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Never Again Offline?! Experiences in the Outstanding Role of Data in a Large-Scale Mobile App Ecosystem

April 2015 Presentation
Matthias Naab (Fraunhofer IESE), Ralf Carbon (John Deere), Susanne Braun (Fraunhofer IESE)

This presentation shares experiences from an innovation project of John Deere and Fraunhofer IESE to develop a mobile app ecosystem with its own cloud backend.


Software Engineering Institute



Data is key in information systems. Nevertheless, explicit design of data is often neglected in architecture design because of the focus on components, decisions, or technology selection. We want to change this and put data in the center of the story.

We will share our experiences from an innovation and development project of John Deere and Fraunhofer IESE. We developed a mobile app ecosystem with several apps and its own cloud backend. During the course of the project, we learned that we had to pay more and more attention to the role of data due to its impact on the quality attributes performance, scalability, user experience, and security.

Our entertaining story starts with data on a single mobile device that spreads over multiple apps, users, devices, companies, tenants in our cloud backend, even data exchanged with agricultural machines. We report on security aspects, multi-tenancy, offline capability and synchronization, internationalization, and the different treatment of master data, job planning data, and high-frequency near-real-time data for the localization of vehicles in the field. All this is presented with a strong focus on data, elaborating step by step the challenges and our decisions in the system design.

Our audience will learn about many recurring architectural challenges and solution patterns around data in mobile app ecosystems, they will learn how recent patterns like Command Query Responsibility Segregation (CQRS) and many others helped us, and they will learn how technologically innovative today’s farming practices are.