In my last post, we talked about the top 5 critical factors to design for while deploying an enterprise wide real-time visibility system strategy with RFID.
In this post, I will address what a ‘packaged’ application really means and the ‘Top 5’ characteristics to look for while choosing a packaged vendor
A number of vendors on the market have announced "packaged" applications. Here are some ways to read through the marketing literature to understand the real level of packaging:
1) Simple out of the box installation: Is there a binary installable offering (like a Microsoft installer or setup file). Can the customer IT organization use this to create a deployment instance, or does it need professional services even to just install and get it configured?
2) Clear demarcation between "product" and customization, at the binary level: A large number of "packaged" offerings involve starting from source code and changing it. This is an unsupportable recipe – For fixes and enhancements to be really applied, and breaking changes to be identified and fixed, binary base product is a pre-requisite.
3) Deep leverage of standard development tools: (1) and (2) are possible with completely integrated offerings from proprietary solution vendors, but if customization involves learning a new language, toolset, debuggers, or development methodology, the cost of enhancements will be prohibitive and non-scalable.
4) ‘Centralizable’, remote administration: Even in RFID deployments of scale with multiple support centers, the RFID expertise tends to be concentrated in small numbers of experienced IT departments. They need to be able to get to all the deployed instances and manage them effectively. This has to be self-service oriented, where administrators can completely administer all aspects of their application, including finding devices and antennas that are not working, replacing and adding new devices, configuring user administration, and delegating these capabilities in a self-service manner.
5) Rich out of the box functionality: Yes customization is inevitable for the following layers of the overall deployment:
- Reporting, and
- Human workflow,
…since each organization will want to view the RFID solution in the context of their overall enterprise architecture.
But minimizing the customization to just these areas, without violating tenets (1-4) means the rest of the application, particularly as it pertains to RFID and device specifics, have to be clearly separable and outside the realm of the customization – Typically this means significant out of the box functionality at the RFID level.
Hopefully, this gives you insight into what to look for in a truly packaged application to solve your needs for a real-time visibility system, and you found this useful and valuable.
Looking forward to discussing and demo’ing capabilities of real-time visibility systems from S3Edge that demonstrate #1 through #5 above for your asset tracking needs in discrete manufacturing and warehouse operations! Stay tuned for the next post (and this will be a good customer scenario / ROI focused post! :))