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Showing posts from January, 2010

The Quiet Mobility Company - Sybase

Last March SAP and Sybase (the quiet company) announced a co-innovation partnership to deliver mobility to iPhones , Blackberrys and Windows Mobile devices. Read this excerpt from a March 9, 2009 press release: "The two companies are co-innovating and collaborating to deliver the new SAP® Business Suite software for the first time to iPhone, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and other devices by integrating it with Sybase industry-leading mobile enterprise application platform." My question is where is Sybase ? Why are they so quiet? I see them making record profits and issuing an occasional press release, but where are the mobility evangelists? Gartner ranks them number 1 on their Magic Quadrant, but I see more publicity from 10 person start-ups than from iAnywhere or Sybase. Are they engaged in a skunk works project that will explode onto the mobility market in a gigantic marketing extravaganza like Apple? It seems they like to make these potentially interesting announceme

In Remembrance of the PDA

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How long has it been since you stopped using the term PDA ? It occurred to me the other day that the PDA has played an important part in my career and I should not let it pass away without a ceremony of some sort. The PDA has been replaced by iEverything and smartphones . However, it was an important gadget that paved the way for the mobile technology advances of today. It opened our minds to the possibilities of keeping on task, even with poor memories. It helped generations of soccer moms remember where each child was dropped off and when they needed to be recovered. It allowed us men to seem organized despite ourselves. PDAs started the concepts of software applications, music and photos in our pockets. PDAs kicked-off companies like Palm and motivated people like me to begin blogging. Let us be silent for 30 seconds in rememberance of the PDA. We can quietly bow our heads and reach down into our pockets and try to remember the last place we used our stylus before it disapp

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

There are several different categories of mobile applications that work with or integrate with SAP. Those that provide real-time mobile views of complete SAP applications Those that provide mobile queries and reports on SAP data Those that provide custom mobile forms for subsets of SAP business processes based upon roles and responsibilities Complete, disconnected mobile applications (like work orders) that synchronize with a field force automation solution (e.g. Sky Technologies , Sybase, Syclo , ClickSoftware , etc) on the backend where it is integrated with SAP Custom mobile applications for inspections, assessments, plant maintenance and other niche requirements that may be synchronized with custom databases that are integrated with SAP databases. It is important to understand which category or categories your solutions fit, and how this impacts your ability to leverage the SAP sales and marketing organizations to help grow your business. The different categories of mobile solu

New and Unique Mobile Applications and Business Processes

It seems like everybody can now build a mobile client. I remember when that was a very big deal. Now it is quickly becoming a commodity feature. The value of mobile applications is quickly shifting from the mobile client to the business process that is being mobilized. Last week I had the opportunity to talk with Chuck Sacco of Movitas . These guys focus on some very interesting and unique business processes in the hospitality markets. They want to help their hotel clients offer time sensitive "distressed inventory" to their guests via mobile devices. Chuck educated me on the meaning of distressed inventory . Distressed inventory describes open time slots for services. For example, a spa may have open time slots on their schedule. These open time slots are not making any money for the property. Motivas ' solution is designed to be able to notify guests of available services, and even perhaps discounts on services on the property. The purpose is to improve the revenue

Advice to Mobile Start-ups: Working with SAP, Part 1

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I was invited to spend time on SAP's rain soaked campus in Palo Alto, California last week and met with people from several different groups to discuss mobile computing, mobile strategies and how mobile start-ups can best partner with SAP. This article reviews some of those discussions. One of the first points to understand is that SAP LOVES mobility. In December SAP announced that one of their key focuses for 2010 would be mobility. I wrote about SAP's announcement here in December. What this means is SAP is looking for partnerships with mobile software companies that will extend the reach of their core software to more users. Let's talk about what that means. SAP is one of the largest software companies in the world and traditionally they have focused on selling to the largest global companies. They have been successful in this strategy, but even with their successes, they still have relatively few users in each of their customers' operations. Some estimates ha

Advice for Mobile Start-Ups: Find Your Market Aggregation Points

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Mobile start-ups often struggle with how to get their message, product and company brand in front of their target markets. They quickly realize that the expense of marketing their solutions directly to each end user is cost prohibitive. How then can they effectively market their solutions in a cost effective manner? Mobile start-ups need to first identify their target market, and second identify the " market aggregation " points. In the image above, look at the red dots . Those are the market aggregation points. Those are the points where the mobile start-up needs to be marketing. Why? That is where their audience can be found. The eyes and ears of their target market are tuned to that location. Mobile start-ups should focus all of their efforts and financial resources on the red dot - market aggregation points. Often it costs no more to invest resources in the red dots, than it does to target each end user - end point. If you are targeting SAP Mobility, then you will

$21 Million Raised by Pressing the Keys on a Mobile Device

The Red Cross was "texted" $21 million dollars in donations for Haiti disaster relief efforts according to this article . This is an incredible development, and it happened on mobile devices. The Haiti relief campaign has been promoted by both traditional media sources and online social media. However, it really took off in the first couple of days through its promotion on Facebook and Twitter. The report said these donations were texted, so these donations were submitted on mobile devices. It works like this: You get notified of the campaign through a mobile Facebook or twitter application You send a text to a given number and a $10 dollar charge (donation) appears on your mobile phone bill. You pay your mobile phone bill and the money is transferred from your carrier to the Red Cross I am amazed at this example of the power represented by mobile communications, social media and mobile devices. I am also intrigued by the e-commerce processes represented by using the mo

Advice to Mobile Start-Ups: You are a Publishing Company Like it or Not!

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I am a consultant to mobile start-up companies and an expert in the area of Web 2.0 marketing. I have successfully built mobile software companies from the ground up. I have made just about every mistake one could make, and learned how to overcome and avoid them in the future. I now work with mobile start-ups to help them implement the right Web 2.0 marketing strategies to build their sales pipelines in their targeted markets. I advise my clients that like it or not they must become an Internet publishing company. Why? Unless they have millions of dollars or euros to burn on expensive pay-per-click campaigns, conferences, call centers, flights, hotels and rental cars, they are going to need to leverage the Internet and all of the free Internet tools available to build their sales pipeline, reseller channels, brand and partner communities. Using the Internet requires the consistent production and publication of rich and valuable content that is useful and desired by your target aud

iPhone Mobile Audio Guides Created on the Street

Last week I was sitting in a soft leather chair in the corner of the Eagle, Idaho Starbucks Coffee Shop. Not so unusual, but this time I was recording the event on my iPhone using a free application called Woices.com . This application is the result of an entrepreneurial project out of Barcelona, Spain. This application enabled me to record an audio guides using the "Memo" function of the iPhone, associate a digital photo, capture the GPS coordinates and add a description and title. All of these individual functions exist already on the iPhone, but Woices brings them all together in one clever application and enables you to upload them to a centralized service so others can search and find your audio guide. When I first opened Woices, it searched on my GPS coordinates for any pre-existing audio guides that were within a certain distance of my location. If they exist, it lists them. In my case, I was the first user in Eagle, Idaho. Woices can turn any storyteller, traveller

SAP ERP on iPhones

I met with a team of mobile software developers this week that have developed a fascinating mobile technology that enables the user to access ALL of SAP's ERP and other SAP components on an iPhone. I am particularly intrigued because I have never seen a mobile application that can quickly enable an entire ERP with only a 25 MB download and a 15 minute set-up. The use case would be any SAP user or expert that needs to access any page or component of SAP while out of the office. It is all there on the iPhone. I was very impressed. Most often only traveling sales or service people are prioritized for enterprise mobile applications, but this technology will enable anyone in the company that needs access to the SAP system to simply login with their iPhone and go to work. This company will be releasing the iPhone version first, and then versions for Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile over the next few months. Let me know if you want more information and I will point you in the

Advice to Mobile Start-ups: Focus on Mobile Content, Mobile Business Processes, Integration and Workflow

The mobile and wireless industries have changed dramatically in the past year and this has significantly changed the market for mobile application start-ups. Many of the missing application development tools and features that forced programmers to develop their own proprietary mobile middleware , have been filled by the mobile OS (operating system) developers over the past 12 months. This is both good and bad news for mobile start-ups. The good news is that mobile application developers can focus more on providing business value, rather than coding clever mobile client and mobile middleware features. This is good for the entrepreneurs that have started with an existing back-office business application in mind and simply wants to support it with a mobile client. The bad news is that many mobile application companies have already invested heavily into their own mobile client technology, mobile application development tools and mobile middleware platforms. Why is this bad? Because mos

Mobile Applications, Location Based Services and Lifestyle Preferences

I love hiking. I enjoy gardening. I love mobile gadgets. I crave Thai food. I love drinking coffee in a comfortable chair and reading the New York Times. I would appreciate and use a mobile application that would connect my lifestyle preferences to a map and suggest locations conducive to my lifestyle. I would like to arrive in a new city and open my mobile application and have it suggest great walking tours and hiking trails that were close to highly rated coffee shops, Thai restaurants, bookstores and public gardens. I would want to see these locations on a map with a suggested route. I would love to be shown several options all based on my preferences. The application could also show me user comments and ratings of these locations, and overlay crime statistics of these geographic areas so I can weigh the risk of going there. Is the Thai food worth getting mugged? I can see it now - you should be able to set different safety ratings. You can configure the mobile application to sho

Location Based Services and Mobile Device Customization

Many SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises) that use smartphones such as iPhones would benefit from the ability to add business information, alerts, tags and advice to a specific location on a map. Large enterprises can achieve these features by investing in business analytics, GIS solutions, route optimization applications, mobile data collection solutions and integrate them all with CRMs , but these enterprise solutions are often cost prohibitive for SMEs . They need these features all on a simple mobile application that is either connected to a web service or independent on the device. Let's consider a few scenarios: A taxi driver has found a very good place to pick-up riders. He/she wants to mark this location on a map and include other relevant information such as day of week, time of day and the reason this is a good location. A house painting contractor driving through a neighborhood notices that it has a large number of houses that may need painting in the near fu