In the last year more and more projects have been delivered where the source code was handed to the Client once the embedded application development was complete. Why is this request growing and how does it work?
Acorn Stairlifts approached 4 potential barcode system suppliers in 2009 to provide a complete inventory management solution for their global operations. With an in-house development team about 10 strong, primarily .net but lacking embedded application development, who have built their whole software system from the ground up, Acorn needed a solution to extend their system to knowing exactly what inventory they have where in the world.
Not wanting to buy an off-the-shelf solution as they have their own development team, but also not wanting to lose months learning how, they chose Peoplevox to develop the inventory management software to run their physical and mobile warehouses (vans). The only condition was that it must be finished in 3 weeks and the embedded application development source code must be handed over to Acorn for their further development.
Delivered a full solution including stock control software in just 3 weeks, versus what would have been 3-4 months. Written by experts from the field who have tripped on all the hurdles before when doing embedded application development in languages such as C# and the .net framework for Windows CE and Windows Mobile devices. Other benefits included Acorn receiving the well documented source code and having access to .net embedded application development experts to ask questions to as they developed it further, whilst Peoplevox supported the delivery of £100-£150K of handheld Motorola MC9090 devices and Zebra ZM400 printers.
A similar story was experienced with Phlex Global where Peoplevox were contracted in to do the embedded application development and handed the source code over. The difference here is that Phlex have limited IT resources, so they are handing all the source code back to Peoplevox to support after they completed a further 9 months of software development and integration. Their main driver for wanting the source was that this system made up 1 of the many systems needing to cooperate seamlessly and their processes are very unique which would take a long time to understand for those not working there every day.
Delivered in 3 weeks, rather than 3-4 months it would have take if they had had resource internally to do it. Plus they now have a partner in Peoplevox to jointly do embedded application development and support the total system including all the Motorola MT2090 handhelds supplied.
The 3rd case is Christie's Fine Art Storage Services where Peoplevox have been contracted to do the embedded application development, the first of which was for inventory management software where they wanted access to the source for their global operations in New York and Singapore as well. This was a quick project that was completed in 2 weeks and then deployed as part of a complete system. This quick turnaround would not have been possible with existing IT resources due to time and the skill set being not suited to embedded application development on Windows Mobile and Windows CE devices. The second one was a further system evolvement integrating into a new host system and did not involve the source code being handed over.
All 3 Clients above received the source code of the inventory management software and PeopleVox installed and support the handheld mobile computers and barcode printers to make up the complete global solution roll out. Time and money saved every time.
We can see that more companies are seeking to outsource embedded application development for handheld enterprise mobile applications to speed up deployment without giving up the ownership. Very few companies offer this service as they survive from the upgrades and maintenance on their software. We suggest you have an option to buy the source code of the inventory management software if you decide you want to take control later and vice versa when you want to hand it back to your supplier and have them support the applications.
Author: Jonathan Bellwood