This is Part 3 of my interview with Willie Jow, vice president of mobility product marketing with Sybase.
Kevin: I have had SIs (systems integrators) calling me this week asking if I know where they can find experienced SUP (Sybase Unwired Platform) developers that they can add to their practice. It appears there is a big and growing demand. What are you going to do to help train, support and certify developers on SUP?
Willie: We have a phased approach. Within Sybase we have been training systems integrators for many years. We have already trained a number of SAP systems integrators on how to customize mobile CRM by using SUP. Our immediate focus is on training internal SAP folks on our solutions. We have been very busy for the past 90 days and have had great reception and results. This same training will soon be available to our systems integrators. We have a lot of plans underway for training.
Kevin: A few weeks ago I asked Vishal (SAP Board Member) what his advice was to companies and systems integrators that need a mobile strategy today. He said the "clean" answer is to get trained on SUP and use that as the platform for all mobile applications. My question to you is if that was the "clean" answer, what is the "dirty" answer?
Willie: I wouldn’t say it is a dirty answer, but a broader answer. We need to first understand the customer's requirements before giving a specific recommendation. Do they want just an online mobile application, or both an application that is both online and offline? There are certain instances when you cannot give a good answer without understanding the application. There is a broad spectrum of mobile applications and possible development models. Perhaps a simple messaging application is all the customer needs. You wouldn't want to force your customers to buy iPhones when a simple phone and messaging system will do. Many applications like mobile commerce or mobile banking can even use simple messaging. This is the most used around the world.
Kevin: I see the two biggest challenges today in the enterprise mobility market as, 1) confusion in the market (companies don’t know where or how to start mobilizing), and 2) SAP/Sybase ramping up fast enough to support demand.
Willie: Yes, both are critical. I have been working on these challenges for the past two years. I want us and our partners to unclutter mobility for CIOs. I want us and our ecosystem partners to share the same message about mobility and mobile strategies, then CIOs will be less confused with mixed messages.
Kevin: Is standardizing the message one of the reasons that all the various components of mobility are being gathered into one mobile business unit?
Willie: That is important. The ecosystem is asking all of these questions. We need to simplify our own tools and capabilities, so customers don’t have to install and support multiple servers. First we need to simplify our own house, so the ecosystem can use it and the message is simple.
Kevin: My last question. A few weeks ago I interviewed Sam Lakkundi, a colleague of yours at Sybase. I asked him what he thought was the biggest asset SAP got from the Sybase acquisition. What is your answer to that question?
Willie: What did he (Sam) say?
Kevin: He answered, Afaria (Sybase's mobile device management solution). He said ultimately Afaria may be the most important asset.
Willie: Interesting! I would guess he was trying to make a point. People have highlighted many of our solutions as being the most valuable, but they have often overlooked Afaria. I agree that mobile device security is always the starting point of any conversation about enterprise mobility. We tell all CIOs that they need to ensure that all devices and applications are secure as a starting point. Device security is the foundation of mobility. Everything we do is based on having a secure infrastructure.
I want to thank Willie for taking the time to update us all on these developments!
Mobile Expert Interview Series: Sybase's Willie Jow, Part 1
Mobile Expert Interview Series: Sybase's Willie Jow, Part 2
Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, SAP Top Contributor, Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst
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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.