Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Execution in Enterprise Mobility

This weekend I read an article written by Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, called Africa Needs Aid Not Flawed Theories in the November 27-28 edition of the Wall Street Journal.  In it he criticizes author Matt Ridley’s ideas (found in the book The Rational Optimist) by saying, “He seems to think that innovation involves simply coming up with a new idea, when in fact the execution of the idea is critical.”
This got me thinking.  If the execution of the idea is what is critical, how does this relate to enterprise mobility vendors? 

I receive calls and emails from mobile start-ups weekly.  Many are convinced they have a better mobile application, a better strategy and a better team.  However, they have no money, only three people in the company, no brand recognition, and no global sales, delivery or support infrastructure.  I usually ask a few additional questions to learn if there is anything at all that might hint at their ability to execute.  Too often there is not.

The reason many of these start-ups call me is to see if I will write about their mobile solution so the market will beat a path to their door step.  Sometimes I will write about it if the subject is interesting, unique or educational, but I have to agree with Bill Gates on this one.  If the company has no ability to execute, then it really doesn't matter what ideas or solutions they have.  Ideas and execution must be combined in order to find success.

Recently a mobile start-up called me and scheduled a briefing.  At the briefing the entrepreneurs only wanted to talk about their technology.  They could not understand why I kept asking questions about their business model and their ability to execute.  They became quite frustrated that I wasn't more interested in their programming skills.  Oh well.

I am not picking on start-ups and entrepreneurs.  I am an entrepreneur and know how difficult it is.  In addition, every successful and large company was a start-up at one point.  Even large companies can have trouble executing.  SAP had trouble executing a mobility strategy for many years.  Sybase was successful at executing a mobility strategy, so SAP acquired them.

Here are some more good examples of companies that are executing:

ClickSoftware, an SAP mobility partner, has been in business for over a decade and is a publicly traded company that must demonstrate execution every quarter.

Syclo, an SAP co-innovation partner, has been in business over 10 years and have found a way to grow into a significant company with no external funding.  That is execution!

Sky Technologies, also an SAP mobility partner, is also executing very well as this recent interview that I conducted with Neil McHugh demonstrates.

Smartsoft Mobile Solutions, has delivered multiple versions of mobile retailing applications (customer facing) for some of the world's largest retail stores.  The fact that they have long term relationships with these companies that span multiple software versions demonstrates execution.

For information on Kevin's Enterprise Mobility Workshops click here.

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