Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday at SAP's TechEd 2010 - Enterprise Mobility

Wednesday was another long and interesting day at TechEd.  It started with a 7:00 a.m. breakfast with SAP's Premier Customer Network (largest worldwide customers) where Sybase's Sam Lakkundi and Senthil Krishnapillai briefed the attendees on the Sybase Unwired Platform.

For the first time, I saw a product roadmap slide in the presentation from Sybase.  Sybase has always been hesitant to share the product roadmap in the past.  I am not sure why.  SAP likes to say that 70 percent of the world's GNP runs through SAP systems.  With those numbers, it seems they have some responsibility to ensure reliable roadmaps are defined and published so the rest of their partner ecosystem and customer base can plan and design accordingly.  Sybase - thank you for showing us that roadmap slide!  Now if I can only get my hands on it.

I used my Flip digital video camera to interview Puneet Suppal, SAP PCN, Dr. Ahmend El Adl of PWC and Sam Lakkundi on issues related to SAP enterprise mobility.

I interviewed SAP's CIO, Oliver Bussmann on SAP Live TV yesterday on what SAP is doing internally to mobilize their workforce. 
I led another session on SAP enterprise mobility in the Expert Networking Lounge, and followed with a very interesting discussion with Smartsoft Mobile Solutions, a service partner of SAP, on the topic of business analytics and mobile retailing solutions.

SAP's TechEd is very good.  All three days are packed with sessions on SAP enterprise mobility, so this is a great place to get educated.

I do have some recommendations for SAP:
  1. Even though mobility can be very complex, complexity can make even decision makers indecisive.  I believe it would be useful to start offering recommendations, rather than just saying there are a million different ways mobile apps can be designed, developed, deployed and supported.  Just point us to some basic models, with the understanding there are many options.
  2. In all the sessions and discussions I participated in this week on enterprise mobility, the common theme seemed to be, "Where and how do I start?"  This is key to closing sales and starting POCs.  (WARNING - soapbox time - why do companies waste time and resources on POCs (proof of concepts) when they are doing simple projects that have been done thousands of times before and are in production with proven results?  Do they think their vacation request or stock ticker iPhone app controls a nuclear arsenal?)
  3. We need SAP/Sybase to publish basic diagrams and architectural models of how various mobile solutions can and should be implemented.  Pictures paint a thousand words.  I remember a few years back asking Sybase for advice on how to design a mobile application, and their answers were always the same - there are a million ways.  THANKS, that does not help.
I see the SAP mobility strategy coming together.  I see a lot of progress inside SAP.  Everyone in SAP seems to be focused on learning about and supporting mobility.  Let's bring it all together!

Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, SAP Top Contributor, Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst
Phone +1 208-991-4410
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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.