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-by Matthieu Laurenceau, Technical Marketing, ESM R&D

 

My biggest frustration: Applications not allowing easy access with my favorite browser.

Some applications (or features) do not support usual browsers or require some heavy download, making the experience unpleasant or painful.

 

Supporting your preferred Browser

A lot of my friends are Firefox fans, but they sometimes are forced to use IE since some applications (or web sites) only support this browser from Microsoft. I spend most of my time using Chrome, but also have to use IE from time to time for some specific capabilities where vendors locked me down.

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Changing browser creates various issues for the user:

  • Unfamiliar with the capabilities
  • Need to maintain security settings (certificates, etc.) twice
  • Cookies become useless
  • Credentials (login and/or passwords) have to be saved again
  • Several Places to maintain Favorites

 

Most companies use Internet Explorer, so why is this an issue ?

Well, IE cannot fit for all:
  • What should Unix/Linux/MacOS users do ?
  • There are always some individuals (like me or my friends) who prefer non-IE browsers for various (good or bad) reasons (personal choices, not required by Management)
  • Some government organizations have made opensource browsers choices

 

From a branding point of view, not pleasing users of non-IE browsers can be very dangerous: most of the Linux/MacOS users (for example) are very active on Twitter and other Social Media sites, so they will have nasty words about the Vendor brand, and the market will know about it.

 

Full-web or not ?

Most Vendors claim they are full-web.
But some Applications are not lightweight, and may still use Java Applets. These vendors obviously try to hide it, but this creates a lot of very costly implementation issues (project delays or even failures):
  • A JRE has to be used, quite often creating conflicts on the client (the JRE version for one feature not being compatible with the JRE version required by another app/feature)
  • A Java Applet performs really poorly over the WAN or a 3G network, making it eventually useless (and customers have to deploy Citrix or other costly solutions)

 

These issues often appear on key features, like CMDB, and have to be watched really carefully by customers.

The question that customers should ask is not "Are you full-web ?" (all vendors will say Yes) but "What features require a local client or a Java Applet or any other plug-in download ?"

 

 

BMC Cares about End-User Experience

BMC has always had a broad and shared platform support for it's Service Management Solutions (for browsers, and also OS, database or Web/JSP Server).
The BMC Atrium platform technology (AR System) supports a lot of browsers (and versions), for example IE6+, FF 2.0+, or Safari 3.0+, and never requires a Java Applet on the browser. It only uses lightweight web technologies, like on most Web 2.0 sites (we sometimes use Flash, like YouTube does )

 

I use several BMC-powered solutions all day long, hosted all over the world (so across the WAN for me), and have great experience using Chrome 3.0 (that works very well even if not supported yet). Co-workers using IE, FF or Safari have a great time also.

 

Customers can enjoy this browser-proof and WAN-proof experience for a lot of BSM products, for example:
  • Self-Service for all employees (SRM)
  • Service Desk, Change & Release Management, Asset Management
  • Atrium CMDB, Atrium Integration Engine, SLM
  • And more!

 

By sharing the platform, we make End-User and Administrator experience far more seamless. It also helps our applications to evolve faster than competition since each application focuses on its specific processes/features, not on web technology or database or user management details (read more on Low M&O Costs).

 

Take-aways

Using a browser is a no-brainer in a Web 2.0 World.

Supporting several browsers (and versions) is key to make all User Communities happy.

Always using lightweight technologies is the best way to achieve great and consistent end-user experience.

Customers need to ask the rights questions to avoid hazardous choices.

 

Matt

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.