Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Flexible Mobile Solutions - The Great Debate

When I was managing an enterprise mobility company a few years back, nearly all of my customers wanted the flexibility to customize their own mobile applications and develop new ones from scratch using our MEAP (mobile enterprise application platform) and SDK (software development kit).  The reality, though, was different.  Our customers seldom wanted to take the time to learn how to develop enterprise quality mobile applications.  They just called us and used our professional services to customize or develop new applications.

Here is the dilemma for mobility vendors:  Do they develop mobile solutions flexible enough, and with SDKs simple enough, for their customers to build their own solutions, or do they lock down templates and mobile applications with only limited configuration and customization capabilities? 

That is the source of the great debate in enterprise mobility.  How flexible should a mobile solution vendor make their solutions?  Flexibility often equals big investments.  Here is how Syclo (an SAP Co-Innovation Partner) addresses this issue, "With large enterprise clients comprising the majority of our customer base, Syclo has to build extreme flexibility into our technology and our project methodologies."

From my experience working with over 300 enterprise mobility clients, customers all want flexibility and the ability to customize and develop their own solutions.  Often the flexibility of a particular mobile solution is the reason it is chosen.  The challenge for the enterprise mobility vendor, however, is determining how much investment into flexibility is justified when they know it will almost never be used.

***************************************************
Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, SAP Top Contributor, Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst
Phone +1 208-991-4410
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join SAP Enterprise Mobility on Linkedin:
http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=2823585&trk=anet_ug_grppro

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.