Monday, February 22, 2010

Advice for Mobile Start-ups: Working with SAP, Part 5

Part 4 of this series may have demoralized some mobile start-ups hoping to work closely with SAP, but Part 5 in this series provides solutions to many of the challenges identified in Part 4. Let's now take a closer look at some of the comments I made in Part 4.

The SAP customer is simplifying their IT infrastructure to reduce complexity and no non-SAP technology will be added unless it is approved by 17 business and IT committees. Who has the time to fight this battle?

  • Embed your solution in SAP so it becomes a part of SAP and avoids these issues (Sky Technologies, a Certified SAP Partner embeds their mobile solutions in SAP)
  • Simply provide a mobile application or iPhone view of SAP's current applications (Mobile micro-apps)

The IT Managers only want to learn mobile technology that will add to their resume and help them get their next assignment. The cool mobile technology that they just witnessed does not have its own category on the IT recruiters' websites. They want NAME power on their resume.

  • Show IT managers how to extend their current SAP infrastructure and code to mobile applications. This will accomplish their purposes.
  • Show IT managers that your solution is from a Certified SAP Partner

The SAP system integrator does not support the mobile technology, so recommends some other mobile solution that they support and have trained experts on.

  • Go directly to the end user with your message and evangelize and educate them. Build support internally for the "best" mobile technology. Close the deal first, then motivate the system integrator to be trained on your mobile technology and play a role in the implementation.

The SAP sales team does not get quota credit on it, but they do on another mobile solution. If the sales person does not make their numbers they are fired, so they do not care which mobile technology is better if it does not help keep their job.

  • Find a way for your mobile technology to sell more SAP licenses and products. Perhaps the mobile workforce that is not currently using SAP licenses will need them if they are connected via mobile devices. This would encourage the SAP sales force to work with you to sell more SAP licenses. Think in terms of the SAP AE's interests as well as the customers.

SAP's Industry Principals and Solutions Managers also must be very selective as to the mobile technology they recommend. They would not want to recommend a product that was not on the SAP price list or Certified Partner list, unless there was no other viable choice or this product helped sell other SAP licenses that benefited the SAP sales team.

  • SAP has only identified a few mobile categories for partnerships; field service automation, route/delivery and mobile CRM. I can tell you from personal experience that hundreds of mobile applications are needed in most large enterprises. Mobile applications that deal with security, asset management, inspections, compliance, job estimating, fleet management, engineering, construction, logistics, etc. There are massive opportunities to mobilize these business processes.
  • Show the SAP user and the SAP sales team how you can help them.

SAP customers are often on 5 year plans. These plans include upgrades, roll-outs, add-ons, customization, old product sun setting, mergers and acquisitions, etc. What does this mean to the mobile entrepreneur? It means your product needs a 5 year road map that aligns with SAP and the SAP customer's. If it does not, you are unlikely to survive the first round.

  • Be the thought leader and explain where mobility is going to be in 5 years. Tell them why your solution is better aligned with the direction of mobility than any.

The biggest project and highest priority in the company is around route delivery improvement, and your project is mobile SAP CRM. The route delivery mobility vendor agrees to extend their mobile solution into mobile CRM and since it is a higher priority, you lose.

  • Understand the decision making process, organizational chart and budget limits within IT and the department you are targeting. Can you keep the project cost below the threshold that requires additional management approvals? Can you break down your project so that yearly costs keep it below the approval thresholds so you can simply focus on this one department until it is firmly established?

The CIO will never get invited to speak in front of thousands at Sapphire if they choose your solution. Your user conferences could be held at Denny's.

  • Become a Certified SAP partner and attend Sapphire yourself. Be a mobile solution provider in a different category than other larger mobility vendors. Be the mobile application provider for; food processors, engineers, bridge inspections, healthcare, quality assurance, sustainability, etc., and then expand your mobile offerings. That is exactly what all the other mobile partners of SAP are doing.

If you would like to discuss these strategies and/or my consulting practice please contact me.

Related Articles:

____________________________

Author Kevin Benedict
Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert

http://www.netcentric-strategies.com/

***Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert and as such I work with, and have worked with, many of the companies mentioned in my articles.


Advice for Mobile Start-Ups: Working with SAP, Part 4

SAP can be like a giant aircraft carrier moving powerfully across the ocean. It is huge and heavy and if you are a swimmer in the ocean trying to make it change directions to suite your purposes, good luck. A more successful approach is to understand the direction the ship is going and jump on board. Sign on, offer them a hand and help them get there. Perhaps as you gain their confidence they will let you into the wheelhouse where you can learn about their intended strategies and influence future directions.

Mobile software companies and their entrepreneurs often feel their mobile technology and strategy is better than all others. They often feel driven by a messianic mission to carry their mobile technology message to the world, and then scream in frustration when others don't seem to "get it." I understand. I have screamed.

Mobility entrepreneurs are often focused on their specific mobile technology. Many have engineering backgrounds and believe they have solved a significant problem. The challenge they often face is not understanding the business of their potential partners, resellers and target customers. Let me provide the following scenario to demonstrate my point:

There is a large conference room with a long table. There are 2 mobility entrepreneurs, 12 IT managers for a large SAP customer, 4 sales and pre-sales folks from SAP, and 3 representatives from a large system integrator with a focused SAP practice in attendance. The mobility entrepreneurs stand up and present the "world's best" enterprise mobility technology to the attendees. When they are done presenting, lots of questions are asked; the entrepreneurs cover them all and leave to catch their flight home expecting a PO on the fax machine when they arrive. The PO never arrives. Why?

Here are some possible reasons:

  1. The SAP customer has a $14 million problem, and the mobile technology presented will solve only $675,000 of that problem. They need a complete solution, not a partial.

  2. The $14 million problem requires a full range of systems integration, business process design and SAP customization to fix. They want to fix this problem with one overall integrated solution, not many small solutions linked together. Complexity can kill.

  3. The SAP customer has three preferred SAP systems integrators – none have a practice around this particular mobile technology.

  4. The SAP customer is simplifying their IT infrastructure to reduce complexity and no non-SAP technology will be added unless it is approved by 17 business and IT committees. Who has the time to fight this battle?

  5. The IT Managers only want to learn mobile technology that will add to their resume and help them get their next assignment. The cool mobile technology that they just witnessed does not have its own category on the IT recruiters' websites. They want NAME power on their resume.

  6. The SAP system integrator does not support the mobile technology, so recommends some other mobile solution that they support and have trained experts on.

  7. The SAP sales team does not get quota credit on it, but they do on another mobile solution. If the sales person does not make their numbers they are fired, so they do not care which mobile technology is better if it does not help keep their job.

  8. SAP's Industry Principals and Solutions Managers also must be very selective as to the mobile technology they recommend. They would not want to recommend a product that was not on the SAP price list or Certified Partner list, unless there was no other viable choice or this product helped sell other SAP licenses that benefited the SAP sales team. Their priorities would be:

    1. SAP solution

    2. SAP price list solution (could be a partner's solution on the price list)

    3. SAP Certified or Innovation Partner

    4. Only in desperate times would a non-partner be recommended and then only if it helped sell more SAP products

  9. SAP pre-sales teams learn about many different technologies, but if it does not help their Account Executive make his/her quarterly numbers, it is unlikely to be introduced to the customer. However, there is an exception; if the solution, combined with an SAP solution helps close more revenue for the SAP Account Executive, then you have a winner.

  10. SAP customers are often on 5 year plans. These plans include upgrades, roll-outs, add-ons, customization, old product sun setting, mergers and acquisitions, etc. What does this mean to the mobile entrepreneur? It means your product needs a 5 year road map that aligns with SAP and the SAP customer's. If it does not, you are unlikely to survive the first round.

  11. Large software companies like SAP often consider potential partners as possible acquisition targets. Issues like are you private or public, customer base size, intellectual property ownership, market presence, etc, play into these considerations. If two partners have similar technologies, the one that is a better future acquisition target may be chosen for strategic reasons.
  12. The SAP customer may have outsourced their IT to a large service provider with their own recommended mobile solution.
  13. The SAP customer may have a large server deal with IBM, and IBM agrees to throw in a software solution for free if the annual support contracts are renewed...it happened to me :-(
  14. The biggest project and highest priority in the company is around route delivery improvement, and your project is mobile SAP CRM. The route delivery mobility vendor agrees to extend their mobile solution into mobile CRM and since it is a higher priority, you lose.
  15. The CIO will never get invited to speak in front of thousands at Sapphire if they choose your solution.
  16. Your user conferences could be held at Denny's.

In summary, a mobile solution needs to be viewed favorably by the SAP customer, SAP sales team and the SAP system integrator. Not always all of them, but most of them. It needs to align with most of their strategic visions, personal interests and compensation structures. The frustrating part of this list for many mobility entrepreneurs is that none of it has to do with "best" mobile technology. These are primarily business issues that relate to alliances, partnerships, self-interests, marketing, strategic directions and business models.

Since we live in the real world, not all of the players' motivations will be clear or have the same level of priority. Sometimes new technologies appear that do not fit these molds, but once you understand these underlying motivations it becomes more clear.

If you are interested in discussing these issues in more detail and/or learning more about my consulting practice please contact me.

Watch for Part 5 in this series - it gives hope back to the Mobile Start-Ups. You can follow-me on Twitter (see right sidebar) and by RSS.

Related Articles:

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Author Kevin Benedict

Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert

http://www.netcentric-strategies.com/

***Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert and as such I work with, and have worked with, many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Mobile SAP CRM

In a recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan called, European Mobile Sales Force Automation (CRM/SFA) Markets, it is stated that mobile SFA is the largest application segment after wireless email, and this segment will grow close to 300% between now and 2013.

SAP seems to be making a big push in this area with mobile CRM partnerships with Sky Technologies (Certified SAP Partner, Certified SAP NetWeaver Partner) Sybase and RIM (Innovation Partners) in this area. What are the key areas covered by mobile CRM?

  • Activity management – Phone call, email, cold calls, what to do each day
  • Lead management – receive leads, contact, qualify
  • Opportunity Management – define, document and manage specific sales opportunities
  • Account Management – organizational charts, people, budgets, plans, needs
To me these are obvious needs for the mobile sales force. They work and travel in mobile environments so provide mobile tools that let them sell more product and make customers happier.

The future of mobile SAP CRM in my opinion is the combination of mobile SAP CRM and business intelligence. The ability to fully brief a traveling sales person on a customer’s account status, order history, shipments, credit status, financials, latest news and potential opportunities using text and audio files is very useful. Audio because many times a sales person is flying or driving and would benefit from having this information in audio format so they could listen to it.

In addition to the obvious account information, what additional kinds of mobile information do you think would be useful to integrate within a mobile SAP CRM?

For related articles please read:

Body Weight, Twitter, M2M and Mobile Applications

In the past I have written articles about M2M and mobile applications. These have been in the context of machines sending wireless data to other machines. I believe the value of these applications have not been fully realized, and am excited about seeing more of them. If readers of this blog have interesting M2M solutions please share them with me.

My wife sent me an article on one of the most interesting (read disturbing) examples of M2M. Seems there is a home scale, for $159, that is wirelessly enabled and sends Twitter messages with your weight to anyone following you. Let me ask by a show of hands how many of you want to see my daily weight tweeted to you? All of you with hands up will be deleted.

I have seen and heard numerous examples of great M2M use cases. An article I wrote yesterday discussed street parking sensors that automatically send messages to a mobile service that notifies subscribers of available parking spots. I have seen electrical utility companies install wireless monitors at remote substations. I have heard of mobile wireless sensors in green houses and chicken houses that monitor, report and adjust temperatures.

The ability to automatically collect data, wirelessly transmit the data and accept electronic instructions from a distant mobile supervisor is a very interesting concept. The military is using more and more of these sensors in their Network-Centric Warfare strategies. I wrote about this strategy in terms of field force automation in this article.

Please send me interesting use cases for M2M and I will the best examples here.

If any of you are tempted to automatically send me messages concerning your body weight, or other information of a VERY personal nature, please resist.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert

http://www.netcentric-strategies.com/
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
twitter: http://twitter.com/krbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/

***Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert and as such I work with, and have worked with, many of the companies mentioned in my articles.
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Street Parking and Mobile Data Solutions

I had several very interesting calls yesterday with various mobile industry dignitaries. We shared ideas, concepts and experiences around mobility. One of the mobile use cases that really stands out to me is the use of wireless parking sensors used in 25,000 on-street parking spots in San Francisco.

It seems the parking sensors can detect the presence of a vehicle. When no vehicle is in the parking spot, it can transmit an "availability" message to a central server that broadcasts the location to mobile devices of drivers. Drivers can simply open the application and view the location of all available on-street parking locations.

This use case for a mobile application is AWESOME! I applaud the imagination and creativity of the entrepreneurial team that put that together. A common pain point, that bright minds have addressed. I am inspired.

Another person I spoke to yesterday was in Kenya, Africa working at a large cement manufacturing plant. They have been implementing many new SAP processes to better track inbound materials from suppliers, and are now preparing to implement various delivery and scheduling applications using SAP partner Sky Technologies' SkyMobile application to extend business processes out to the mobile workforce.

This cement company estimates they have already saved over $1 million in materials tracking improvements, and now expect to add to their ROI by mobilizing more SAP business processes.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert

http://www.netcentric-strategies.com/
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
twitter: http://twitter.com/krbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/

***Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert and as such I work with, and have worked with, many of the companies mentioned in my articles.
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Friday, February 12, 2010

SAP Mobility – Is Change Coming?

I read a very interesting article in BusinessWeek (February 9, 2010 edition) today called "What SAP Needs After Apotheker" by Aaron Ricadela. Last week, as many of you know, Leo Apotheker was replaced as CEO of SAP by both Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe who were announced as Co-CEOs. In the article SAP mobility is raised again and again as an area where improvements are needed. Here is an excerpt, "In order to fix SAP, former North American sales boss McDermott and Snabe, head of product development, need to stock its pipeline with products that companies are more interested in buying… SAP must develop versions of its complicated software that can be delivered over the Internet and run on new classes of mobile computing devices."

In December of 2009, SAP unfolded their 5-year strategic plan that emphasized the following five points: on-demand computing, cloud architectures, flexible pricing, mobile and in-memory computing. This event was covered well by InformationWeek in an article called SAP Outlines 5-Year Enterprise Software Plan. I assume this 5 year plan announced in December was developed by Snabe and his team, so Apotheker's departure is unlikely to change this emphasis.

Don Bulmer, SAP VP of industry relations is also quoted at a recent Influencer Summit in Boston saying, "Sixty to seventy percent of the population has mobile devices… There are lots of opportunities for SAP." This seems to back repeated comments from SAP executives that they recognize the importance of mobility.

Here is another excerpt from BusinessWeek, "SAP needs to articulate to customers a clearer plan for delivering new technologies that can save money and make workers more productive, says Forrester analyst Hamerman." He goes on to add, "the company (SAP) must deliver more software over the Web and let users interact more capably with it through smartphones and tablets...Those are on the road map but they don't seem to be a priority...We haven't seen from them (SAP) a comprehensive technology strategy."

Hamerman does not seem to feel a listing in the 5 year enterprise software plan is sufficient. He wants to see a comprehensive technology strategy and a demonstration that mobility is a priority.

More from BusinessWeek, "Additional announcements of SAP software for cloud computing and mobile devices will come later this year, according to a person close to SAP. To get the message across, Plattner (Hasso Plattner, SAP co-founder) even plans to deliver his keynote address in Orlando with the help of an Apple iPad."

McDermott also tried to communicate that mobility was a SAP priority with the following announcement, "SAP plans to announce new online software under the Business By Design brand name for customer management, human resources, and procurement. Once it arrives in the second half of this year, customers will be able to run the software on their own servers, access it through the Web, and run portions of it on mobile devices."

In summary, SAP says mobility is one of the 5 key points in their strategic 5-Year Enterprise Software Plan. SAP's new Co-CEOs have reiterated that mobility is a high priority. Don Bulmer, SAP VP of industry relations agrees that there are lots of opportunities for SAP in mobility. Forrester analyst Hamerman says that it is not enough to say it, "Show me the money!" SAP Co-Founder Hasso Plattner says, "OK, watch me do a Sapphire power point on an iPad."

Here is another challenge – SAP has announced multiple reseller and co-innovation agreements with mobile solutions companies like Sky Technologies, RIM, Sybase, Syclo and ClickSoftware. So a customer looking for mobile solutions on SAP's EcoHub will find a plethora of mobile software solutions. In fact, mobile solutions for just about any need.

If I am looking for a good mobile enterprise application platform to work with SAP, I will find the following; Sybase for mobile Field Sales (except RIM users who can use RIM's mobile SAP CRM or Sky Technologies customers who can use their mobile version of SAP CRM?), Syclo for mobile field services, ClickSoftware for mobile route optimization, Sky Technologies for companies wanting to standardize on SAP embedded code? Is that clear to you? No, me neither.

Gartner analysts are suggesting that large enterprises should reduce the number of mobile application vendors. Read the following excerpt from Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms published December 16, 2009. "Enterprises are increasingly mixing solutions from multiple vendors, each with separate software stacks for data transport (which results in poor battery life). This also leads to conflicts with managing network connections on mobile devices, an inability to administer security and devices, complexities with testing, an increase in software defects, and higher service and support costs."

It will be very interesting to watch how SAP maneuvers the mobility landscape in 2010. Will SAP leave the task of bringing order out of chaos to third-party MEAP vendors, or will they?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Workforce Mobility and MEAPs

I had an interesting call with a company today that is involved in real workforce mobility. They have a solution called Total Employee Mobility. Here is a brief description from their website.

"Now more than ever, companies rely on the mobility of their employees to realize new opportunities and growth. Employee travel, relocation, international assignments, and virtual office work make business happen. However in most organizations, each component of workforce mobility is overseen by a different department, making it very difficult to manage−much less evaluate−the return on investment. This fragmented approach to employee mobility results in lost opportunities to reduce costs, gain efficiencies, and enhance employee satisfaction."

They help companies manage mobile workforces by managing the entire "mobility" component. Everything from corporate cars, mileage, expense reports to corporate aircraft and remote overseas offices. I never cease to be amazed at the fascinating niche market businesses out there.

At the end of my conversation I realized there was a lot I could learn from them. They have studied the costs factors associated with workforce mobility for over 70 years, long before iPhones, Android and turn-by-turn navigatin. Many of the items they consider had never occurred to me. Their advice to the IRS helps set the mileage reimbursement levels set by the IRS each year.

This mobility company's ROI is as follows, "By centralizing oversight of a company’s total employee mobility programs, both companies and their employees gain many advantages.

This company is now active in developing mobile and smartphone technologies to continue and enhance the value added services they provide their clients' mobile workforces.

I can't help but think of MEAPs (mobile enterprise application platforms) in the same way. Until all of your enterprise mobility applications are centrally managed through a standardized MEAP it is hard to provide effective oversight and reduce TCO (total cost of ownership).

A related article on MEAPs can be found here.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert

http://www.netcentric-strategies.com/
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
twitter: http://twitter.com/krbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/

***Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert and as such I work with, and have worked with, many of the companies mentioned in my articles.
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Movitas to Provide Mobile Marketing and Communication Services to TravelCom 2010


I know the folks at Movitas and they are developing some very interesting mobile solutions for location centric businesses such as hotels, resorts and conferences.

Collegeville, PA – February 10, 2010: Movitas, the leading mobile communication, marketing and commerce platform for the travel, conference and hospitality industry, has been selected to provide mobile marketing and mobile communication services for the U.S. Travel Association’s premier travel industry conference and trade show “TravelCom 2010” to be held March 9-11 at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, TX.

The TravelCom mobile platform, provided by Movitas, will provide information and offers during the show and allow attendees to interact with speakers and exhibitors in real-time, via any type of web-enabled mobile phone. The TravelCom mobile marketing and communications capabilities include an always up-to-date mobile website (featuring the show news of the day, session schedules, Fairmont Hotel floor plans, as well as speaker and exhibitor profiles), integrated social media to enable everyone to interact and experience the show via Twitter and Flickr feeds, and a text message system providing alerts, speaker updates and special offers.

As always, TravelCom covers the entire travel distribution and eCommerce food chain. However this year mobile media strategies are receiving more attention than ever before. For example, TravelCom will leverage mobile technology to allow attendees to influence session content during the show.

“With a stronger focus on online marketing, social media, mobile media and online commerce strategies, we decided not only to tell, but to show TravelCom attendees how mobile can become part of the travel industry’s business processes,” said Ben Isenberg, Chief Operating Officer at Vantage Strategy Consulting, producer of TravelCom. “Everyone involved in the show will get a first-hand look at the future of mobile business and Movitas’ approach to solving some of our industry’s challenges.”

About Movitas
Movitas is a leading mobile communication, marketing and commerce platform for location-centric businesses such as hotels, resorts and conferences. It provides a suite of solutions designed to drive revenue, improve the customer experience, manage mobile marketing campaigns, and deliver mobile business processes. Solutions include content management, messaging, commerce, logistics, workflow, and internet based administrative tools that can integrate into property management (PMS), central reservation (CRS) and point of sale (POS) systems. For more information visit: www.movitas.com. Also follow on Twitter at http://twitter.com/movitas.

About TravelCom
TravelCom is the only eCommerce conference designed by the travel industry for the travel industry. TravelCom elicits the most actionable, practical and current insights from the industry’s most senior thought leaders and speakers. Their expert knowledge offers insight and research into the entire travel distribution and eCommerce food chain; including distribution, strategy, marketing and technology tool sets. TravelCom is owned by the U.S. Travel Association and is being produced by Vantage Strategy. For more information visit www.travelcomexpo.org.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert

http://www.netcentric-strategies.com/
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
twitter: http://twitter.com/krbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/

***Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert and as such I work with, and have worked with, many of the companies mentioned in my articles.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms, SAP and Marketing

Yesterday I was reading Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms. It was interesting to me that one of the points Gartner considers before including a MEAP vendor in their report is marketing. They consider the following:
  1. Success at marketing (I am guessing it is measured by sales?)
  2. Market awareness (name recognition within a target market)
  3. Marketing strategy (if Gartner is convinced you have a good strategy)
  4. Your ability to recruit a good partner ecosystem and support it through marketing
Think about it. You invest millions of dollars and tens of thousands of man/woman hours into your products, middleware, synchronization technologies, SAP integration methodologies, databases, device management dashboards, rapid application development environments and multi-channel support for dozens of mobile devices, but that is not enough. Gartner is going to evaluate your marketing before including you in their report.

Gartner understands what many smart engineers have not yet learned. A better mouse trap does not sell itself or pay the expenses - sales do. Unless a comprehensive marketing plan is designed, developed and successfully implemented you will not gain sufficient mind share and market share quick enough to remain viable in this fast changing market.

It almost seems like SAP is holding a marketing Olympics for their mobility partners. They have chosen to partner with a handful of companies like Sky Technologies, Syclo, Sybase, RIM and ClickSoftware. Many of these companies have overlapping mobility solutions, but SAP seems to want to invite their partners to compete on the marketing field and see which one comes out on top.

I enjoy a good game of strategy. Although, I can feel the pain that passionate software engineers must feel. They have dedicated their life to developing a progammer's MEAP masterpiece, but the winner is determined by the folks in the marketing department with the expense accounts and travel budgets.


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Author Kevin Benedict
Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert

http://www.netcentric-strategies.com/
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
twitter: http://twitter.com/krbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/

***Full Disclosure: I am a mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert and as such I work with, and have worked with, some of the companies mentioned in my articles.
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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

AT&T FamilyMap App Treating Your Kids Like a Truck


AT&T has announced the release of their new application called AT&T FamilyMap App. It is a GPS vehicle tracking solution, except it is attached to your kids. Rather than mounting a GPS unit under the dashboard of your vehicle, it is inserted into your child's pocket or backpack.

Fleet managers (i.e. moms and dads) can logon to a website to see the locations of their kids, monitor their comings and goings and time spent at each location. In this article I describe why fleet managers use these applications, but I am not sure I want to attempt to describe why a parent would use it. I have my own kids that just might stumble across this article.

In this article I wrote several months ago, I provided a list of 39 reasons a business might want to invest in GPS fleet tracking. However, I need your help coming up with a list of similar reasons parents should invest in GPS kid tracking.

I look forward to your comments.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Consultant

http://www.netcentric-strategies.com/
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
twitter: http://twitter.com/krbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/

***Full Disclosure: I am a mobility and Web 2.0 marketing consultant and as such I work with, and have worked with, some of the companies mentioned in my articles.
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Monday, February 08, 2010

Mobile Strategy Seminar - Sky Technologies

I came across this announcement today and it is likely to be of interest to many of you. With more than 10 years of experience in Mobilizing SAP with customers in 60 countries.Sky Technologies have developed a mobile framework that manages all mobile applications within your existing SAP system

Join us on February 18th to learn how to design a mobile strategy that will support your business needs today and will evolve to support your business needs of tomorrow.

In this seminar, you will learn how to:

  • Define your own mobile strategy
  • Realize the benefits of adopting a mobile framework inside your SAP landscape
  • Understand the skills and resource required
  • Identify which applications to mobilze for optimum efficiency
  • Avoid solutions that provide partial mobile device support
  • Advantages of middleware-free solutions
Register Today to ensure you hear the latest information on SAP mobility solutions.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
twitter: http://twitter.com/krbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/

***Full Disclosure: I am a mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert and as such I work with, and have worked with, many of the companies mentioned in my blogs.
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Thursday, February 04, 2010

iPhones, Satellites, DVRs and Home Breakins


One month ago: We were half way across town driving to a friend's house to watch the Boise State football team take on TCU in the Fiesta Bowl when I remembered that I had not programmed our DVR to record the game for posterity. I reluctantly confessed this to my wife. She pondered which of our neighbors we could call to break into our house and schedule our DVR to record it. We ultimately decided to just buy the DVD of the game, since teaching our neighbors to breakin to our home did not seem prudent.

Today: I discovered that DirecTV has an iPhone application that enables you to access your DVR account and manage your recordings remotely! OK, I am not the first to discover this, it seems I am user 1,000,001.

It is very intriguing to me, that I can be sitting in Starbuck's while sending a programming request from my iPhone up into outer space where it hits a circling satellite and bounces back down to my satellite dish, travels on a cable from my roof to my living room and programs the DRV box. I started bouncing requests up and down like a basketball. My wife and daughter could not believe dad learned how to program the DVR.

Never again will we need to ask a neighbor to break into our home to program our DVR.

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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
twitter: http://twitter.com/krbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/

***Full Disclosure: I am a mobility and Web 2.0 marketing consultant and as such I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned here.
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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Advice for Mobile Start-Ups: Working with SAP, Part 3

Mobile micro-apps seem to be the hot topic now days at SAP. These are small mobile applications for iPhones, Android, Blackberry and Windows mobile. These applications can be limited and provide access to one part of one SAP application and business process, or expose an entire business process. For example, travel requests and expense report approvals can be part of a business process that is exposed in a mobile micro-apps.

In the case of an Expense Report approval, a manager can be alerted to an expense report that needs approved before it can be paid. The manager can access the report through the micro-app on his/her iPhone, review it and approve or reject it. There is not much to these applications, but they are novel today and will continue to evolve into more powerful mobile applications.

SAP has some big ambitions about adding mobile users to their systems. They are encouraging these kind of mobile micro-applications to extend functionality to more users. They would even like to see ways that consumers (i.e. the masses) could access appropriate and relevant business processes within SAP systems -think tracking shipments, ordering products, checking University schedules, interacting with financial services companies, etc, on mobile devices.

Here are a few of the challenges with mobile micro-applications that should be considered:
  • How do you manage mobile micro-apps in a large enterprise?
  • Since mobile micro-apps can be developed for just about any part of any SAP business process there could quickly be dozens or even hundreds of mobile micro-apps springing up.
  • Does the enterprise open the doors to supporting all popular mobile devices, or does the enterprise try to standardize so micro-apps can be easier for IT to manage?
  • Many mobile micro-app vendors are considering SaaS business models. This means mobile micro-app users could be expensing these costs, rather than running them through a formal budget process. Is that a problem? Who approves it?
  • What criteria is the IT department of a large enterprise going to use in order to select quality mobile micro-app vendors? By their nature mobile micro-apps can be developed by very small software development companies without a lot of experience or infrastructure.
  • Some vendors of mobile micro-apps provide application development environments that enable non-programmers to develop mobile micro-apps. This is very cool, but now you have the potential of business users importing and exporting data from SAP database systems. Some DBAs would have a problem with that.
  • I can see the scenario where an SAP user downloads and installs 5 different mobile micro-apps onto their device. If these micro-apps were from different vendors, there could be 5 different GUIs, different mobile middleware involved, different security systems, different integration methodologies, etc.

I love the idea of mobile micro-apps that provide the mobile workforce with access to appropriate SAP business processes for the purpose of working more efficiently. The point of this article is not to deter mobile micro-app vendors or enterprises from implementing them, but simply to suggest there are a few things that should be considered.

One strategy is to use a MEAP, mobile enterprise application platform. MEAPs provide a framework for managing many different mobile applications using a standardized methodology, using standardized development environments, standardized security, standardized synchronization methodologies, standardized integration processes and leveraging application code across multiple mobile devices. An example of a MEAP is Sky Technologies.

This article is part of a series entitled Advice for Mobile Start-Ups: Working with SAP. Part 1 and 2 of this series can be found at the links below:

Advice for Mobile Start-Ups: Working with SAP, Part 1

Advice for Mobile Start-Ups: Working with SAP, Part 2

Advice for Mobile Start-Ups: Working with SAP, Part 4
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Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Marketing Consultant
www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
twitter: http://twitter.com/krbenedict
http://kevinbenedict.ulitzer.com/
http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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