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Art of BI: Endeca Mobile behind the scenes – an initial look

Christian Screen | | May 26, 2012

Clearly, after Oracle‘s purchase of Endeca there has been plenty of buzz around its integration with Oracle Business Intelligence specifically around Endeca Information Discovery (previous Endeca Latitude).  There have been lots of questions also, such as : Will these Endeca components integrate directly into Oracle BI Presentation Services? Is the best practice to push data from the Endeca Server into Oracle BI (via RPD) or from Oracle BI into Endeca?

Image representing Endeca as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Those are a few questions that I’ll work on answering here in the upcoming month’s blog posts but for now as I am sifting through some real-work use cases, and development scenarios, I’ve taken pause to look at the mobile integration of Endeca – in general.  As you may have seen, the new Oracle BI 11g mobile iOS release is just around the corner and it looks like a complete rewrite from the last version released with Oracle BI  This rewrite looks a lot more competitive against the Microstratgy, YellowFin BI, and mobile BI offerings.

As you already know, the Endeca suite was originally focused on the E-commerce search solution market with “Guided Search” and several of their software products revolved around that vertical until they decided to jump into the BI market.  Ultimately, the e-commerce intelligence IP Endeca created should line up perfectly with Oracle’s prior acquisition of ATG and the BI IP with Oracle BI. Out of their development efforts also came some mobile and social capabilities which aren’t getting a lot of air play as much as the other aspects, E-commerce and BI, even though they are somewhat related.  The mobile aspects that the Endeca software platform provides are enterprise level and extremely innovatively integrated into the product suite.

One of the interesting things that I am noticing about their mobile solution is that with the purchased mobile software offering you actually get the entire iOS mobile application project.  For those familiar with native iOS programming this means that the download for Endeca mobile contains the XCode project files along with all Objective-C source code (header and implementation files).  This is great for those organizations (or persons) that have the capacity to focus on this level of development to customize the Endeca mobile offering at its core leveraging the IP as a basis but it also brings in a great level of complexity for which a Systems Integrator is a perfect fit.  Although, the Endeca mobile solution is not currently set up to integrate with Endeca Information Discovery it is setup to integrate with the other Business to Consumer (B2C) related software offerings such Guided Search, Endeca Social, and Endeca Commerce Business Intelligence.

Endeca Mobile also comes with a powerful mobile template builder, Endeca Experience Manager,which is basically a designer tool which allows for the creation of consistent looks for B2C mobile interaction across the major mobile device operation systems such as iOS (iphone/ipad) and Android and Blackberry. What I like about the Endeca mobile platform is that they’ve done several things very well from a development perspective.  The mobile platform includes and API, and mobile web application, and a mobile web designer.  The interface into other parts of the Endeca experience are tightly integrated, are mainly open standards (Java, etc.) based and relatively straightforward to deploy from an infrastructure perspective – design and development per use case as with most enterprise systems is what will take the most considerable time.

Lastly, I believe that one really nice thing that Endeca mobile brings to the table is a leap forward for mobile deployment in the enterprise.  Although the Endeca mobile server appears to provide a means to give users a mobile experience using the mobile client’s web browser regardless of mobile device, the iOS source code provides the means for many developers/SI’s to begin looking deeper into enterprise deployment of native mobile applications. That is to say that for small deployments where only users inside of an organization may need to use a iOS app and not have it placed on the Apple App Store, there is a completely different methodology and process for accomplishing this technique. There are several approaches to managing this process but I believe this will be one scenario that will arise for those seeking to implement Endeca mobile at some larger organizations.

This is just a first look at Endeca’s more ancillary offerings, the next I aim to post about is Endeca Social which is mainly an integration for the B2C side with Facebook.


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