation better, but our flexibility pretty much negates that advantage. Combined with the other pros, this was a footnote.

+ Our salespeople shouldn't quote 64mb as a minimum PPC memory requirement. Or, if they do, note, with emphasis, that they can't run ANYTHING ELSE with that amount of memory. Sounds fair.

+ He mentioned that he didn't like the AvantGo interface. I wanted to probe him more on this, but we were busy at the time and it just never came up again. Not sure if he meant mPharma or AG client.

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