Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Sky Technologies' Neil McHugh

I was having a discussion with some folks at SAP this week and they shared their impressions that Sky Technologies, an SAP mobility and EcoHub partner, has been winning a significant number of enterprise mobility deals around the world over the past few months.  I thought what better time to check up on Sky Technologies than now.  I called Neil McHugh, Sky Technologies VP of Sales and Marketing in Texas for an update, and he was kind enough to grant me an interview.

Kevin:  Neil, tell me what is new at Sky Technologies since we last met at Sapphire.

Neil:  In the first half of 2010 sales were slow as the economy was still an issue with large companies.  After Sapphire and SAP announced the acquisition of Sybase, we decided to rethink our strategic plans to really understand what is best for us as a company.  The results of our strategic realignment have been the following:

• The 2nd half of 2010 has been significantly stronger than the first half.

• Year to date, we are up 52 percent is sales.  Our fiscal year is July to June 30, 2011.

• Number of new customers are up 74 percent

Sky Cloud Solutions

• We have seen a massive increase in customer RFP’s, and we personally have been involved in 11 since July.  From the 11 that we have been involved in, nine customers have selected Sky Technologies as the vendor of choice and the other two have yet to make a decision.

• From a customer retention perspective we now have 84 percent of existing customers rolling out a second project, and 51 percent on a third project.

• Since August sales opportunities have increased by 140 percent.

• Sky also announced earlier this year that they now support integration to Oracle, Siebel, JD Edwards and non-SAP mobility projects now account for 24 percent of our new business.

• From a customer success perspective – we have had major wins in life sciences, specifically pharmaceutical clients in Asia, U.S. and Europe.  Consumer product companies and manufacturing have all shown significant growth.

• Staffing is up 30 percent year and we intend to recruit all through 2011 to meet the increasing demand.

• We have moved our U.S. headquarters to Silicon Valley to be closer to partners and west coast customers. Also from a time zone issue, the West Coast is better placed for business with our colleagues in our Melbourne offices.

• Sky launched an in-cloud option for customers that we are excited about and will have our first two customers deployed by year-end.

• We have delivered a mobility-as-a-service solution.

Kevin:  Tell me more about your mobility-as-a-service solution.

Neil:  In an uncertain economy, companies are nervous about making large IT investments in new technologies.  As a result we developed a mobility-as-a-service solution for our customers:
  • Does not require a large initial investment.
  • Requires no additional specialized skill for deployment or support.
  • No application development needed.
  • Can pay by subscription per device
Kevin:  Congratulations on your 2010 successes!  It takes guts and decisiveness to recognize change is needed and then successfully make it.  Who are you finding yourself competing with most often in the market these days?

Neil:  We have been competing often with Syclo as of late.

Kevin:  What trends are you seeing in the market now?

Neil:  Enterprises are becoming more open to supporting a personal liable device.  Often the employees have more power in their personal smartphones than is found in the company issued devices.  This makes a Sky Mobile solution more attractive because we make it easy to build a mobile application once and support many different devices.

Kevin:  Does Sky Technologies have an exit strategy, and if so, what is it?

Neil:  We believe our success in the enterprise mobility market will ultimately attract large players in the IT ecosystem.  These might be large software companies, systems integrators, hardware manufacturers or other large players in the IT community.

I want to thank Neil for sharing this update!

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.