Sunday, March 07, 2010

SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 4

I have been involved in managing enterprise mobility projects for many years and have noticed some trends. The largest number of mobility projects within a company are not large enterprise wide projects but smaller departmental and business process specific projects. These often involve only 25-100 users. I have also been involved in projects with 500-3,000 mobile users as well, but there are far less of these. The small size and specific requirements of these smaller mobility projects cause many SAP mobility partners serious challenges.

Small mobility projects are often very important to a specific department. The success of the department can be dependent upon the implementation of a mobile application that helps them do more with less. The department manager will be very keen to find a mobile application that meets their specific requirements. They often have completely unique requirements that are hard for a mobile software vendor to develop and then leverage with other clients. They also have smaller budgets. As a result mobility projects for 25 users are often custom development projects and can cost the same amount to develop as a mobile application development project for 3,000 users. Examples of these types of mobility projects are:

  • Scaffold inspections
  • Disaster recovery missions
  • Bridge construction inspection project for a large engineering firm
  • Food processing inspection for a large CPG company
  • Hospital equipment sterilization and maintenance inspections
  • Hazardous waste inspection for a large engineering firm
  • Tire inspections on thousands of trucks and trailers for a large transportation firm
  • Weld inspection applications for a giant iron works company
  • Dairy farm and calf inspection
  • New car inspections after shipping

If the mobile application development project costs $500,000 USD to develop and deliver, then it only takes $167 per mobile user in savings and cost efficiencies to achieve a positive ROI if you have 3,000 mobile users, but $20,000 per mobile application user in cost savings and efficiencies if you have only 25 mobile application users. This makes it difficult for many MEAP and mobile application vendors to deliver a good ROI for small customized projects. Most mobile application or MEAP vendors focus on the $500,000 and higher projects. That leaves most enterprise mobility projects with limited options in the SAP ecosystem.

This is a challenge for mobile application vendors and the companies that require smaller customized mobility projects, but it is a big opportunity for mobile application and MEAP vendors that can figure out how to deliver these smaller customized projects cost effectively.

Some of SAP's mobility partners have solutions primarily designed to mobilize their own business applications, not custom SAP user requirements. It is the hundreds of smaller business processes that often fall between the cracks and cause the biggest challenges.

Sky Technologies is one of the Certified SAP mobility partners that provides a MEAP (mobile enterprise application platform) that can address the customized and often smaller business processes and mobility requirements easier than others. ClickSoftware is also vying for this role.

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

**Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility expert and Web 2.0 market expert and as such I work with, and have worked with, many of the companies mentioned in my articles.