Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Sky Technologies' Neil McHugh, Part 2

Read Part 1 of this interview.
Read Part 3 of this interview.

Kevin:  What are some of the biggest challenges you see in mobility today?
Neil:  For customers, so many solution options which provide many alternatives but also lots of confusion.  Mobility is critical to a customer’s competitive strategy to ensure efficiencies continually improve and operational costs are reduced.  With so many options, customer may fall for the marketing hype promoted by some of these vendors which harms the credibility of the mobile technology market.  So our challenge, as a mobile solution provider, is to educate customers in technology and ensure they follow a logical evaluation process that will eliminate vaporware vendors and provide them with a solution that works and meets their business requirements.

Kevin:  How are enterprise mobility implementations different from other typical IT projects?
Neil:  I think from an IT project viewpoint there is far more emphasis and focus on the user experience and the interface.  In other non-mobility projects the primary objective was ensuring the solution worked and if it looked nice…that was great.  With mobility, it is all about the application.  How it looks, ease of use which is just as important in today’s world.

Kevin:  What do companies fail to plan for when implementing mobility?
Neil:  Customers sometimes fail to consider and plan for the rapid change in mobile devices.  How they are going to manage and support the increasing number of devices.  How will they implement changes across their entire company when either an application is updated, or the hardware operating system changes.  A good device management system should be considered during their planning stage.

Kevin:  Where can companies find the biggest ROIs when implementing enterprise mobility?
Neil:  There are so many situations where customers can experience significant ROI, but one of the simplest examples are those customers that implement Field Service applications.  Engineers can often be on the road for several weeks which means submitting invoice information back to the admin departments can be delayed which exerts unnecessary pressure on the cash flow.  By deploying mobile applications, engineers have access to customer information, part numbers and prices which enable them to write invoices on the spot.  They can virtually do anything while mobile that they can do in their office.  This solution has a direct impact on the bottom line and improves customer satisfaction dramatically.

Kevin:  What advice do you have for companies just starting down an enterprise mobility path?
Neil:  I would advocate that customers do their own research and not rely on the typical top SI’s or analysts for solution recommendations.  We always suggest that customers go through a complete RFP process and chose the top four vendors.  From there they should ask each vendor to do a POC on site within three days, provide three customer references.  The chosen solution should have the capability and flexibility to evolve and future changes should be easy to change by the customer’s IT staff.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this interview.

Whitepapers of Note

The Business Benefits of Mobile Adoption with SAP Systems
ClickSoftware Mobility Suite and Sybase Mobility Solution
Networked Field Services
Mobile, The Next Big Thing for Business

Webinars of Note

Implementing SAP Enterprise Mobility - 10 Lessons Learned
Barcode Scanning in Mobile Apps
Five Ways to Optimize the ROI of your Mobile Solution


Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst, SAP Mentor Volunteer
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.