Have you ever really thought about where the true value is in enterprise mobility? Is it replacing paper documents with electronic forms and data? Is it replacing manual processes with automated? Is it receiving more accurate data from the field? Is it all about speed and efficiencies? What is it? I think the answer is YES. It is all of the above, but there is much more.
Mobile and real-time communications - Just think about how you text friends and family today. In seconds you can learn where your friends and family members are and what they are doing. This is a relatively new development for humanity. We are compressing time by receiving more information at a faster pace that allows us to act on the information quicker.
I read recently that people no longer are asking for detailed location information when meeting people. They simply say, "I will call or text you when I am close. We can figure out where to meet at that time." This is the result of instant and real time communications.
Decision making solutions - Our problem now is how to use the massive amount of information available to us. How do we consume and interpret this data so that it improves our business and our quality of life. Does getting news updates every five minutes on our mobile device really improve our lives? We need to make sure that we are consuming data in a form and frequency that is useful.
The oil rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico this year was providing vast amounts of real time system data leading up to the failure. In hindsight, the data was predicting failures in the system. The problem was that the data was not being interpreted fast enough to provide value to the team in the field on the rig. The data is there for historians and accident inspectors to review, but not in the form that people needed that day. Useful information would have notified the operations team of imminent system failure and instructed the operations team on how to stop it based upon the data.
Context aware applications - Are there questions that we need answered every day? Can enterprise and mobile solutions answer the questions in advance? Based upon your schedule, what tools will you need? What equipment will you need? What parts inventory will you need? How much gas will your truck require today? Should it be filled up before you leave the yard to save time? What should I be selling to the customer based upon their buying habits and the products they already own? Can your enterprise applications ask and answer these questions automatically? If so, that is VERY useful and a true value!
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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.