Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms, SAP and Marketing

Yesterday I was reading Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms. It was interesting to me that one of the points Gartner considers before including a MEAP vendor in their report is marketing. They consider the following:
  1. Success at marketing (I am guessing it is measured by sales?)
  2. Market awareness (name recognition within a target market)
  3. Marketing strategy (if Gartner is convinced you have a good strategy)
  4. Your ability to recruit a good partner ecosystem and support it through marketing
Think about it. You invest millions of dollars and tens of thousands of man/woman hours into your products, middleware, synchronization technologies, SAP integration methodologies, databases, device management dashboards, rapid application development environments and multi-channel support for dozens of mobile devices, but that is not enough. Gartner is going to evaluate your marketing before including you in their report.

Gartner understands what many smart engineers have not yet learned. A better mouse trap does not sell itself or pay the expenses - sales do. Unless a comprehensive marketing plan is designed, developed and successfully implemented you will not gain sufficient mind share and market share quick enough to remain viable in this fast changing market.

It almost seems like SAP is holding a marketing Olympics for their mobility partners. They have chosen to partner with a handful of companies like Sky Technologies, Syclo, Sybase, RIM and ClickSoftware. Many of these companies have overlapping mobility solutions, but SAP seems to want to invite their partners to compete on the marketing field and see which one comes out on top.

I enjoy a good game of strategy. Although, I can feel the pain that passionate software engineers must feel. They have dedicated their life to developing a progammer's MEAP masterpiece, but the winner is determined by the folks in the marketing department with the expense accounts and travel budgets.

Author Kevin Benedict
Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert

***Full Disclosure: I am a mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert and as such I work with, and have worked with, some of the companies mentioned in my articles.