Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Sky Technologies' Neil McHugh, Part 3

Neil McHugh
This is Part 3 in this interview.  Read Part 1 and Part 2 here.

Kevin:  Do companies need a mobility enterprise application platform?
Neil:  We believe so.  Ninety percent of the customers we have deploy more than one mobility project.  Mobility is a strategic IT initiative and by deploying a mobile platform, customers can grow and evolve their mobile infrastructure without having to worry about scalability or supporting multiple application types and can continue to add various mobile devices as technology evolves over time.

Kevin:  Do companies need mobile device management?
Neil:  They should definitely consider MDM if the enterprise owns the devices, not so when they allow users to access data through their own personal devices.

Kevin:  What is the hardest part of working with mobile devices?
Neil:  Just the constant changes of operating system updates….

Kevin:  Where do you see the biggest value in mobile business intelligence?
Neil:  The ability to present data in a dashboard screen where you can view critical aspects of your business in one location. This is extremely advantageous if your data is spread across different systems and you can pull data dynamically into one application. This is a cool app.

Kevin:  What value do you see in location-based services?
Neil:  We have customers working in extremely remote areas in construction, Oil & Gas and mining where location-based services help them do their jobs more efficiently.  By embedding GPS into the application, proof of delivery of hazardous material to the exact location is a necessity. We had a customer who had equipment spread all over a state and his engineers consistently performed routine services on the wrong plant.  Again by utilizing GPS into the plant maintenance application, we managed to remove these expensive errors.

Kevin:  What should people know about your company and products?
Neil:  That’s a fantastic question and there are a couple of key areas that we love to talk about.  The first is when we talk about differentiating from our competitors –applications are paramount.  With the SkyMobile solution, applications are actually configured rather than coded.  Most of our competitors rely on a large amount of custom programming to deploy solutions out into the field.  There may be a framework around which that’s assisted, but there’s a lot of programming involved.  With Sky, applications are actually configured, so screens are configured, screen processes are configured, data profiles are configured, which means we can implement it quickly, deploy more rapidly and, therefore, keep the costs down for our clients. That’s number one. The second thing is the applications that are configured can be deployed across multiple device types. For example, once you’ve configured a field service application you could deploy it to a Windows laptop, Windows mobile phone or an iPhone or BlackBerry. It’s all about having one application deployed across multiple device types. In doing so that keeps the cost of ownership down and it means that our clients get greater return on investment.

Kevin:  What makes your company different from your competitors?
Neil:  Obviously our technology is different from competitors but, in addition, we have a very large number of global reference customers who we work with on an ongoing basis. When a customer chooses Sky Technologies, they don’t just chose us because of our solution, but because of our customer service, our delivery, our work ethic and our commitment to excellence.  We become partners and advisors to the customer.  Our relationships with customers are long term and we are there to help them evolve and maximize their investment in mobile technology.

Kevin:  Where do you see mobility going in 2011?
Neil:  I could talk about this question all day.  I can’t imagine life without mobile access.  I find myself disappointed when my flight is not equipped with WIFI.  So, I personally see WIFI penetration increasing and becoming more available wherever we go.  I want and need faster bandwidth, more capacity and faster chip speeds.  I see applications becoming more sophisticated and the demand for both consumer and enterprise mobility exploding over the next five years.  This is an exciting space to be in, and I am really enjoying all aspects of mobility and what it has to offer.

Whitepapers of Note

The Business Benefits of Mobile Adoption with SAP Systems
ClickSoftware Mobility Suite and Sybase Mobility Solution
Networked Field Services
Mobile, The Next Big Thing for Business

Webinars of Note

Implementing SAP Enterprise Mobility - 10 Lessons Learned
Barcode Scanning in Mobile Apps
Five Ways to Optimize the ROI of your Mobile Solution


Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst, SAP Mentor Volunteer
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Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.