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Archive for Mobile Apps

Today, many leading companies are adopting mobile in a “Mobile 1.0” mindset – they are improving operations like order processing or improving data entry accuracy. Mobilizing existing processes, while a great start, is not enough to create a sustainable competitive advantage. Customers and employees expect companies to respond to issues and opportunities in real-time. This “Mobile 2.0” mentality is where we will see businesses transform. I always like to draw on personal examples, and in this case I’m talking about a new concept known as “Right Time Experiences”. While traveling recently, I had to make two separate customer service complaints from my mobile phone – one to an airline and the other to a car rental company. I was shocked when the airline took 5 weeks to even reply to my message, and the car rental company took over 6 weeks. This quite simply is the polar opposite of a “Right Time Experience”. As a consumer in today’s mobile world, I simply expect better than that. I expect a response within a reasonable amout of time as a consumer of a service, but the same expectation also applies in any business scenario.

I have been working with analyst Maribel Lopez of Lopez Research on a new mobility thought leadership topic as part of the Mobile Sense series. In the whitepaper that she has written (coming soon), Maribel tells us that businesses need to look to combine mobile data with big data processing and analytics to store, analyze and convert numerous data sources into context that is related to the customer, the market or a situation. Hence, the 6 weeks it took to reply to a customer need or a business opportunity should happen in a much more acceptable timeline with inputs from various data sources. Imagine how you can harness the valuable data you already collect to deliver an experience – in whatever amount of time is the right time for your business.

Let’s touch of the meat of the topic. According to Maribel, companies will transform business processes by using contextual data from various sources, including internal corporate apps, Web-accessible data, and connected device data (i.e. The Internet of Things) to build what Lopez Research calls Right Time Experiences (RTE). She defines RTEs as “enhanced business processes or services that deliver an employee or customer the proper information at the moment of need”.

Right now, SAP and Lopez Research are working on a whitepaper and a series of events (including a seminar in Palo Alto September 5th) that will dive into much more detail, however, for now we’ll touch on some hilights to whet your appetite. Right Time Experiences are:

  • Adaptable. Today’s applications and services were built for mass consumption and designed to work on a specific device. RTEs will adapt as a person moves between devices such as a laptop to a smartphone to a tablet. While RTEs benefit from real-time data, they do not have to be a real-time experience but merely an experience that happens at the point of need. RTEs will analyze a person’s transaction history, analyze data from your current condition, and respond with data that is relevant to the individual user or to a specific occurrence.
  • Semantic and predictive. An RTE learns and adjusts to a user’s behaviors over time. If the user’s context changes, the RTE should self-adapt. A predictive RTE prevents issues and/or presents opportunities to the user. For example, if an employee schedules a business trip abroad with the company’s travel agent, the company’s mobile management software could automatically check to see if the user has an international roaming plan. If the employee does not have the needed plan, the software could launch a purchase order for the plan and set a reminder to cancel it once the trip has ended.
  • Connected across internal and external data sources. Most applications operate in information silos while RTEs are integrated across internal corporate data sources. RTEs also connect to data that resides outside of the company. RTEs will link applications to application programming interface (API) accessible data and services, such as reviews, product comparisons, transaction clearinghouses, authentication services and click-to-call services. Businesses are also providing API-accessible data to their partners and IT will use this data to create RTEs that optimize work-flow. For example, a beverage manufacturer could make its inventory data accessible to its bottle distributors dispatch systems with APIs.

My personal example above is a simple one. There was a vast amount of data available in both comapnies internal systems and other public data sources that gave each company the information they could have used to deliver an experience to me in the right time. I can only think of the hundreds of ways this can apply to other businesses for both their internal employees and customers.

The good news is that leading firms are already delivering RTEs today. However, the market is young and ripe for opportunity! This topic will be explored with Maribel Lopez on SAP Radio on Wednesday September 5th. On the same day, SAP is also hosting a Right Time Experiences workshop (moderated by Lopez) in Palo Alto, CA. Check out the events to learn how you can drive Right Time Experiences for your business.

under: Enterprise Mobility, Mobile Apps, Right Time Experiences

Everyone has a few favorite mobile apps. I’m not talking about games (thought I have few of those too), but the mobile apps that really make a difference in your personal and professional life. Apps that make your day just a little bit easier. For example, I love TripIt for its ability to automatically gather all the details about my travel plans. I’ll never miss a flight or go to the wrong hotel again. I also love my bank’s mobile app (built on Sybase 365 mBanking solution). The ability to pay a bill from my phone is an incredible convenience.

Personal apps aside, there are also some work apps that, though incredibly simple, make a big difference. I’ll share a few…

I was at the SAP office in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago and had the great opportunity to sit down with our Global IT team responsible for building internal apps for SAP. The IT apps team has a mission to “serve employees by listening and understanding, and by improving processes, methods and tools.” During the discussion of new mobile apps the team has rolled out, it struck me that the small, simple apps that can be very significant.

There are two very basic things that I have struggled with in the past year – one is dialing in to a conference call and needing to memorize ten digits to enter in my iphone, and the second is interpreting the complex acronyms we like to use on a daily basis.

It is sad, but I simply do not have the capacity to memorize a ten digit passcode required to get into a conference call. I can easily remember my 16 digit credit card, my childhood best friend’s phone number, and every phone number I have ever had – but when it comes to retaining numbers for roughly 30 seconds, seven is my limit. I even downloaded the book ‘Walking with Einstein’ to try to learn how to improve my memory for just this purpose. While the book was great, I found an even better way to solve my problem. Easy Connect.

This is a very simple mobile app that makes a big difference to me. It is integrated into my calendar and automatically dials the conference call number and enters the code for me. Certainly not rocket science, but takes something that has always caused me grief (especially while driving) and does that little bit to make my life easier. It eliminates the need for me to pull off the road into some stranger’s parking lot just to dial a phone number. Thank you IT.

The next little app that makes a big difference is our internal ‘acronym decoder’. Anyone who works at (or with) SAP knows that we love acronyms. For example, our MEAP and MDM/EMM solutions can be leveraged by the MIC and the MDC to build apps leveraging BYOD and COPE for IT. Seriously. Painful. Our IT team has built an app that allows you to simply enter those three little letters and enjoy “a-ha” moments that help you actually follow conversations.

I have enjoyed reading great articles recently about ‘crapplications’ and ‘lacklications’ from some of my industry peers. These great articles talk about apps that either try to do too much or don’t do enough – and consquently don’t do anything very well. The thing that I value about my favourite apps built by IT are that they are what ‘Mobility for All’ is all about. A mobile strategy doesn’t have to mean building only complicated, data rich, in-depth, ROI generating apps. It is about making people more productive in every way possible.

I encourage you to explore quick wins that get people excited about mobile, and include them in your product development plans.

under: Enterprise Mobility, Mobile Apps, SAP Runs SAP mobility

There is nothing quite like the buzz of an acquisition to get me energized about being in the mobile market. The first quarter of the year didn’t disappoint with several acquisitions of smaller players by big companies. Now, as we are only days into Q2, the pace is already quickening with yesterday’s news of SAP’s plans to acquire Syclo. And, if an acquisition isn’t enough excitement for one day, we also announced collaboration with mobile vendors Adobe (PhoneGap), Appcelerator and Sencha to bring ease of use, cost effectiveness and more choice to mobile app development.

I decided to follow the news via Twitter and quickly got bombarded with over 1,400 tweets on the topic. The excitement from followers at the press conference in San Francisco, people following online, and even in the office was great. Some were surprised by the news, commenting “SAP goes big in mobility!” The EMF’s own Philippe Winthrop commented that “It’s obvious that SAP is in it to win it in enterprise mobility…”

Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates was quoted in TabTimes as saying “SAP is doubling down on mobile because it sees it’s a critical aspect of where business computing is headed. What they’re saying is “smartphone, tablet, whatever device, we don’t care, we’ll support it.”

The great news is that Syclo is no stranger to SAP. The companies have been partners since 2009. Syclo’s SMART family of enterprise mobile apps already integrate with SAP’s ERP and CRM products and are built on SAP’s Sybase Unwired Platform. Both SAP’s and Syclo’s apps can be integrated into a wide variety of enterprise solutions, staying true to SAP’s strategy to deliver mobile apps to both SAP and non-SAP systems.

SAP employees were quick to welcome Syclo to the family. Their domain expertise and industry-leading apps will significantly drive innovation in enterprise mobility.

To wrap up, I think Sanjay Poonen, SAP’s president of Global Solutions, put it best when quoted in the TabTimes article “We have the largest mobile sales force of any company and now we’re going to double down. We’re going to be aggressive with the speed of a cheetah and the power of an elephant.“

under: Enterprise Mobility, Mobile Apps
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This week, the first ‘Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise’ conference (also known as CITE) was held in San Francisco. The event brought together hundreds of IT execs and companies who share an interest in exploring how consumer technology is relevant in the enterprise. The week was earth shattering in a few ways, not the least of which was experiencing my first earthquake. Perhaps the 4.0 magnitude quake that jolted me awake Monday morning and made my hotel room sway back and forth was an indication of things to come. It certainly gave me an interesting analogy to share in my speaking session at the event – specifically how mobile and social are driving how the news of the quake was shared throughout the city. While the quake was an interesting start to the event, the CITE conference itself provided an impressive lineup of fantastic sessions and speakers. Here, I’ll share a few key takeaways on how personal technology is changing and infusing the workplace.

  1. We are at the beginning of an incredible journey. The pace of change is this market is truly incredible and the adoption by enterprises is set to take off. In his session, Rick Bauer of CompTia stated that “The CIO and the organization face not only the consumerization of IT (CoIT), but also the increasing velocity of technology diffusion into the enterprise.” While we have to be sure not to get too caught up in every technology wave, we need to embrace the technology that users want, and don’t let it get away from us. This journey is one that no leading company can afford to miss.
  2. Today’s technology is causing relationships to change. The connections that exist between IT and other lines of business including sales and marketing are morphing in a positive way. For example, one conference session featured both the CIO and CMO of a major insurance company, discussing how their departments work together in today’s CoIT-inspired environment. The CIO had a fantastic observation that “IT has to have enough insight to make a difference – and the relevance & credibility with the business to make a difference”. His observation as a CIO was that as he is approached for a technology request, “there are fewer times that a gap is a chasm when we are talking to LOBs about their technology needs.” Consumerization has driven users and lines of business to be better educated on what is possible and has made them more willing to work in concert with IT to meet their needs.
  3. Apps are a significant priority. I’ve been talking about the importance of mobile applications in almost every blog I write, and the conference focus was right in line with this core belief. Just before the show opened I heard that Apple announced that the 25 billionth app was sold over the weekend. The economics of that are staggering! When was the last time anyone had sold 25 billion of anything? At the CITE conference, the apps discussion was around building great apps. I really enjoyed sessions by Brian Katz of Sanofi. His buzzword is that we need to avoid building “Crapplications.” Our focus should be on building apps that meet the needs of users and take a ‘bottoms up’ approach when defining use cases. To do this, go for a ride-along with your technicians, sit for a day with your users and observe how they interact with data before you decide what to build into the app. Design is key – but overdesigning and putting too many features into an app can be a major downfall.
  4. Data is independent of devices. We’ve come a long way in the mobile world; if you look at the number of vendors who claim to manage some aspect of your mobile world (I’ve heard that today there are anywhere from 40-70 vendors) they will all tell you a slightly different story of how to do it. Soon, we will live in a world where information moves based on what device or system you are using. Consumerization has changed the model: BYOD (bring your own device) and COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled) combined represent what CoIT means. This forces us to rethink how we manage mobility. We can’t simply manage a mobile device; rather we have to think about management from a more holistic point of view – connectivity, security, application management and MDM are parts of a bigger, comprehensive EMM (enterprise mobility management) requirement.
  5. Adoption is the new ROI. If you are trying to figure out how to quantifiably measure ROI in this new mobile world I think you’re going to have a pretty tough time. Can you quantify the value of mobile email? In fact, can you even remember a time when you didn’t have mobile email to compare to? Smartphones and tablets are significantly impacting how we do business – but exactly how significant is it? Forecasts are now stating there will be 100 million iPads sold by the end of this year. With numbers like that, perhaps we simply need to consider mobile as the new standard business tool and look at a new way to track success: adoption. If your employees and customers are engaging with you through mobile apps then perhaps you are already achieving the ROI you are looking for.
  6. Think mobile first. Whether you are deploying apps to your internal employees, partners or customers, the crystal ball of the future predicts that taking a ‘Mobile First’ mentality would be a good strategy. I talked about how this concept in in use at SAP for both internal and external apps in this short video recorded at CITE. Mobile is a mindset that we are embracing wholeheartedly at SAP – it is driving how IT works internally and how we go to market with our product offerings. At CITE this topic came up several times as vendors and enterprises alike look to the future.

Overall, the CITE conference provided a broad perspective of the impact of mobile and social from industry CIOs who are embracing the technology. One of the best quotes I heard this week was in a session about what mobile consumer technologies can do for your business. Often we think about mobilizing existing business processes – but the potential new ways that this technology brings about are what is really compelling. One CIO advised “Don’t pave the cow path.” In other words, open your eyes to the potential that consumer technology can bring about to transform your business.

under: Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management, Mobile Apps, Mobile Device Management
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Looking back over the past decade or more in the mobile world is something I always love to do. Mostly because it reminds me how far we’ve come. I was at the Mobility Bootcamp at CTIA recently, and I love the way Philippe Winthrop put it – “We are at the end of the beginning of mobility”. When it comes to mobile apps I think this is absolutely true. Mobile applications in businesses have been around for a long time. Over the past ten years they have most frequently been for sales forces or mobile ‘frontline’ field workers. With the advent of mobility for everyone, the opportunities for the broader workforce to enjoy the benefits of mobility has grown significantly. So now its time to look at the next steps in getting started: which apps to deploy and the architectures to get it done. If you missed the first two parts in this series please catch up by reading Why are so many companies launching mobile applications? and So you want mobile apps… now what?

In the “A Guide to Successfully Deploying Enterprise Mobile Applications” whitepaper written for SAP by Chris Marsh of Yankee Group, there is a great chart that looks at apps that enterprise already have deployed, and the apps that companies plan to deploy in the future. (See Exhibit 4 in the whitepaper, which uses data from Yankee Group’s 2011 US Enterprise Mobility: IT Decision-Maker Survey, Q1-Q2, and 2011 European Enterprise Mobility: IT Decision-Maker Survey, Q2)

There are a few interesting things to notice in this chart. First, is that historically mobility was about extending access to existing applications – notice how almost everyone has email and many have access to corporate databases and intranets. What we are starting to see in the future is that smart devices (and especially tablets) are really transforming how things are done. They aren’t necessarily just replacing laptops or paper-based processes – today mobility is bringing about brand new ways to do business.

So now that we know we want to build mobile apps, it is important to figure out which apps to mobilize first. Of course, it will be different for every company and will be determined by how you want mobility to contribute to your own strategic or tactical goals.

In the whitepaper, Chris Marsh outlines a framework to help prioritize the focus for companies when making investments in mobility solutions. The entire framework is included here for your consideration.

  • How will you measure success? A successful application will be one that provides measurable benefits. These will vary but could manifest in measurable productivity gains, staff engagement, new customer business or rationalized infrastructure. Applications that can tie back to measurable KPIs should be prioritized.
  • What integration, if any, needs to occur with back-end IT systems? In addition to sales force and field force automation applications, there is growing interest in business intelligence applications that give information workers access to real-time data and operational applications addressing, for example, stock, order and supply chain management. The latter typically require deeper integration into back-end IT systems that will be a key determinant of the platform being used and the type of applications being deployed on that platform.
  • How many users are being targeted? Clearly the scale of the implementation is a key factor determining how an application is deployed and the cost of deploying and supporting it. The degree to which this is an acceptable cost inevitably depends on the anticipated strategic benefits of the implementation.
  • Are the targeted business processes B2B, B2E, E2E or B2C? Identifying which processes have a business-to-business (B2B), business-to-employee (B2E), employee-to-employee (E2E) or business-to-consumer (B2C) orientation lays the foundation for more specific considerations on user roles and application types.
  • Is the process transactional, informational or collaborative? In tandem with identifying the target audience, it is important to establish the exact use case in the contact zone between these end-users. For example, a B2E mobile app might need to fulfill one or all of the following: relay information to employees, transact a particular process such as an expense form approval, or provide access to collaborative tools such as wikis and portals.
  • How mobile are the user roles identified for deployments? The right combination of device and application features and, crucially, the policy management governing the application solution will be strongly determined by the degree to which the worker being targeted is mobile. While applications can have transactional, informational and collaborative capabilities, the extent to which the end-user is mobile will determine his or her mix in the final solution.

Once you’ve thought through these questions, you probably can begin to narrow down some uses cases that may make a good starting point. With a first well-defined use case, the fun part really begins – and its time to decide what kind of app to build. Of course, this new topic introduces yet another level of complexity since there are many mobile application types (nothings easy, is it?) Again, in the whitepaper, Chris Marsh outlines four main models of application development. Each one may or may not address every use case. All four models are briefly introduced here and are compared in detail in the whitepaper.

  • Purely customized development and deployment: These downloadable apps are customized for specific business objectives, but they lack the agility and pace of standardized development and deployment.
  • Prebuilt and off-the-shelf: These downloadable apps provide quick deployment and task-oriented applications but lack the close and customized alignment with business processes.
  • Modifiable templates: As enterprises look to more closely align mobile apps with specific business processes, there has been a change in direction among vendors. Increasingly platforms are pursuing a middle-road solution attempting to offer downloadable apps with a combination of flexibility, customization and speed in design and deployment.
  • Web-based/HTML5: Rather than being downloaded onto the device or via an application store as a piece of software, Web-based apps are more akin to a Web site designed specifically for a mobile device.

It is important to note that one size doesn’t fit all. You should not attempt to choose one single model for all of your applications – in fact if you try this approach I can assure you that you will most certainly fail. This is because every use case and every user has unique requirements for mobility. I encourage you to read the full whitepaper comparing the pros and cons of each model for your own needs. I think Chris makes a great observation that is very important to consider. In the whitepaper he stated “The optimal solution for the CIO is to have a platform that provides as much of the flexibility to facilitate all of these ways of deploying applications as possible.” In other words, by relying on a platform you don’t need to choose – you can have the best of all worlds.

I’ve shared a lot of great detail from the whitepaper in this article, and I’ll continue to cover more this week and next. If you haven’t signed up yet, please register now for this webinar with Chris Marsh on November 1st.

under: Enterprise Mobility, Mobile Apps
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In my first post in this series on mobile enterprise applications (Why Are So Many Companies Launching Mobile Applications?) I talked about the why companies are considering deploying mobile apps. Assuming you think you want to move ahead with some kind of mobile app, we can now talk about ‘what happens next’? And while you’re thinking about it, you probably want to register for the “Key Strategies for Enterprise Mobile Apps” webinar based on the whitepaper written for SAP by Chris Marsh, Senior Analyst for Yankee Group. Now let’s dive deeper into the content from this paper.

For many companies today, mobility can be approached in a haphazard manner. Many companies use mobile technologies that address a specific set of workers (such as field workers) or a specific business application (such as mobile CRM). At this point most people understand the benefits that mobility can bring to the organization (if not, read the whitepaper in detail). According to Chris Marsh, approaching mobility in a haphazard way with ‘opportunistic’ solutions can be limited in scope and not scalable and actually slow you down in the future. The following are some characteristics and limitations that Chris lists as opportunistic mobility:

  • Point solutions address one specific application or business need, and in many cases are a bandage approach to mobility—a solution is rapidly applied to enable one specific application need (e.g., wireless e-mail access).
  • These specific solutions don’t consider the broader mobility requirements within an organization.
  • Projects are initiated before policies are established, and administrative and management tools to enforce policy are limited or nonexistent.</

So is this a bad thing? It can be in the long term, but it the short term maybe not. After all, these solutions can be used to show the benefits of mobility to executives. They can be used as a litmus test to reaffirm your beliefs that mobility is really worth investing in. I recently spoke at the EMF’s Mobility Bootcamp at CTIA and asked “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer of course is “one bite at a time.” So if you’ve gone the path of ‘opportunistic mobility’ as Chris describes it, just consider it your first bite of that elephant. But don’t stop your journey after one or two bites. Think big while you start small. In fact, starting small can often reveal the policy and management issues that you are going to have to face when you tackle a bigger company-wide mobility strategy.

According to Chris, the first step to creating a more integrated approach is to understand how mobility is critical to your success. This mobility assessment must consider the full scope of employees, assets and business processes. From there, executive management, finance, IT, affected line-of-business leaders and end-users can establish policies.
I really like the list provided in the whitepaper that demonstrates when you’re doing it right. Yankee indicated that you are on the right track when your mobility initiatives take on the following characteristics:

  • The key focus is on specific business processes that will benefit most strongly from mobilization. This has to be the starting point if companies are to actualize the full potential of mobility for business transformation.
  • Individual mobile projects “plug in” to a common management and security infrastructure. Mobility is driven by policy rather than by ad hoc end-user pull.
  • Projects can be supported and management and security policies can be enforced. This is regardless of the type of network used (public or private, wired or wireless), the application accessed or the device used.
  • A broader set of technologies and mobile tools is considered a “mobility package” for end-users. This includes integration and coordination of voice, data and remote access services.
  • Common middleware, software and security architectures exist. These can be leveraged across different mobility services within an organization.

So there is certainly a lot to think about when you start ‘eating the elephant’. But don’t get overwhelmed! These guidelines are a very logical and tactical starting point when you think you are ready to move ahead. Once you feel like you have this checklist covered and you’re ready for the next bite, we’ll talk about how to choose which applications to deploy.

under: Enterprise Mobility, Mobile Apps, Uncategorized
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Enterprise mobile apps is a topic that I am love to talk about – specifically because SAP has been launching our own expanding series of enterprise mobile apps to solve many key business needs. If you are thinking about apps (and who isn’t!) then I encourage you to read on – and also register now for the “Key Strategies for Enterprise Mobile Apps” webinar being held November 1st. A whitepaper on this topic was written for SAP by Chris Marsh, Senior Analyst for Yankee Group. I think you’ll enjoy the content – it provides a great introduction into many important aspects around deploying enterprise mobile apps.

I’ve been working on the mobile space for 14 years and I’ve seen a lot of growth and change over that time. However the change in the past two years has been the most rapid. In the past mobility was for executives and field workers. In fact, at Sybase, we used to refer to our mobility team as the ‘frontline’ team. That’s because at the time, mobility was almost exclusively for frontline workers – those who spend the vast majority of their time outside of the office.

New technology has truly exploded in both the consumer and enterprise spaces – and it is changing the face of mobility. In several recent posts I’ve talked about why the BYOD model is becoming pervasive. People have been clamoring to bring technology that they are comfortable and familiar with in their personal lives to work. I think it really comes down to the fact that today’s devices provide a fantastic user experience – which has been driven by an ‘apps’ mentality.

The world is now truly mobile – and increasingly productive because of it. According to the Yankee whitepaper titled ‘Key Strategies for Deploying Enterprise Mobile Applications’, there are “just over 160 million mobile workers in the U.S. (38 percent of the entire workforce), and nearly three-quarters of companies consider working from home or on the road as part of their wider organizational culture, and the vast majority of companies now believe these workers are as productive as those working in an office.”

So what this means is that mobility isn’t just for ‘frontline workers’ anymore – it’s also for knowledge workers of all types and it has “spread outward across different job roles and downward from executives to non-managerial staff.”

So what does this rapid adoption mean when it comes to apps?

Chris Marsh highlighted a lot of great factors that are driving growth in mobile applications. He states, “Key factors include the evolution of higher-speed mobile networks, the explosion of smart mobile devices, users’ familiarity with apps and mobile app stores, and a decrease in the costs associated with developing, distributing and maintaining mobile applications.” All of these factors lead to one main conclusion – mobility is for the masses. And the masses want apps.

I’m excited to share some great content in my next few posts from this whitepaper. Over the next few weeks I’ll try to break down the fantastic content and provide commentary around the great insight provided by Chris. We’ll talk about choosing a focus for your mobile projects, building and deploying apps, how to support enterprise mobile applications and more. I look forward to walking through this great research and hope you will learn a lot from it too.

I hope you’ll follow along and be sure to register for the Webinar on November 1st.

under: Enterprise Mobility, Mobile Apps
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Today I had the privelige of representing SAP at the Enterprise Mobility Bootcamp 2011 at CTIA. The event, run by Philippe Winthrop of the Enterprise Mobility Forum, was packed to overflowing. Here are a few takeaways that I learned from the event.

1) “Mobility is no longer a privilege”. Philippe concluded his opening session with this statement and I couldnt agree more. In the past it used to be an issue to decide who gets a mobile devices – today that is not relevant because everybody has one.  Because if this, enterprise mobility is not about the devices anymore – it’s about the apps. 

2) “The IT-ization of the consumer”. Yes, this is a made up word, but the concept is absolutely true. We often talk about the  consumerization of IT . But there is a second side to this coin – with mobility, consumers have become more tech savvy and know enough to ask for what they want.  

3) The UI is incredibly important when building mobile apps. Enterprises have a vast amount of critical data within their walls, they jsut need to free it up in a way that users want. We still want access to ERP and business intelligence data – but we don’t want a clunky user interface. The importance of a great UI will become critical going forward. 

4) Fire, Aim, Ready is the wrong approach! Even though you want to move quickly you still need to start thinking strategically. In my session I asked ‘How do you eat an elephant’? The answer of course is ‘one bite at a time’. It’s important to have a strategy for growth up front. I recommend you think big but start small. Start with an app that will gain significant adoption and showcase the ROI of mobility.

5) “We are at the end of the beginning of understanding what enterprise mobility really means”. I think this just about sums it up.  

under: Enterprise Mobility, Mobile Apps

The leaves are falling, the days have chilled and the fall season is now in full swing. The other sign that fall is upon us was an event that happened last week – SAP World Tour. The North American series kicked off in Chicago and continues with stops in San Francisco, New York and Toronto in the coming weeks.

I had the pleasure of attending the Chicago event and wanted to share a few mobility highlights. Overall the event was chock full of mobility content – including 5 mobility breakout sessions and several microforums. I personally enjoy microforums, I find these interactive discussions are an excellent opportunity to talk with you. In the past few weeks, as part of the SAP Mobile Sense series, I’ve talked a lot about Enterprise Mobility Management and understanding BYOD. We again shared this conversation with a packed room in Chicago.

Gary Hamel, world renowned author and speaker, delivered a keynote session at the event, and one statement he made was very relevant to the topic. He said “the battle today is between individuals and institutions.” This is absolutely relevant in this microforum discussion on the BYOD model. In fact, I always find it fascinating when I survey the crowd in these sessions – time and time again, when I ask how many companies support BYOD to some degree, the results are the same. And the individuals are winning this battle. The audience in Chicago was no exception with more than half of the participants in the room allowing BYOD to varying degrees. The great news is that SAP can now raise its hand too. SAP recently initiated its own BYOD policy in several countries (including the US). I can assure you that SAP employees are excited about the fact that our own IT department now allows personal devices at work. Today we have 3300 corporate owned iPhones and 11,000 iPads at SAP – I can assure you with the perfect storm of the iPhone 4S having just been released coupled with this new policy – those numbers are about to skyrocket.

The second microforum I wanted to share was around Mobile Apps. This is a topic that we wlil start to spend more time on in the coming weeks. I have to admit this is the topic that I am most excited about. Mobility isn’t about email anymore, it isn’t about security, and it isn’t even about the devices. Its about how we can transform business via applications. I think its important that we not let mobility become an overwhelming conversation – it doesn’t need to be a massive undertaking to solve all of your company’s mobile needs – in fact getting started with small projects is the best way to start. In the mobile apps microforum, SAP’s Vishy Golapakrishnan shared some interesting points about how software development paradigms have changed with mobliity. It is now truly an interative and fast paced process. I think the way to approach apps is best explained by another quote from Gary Hamel. He stated “the dinosaurs are gone, but the bacteria are still here.” So don’t treat mobility like a dinosaur – take it one step at a time and start with a successful simple application.

Wrapping up on World Tour, there were also a series of breakout sessions that provided a great opportunity dive deeper into SAP’s Mobility strategy. There were several great sessions including an overview of our strategy, a deep dive into our mobility platform, and overview of our new apps, and the services we can offer to help you quickly ramp up. As the ‘Poster Child’ for lost mobile devices, I presented the Enterprise Mobility Management session. While almost everyone has lost a mobile device and one time or another (you have, right?), I seem cursed having lost 4 devices in the past two years. My experience has helped me relay that even those who truly understand the importance of mobile device security can unwillingly put corporate data at risk. Hopefully those in the audience gained a glimpse into the importance of having a comprehensive mobility management strategy in place.

With that quick summary of SAP World Tour Chicago, I hope you can join us at upcoing dates in San Francisco (October 20), New York (October 25) or Toronto (November 10). I encourage you to register for SAP World Tour today. I’m sure you’ll find it a great experience.

under: BYOD, Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management, Mobile Apps
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Apps are the future

Posted by: | August 12, 2011 | 27 Comments |

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the importance of mobile applications over the past few weeks. I find myself writing this at the airport after a busy week on the road. I’ve got my laptop, my iPhone and my iPad at my side. And what’s the first thing I do? Turn on my iPad and check in with a few apps. Before leaving home I check in for my flight with my airlines mobile app. From the lounge, the consumer in me goes directly to FaceBook to check in at the airport. Then the mother in me checks the status of the Smurf’s game (I promised the kids I’d harvest Smurfberries while on the road – I know it’s ridiculous!), then the employee in me checks in to my SAP Streamwork app to see the status of the many projects that I am working on. And finally, I spend the better part of an hour checking email. This is when I realize that everything I have done today has been through a mobile app.

Mobile apps have changed the way I work. They change the way we all engage with information. They transform the way we do business. And the good news (and why I love my job) is that mobile apps are the future of SAP’s mobility strategy.

As I think about how apps have changed my work and personal life, I decided to look at what you have to say about this topic. And so I turned to some research around mobile apps. The recent Kelton research study dives into this topic. In fact, 56% of survey respondents stated that using mobile apps on the job makes them more productive. Of that 56 percent, over eight in ten (82%) of those who use more than three mobile applications for work feel this way. Those of you who are like me and use mobile apps regularly agree – apps significantly improve productivity.

But why aren’t more people using mobile apps in the workplace today?

The answer comes down to a few things. First, companies are just starting to crack the nut and develop their own mobile application strategies. Many of you already have an apps strategy in place – you are investing in mobile apps from vendors (like SAP and our partners) or you are building your own apps. Many of you are just getting started and looking at publically available App Store apps to enable simple employee productivity.

Whatever your app strategy is, keep in mind that it needs to be very easy for employees to get their hands on applications. The Kelton report found that many workers would be quicker to adopt more apps if they were easier to get. Often people just don’t know what apps would add value to their day. Almost half of survey respondents (45%) said that they would use an employer-provided online marketplace for downloading company-approved mobile applications – and another 40 percent believe their coworkers would do the same. If you provide an easy way for your employees to get the apps then they’ll use them – and you’ll reap the benefits.

The survey findings support the recent launch of the Apple App Store Volume Purchasing Program for Business – a new platform that simplifies the buying and deployment process of BtoB mobile apps, including custom apps built by third party developers. I encourage you to check this program out.

As always, I like to hear what apps you are using to make yourself (and your employees) more productive. Do you think having an Enterprise App Store for your own business would help workers adopt mobile apps?

under: Enterprise Mobility, Mobile Apps
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