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The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Psion Software is syncing fast, in fact not just fast, but transparently and with consummate ease.

Without doubt one of the biggest challenges of using sophisticated applications on a small device is usability. Many vendors would claim their products are intuitive, but when you have a dozen differently intuitive tools you use on a regular basis, life isn't simple enough.

There are many technologies employed to try to reduce the effort the user has to put in - predictive text, voice input, smart menu layout - but the most obvious way is often ignored. Just don't make the user have to do anything at all.

Hide the complexity - automate the process

This is the approach taken by Psion Software with their announcement at Symbian's Exposium03 of Transcend mail. It's a software solution for email, contacts and calendar management that's been designed for mass rollout to all types of employees across an enterprise.

Essentially it exploits an always-on connection via a GPRS network to keep the corporate PC desktop and mobile phone in sync, without the user having to explicitly perform a synchronisation. Psion Software have also made the fallibility of the network connection invisible. If you loose signal, or even roam from one provider to another, mid use, the software picks up when and where it can without requiring user intervention, and keeps the data in sync.

Psion Software believes cost and complexity has kept mobile email as the preserve of senior management. That's only partly true. The other community of users are those early adopters who put up with the cost and pain and are willing to struggle either on their own or with the hidden support cost of techie colleagues.

Psion software's approach with Transcend mail both makes the system simple so that all types of user can use it, but also reduces the support overhead and cost to the enterprise. That's those hidden informal costs as well as the more measurable ones. It could even mean that the continuously updated smartphone eliminates the need for carrying another mobile device, and so removes that potential headache for the enterprise IT manager.

Today, the system works with only with Microsoft Exchange and Symbian OS devices, so that could be a limitation for some enterprises with other email systems, and an existing user base of other platforms. However too many alternatives would just load complexity back into the idea. So Psion's approach is to target the highest volume platforms and email systems in the market, and build from there. If they can keep it simple as they broaden the reach, this could be a very painless way for many enterprises to deploy mobile email.

The concept of user initiated syncing could sink without trace. © IT-Analysis.com

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