Friday, January 14, 2011

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Syclo's Jon Schmidt

Jon Schmidt
Between flights around the world (172,000 United air miles in 2010), 4 children ranging from 2 months (baby Finn) to 23 years, and a record breaking sales year at Syclo, it has been hard to catch up with Jon for an interview.  However, where there is a will there is a way and we got it done earlier this week.

For inclusion in this article, I asked Jon for a photo and I think he sent me one from 1993.  This photo does not appear to be from a person with a 23 year old child and 2.7 million total United air miles.

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

Kevin: What mobile device(s) do you regularly carry?
Jon: iPhone (work), BlackBerry Pearl (personal), laptop for power points, iPad for mobile everything.  I like the iPad because it can be up in 2 seconds.  Immediacy is critical. 

Kevin: What industries do you see adopting mobility today?
Jon: Two years ago it was mostly utilities and oil and gas companies.  Today, all industries seem to be buying including; Telco, CPG (consumer packaged goods), electronics, shipping companies, mining, etc.  New and young employees will expect to have company supported smartphones and connectivity with business applications.

Kevin:  What business processes are you seeing implemented first?
Jon: Safe processes.  Companies seem to want to implement small and light weight mobile applications first.  They want to start with low cost and relatively simple apps to deploy.  However, existing customers are ready to jump in on bigger and more complex mobile application projects for the productivity gains.  Once companies are comfortable with mobility, they are willing to invest in bigger long term mobility projects.

Kevin: What are some of the most surprising enterprise mobility trends that you witnessed in 2010?
Jon:  That is simple.  The enterprise adoption of the iPad.  It is not durable.  It is not cheap, but companies are buying them by the thousands.  It seems employees are driving mobility into their companies.  If employees like a device, they will find a way for the company to buy and support it. 

Kevin: What are some of the challenges you see in mobility today?
Jon: The rapid rate of change.  IT departments are having a very difficult time planning for this rapid growth and change.  Long term projects may not even be completed before the technology landscape has changed.  Young employees expect high levels of mobility and connectivity.  IT organizations are just not prepared for this.

Kevin:  What advice do you have for companies just starting down the path of enterprise mobility?
Jon: Plan, plan and more planning.  Make sure the users get to provide feedback and direction.  Make sure the mobile users will use it.  Make sure the mobile application actually supports the work, and the way the work is done in the field. 

Kevin: How important is mobile device management and security to enterprise mobility?
Jon: Very critical and companies realize it today.  With all the new mobile apps and new mobile devices, it can cripple an enterprise if it is not managed correctly.  Most companies already have an MDM, or require it with any new mobility application or platform.

Kevin: Where does Syclo fit in the enterprise mobility market?
Jon: Syclo focuses on asset intensive processes and environments.  As SAP's co-innovation partner, we work very closely with the product management team and SAP's Industry Business Units.  We do a lot of work with SAP around utilities, perfect plant initiatives, pharma sales and telco.  We are working with SAP on long term product management roadmaps and developing support now for SUP (Sybase Unwired Platform).  We had record sales in 2010, and we believe we are SAP's #1 mobility partner.  We have 15 years of experience and over 800 customers.

Kevin:  What do you see happening in 2011 for enterprise mobility?
Jon:  It will truly be the year of enterprise mobility.  In 2010, mobile device manufacturers delivered true mobile computers in the form of smartphones and tablets to the market.  These mobile devices can finally run enterprise business applications.  The iPad and iPhone changed everything.  There will be a huge adoption of mobility within the enterprise.  There are now proven successes, proven case studies, good technologies and good networks.  This will be the biggest year ever for mobility. 

I want to thank Jon for sharing his experiences, insights and predictions!

To read more in the Mobile Expert Interview Series click here.

Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, 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.