Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should in Enterprise Mobility

I have been pondering various enterprise mobility strategies this week.  I asked myself the question, "Is it better to be an enterprise mobility generalist or a business process expert that mobilizes their solutions?"  What do you think?

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. 

I believe that ultimately having deep vertical expertise makes your position more defensible.  If you have industry expertise, and it is reflected in your mobile solutions, you will provide greater value to your customer.

Let's use the example of SAP Workforce Scheduling and Optimization.  This is a specialized solution that addresses a specific category of problems.  SAP sought a partnership with industry expert Clicksoftware for this solution.  SAP sales teams now sell this solution globally and it is on the SAP pricelist as an SAP branded solution with the suffix "by Clicksoftware."  SAP sought industry expertise for this solution.  The mobile applications that are a part of it are valuable, but much of the value of this relationship is in the expertise built in the business applications themselves, not just the mobile client.  Without the industry expertise, it is highly unlikely that Clicksoftware would have been SAP's selection in this area.
Expertise matters.  With the advent of HTML5, mobile micro-apps and other lightweight mobile applications, the value of a particular mobile application is primarily in its ability to interact effectively with a specific "business application" that is somewhere else.  The mobile client has little or no value without the "business application."  As a result, the quality of the business application again becomes the focus.  This is how the mobility vendors within the SAP ecosystem will be weeded out.  Those without deep industry expertise will find it hard to compete with those that do.

I stood on my soapbox.  Now it is your turn.  Do you agree or disagree?  I look forward to your thoughts.

Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, SAP Top Contributor, Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst
Phone +1 208-991-4410
twitter @krbenedict

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Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant, mobility analyst, writer and Web 2.0 marketing professional. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.