Mobile e-mail specialist Good is adding support to distribute other enterprise applications such as Oracle and Siebel to PDAs and smartphones. The company is also supporting toughened enterprise handhelds from Symbol.
"2004 was about Outlook. In 2005, we are shifting from personal productivity towards business productivity," says Sue Forbes, vice president of marketing at Good. "These devices are not just for senior executives, and are not just for messaging."
The new product, called GoodAccess, creates a secure VPN pipe to the back-end application. Good is supplying a third party application called Above All Studio, that uses web services to let IT departments create custom screens for these applications that fit the small devices, and display the required fields.
Rivals RIM already gives access to corporate applications for its BlackBerry enterprise server (read about the rivalry between Good and RIM, and about the choice between mobile platforms for applications delivery). Forbes believes that GoodAccess and Above All gives Good an edge.
"We went with Above All because they have the best capabilities for visual design," she said. "It's the Closest thing to a pure visual development environmenmt." The whole thing is highly customisable, she said, allowing broadcasts and scheduled content, as well as ad hoc queries to the applications.
The company is also adding support for Symbol's MC50, a toughened handheld intended for enterprise use. "It's for use by people like store managers in large retailers," said Forbes. "The key applications won't be e-mail, it will be inventory, order management, and a variety of custom apps that sit behind the firewall."
These managers will be able to scan barcodes and check inventory directly with a handheld device, using custom-designed screens to run queries of back-office applications.
Forbes says Good now has 4000 customers for the GoodLink email server (reviewed here).