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Showing posts from February, 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 NA

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 signi

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 m

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 w

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 man

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 cove

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

Movitas to Provide Mobile Marketing and Communication Services to TravelCom 2010

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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 speake

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: Success at marketing (I am guessing it is measured by sales?) Market awareness (name recognition within a target market) Marketing strategy (if Gartner is convinced you have a good strategy) 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

AT&T FamilyMap App Treating Your Kids Like a Truck

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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. *************************************************** Auth

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. *************************************************** Author Kevin Benedict Independent

iPhones, Satellites, DVRs and Home Breakins

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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

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