Friday, October 15, 2010

Who is Paying for Mobile Applications Today?

I had the opportunity this week to spend time with the IT management team of a large consumer products company.  I learned a great deal about how large companies approach new and potentially disruptive technologies like enterprise mobility. 

I was intrigued that, at times, outdated reseller channels can prevent large manufacturers from making good strategic IT decisions.  As we all know, mobility and the mobile web can give customers information directly from manufacturers.  There is no barrier to this important information.  The customers may also want to purchase more product from the manufacturer.  This can cause immediate channel conflict. 

What does the manufacturer do?  Do they avoid the mobile web or embrace it?  If they embrace it, do they need to include the additional IT burden of trying to determine a way to route sales or commissions back to their retail partners?  Very interesting!

Another scenario:  The manufacturer has service technicians and a service dispatch service.  The best time for a manufacturer to sell new and upgraded products to a customer is when the trusted service technician is standing with a customer in their kitchen.  However, if the service technician sells product, it makes the retail partner upset that the manufacture is selling more product to their customer.

All of these issues were discussed this week.  None of these challenges to enterprise mobility and mobile retailing applications were about technology.  The discussions were primarily about how mobile technology would impact the status quo.

Another interesting trend I am seeing now days is that many of the mobile projects are being funded by marketing.  The projects are not looking for productivity and efficiency gains, but rather increased sales, customer loyalty and customer interaction.

I have had many discussions with Smartsoft Mobile Solutions about these kinds of issues in the past.  They have a strong focus on SAP and mobile retailing and help their clients think through these issues weekly.

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.