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Monday, January 10, 2011

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Pyxis Mobile's T.L. Neff

TL Neff
T.L. Neff, is an EVP at Pyxis Mobile in charge of customer services.  We met last year when we both spoke at the same conference.  T.L. lives in the Boston area and is an expert in mobility.  Last week we were able to schedule some time together for an interview.

Note:  These are not T.L.'s exact words, rather my notes from our interview.

Kevin: What mobile device(s) do you use and carry?
TL: BlackBerry Torch, iPhone 4, iPad and laptop.

Kevin: What are your favorite mobile applications?
TL: Mobile CRM from Pyxis, Movela Netflix Queue Manager (a Pyxis app), TagIn (GPS tracking - our kids use it a lot to tell us where they are  located), FaceBook (I use it for both family and business.  Some customers respond faster on FaceBook than on email) and Skype Mobile.

Kevin: What industries do you see adopting mobility today?
TL: Everybody is implementing now.  Even personal friends tell me their companies are looking at mobility. 

Kevin: Where are you seeing sales opportunities?
TL:  A lot of our big sales opportunities come from analyst referrals.  Oracle World was also great for us.  We also did well at the BlackBerry Developer conference.  Both Oracle World and the BlackBerry Developer conference used our solutions for their mobile conference app which gave us a lot of exposure. 
B2C Mobile App

Kevin: What business processes are you seeing companies mobilize?
TL: We deployed our first mobile applications in 2002.  Back then they were sales force automation.  Now, customers are coming to us with needs in their marketing departments.  Some start with internal projects, and now have advanced to consumer facing apps.  Interactive marketing teams are calling us today. Customers have asked for mobile HR apps.  People buy from Pyxis because they need multiple apps and want to use our development platform.  They buy servers from us, but we don't have a per user fee.  When companies want a lot of mobile users, our model is perfect for them.  We are getting a lot of interest from medical and pharmaceutical firms.  There is a lot of interest in tablets today.  However, developers must realize that iPads are shared devices and security is an issue.  By shared I mean they are often used by many people so security across users is an issue.

Kevin: What are some of the most surprising developments for you in enterprise mobility over the past year?
TL: How quickly enterprises adopted iPads.  I thought companies would like them, but I thought it would take years for them to be adopted in significant numbers.  Also, we sold a lot of solutions to SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises).  SME start-ups can't imagine having solutions without mobile apps.  Many of these SMEs start a website at the same time as a mobile app.

Kevin: What advice do you have for companies just starting down a path to enterprise mobility?
TL:  Think bigger.  Mobility is not a nice to have, or a fad.  It is here to stay.  It will be here for the rest of your career.  It is now a core component of your IT environment.

Kevin:  How important is MDM (mobile device management) and security?
TL: It is critical.  When personal and business mobile devices are mixed, they must be managed.  Pyxis chooses to secure the mobile applications, not the device.

Kevin: Where does your company fit in the mobile enterprise solutions mix?
TL: We have a mobile development and production platform.  Customers buy servers from Pyxis when they want to deploy more than one mobile application.  We have companies that want to deploy dozens of different mobile applications on our platform.  We provide our customers with a mobile SDK.  It is a visual application development environment called Application Studio. 

Mobility requires flexibility, fast change, rapid evolution of devices and apps.  We enable you to rapidly develop, edit, and grow apps.  Some of our customers release new versions of mobile apps monthly.  We allow for these rapid changes.  Most of our competitors require huge development projects to change apps.  We take pride in developing mobile applications in eight hours.

Kevin: What industries are you focusing on in 2011?
TL: That is a hard question since we have customers in all kinds of different industries.  Probably the best way to describe it is we target Fortune 2,500 and OEM partners.  Our partners purchase a development license and build mobile applications for their customers.

Kevin: Where do you see mobility going in 2011?
TL: Mobility is growing so broad.  Companies will be looking not for one mobile application, but for platforms that can support ten different ones.  Companies are looking to mobilize everything.

Kevin: Tell me about your business model.
TL:  We are a mobile platform company with servers and a mobile SDK.  We don't sell by the number of mobile users.  We sell by the number of servers a customer needs.  The number of servers is dependent on the kind of mobile applications they want.

I want to thank T.L. for sharing his thoughts and experiences with us.

To read more in the Mobile Expert Interview Series click here.

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Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, 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.

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