Thursday, March 11, 2010

SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 6

Would you use Linkedin if you had to make a phone call and ask each person individually if they were using Linkedin before connecting to them? What if you had to manually program each connection yourself according to the mobile operating system and version each friend or contact was using? What if the programming was different for every mobile device? What if you had to re-program the connection every time a friend changed smartphones or upgraded their OS? The system would quickly cease to be a benefit and start being a big burden wouldn't it?

The value of Linkedin is that it automates and standardizes most processes and connection related issues. Everyone connects in standardized ways and uses pre-built processes to manage all of their connections, security, settings, etc. It is easy to view all of your contacts and manage these contacts from one screen. Enterprise mobility and the support of mobile devices needs these same kinds of concepts in place.

Enterprise mobility, like most IT systems, need standards that include defined methodologies and processes in order to manage it effectively and efficiently. If your company or client has hundreds or thousands of smartphones, handheld computers or other mobile devices using mobile applications, thick and thin clients, MEAPs and micro-applications, there is an absolute requirement for mobile device management. If they don't, it will be a big challenge now that will only get bigger.

In the same way that the IT department needs to record and manage all desktops, laptops and servers and the software licenses and security on each, they will need to do the same for mobile devices that are used outside the four walls of the enterprise.

How is it done today? Many companies allow their employees to select their own smartphones and expense them each month. The company has no visibility to the specific mobile devices, operating system versions or downloaded mobile micro applications until they receive a request to connect it to the ERP or other back office applications. At that point it becomes an SAP challenge.

Is this a challenge that should be addressed in SAP, or is this a challenge that SAP's mobility partners like Sybase, Sky Technologies, Syclo or ClickSoftware should address outside of SAP? There are experts that specialize on mobile device management like B2M Solutions. They focus on the complete mobile project life cycle and provide management tools for each component of this life cycle.

IT asset management, the IT help desk, IT support, IT security, etc., must all embrace mobile devices and enterprise mobility and quickly set-up their internal systems and processes to support them.

On the subject of IT help desk, this is my favorite funny YouTube video on help desks.

I would like to hear your thoughts on how your company or your customers manage mobile devices.

Related Articles:

SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 1
SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 2
SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 3
SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 4
SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 5

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

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