Friday, September 10, 2010

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Smartsoft Mobile Solutions' CEO Dan Homrich, Part 2

This is part 2 of an interview that I did with Smartsoft Mobile Solutions' CEO Dan Homrich.  You can read part 1 here.

Kevin:  What are some of the most interesting mobile applications that you have seen recently?

Dan:  I have seen some very interesting mobile business intelligence applications that give the user very specific information based upon their GPS coordinates.  Where are my customers relative to my location? I love mobile applications that provide just the information I need, when I need it, Mobile Business Intelligence applications with dashboards that show exactly what the user needs.  I have also seen iPhone applications that utilize barcodes to do things that only industrial grade handheld computers could do in the past.  I am a big fan of mobile applications that take the mobile user's perspective, rather than an office out perspective.

Kevin:  What are some of the most unusual mobile applications you have seen?

Dan:  A construction level and measuring stick mobile application.  In the mobile applications I love category, I would add the Pandora music application and the CNBC real time application.

Kevin:  When is a consumer grade mobile application sufficient for a mobile worker, and when is a ruggedized or industrial grade mobile device needed?

Dan:  It is the working environment that determines it.  How much money does the company have available to invest in devices?  How much water and dust are in the working environment?  What is the working environment temperature?  What is the drop rating requirement?  What are the expectations of the users?  What does the user believe they need?  Do you need a high volume scanning device that has large batteries that can last all day?  All of these issues must be considered.

Kevin:  What is the most complex enterprise mobility application that you have seen?

Dan:  I have seen a DSD (direct store delivery) mobile application with 350 different screens.  It was used in an offline mode by 4,835 delivery people.  Since there was not a real time connection to SAP, it required a complete mobile version of the SAP pricing module.  Yikes!

Kevin:  What are some of the biggest challenges you see in enterprise mobility today?

Dan:  The need to make internet connectivity truely ubiquitous.  Educating the market and demystifying mobility.  Helping customers develop a mobile strategy.

Kevin:  What strategies do you see the big ERP vendors taking toward mobility?

Dan:  They are taking a self-serving view of mobility.  They are not taking into consideration that many companies have multiple ERPs and business applications.  ERP vendors are concerned only with mobilizing themselves, not their customers' enterprise.

Kevin:  What is missing from most MEAPs (mobile enterprise application platforms) today?

Dan:  Missing today is a good understanding of the differences between the world of smartphones and the world of industrial mobile handheld computers. (SLAP MY FOREHEAD - I should have asked a follow-up question.  Obviously, I am no Larry King.)

Kevin:  Where does Smartsoft Mobile Solutions fit into the enterprise mobility ecosystem?

Dan:  Smartsoft Mobile Solutions has a very strong focus on supporting business to consumer (B2C) mobile applications.  We look for opportunities to provide very fast ROIs.  Often mobile micro-applications (light weight mobile applications) can provide big value quickly and be used by large numbers of people.  Companies are wanting to stay in close touch with their partners and with their customer base with mobile applications.

Kevin:  What can we expect to see from Smartsoft Mobile Solutions over the next few Quarters?

Dan:  A big focus on helping our customers communicate better with their customer bases.

I want to thank Dan for sharing his thoughts and insights with all of us!

Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, SAP Top Contributor, Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst
Phone +1 208-991-4410
twitter @krbenedict
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Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant, mobility analyst, writer and Web 2.0 marketing professional. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.