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Showing posts from March, 2010

Mobile Expert Interview Series: EntryPoint’s Pete Martin

Pete Martin, the founder of EntryPoint Consulting worked for SAP for over five years. He managed field operations in his region which included sales and pre-sales. His consulting company, which was founded in 2003, resells SAP solutions to US based middle market companies and business units of the Fortune 1000. They focus on SAP CRM, an area where they have a lot of experience. Today mobility is a big issue for his customers. Pete was involved in one of the first mobile SAP CRM implementations. It did not go well. Why? SAP did not have a well defined interface for CRM at that time. There was about five different ways to interface with it and this caused confusion with all involved. SAP did not have a strong mobility roadmap or good guidance at the time. It was a case of you don't know what you don't know. Broadband internet was not widely available and connection and synchronization speeds were slow. The customer wanted to download huge price books and massive amounts of custo

Mobile Expert Interview Series: PriceWaterhouseCoopers' Ahmed El Adl, PhD

I had the privilege of interviewing PriceWaterhouseCoopers ' Director of Enterprise Mobility Solutions, Dr. Ahmed El Adl a few days ago. He works out of PWC's Boston office and focuses on developing and expanding PWC's mobility practice. He is a big fan of this blog which instantly increased his credibility with me. Ahmed worked for SAP in Waldorf from 1998-2002 and focused on SAP's CRM solutions. In fact he was involved in one of the very first mobility projects for SAP CRM . At that time SAP's architecture was simply not suited for mobility and it did not go well. Ahmed said that a lesson learned from that first mobile SAP CRM experience was not to let sales and marketing completely drive design and engineering. The engineers developed everything that the marketing teams asked for, but the result was a mobile application that was far too big and heavy to work for customers. Ahmed is a fan of SAP's current mobile strategy of working with many mobilit

Sybase, iPad and an Analysis - I am Not Usually Snarky

I am mostly nice on this blog, but come on Sybase!!! What were you thinking with this report, "...Sybase has announced the results of a survey on mobile device usage, commissioned by Sybase and conducted by Zogby International. The survey, which was compiled from an online survey of 2443 adults with a mobile phone, 770 of which own smart phones, uncovered that the #1 reason U.S. consumers would use a device such as the Apple iPad is for " working on the go ." Sybase, the next time you want to commission such an in-depth report please call me. I will conduct it for at least 10% less than Zogby International and come up with the same findings. More, "...the study demonstrates that consumers want more access to information and work applications on their mobile devices." OK, with that level of analysis, perhaps I would need to add another 5% to my proposal. I looked up the definition of the word snarky . Sybase's report makes me feel that way. If you want to

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Nokia's John Choate

I had the pleasure of interviewing Nokia's John Choate last week. He is working in the Augmented Reality (AR) space for mobile applications at Nokia's office in San Francisco. Isn't that a cool area to focus on? John's title is PMO 2.0. (Program Management Organization), and he works with the hardware and software sides of the Nokia business to bring them together and to define new technologies and solutions. A funny side note - Nokia's offices are so high in an office building that their phones have a difficult time getting good reception and Nokia employees only use mobile phones. As a result Nokia employees are running around the office trying to find good reception. I must add that any mobile phone at that altitude, at that location, is likely to have the same challenges. It was just a reminder that there is more work to be done and that disconnected mobile smartphone applications are still needed, even in downtown areas. Can you image a field service technici

Advice for Mobile Start-Ups - Article Series

A few months ago I started an article series called "Advice for Mobile Start-Ups." These articles are spread out over a couple of months and mixed in with several other series, so I have created this index to make them easier to find. Advice for Mobile Start-Up Series: Advice for Mobile Start-Ups: Find Your Market Aggregation Points Advice for Mobile Start-Ups: You are a Publishing Company Like it or Not! Advice for Mobile Start-Ups: Focus on Mobile Content, Mobile Business Processes, Integration and Workflow 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 3 Advice for Mobile Start-Ups: Working with SAP, Part 4 Advice for Mobile Start-Ups: Working with SAP, Part 5 If you haven't already joined, I would like to personally invite you to join the Linkedin Group called SAP Enterprise Mobility . It is for everyone involved in mobility projects and mobile soluti

Mobile Expert Interview Series - Jane and Keelin Glendon of HotButtons

I had the pleasure of interviewing two mobile experts this week, Jane Glendon and her daughter Keelin Glendon. Jane founded her mobile software application company, HotButton Solutions, http://www.hotbuttonsolutions.com/index.html , in Calgary, Alberta in 2000. HotButton Solutions focuses on mobile field data collection applications for the oil and gas industry. The focus is deep, as in deep mud and snow. Jane and Keelin have a lot of great stories to tell about selling and supporting mobile applications in the wilderness. I learned that moose gather on the roads to lick the salt, bears like to scratch their backs on oil well heads and a rugged handheld computer screen only survives 4 whacks with a hammer and nail to break. I also learned that northern Canadian oil workers have been known to express their dislike for new technologies by throwing ruggedized handheld computers into a moving compressor fan (it still worked), and that clever oil workers customize mobile applications to kee

Scrutinizing SAP’s Mobile Strategy from Managing Automation

On the website Managing Automation, http://www.managingautomation.com/maonline/ they have an article this week by Stephanie Neil called Scrutinizing SAP's Mobility Strategy . Here is an excerpt, "... a quick search (on the SAP EcoHub) for ‘mobile infrastructure’ brings up Sybase, Antenna Software’s Concert development platform, and SkyConnect from Sky Technologies... I question whether or not SAP needs the same broad base of partners in mobility as it does in manufacturing. Most manufacturers are just starting to implement a wireless strategy, and since it is untapped terrain for them, they may just want a turnkey solution from SAP, not a menu of choices." This is an interesting perspective. Neil seems to suggests that many SAP users (at least in manufacturing) would prefer just one designated turnkey SAP MEAP (mobile enterprise application platform) and that having a plethora of partner selections is not necessarily useful. The challenge I have with Stephanie's com

SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 7

SAP has much to gain from mobile enterprise applications. They can expand their user base beyond the current white collar workers in the office to the mobile workforce in the field. This has the opportunity to exponentially expand the number of people directly connected to SAP's applications and benefiting from them. SAP is also seeking ways to expand connections to consumers in a B2C (business-to-consumer) model. This could expand the numbers of mobile users even more. Examples may include consumers requesting product orders, shipment tracking and customer support via mobile devices. The challenge SAP needs to solve now is how to make money from these additional connected users on mobile devices. I believe it is fair for SAP to be paid for providing value to more users. Is extending SAP functionality to the mobile workforce worth the price of a full SAP user license, one half of a user license, one quarter? What do you think? That is the SAP challenge. SAP's mobility partne

SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 6

Would you use Linkedin if you had to make a phone call and ask each person individually if they were using Linkedin before connecting to them? What if you had to manually program each connection yourself according to the mobile operating system and version each friend or contact was using? What if the programming was different for every mobile device? What if you had to re-program the connection every time a friend changed smartphones or upgraded their OS? The system would quickly cease to be a benefit and start being a big burden wouldn't it? The value of Linkedin is that it automates and standardizes most processes and connection related issues. Everyone connects in standardized ways and uses pre-built processes to manage all of their connections, security, settings, etc. It is easy to view all of your contacts and manage these contacts from one screen. Enterprise mobility and the support of mobile devices needs these same kinds of concepts in place. Enterprise mobility, like m

Interesting SAP Mobility Discussion Highlight

In the comment section of the article SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 4 there is an interesting discussion that I wanted to highlight for those that may have missed it. ***Comment 1 Kevin, I agree about the small custom mobile solutions for small number of users. Usually such projects have high ROIs based on the urgent business needs. However, this is what happened in the past 10 years in the absence of a successful SAP mobility strategy and solutions. Currently, companies look for company wide mobility strategy which covers most of the departments, or at least covers the main mobility requirements of the main business areas, which need it and prove to deliver high ROI. Based on different market researches and my own daily experiences, the trend is MEAP-based mobility solutions for mid and large size companies. Small companies still have the choice to continue using non-MEAP solutions like Sky Technologies. Based on the definition of MEAP, vendors like Sky technologies don't de

SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 5

I have heard much discussion lately on the subject of mobile micro applications in the SAP ecosystem. These are described as light weight mobile applications that do simple things like: Expense reports Alerts Approvals BI reports Etc. There are literally hundreds of these micro-apps possible. The challenge is how does a SAP customer manage them? Does the mobile user really want 17 different little SAP micro-apps on their smartphone ? I see these mobile micro-apps as short term innovations that will quickly consolidate into a mobile enterprise application platform ( MEAP ). The SAP user ultimately wants one icon on their mobile dashboard not 17. This icon launches a menu system that can include 17 menu options with mobilized business processes. More options can be added through an opt-in function. The MEAP vendors will rapidly create micro-apps and then quickly consolidate them on to their platforms. The big challenge for MEAP vendors is how to quickly create good MEAPs and

SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 4

I have been involved in managing enterprise mobility projects for many years and have noticed some trends. The largest number of mobility projects within a company are not large enterprise wide projects but smaller departmental and business process specific projects. These often involve only 25-100 users. I have also been involved in projects with 500-3,000 mobile users as well, but there are far less of these. The small size and specific requirements of these smaller mobility projects cause many SAP mobility partners serious challenges. Small mobility projects are often very important to a specific department. The success of the department can be dependent upon the implementation of a mobile application that helps them do more with less. The department manager will be very keen to find a mobile application that meets their specific requirements. They often have completely unique requirements that are hard for a mobile software vendor to develop and then leverage with other clients.

Extracting More Value from SAP Solutions via Mobility

I was speaking to one of my friends at SAP this week who mentioned that only 5% of a typical SAP customers' workforce is "white collar." What is the significance? That same 5% also happens to be the SAP users in a company. SAP is looking for mobility partners to address the mobility needs of the 5%, but also to reach beyond to the 95% that are not currently SAP users. I also spoke with the former CEO of SAP North America, Greg Tomb last week about his new mobility focus. His new venture, Vivido Labs has a mobility offering called the Mowego Suite that will target both the 5% and the 95%. Initially they will focus on the 5%, because although these users are benefiting from their SAP investment, they are just scraping the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the additional value they could be extracting from SAP. Tomb views providing additional value to SAP customers through mobility as a key goal for Vivido Labs. "They [SAP customers] all have smartphones and they hav

SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 3

Systems Integrators represent a significant sales channel for SAP. Systems Integrators often have resources assigned to various SAP upgrades, integrations, customization and development projects onsite at a SAP customer's location. Often it is the systems integrators who first hear of upcoming sales opportunities and business requirements. SIs are very interested in SAP enterprise mobility (there is even a new Linkedin Group called SAP Enterprise Mobility ) as it is seen as a major growth area. Here in lies the challenge. Since as was discussed in Part 2 of this series, different groups within SAP are providing different mobile solution recommendations, the SI is going to be frustrated. They want to know specifically what mobile solution is recommended and where they can offer value by implementing it. The SI is not going to train on all possible SAP mobility solutions. They want to get trained on a mobile solution that has the maximum reusability across as many different SAP cust

New SAP Enterprise Mobility Group on Linkedin

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For those of you active on Linkedin, there is a new group available called SAP Enterprise Mobility for professionals involved in SAP and SAP mobility projects. Here is the description: This group is dedicated to the discussion of enterprise mobile applications in SAP environments and networking with other professionals engaged in SAP mobility strategy. *************************************************** Author Kevin Benedict Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert 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. **************************************************

SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 2

This article continues the discussion started in SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 1 . In the following excerpts from press releases issued by SAP's partners you can see that SAP understands and appreciates the significance of mobile applications in field service management. How does that appreciation translate into recommendations for SAP customers? First let's look at an excerpt from a press release issued by SAP/ClickSoftware and a quote from the SAP Solution Management group. "There is growing demand in the market for more comprehensive field service management that incorporates decision support and optimization," said Tobias Dosch, senior vice president, Suite Solution Management, SAP AG. "Our relationship with ClickSoftware is a prime example of how SAP meets specific customer needs by leveraging our partner ecosystem to complement and extend SAP solution offerings." SAP will resell ClickSoftware's ServiceOptimization Suite as the SAP® Workforce Schedul

SAP’s Mobility Challenge, Part 1

I am very interested in watching SAP's emerging mobility strategy as it matures, evolves and morphs yet again. I am not critical; this is how all of mobility is these days. Four years ago we were all using the term Palm, Pocket PC and PDA. Now we are speaking of iPhone, Android, RIM and iPads. Within these different technologies are literally hundreds of different mobile applications and mobile extensions that can add value to SAP's ecosystem. I have been seeing a lot of activity in this space. I have seen SAP partnership announcements with RIM (Blackberry folks), Sybase, Sky Technologies , Syclo and ClickSoftware. I have seen SAP comments from many different industry and solution groups within SAP related to mobility. What I believe is particularly challenging to SAP is trying to determine if mobility is an extension of an industry business process, or an integrated technology platform. Let me provide three examples of the challenge – work order management is both a back offic