Showing posts from April, 2010

SAP Insider, SAP Mentorship and a M2M Report

I had a great time leading a session on enterprise mobility today in Palo Alto at SAP's campus.  Even if the photo on the left doesn't look like it.  It was an SAP Insider event and I met a lot of interesting people from the SAP ecosystem.  I led a session called New Mobility Models, Convergence and Augmented Reality on Mobile Devices . The event started out by Mark Finnern, SAP's Chief Community Evangelist, announcing that SAP has asked me to be an SAP Mentor in the enterprise mobility arena.  I accepted and plan to be actively involved in many SAP events this year including Sapphire in a couple of weeks and TechEd this fall.  Now I am anxiously waiting for my Rugby shirt that SAP mentors get to wear. I was able to share information with the audience on many of SAP's mobility partners including Vivido Labs, Leapfactor, Sky Technologies and others and the latest trends in mobility.  The event was shown live around the world via webcast. I am also working on a new

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Leapfactor's Lionel Carrasco

I was in Miami, Florida a few weeks ago and was able to meet up with Lionel Carrasco and do some sailing. Lionel Carrasco is the CEO and founder of Leapfactor , an Enterprise mobility player and partner of SAP. Lionel shared his thoughts and insights while the sun was setting over Miami. I asked Lionel how he originally got into the mobility industry. He explained that he managed the development, as an SAP systems integrator CTO, of a number of large enterprise mobility projects in the Direct Store Delivery, Logistics Execution, and Sales Force Automation space. These projects were in the USA, Latin America, and Europe. In the course of designing, developing, deploying and supporting these applications, he learned much. He believes this experience will be invaluable to SAP and Leapfactor customers. I asked Lionel how he would describe Leapfactor. He answered that Leapfactor understands that cloud computing and mobility should come together. This joining together will enable large ent

SAP Insider Event, Friday April 30th

For those with time on their hands this Friday - I am a speaker at the SAP Insider event in Palo Alto, CA on Friday, April 30th.  I understand the event is going to be available in streaming video for those not able to attend.  My session is scheduled for 1:30 PM PDST and is called New Mobility Models, Convergence and Augmented Reality. *************************************************** Kevin Benedict Author of the report Enterprise Mobile Data Solutions, 2009 Mobile Strategy Consultant, Mobile Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert twitter: ***Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles. ***************************************************

HP Buys Palm - RIP

Interesting news I hadn't considered - HP as a suitor for Palm. "Palm's innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP's mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices," Todd Bradley, vice president of HP, said in a prepared statement. It is fascinating to me when a brand goes bad.  Sometimes I think the morale in a company goes bad years before and it rots from the inside out.  Employees warn their peers to stay away, recruiting suffers and vacations become the topic of choice.  People stay at the company drawing a paycheck long after they give up on its success.  They go through the motions but have no belief.  Social networking enables industry pundits to sense the demise even before the market does. I have known many companies in my time where if the staff were given an anonymous survey, they would have predicted its demise years earlier than the fact.  *******************************

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Sky Technologies' Neil McHugh

I caught up with Neil McHugh from Sky Technologies the other day. He is a transplant from Scotland to the USA via IBM and is now on the Texas side of the Sky Technologies family.  He is VP of Marketing and Business Development – Americas. Kevin:   Neil, tell me about Sky Technologies. I have been working in the mobility industry for many years, but only recently started hearing about Sky Technologies. Neil:   I can understand that. We have actually worked through partners in the US for many years, but never really pushed our brand until last year when we decided to change our go-to-market model and sell directly to customers under the Sky brand (imagine a Scottish accent when you read his answers). Kevin:   How are you finding the market today for enterprise mobile applications (imagine an Idaho accent when you read my questions)? Neil:   We have been very fortunate. The mobile market is strong, and we are winning deals on a monthly basis so our market presence is growing quite

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Vivido Labs' Greg Tomb

I had the pleasure of interviewing the former CEO of SAP North America, Greg Tomb this week.  Greg and his team have founded a new mobile application company called Vivido Labs that is working closely with SAP on a number of new mobile applications.  As CEO of Vivido Labs, Greg is now leading an effort to mobilize SAP business processes and to create a platform that other mobile application developers can use to integrate their mobile applications with SAP. I started the interview by asking Greg why he decided to jump into mobility after leaving SAP in 2009.  He said that 18 months ago many SAP customers were asking him how they could leverage their massive investments in SAP to get more value.  For example, one SAP customer had just purchased 3,000 BlackBerrys and wanted to maximize both the value from their BlackBerry investment and their SAP investments.  Greg added that he also studied the growing momentum around consumer applications that was fast developing.  It got him thin

Mobile Expert Interview Series: ClickSoftware's Gil Bouhnick

I had the opportunity to spend time on the phone this morning with Gil Bouhnick who was calling from warm and beautiful Tel Aviv.  He is the Director of Mobile Solutions for ClickSoftware and a big fan of mobility, so much in fact, that he has four mobile smartphones and rarely leaves home or the office without two or more in his pockets.  Although his office is in Tel Aviv, most of ClickSoftware's customers are in North American and in Europe. Gil's role is in the product management group at ClickSoftware .  He has spent years at ClickSoftware and has been a part of the evolution of their mobile solutions.  Early on, ClickSoftware, a company focused on field service automation and service scheduling optimization, integrated with mobile solutions from companies like Antenna, Dexterra (now part of Antenna) and Syclo.  However, over time they began to recognize that they needed their own mobile software and framework to support the requirements of their field services customers

Sybase has Record Q1 - Credits Mobile Apps for Growth

Sybase has reported some interesting numbers that seem to be meaningful for the SAP enterprise mobility market in general. "2010 is off to a strong start for Sybase," stated Chairman, CEO and President of Sybase John Chen. "We achieved historical first-quarter highs in revenue, operating margins, earnings, and cash flow."  Added Mr. Chen, "Expansion of data, mobile devices, and real-time computing is driving adoption of our Unwired Enterprise strategy and stimulating demand for our data management, analytics, and mobility offerings." If this is an indicator of a trend for enterprise mobility, rather than just an improving economy, then let the fun begin! *************************************************** Kevin Benedict Author of the report Enterprise Mobile Data Solutions, 2009 Mobile Strategy Consultant, Mobile Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert twitter: http:/

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Troy O'Connor

I had the opportunity to interview Troy O'Connor recently while he was in Australia.  He is the CEO of Sky Technologies , an SAP Partner, and an expert in SAP mobility.  Sky Technologies is a software company, and their mobile solution for SAP is the SkyMobile Framework. Troy first got into mobility as a systems integrator for SAP.  He cut his teeth on mobile applications for warehouse and inventory management over a decade ago.  SAP developed a lot of barcode data collection applications using rugged handheld computers like the LXE. I asked Troy about his thoughts on mobile micro-applications and MEAPs (mobile enterprise application platforms).  He said that mobile micro-applications are very useful, especially for simple forms-based mobile applications, but he would advocate that mobile micro-applications should be developed using a MEAP and supported by a MEAP.  That way there is a standard way of developing, integrating and supporting them.  MEAPs should provide a rapid and

Bloomberg BusinessWeek Reports on Productivity Gains - Is Mobility to Blame?

I read an interesting article  by Mike Dorning in last week's Bloomberg BusinessWeek.  In summary, the article said surveys are showing that people do not believe the economy is improving despite nearly all market indicators suggesting otherwise.  Of particular interest is the following excerpt, "While jobs have been slow to return, the country has experienced 'an incredible productivity boom' that strengthens the economy for an expansion, says Greenhaus of Miller Tabak. Labor productivity, or worker output per hour, grew at a 6.9 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter, capping the biggest one-year gain since 2002." I am seeing an incredible interest in enterprise mobility applications these days.  I wonder how much of the 6.9 percent productivity gain in Q4 of 2009 can be credited to companies extending their ERPs to mobile devices.  What are your thoughts? SAP announced in December that mobility is one of their core focus points for 2010.  I can see this

Where Has Microsoft Mobility Gone - Here?

Several years ago when I was up to my neck in mobile application development projects, the only mobile operating systems referred to were Windows Mobile, Windows CE, along with a few reminiscent comments about Palm OS.  Today, the mobility world is a completely different place but perhaps not as different as you may think. The world of Windows Mobile and Windows CE still exists.  In fact the industrial and ruggedized mobility environments are strong and completely dominated by Microsoft operating systems.  This may surprise folks who are relatively new to mobility and may have thought enterprise mobility is limited to the smartphone.  The ironic thing is that Microsoft was primarily focused on the consumer device market but accidentally found themselves dominating the markets for ruggedized and industrial grade mobile devices.  SAP mobility partners like Leapfactor , RIM , and Vivido Labs are mobilizing SAP primarily for the users of smartphones such as iPhones, Blackberrys, and t

Mobility in the Enterprise from SAP

Announcement from SAP Mobility is a key strategic priority for SAP. Starting today, Monday April 19, through April 30, 2010 “ Mobility in the Enterprise ” will be featured on SAP EcoHub. We have assembled an extensive array of valuable assets,(also see below) i.e.: 1. The best enterprise mobile solutions from partners that include Sybase , Syclo , Mellmo , Sky Technologies , Vivido Labs and Leapfactor . All contribute towards sales and revenue. 2. Videos and blogs from senior SAP executives and mobile visionaries. We received overwhelming commitment and cooperation from SAP executives and partners. We received 20 videos and 15 blogs on mobility and 3 partners have bought advertisement packages during this period. 3. Tools to locate the right mobile solutions. Check out the very cool “ Find the right mobile solutions for your business ” mini-app. 4. Engagement vehicles i.e. the mobility survey and an invitation for mobile app developers to introduce themselves to SAP. 5

SAP's Mobility Theme Launch

SAP kicked off their Mobility Theme on EcoHub today.  They will be promoting mobility over the next few weeks leading up to Sapphire by highlighting blogs, videos, demos, webinars , and other events related to mobility.  SAP is promoting its mobility partners including Sybase , Syclo , Sky Technologies , Leapfactor , RIM , Vivido Labs , and others. The SAP banner above this article allows you to answer several questions and be directed to various mobility vendors that are partnered with SAP.  Very clever SAP! This is a very interesting time for those involved in SAP mobility, and I look forward to participating in as many events as I can.  I will be participating in a mobile SAP CRM webinar on April 27, in an SAP Insider event in Palo Alto on April 30, and attending many mobility events at Sapphire the week of May 16 in Orlando, Florida. *************************************************** Kevin Benedict Author of the report Enterprise Mobile Data Solutions, 2009 Mobile Strateg

Mobilizing SAP’s CRM - Freedom to Succeed

I have been invited to participate in an upcoming webinar on Mobilizing SAP's CRM.   The details can be found on SAP's EcoHub website, and it is scheduled for April 27 at 1:00 PM EDST.  The topics will include: • Position CRM in your company. • How to avoid adoption issues. • Ways of implementing to maximize efficiency. • Simplifying for mobile access. • How to deploy SAP’s CRM across any mobile device. Mobilizing SAP CRM is one of the highest priorities for SAP CRM customers.  In a recent interview that I did with EntryPoint's founder Pete Martin, he said that 100% of his net new SAP CRM sales prospects are now requiring a mobile extension to CRM.  This motivated him to partner with SAP's partner Sky Technologies to provide mobile SAP CRM solutions.  Anything that can be credited with helping a sales force sell more product is very interesting to a company.  Making the sales force more efficient, productive and effective is the goal of all companies. ******

The Confession of an Enterprise Mobility Guy

Yesterday, because it was spring weather in Boise, Idaho, I put on a light weight jacket with only one secure interior pocket.  This forced me to choose between putting my wallet or my iPhone in it.  I chose the iPhone. I then proceeded to a store where I sat in a number of different chairs.  When I returned home my wallet was predictably missing.  As I pondered my earlier choices, I wondered what made me choose my iPhone over my wallet.  What decision would you have made?  My iPhone is a portal into both my personal and professional life.  My wallet is simply a container. I read in the Wall Street Journal today an article by Katherine Boehret called "A Leash on Mobile Devices that Like to Wander."  It lists two different devices that sound an alarm if you walk too far away from your mobile device.  The problem is these device manufacturers assume you will lose your iPhone rather than your wallet. I must confess that replacing my wallet now days seems easier than replac

SAP CRM Partner EntryPoint Consulting Looks to Mobility for Growth

I read with interest today a press release about SAP partner EntryPoint Consulting.  I know them, and they are a long term SAP consulting and channel partner that is involved in the CRM side of SAP.  They were involved in some of the earliest implementations of mobile SAP CRM several years back and experienced a lot of first mover pain as a result.  I know they have been watching the SAP mobility evolution with keen interest for several years. From today's press release it looks like Pete Martin, managing partner at EntryPoint has decided it is time to get serious about SAP mobility again, and he partnered with SAP mobility partner Sky Technologies to deliver mobile SAP CRM capabilities.  I spoke to him several months back, and he said 100% of his SAP CRM sales opportunities this year were asking about mobile device support so he was very interested in the SAP mobility ecosystem. Here is a quote from today's press release, "We were convinced that we ‘chose right’ whe

Monetizing Mobile Applications in the SAP Ecosystem

SAP is trying to figure out the best way to monetize enterprise mobile applications and B2C mobile applications.  These are complex issues.  Extending the functionality of SAP to mobile users is a key goal for SAP.  They want to enable many, many more users to benefit from SAP. The mobile workforce and consumers are both areas where SAP can extend value, but how do they charge for it? I have had conversations this month with several SAP ecosystem veterans about this topic.  They remembered conversations several years ago when SAP was quoting full PULs (platform user licenses) for each mobile user.  That did not go over well.  They have since revised that number down, down, down, but now you have mobile micro-applications that just expose little segments of value to users.  How is this going to be monetized by SAP.  There is value for micro-applications vendors and end users for using SAP functionality on an iPhone, but how should it be priced?  How can it be monitored? SAP's go

Mobile Micro-Applications vs Thick Mobile Clients

As I have shared before, my background was in the MEAP (mobile enterprise application platform) world.  We used different acronyms, some not repeatable in this family friendly blog, but it was the same thing as today's MEAPs.  I have managed development projects where the mobile applications we delivered could be considered a full ERP in many places.  It was painful and expensive, but it worked.  Our customers had hundreds of route sales, service technicians, and delivery folks walking around carrying full functional ERPs on their ruggedized mobile handheld computers. The application I am referring to above consisted of the following: Mobile sales force automation application Mobile order entry application Mobile invoicing Mobile proof-of-delivery application Mobile work order management application Mobile inventory management system Mobile price and promotion management application Mobile enterprise asset management application Mobile CRM to access customer service and

Simple Mobile Applications Can Offer Real ROIs

The International Telecommunication Union reported in 2009 that 28% of people in Africa have mobile phones but only 5% have the internet.  The report also said that mobile phone subscriptions in Africa were increasing by 50% per year.  As a result of this rapid growth, mobile application developers have been creating simple mobile applications for African businesses that utilize SMS rather than mobile smart phones with data plans.  There are some lessons to be learned. In a recent CNN article  entitled, "Mobile App Developers Tackle Africa's Biggest Problems," the author writes about developers creating powerful and beneficial mobile applications that work with simple and limited 140 character text message inputs.  One example was a mobile application that enables dairy farmers to request the average price of a unit of milk in certain areas.  The text message queries a database that returns an answer.  This may seem to be a very simplistic application, but it means a hu

Everyone Wants A Piece of SAP Enterprise Mobility!

I was surprised to  read today that SAP's ECM (enterprise content management) partner Open Text Corp. now has a mobile applications strategy.  "This move is part of a strategy designed to help organizations harness the power of today’s mobile workforce in an effort to increase productivity." The solution is called Open Text Everywhere and it is designed to make the entire Open Text ECM Suite available through mobile devices.  This move by Open Text highlights an interesting evolution in the mobile ecosystem around SAP.  A number of SAP's partners are producing mobile applications that only work if you buy their products.  There is nothing wrong with that strategy, but it does add confusion to companies interested in general SAP enterprise mobility.  Now there are at least four categories of mobile applications for SAP customers: MEAPs (mobile enterprise application platforms) - Enables the user to develop, customize and support many different mobile applications a

Redbox, M2M and Mobile SAP Micro-Apps

M2M is not only a cool acronym, kind of James Bond like, but a very interesting category in the wireless industry.  M2M in this context means machine-to-machine wireless connectivity.  A few other terms that describe this category are "the Internet of Objects" or the "Internet of Things."  All of these terms relate to machines that can talk or exchange data with other machines via wireless connectivity. One strange example that I wrote about a few months ago was a bathroom scale that would wirelessly tweet your body weight to your Twitter list every time you weighed yourself.  The scale, a machine, was collecting data and sending it automatically via a wireless connection to another machine (server). A recent example that I found particularly interesting was Redbox.  These are the DVD rental kiosks that we see everywhere now days. Did you know that Redbox machines are M2M enabled?  You can go to the Redbox website , find a kiosk near you that has a movie you wan

Mobile SAP Apps for Sales Order Capture and Delivery

Banks Holdings Limited (BHL), a SAP customer, is one of Barbados' most successful public companies and the island's largest beverage conglomerate.  BHL has four subsidiaries comprising of two beverage manufacturers, a dairy processing plant and a distribution firm. BHL has recently mobilized three key SAP business processes: Pre-Selling - The Pre-Selling scenario enabled the capture and confirmation of new orders by the mobile salesforce as they interacted with the end customers, giving them visibility into their individual orders and pricing structures.  By delivering SAP pricing schemas to the mobile device, BHL's sales representatives now have the ability to highlight to customers any volume scale based price breaks and a potential for cross selling opportunities. Dispatch - Dispatch is responsible for managing the inventory required to fulfill the orders being delivered on a daily basis.  Leveraging the SAP FIFO and guided picking processes, the mobile dispatch p

Network-Centric Warfare and Network-Centric Field Services

Last year I published an article on Ulitzer called Network-Centric Field Services . This article discussed the way the US military uses mobile data collection, satellites, drones, M2M and many other data collection tools and techniques to create an accurate and real-time picture of their work environment. This approach enables the users of this system to see where their assets are located, where they are needed and how best to manage them at all times. I believe this approach has great value for field service operations and many other areas and is worth studying in detail. The ability for a company to know in real time where their fleet of vehicles is located, where their human resources is located, where their jobsites are located, the status of their jobs and where their equipment and mobile inventories are located is critical to effectively managing field services. Equipment and mobile inventories can be better shared across projects, and the right people can be used on the rig