Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Frankfurt Eggs with Benedict Mobility Breakfast Series, June 29th

Today, the folks from K2 Partnering and I had another very interesting breakfast meeting, this time in Frankfurt, Germany. The audience included representatives from SAP and SAP CPG customers.

The folks from the CPG company had over 10 years worth of production mobility experience.  They shared information about their custom built mobility app that had retail, SFA and merchandizing features. It ran on the Windows Mobile OS, and has been in production for many years.  This mobile application was developed in the rich/thick client model and includes a mobile database, and is customized for every region based upon the products sold there.  Administrators custom configure each region's mobility applications using a purpose built configuration tool.

The big problem with the CPG customer’s existing mobile application is that it requires Windows Mobile  6.5 and devices that use it OS.  Today, smartphones running Windows Mobile 6.5 are nearly impossible to find and the company must scour the internet for replacement devices.  Their replacement needs are substantial as they have many thousands of users.

They are now developing a replacement custom mobile application that will run on the Android OS. Why Android? One reason is because Microsoft would not help them figure out a way to support a database on Windows Phone 7. Another reason seemed to be that the CPG company had already gone down a dead end street with a Microsoft mobile OS. They did not want to be in the same situation again.

Another interesting note, Sybase had talked to them earlier this year and had not helped them understand how SUP would be useful for this project. This is unfortunate as it seems to me to be a good fit.  I think they may not have had the right mobility expert involved in these discussions.  They did recognize big value in Afaria, but that also seemed to lose focus over time.

During my presentations I emphasized that enterprise mobility is NOT about just supporting today’s available mobile devices, but about supporting mobile capabilities for today and tomorrow. In other words enterprises must take a long term platform view of mobility and prepare to support all the major mobile OS platforms today and tomorrow, rather than specific brands and device models.  The IT audience in attendance agreed, but said their executives were focused on specific devices such as supporting iPads and iPhones. It is indeed a challenge.

Today’s mobile devices create enthusiasm and passion amongst senior management which open up budgets and encourage projects, but the IT team must temper this enthusiasm long enough to implement a solid infrastructure and platform to support future mobility solutions as well.

Even in Germany, there were no eggs served for breakfast.  Tomorrow I am speaking in Brussels and will see if there are eggs there.

Upcoming Events

Eggs with Benedict - European Tour - Mobility Strategies and More, June 27 – July 1, 2011
ClickConnect APAC 2011, July 11 – 13, 2011
Syclo Mobile Conference 2011, July 13 – 15, 2011

Whitepapers of Note

The Business Benefits of Mobile Adoption with SAP Systems
ClickSoftware Mobility Suite and Sybase Mobility Solution
Mobile Adoption Among Gas and Electric Utilities
Mobile Adoption in Life Sciences
Mobile Adoption in Oil and Gas
Networked Field Services

Recorded Webinars of Note

3 Critical Considerations for Embracing Mobile CRM
The Future of Enterprise Mobility
The Latest m-Business Trends and How the Onslaught of Mobile Devices Affects Development Strategies
The Real-Time Mobile Enterprise:  The Benefits of Rapid, Easy Access
Syclo and SAP Deliver Mobile Apps on Sybase Unwired Platform

Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst, SAP Mentor Volunteer
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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.