Monday, January 31, 2011

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Adobe's Matthias Zeller

Adobe's Matthias Zeller
I have known Matthias Zeller for over ten years.  We first met in the fast lanes of the Silicon Valley days, where we were both focused on e-commerce and B2B systems.  A lot has happened in the past ten years for Matthias, including marriage, children, an SAP Mentorship and work as Group Product Manager, Enterprise Rich Internet Applications, at Adobe Systems.

Please read Matthias's responses with a slight German accent.

Note:  These are not Matthias' exact words, rather my notes from our interview.

Kevin:  What mobile device(s) do you carry?
Matthias:  An iPhone 3G, although I am switching to a new Android that supports Adobe's Flash.  I have a MacBook Pro and an iPad.

Kevin:  Have you purchased products using your mobile device(s)?
Matthias:  Just music and apps - no physical items.

Kevin: What industries do you see adopting mobility today?
Matthias:  Financial services, mobile banking, regular and investment banks, and insurance companies.

Kevin: What business processes do you see companies mobilizing?
Matthias: Processes that involve customer engagements like insurance claim filing, transactions, interactions between businesses and customers.  I also see a lot of field force automation, sales force automation and inventory monitoring while on the road.

What are some of the most surprising trends in enterprise mobility that you saw in 2010?

Matthias: The big surprise was the tablet.  The form factor was already tried by Microsoft and it failed.  I was surprised that tablets succeeded this time.  I personally thought the smartphone was enough.  However, I now realize that the success of tablets in 2010 is only the tip of the iceberg.  It will be huge.

Kevin: What do you see as some of the biggest challenges in enterprise mobility today?
Matthias: Confusion.  Customers are asking questions like, do I need different development teams for every different mobile application, mobile device and mobile operating systems?  If so, then it involve would a lot of developers and a lot of expenses.  They ask if it would be better to just develop mobile browser based apps.

Kevin: Where does Adobe Systems fit in the enterprise mobility landscape?
Matthias:  We have a large number of mobile applications in development today.  We are working on multi-screen support for our traditional solutions so they can work on smartphones, tablets and TVs.  We have mobile run time clients for Adobe reader, Flash Player, Android Reader, Adobe Reader for tablets, etc.  The tablet application is very interesting and can run advanced forms with editing functionality.  We also have many tools for use with enterprise mobility including DreamWeaver for HTML5 development, FlexFrameWork and FlexBuilder for mobile applications.  Many of these tools can be used to develop mobile applications for iOS as well.  The code gets compiled in Objective C.  Our Adobe Lifecycle iPhone application is now available on the App Store.  We also have a mobile client application for Adobe Connect (a web-conferencing solution).  Our FlashBuilder has enterprise plug-ins, or adapters into SAP, Java and all kinds of databases to help developers integrate mobile applications.

Kevin: Where do you see enterprise mobility going in 2011?
Matthias: Continued growth in the tablets market and a rich ecosystem developing around tablets.  I think there will be disillusionment with the complexity of enterprise mobility.  It is still difficult and security is still an issue.  Enterprise solutions are harder than consumer.  Companies will begin to recognize that.

Thanks for sharing your insights, thoughts and experiences Matthias!

Read more Mobile Expert Interviews here.

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Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst
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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.