Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Zenware's Jody Sedrick

I had the good fortune of tracking down mobility expert Jody Sedrick last week and scheduling an interview with him. Jody Sedrick is the CEO of Zenware, a twelve person company that designs, develops and deploys both custom and packaged intelligent mobile applications for SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises). He is responsible for driving business and helping companies understand how mobility can revolutionize their businesses.

Mobility is important to all size companies, and I wanted to interview Jody to learn what he is hearing and learning in the SME mobility markets.

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

Kevin: What mobile device(s) do you carry?
Jody: An iPhone, MacBook Pro and an iPad.

Kevin: What are some of your favorite mobile applications that you have on your mobile device?
Jody: Pandora, TweetDeck, Linkedin, Google Maps, EverNote.

Kevin: Do you use your mobile device to buy things?
Jody: No, but I do a lot of product research on them.

Kevin: How many computing devices do you have in your home?
Jody: Five.

Kevin: How long have you been involved in enterprise mobility?
Jody: Nine years.

Kevin: What is different today, than when you started in enterprise mobility?
Jody: Five years ago mobility was about simple paper replacement. Today, there are very intelligent mobile applications. Based on a user’s location, mobile applications can now be designed to tell you about all the equipment or assets in a particular location.

Kevin: What industries do you see adopting mobility today?
Jody: Everyone, but here are some recent areas of interest; HVAC, emergency responders, ID verification, mobile gate ticketing.

Kevin: What business processes do you see companies mobilizing first?
Jody: Everything seems to be driven by a need to cut costs and generate more revenue. We provide our clients with more functionality than they had before with paper processes. For example, field service technicians can start work from their home rather than drive into the office. This can help them finish one more service call each day. People want an end-to-end system with back office integrations. There is no separation between mobile and back office anymore. It is all one system for the user.

Kevin: What are some of the most surprising trends you saw in mobility in 2010?
Jody: The iPad. The iPad and iPhone have changed user expectations in so many ways. Also, SAP’s acquisition of Sybase. It is good for the industry. The speed of Android adoption was also surprising. The challenge is that there are too many flavors of Android. On a side note, not one company has yet asked for us to support the new Windows Phone 7.

Kevin: What are some of the biggest challenges you see in mobility today?
Jody: User expectations for a mobile device. A lot of companies want to use their favorite consumer device, but their work environment demands an old style rugged device using Windows Mobile 6.5 and a stylus. There is a big gap between the capabilities of the new smartphones and the old ruggedized handhelds.

Kevin: How are enterprise mobility implementations different from other typical IT projects?
Jody: The biggest difference is the need to deploy mobile applications and mobile devices. The need to manage and support these devices. Plus, the need to integrate one mobile application with multiple back office systems.

Kevin: What do companies fail to plan for when implementing mobility?
Jody: Companies rarely manage pilot projects well.

Kevin: What advice do you have for companies just starting down an enterprise mobility path?
Jody: Find small areas that you can fix with a mobile application. Small projects that can quickly prove the value of a mobile solution. Develop a plan up front, but keep adjusting it. Don’t be rigid with your project plans.

Kevin: How important is mobile device management and security?
Jody: Critical. Any time you have more than 10 devices, it is an issue. We recommend Sybase’s Afaria, or we can develop some basic custom mobile device management capabilities for our customers.

Kevin: What should people know about Zenware?
Jody:  We have a lot of enterprise mobility experience. We know what solutions will work best for our customers. We have a library of mobile solutions that we can recommend for different environments including MobileFrame and Sybase. We also have a new mobile work order system called ZenTouch.

Kevin: Where do you see mobility going in 2011?
Jody: I think companies will be leaving desktops and wanting to run their business on mobile devices. I believe more companies will shift away from desktops to mobile devices and solutions in the cloud. People want visibility to everything at anytime.

I want to thank Jody for sharing his observations and insights with us all.

Click here if you would like to read more Mobile Expert Interviews.


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