Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mobile Expert Interview Series: VWFS's Carl Redman

I was able to schedule and conduct an interview with Carl Redman, Head of IT Development and Business Analysis at Volkswagen Financial Serivces in the UK today.  He is a veteran mobility user with two enterprise mobility implementations under his belt, and that makes him an expert in my estimation.

His first enterprise mobility implementation was a joint project between his developers and a team from Research In Motion.  The mobile solution was the Mobile Stock Audit app and was used on BlackBerry devices.  The app was integrated with SAP on the backend. It enabled his team of auditors to check on the status of over 20,000 vehicles distributed at auto dealerships around the UK.  Auditing is very important, because it can help detect dealerships that may be experiencing financial troubles.

The Mobile Stock Audit app enabled auditors to have updated reports on their BlackBerrys and to closely monitor the workloads of their auditors.

This first bespoke (customized) mobility app took six months to develop with RIM.  The mobile solution worked fabulously, but it was expensive to develop, maintain and support.  If they continued to use this bespoke model, they would need to hire additional IT staff just to develop and support future mobility applications.  Redman realized that bespoke mobility applications were not the ideal scenario for his future mobility applications.

The second mobility application was delivered using a solution from mobility and cloud services vendor, Webalo.  Webalo's mobility solution is available in either a hosted or virtual appliance version.  The VWFS users for this mobile application are Business Development Managers.  These BDMs manage the dealerships of particular car brands like Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, SEAT, Skod and VW Commercial Vehicles.  They need near real-time sales, financing and market penetration data on each dealership.  They wanted to replace their traditional paper reports with mobile apps that would provide all of this data to them.

VWFS' BI (Business Intelligence) developers attended online classes and worked with the Webalo team via conference calls for a few days to learn how to configure their own mobile solutions.  Redman's team then configured and deployed the entire solution in just a few weeks.  The mobile solution is integrated with SAP, SAP Data Integrator and an Oracle data warehouse.  

Today, the data is refreshed and pushed out to the BDMs once a day, but it can be configured to update more often.  Graham Wheeler, managing director of VWFS (UK) Ltd, said "For VWFS to continue to flourish, the teams need to be able to analyze the latest data and to make effective decisions."

"The development speed and simplicity of Webalo were the primary benefits for us, though those translate into cost savings, as well," Redman said.  "Our ability to deliver what the business needs, quickly and cost effectively is key."

Redmand said his Irish colleagues are now interested in deploying the same solution, and he expects many more mobility solutions will be configured and deployed in the near future.

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.