The Microsoft Surface is Redmond’s answer to the iPad, a productivity-enabled, business-leaning tablet. While initial reaction to its design and technical specs have been positive, the big question was the price. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘MDM’
When Google changed the name of Android Market to Google Play six months ago, I argued that it wasn’t the retreat from the enterprise that it looked like, but actually foreshadowed Google starting up an enterprise app store to complement its fun-focused one.
I guess I’ve spent too much time watching Microsoft do things. Redmond never met a market it didn’t want to segment. Or maybe Larry Page is really serious about focusing Google.
Either way, it increasingly looks like Apple might be the first platform vendor to introduce its own enterprise app store to pair with its wildly-popular App Store. To which, I say, hooray!
As smooth as the iOS experience is on the front end for users, it traditionally posed difficulties for IT managers, primarily in the app management side.
The issue, as Ryan Faas so ably explains, is the iTunes-based App Store’s origins as a online record store. DRM quibbles aside, this translated well for individuals buying apps with their own credit card, but not so well for big companies.
For example: say an employee wants to get a mobile CRM app for iPad that his company requires. The employee can go ahead and buy it and claim it on expenses. But then that app is personally owned by the employee through his iTunes account if he leaves.
This is why large companies strongly prefer to buy hundreds or thousands of apps at a time via a volume software license that is paid for via purchase order, not credit card.
Apple has taken four major steps in the past 18 months to better accommodate partners, or let its mobile app management (MAM) software partners do so.
1) The first workaround was the Volume Purchase Program. Introduced in 2011, the VPP enabled companies can buy a large set of App Store redemption codes that it can distribute to employees, like gift cards, to buy apps. That gets around the headache of credit cards and employee expenses.
Still VPP is not a true volume software license. Apps are still owned by the employee via his/her iTunes account, not by the company. Even if an employee’s device is owned by the company, the apps are not.
2) Building upon the VPP was the release earlier this spring of the Apple Configurator utility. The Apple Configurator augmented VPP by letting IT admins unlink apps from employee iTunes accounts and link them to the managed device. That way, if an employee leaves or a device is sent to the scrap heap, the app can be erased, and the license value applied to another app on another device.
Apple Configurator is not hiccup-free, by any stretch. It only runs on Mac (the also free iPhone Configurator for Windows offers similar features). And it doesn’t enable the same level of control over BYOD devices. But it is a huge improvement.
(By the way, here’s two ways that SAP is evolving Mobile Device Management (MDM): 1) Powering Afaria with the Hana in-memory database and bringing it to the cloud; 2) Partnering with Box on mobile/cloud management and security. Read what Gartner and IDC have to say about Afaria and the convergence of MDM and MAM.)
3) The recently-released iOS 6 works in conjunction with Apple Configurator to further empower mobile administrators. Now, IT can use Apple Configurator with third-party MDM software like SAP Afaria to pre-load apps, and later automatically reclaim those apps based on group policies. For instance, app licenses for retired devices can be returned without an administrator’s intervention.
(Apple Configurator also lets companies prevent employees from downloading ‘Erotica’ from its iBookstore. That’s a topic for another blog.)
4) Even before iOS 6, Apple had launched a custom developer program for B2B apps. For enterprise app vendors, this is huge, allowing them to forego charging for apps. This way, it can bill its enterprise customer outside of the App Store process, avoiding Apple’s customary 30% cut and the need to use a credit cards instead of purchase orders.
Via the program, ISVs can also distribute their apps privately to customers. Enterprises are loathe to see custom apps displayed publicly for competitive and security reasons.
These are all huge steps that bring iOS more on par with the manageability of Windows.
And it could be a precursor towards Apple launching a full enterprise app store, argued Canalys analyst Tim Sheherd during a talk at AppsWorld Europe last week.
Does that spell doom for third-party enterprise app stores such as the SAP Store for Mobile Apps, or internally-managed enterprise app stores? Not at all.
It all comes down to diversity. Most ISVs build apps for multiple platforms. Companies will want to go to a marketplace where they can comparison shop for best-of-breed apps that solve their particular business problem, no matter if it runs on iOS or Android or BlackBerry or Windows 8. Indeed, apps should drive device selection, not the other way around.
That’s where an SAP Store for Mobile Apps, which has apps for 3 out of 4 of those platforms today, both from SAP and its ecosystem of partners, would still beat an iOS-only enterprise app store.
Also, most companies will have multiple platforms inside their business. My employer, SAP, for instance, supports RIM, iOS, Android for its workers. That’s 3 platforms. Does it want to have employees going to 3 different platform-run app stores, as well as the ISV-operated ones like the SAP Store?
No, the better experience for employees – and admins – is a single internal enterprise app store managed by its MDM/MAM tool that offers one place for workers to download the apps available to them (based on role, geography, device, etc.).
My guess is that MAM-run enterprise app stores will become the primary front-end for most workers. These internal app stores will aggregate and curate all of the various app stores, whether enterprise or not.
An Apple-run enterprise app store will be great, as will be a Google one when it arrives. But either or both will just be one of several app stores that large enterprises will need to oversee. And that’s what MAM software will do for you.
September is coming to a close, and so will the spate of back-to-school/child-oriented blog posts from me (I promise). Just…after my coming review of the Fuhu Nabi tablet. And – D’oh! – this post: (more…)
That made me wonder: what are the reasons why enterprises stumble or fail at their mobile rollouts?
Coincidentally, several days later, I happened to be a guest on the business technology radio show, In the Cloud with Gamechangers, hosted by Bonnie D. Graham (and, full disclosure, sponsored by SAP).
Other guests included Sheryl Kingstone, director of mobile and CRM research for analyst firm, the Yankee Group, Blake McLaughlin, an associate consulting partner at IBM and the lead for its SAP mobile practice, and Matthew H. Schwartz, IBM’s North American head of innovation around SAP software, including mobile.
The topic, “Mobile Moments: Opportunity or Catastrophe?” was a juicy one, and it ended up taking a turn around the biggest risks that enterprises going mobile face today. They included:
1) Brochureware. This was a dot-com term to describe Web sites so hastily and superficially built that they were no more interactive than the printed pamplets they were supposed to replace. Often, they were literally just scans of paper-based marketing materials.
Brochureware for a fake paper company. How fitting.
Credit: NBC’s TV show, The Office
History is repeating itself with mobile. “People are just taking their Web sites and mobilizing it and saying ’Good enough,’” Kingstone said.
Just as bad dot-com era sites failed to take advantage of the Web’s interactivity, bad mobile sites and apps fail to take advantage of the real-time geolocation features of mobile devices. Or they try to jam too much information into a device’s small screen. Or they forget about the advantages and limitations of a touchscreen.
Bad mobile sites and apps disappoint your workers, customers and managers. And they’ll leave you far behind the curve of your competitors. Fortunately, they are easily corrected.
2) Letting IT control mobile’s fate. Not so easily corrected is the bad attitude of who should be mobile’s biggest advocates.
Sure, in some organizations, the CIO is the force for pushing mobile forward. Take SAP’s Oliver Bussmann, for example.
But in organizations with a traditional, command-and-control style, CIOs and IT managers can be mobile’s biggest enemies (no surprise if you’ve seen my book, The Mobility Manifesto).
“The best ideas come from outside (IT). I see IT as almost an inhibitor,” Schwartz said. Many CIOs “have a lot of concerns around security, and how to sustain and maintain the infrastructure around mobile. Unless the line-of-business steps up to declare that they will pay for this, IT won’t go forward.”
My personal take: half or more of organizations out there are in this situation today. Fortunately, that’s changing. CIOs recognize that their role is changing, from the Department That Says No to a Partner and Enabler of the Business Side.
3) “Paralysis by analysis.” Sometimes the caution towards mobile is spread more widely than in IT. Mobile’s very new-ness creates “many challenges” for organizations, McLaughlin said, due to the “moving parts” that touch many departments besides IT: legal, sales, operations, business processes, upper management, etc.
It’s enough to create “a lot of guesswork and paralysis by analysis,” McLaughlin said.
For Schwartz, inertia is more often the result of lack of a single champion for mobile within a company. “If I go to a company, and ask who’s in charge of mobile, either no one raises their hand or 5-6 people raises their hand,” he said.
While informal champions – think of the sales VP who evangelizes the success of the mobile CRM app for his charges – are good, companies typically need more, argues Schwartz. Companies should consider appointing Chief Mobile Officers and creating a Mobile Center of Excellence to help push mobile projects along, unify disparate deployments within various departments and offer guidance on the best way to deploy devices and apps.
4) Expecting R (Returns) without the I (investments). There are many organizations making huge investments in tablets and smartphones. Yahoo, for instance, is rolling out iPhone 5s to all 12,000 employees.
Problem is, some organizations think it starts and ends with the devices, and, maybe, e-mail. If that’s your mindset, then you might as well have stuck with BlackBerries, then.
“Organizations are failing to put a stake in the ground and make the tough choices to move forward and build apps as quickly as they can,” McLaughlin said.
(Speaking of rapid app development, McLaughlin will present on this topic at the Enterprise Mobility 2012 conference in Las Vegas on October 30. Check him out as well as the all of the other SAP mobile experts speaking there.)
Other organizations hear the word app and are fooled into thinking that mobilizing business processes should be as quick and easy as buying something from Apple’s App Store. That’s Schwartz’s beef. Companies “think it will be fast and cheap. And mobility isn’t necessarily like that.”
For example, if you run a manufacturing plant and want to ensure uptime and save millions of dollars, a single “out of box app may not fit your needs,” he said. You will need to plan for multiple apps, and then customize then to wring out the full value.
What are the biggest reasons you’ve seen why enterprise mobile rollouts can stumble or fail?
There was a ton of news from Apple’s event today, many of which may have sounded earthshattering to those nattering away on Twitter (raises hand), but upon more reflection, are probably irrelevant to those of us in the enterprise and business worlds. (more…)
The iPad and iPod Touch have been huge hits with children and schools. But there’s a new wave of Android devices and tablets (
nineten profiled here) created by vendors taking advantage of Android’s open-ness to create devices tailored specially for kids and teachers.
The Kineo Tablet is an 8-inch 1.3 GHz dual-core tablet aimed at schools that starts at $299. It comes from a company, Brainchild, that has been around in the educational space for two decades. According to Tim Kimbrell, a rep at Brainchild, it actually developed the first portable tutoring device back in 1993.
That allows the Kineo to work well with a school’s other assessment and instructional software, says Kimbrell, while offering consumer features like curated access to Google Play app store. The use of replacable Li-Ion batteries means that the Kineo can outlast other tablets, too. Brainchild says the Kineo and its predecessors have been used by hundreds of schools and districts over the years, though the company declined to reveal any names to me.
The Intel StudyBook is a 7-inch tablet that uses a power-sipping single-core Intel Atom Z650 chipset and runs either Windows or Android (Honeycomb 3.0) on top.
As part of my research mapping the largest iPad and other tablet deployments by schools and universities, I also updated my list of the largest publicly-known iPad deployments, including companies, governmental agencies, etc.
Notable additions include Coachella Valley Unified School District, one of the poorest districts in the US, which has deployed 4,000 iPads, and may, depending on outcome of Nov. ballot, deploy another 16,000, according to Superintendent Dr. Darryl Adams.
Long Island University, one of the first large deployments on my list, will soon be up to 19,000 iPads. Conde Nast has 5,000 iPads. In Minnesota, West St. Paul has 1,550 and Minnetonka High School has at least 1,000 (thanks to Eric Simmons, director of technology at New Ulm Schools).
There’s also Lincoln School in Costa Rica (1,464 iPads), Croswell-Lexington Schools (MI) with 1,700 iPads, East Allen County Schools (IN) with 7,780 iPads, Roche (formerly Genentech), now up to 13,070 iPads, McAllen School District in Texas (moved from 5,000 to 25,000 iPads deployed), Clinton Public Schools (now up to 1,350 iPads), Encinitas Union (upgraded to 4,500 from 3,700 iPads), Abilene Christian University (Texas), Eanes ISD (Texas), the Leeds School of Medicine and Essa Academy (UK), Hult International Business School, Ft. Bend ISD (Texas), Prince George’s County Schools (Maryland), Rochester (MN) School District, Mansfield County Schools (Texas), Vancouver & CDI Colleges, Beaufort County (GA) schools, Farmington (MN) schools, Muncie (ID) Community Schools, Encinitas Union (CA) Schools, Hopkins (MN) schools, and many, many more.
(Many thanks to my tipsters including Dr. Adams, Charles Clickner, head of technology at Lincoln School, Theo Kerhoulas, principal at Croswell-Lexington Schools, Kurt Dager in the IT department at East Allen County Schools, Paul Lanzi, Roche manager for enterprise mobile applications, George Saltsman, director of mobile learning at Abilene Christian University, Kevin Hime, superintendent, Clinton Public Schools, Mike Guerena, tech director at Encinitas Union, Jill Burdo, tech integration specialist at Ramsey Middle School (MN), Yousuf Khan, CIO of Hult Intl. Business School, Brett Belding, senior IT manager at Cisco, Thomas Burgess of Lexington School District One (SC), Cathleen Richardson of Apple, and anyone else I might have stupidly forgotten.)
Indeed, nearly 70 out of my top 100 are K-12 schools.
Besides the new schools on the list, the major differences with this version are:
a) I’ve expanded it from 50 to 100;
b) I’ve changed the way I’ve embedded the list, hopefully making it more attractive and readable.
If you want to copy and paste the below data but are having trouble, please visit the Google Spreadsheet.
Oh, and please send any missing deployments to me via firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @ericylai.
(August 15, 2012: Seton Hall’s CIO counters my argument. Read his letter here.)
Twenty miles from Manhattan, New Jersey’s Seton Hall University is offering about 2,500 students, including all incoming freshmen and junior students, the choice of either a Samsung Series 7 tablet or Samsung Series 5 ultrabook running Windows 8 Release Preview version, as well as Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phones.
The laptops and tablets will be updated to the official RTM (Release To Manufacturing) of Windows 8 after its release on October 26.
Seton Hall is going all-in on Microsoft. It’s also using Office 365 for education for e-mail and other collaboration. While I think the school’s move has some short-term merits, I also think it unwisely bucks long-term trends because of a false assumption.
Here are the good things. Apart from Microsoft, all of the relevant vendors are within an hour’s drive of Seton Hall. The North American headquarters for Samsung and Nokia as well as AT&T’s historic headquarters are all less than 50 miles from Seton Hall’s South Orange campus (AT&T is the main systems integrator).
Samsung’s Windows 8 tablet is a great piece of hardware that also happens to cost more than twice as much as an iPad.
Also, as a “First Wave” beta tester of Windows 8, Seton Hall is receiving “great support” from Microsoft, CIO Stephen Landry told CIO magazine.
“We had a list of what we thought was wrong. And the patches came. That gave me comfort. And 99 percent of our issues were resolved with the Windows 8 Release Preview. It was ultimately enough of a game-changer for us on tablets.”
Seton Hall seems to have done its due dilligence. As you can see from my iPad deployment list, as well as Seton Hall’s own SHUmobile information page, it has experimented with Nokia smartphones, Amazon Kindles, iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tab Android tablets.
From those tests and more, Seton Hall officials say they chose Windows 8 because:
1) Windows 8′s strong enterprise features, including its manageability via Active Directory and Group Policy;
2) Problems distributing apps to large groups on the iPad;
3) Apple’s lack of enterprise-wide warranties for its iPads, making the process of getting support cumbersome, according to Landry.
Bucking BYOD and Other Trends
But there are also tactical disadvantages of going Windows 8. Based on list prices, deploying 2,500 Samsung Windows 8 tablets (the lower-end one is $1,100) would cost the university about $1.5 million more than buying the same number of $499 iPads ($2.75 million versus $1.25 million). That’s a big chunk of change.
Now, Seton Hall may hope that by standardizing on Windows 8, it will be able to save money by avoiding the need to invest in new management software.
If you are a large enterprise that is married to Microsoft technologies such as Active Directory and System Center, as Seton Hall apparently is, that might be possible – but only in the short run.
Think of the overwhelming preference of consumers and enterprises, especially schools and universities, for iPads today. Apple sold 1 million iPads for educational use its most recent quarter. Or the huge popularity of Android smartphones.
While Seton Hall students will love being handed free hardware, my guess is that they will quickly tire of having to lug multiple phones or tablets around in their backpacks. And they won’t be happy if their iPhones and Google Nexus tablets are treated as second-class citizens compared to Windows devices, actively blocked or even hunted down as security risks.
Any of those moves smack of the command-and-control management style that is going out of vogue among CIOs in favor of the user-centric one that accomodates BYOD, the Consumerization of IT and other trends. Try to go that route, and a CIO risks creating an enduser revolt that would look something like this:
So if restricting devices and apps is not the way to go, what to do? Well, you’ll probably want to add multi-platform Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Enterprise App Platform (MEAP) software in order to manage and control the iPads and Android devices hitting your networks.
In terms of features and power, most MDM and MEAP software are true peers with one-platform solutions such as System Center or RIM. This includes Android, provided the right MDM software and hardware are deployed together.
Ultimately, my view is that Windows 8 will be a great platform and will have many fans. But it will only be ONE of several technologies that enterprises will need to manage and support in the modern age. Enforcing a single-platform mobile strategy is both quixotic and wrong.
A broken jaw. A torn finger. Death.
Pickpockets and thieves used to be the main risk to your smartphone or tablet. But violent robbers are also targeting mobile users.
A Wall Street Journal reporter, Rolfe Winkler, recently wrote what happened after he chased some thieves who had stolen his date’s iPad:
But he had a crew backing him up that I never saw. Instead of winning back the iPad, I found myself lying on the platform bleeding, my jaw split in half.
As Winkler wrote, his story was far from unique:
Hwang Yang, a chef at the Modern in New York, was walking home from the subway in the Bronx in April when thieves shot him dead for his iPhone. They were caught after posting it on Craigslist. Outside Denver in 2010, Bill Jordan was leaving an Apple store, toting his new iPad in a bag. When a thief ripped the bag away, the strings tore off part of Mr. Jordan’s pinkie.
Here’s another sad story from Chicago in March 2011:
At rush hour on Monday, a man snatched an iPhone from a woman who was using it at Fullerton station platform in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. As he ran off, the man knocked over Sally Katona-King, 68, on her way home from her church receptionist’s job. Katona-King died yesterday after tumbling down the station stairs. Hospital officials believe that she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage.
And still another one from England in February 2011:
A man was stabbed to death with a screwdriver after remonstrating with two street robbers who had stolen his iPhone, a court has been told.
This made-for-headlines trend is being called ‘apple picking‘, as robbers appear to be favoring iPhones and iPads for their brand recognition and higher street value. Though I’m sure plenty of Android devices are being stolen, especially newer wares like the Google Nexus tablet and the Samsung Galaxy S III superphone.
In New York City, there were 26,000 electronics thefts in the first 10 months of 2011, of which 81% involved mobile phones, according to the WSJ. In Washington D.C., cellphone-related robberies grew 54% between 2007 to 2011.
While I’ve misplaced cellphones, I’ve never had one stolen or robbed from me. And I’ve only had a single brush with violent crime, as I detail below. Still, I’ve done some research and given some thought on what you can do prevent being a victim – and mitigate the effects if it does happen.
1. Be Aware.
The beauty of mobile devices is their ability to whisk you away mentally from your immediate environs through music, video, the Web. Problem is, that also happens to make you a perfect target for a thief or robber.
I remember walking at night around the University of Minnesota campus 20 years ago with my girlfriend. We were in deep conversation about something. Suddenly, a passing bicyclist tried to grab her purse off her shoulder. We were lucky that his grip was poor – or my girlfriend was stronger than her 5’2″ frame would suggest – because he rode away prize-less.
I wouldn’t suggest testing your luck. So when you’re on the subway or walking around at night in a quiet area, turn your music down a notch. Look up from your screen. Even better, put your device in your bag or inside coat pocket. Being aware – and showing others that you are aware – could make the difference.
2. Be Unflashy.
One piece of travel advice I’ve taken to heart is to not buy fancy, matching designer luggage. That sort of luggage is much more likely to be stolen.
You also want to be inconspicuous with your mobile devices. Those white ear buds Apple included with your iPhone? Total mugger bait. Put them away in favor of some generic $8 ear buds from Target or, my personal favorite, some black foam headphones that you harvested from your 90s-era Sony Discman. They probably still work great.
To round out the experience, play your Nirvana channel on Pandora.
Similarly, those snappy magnetic covers also scream “NEW IPAD” to robbers. I protect my iPad with a homely padded leather case. It adds so much bulk to my svelte iPad it’s like putting a supermodel in a fat suit. Still, I feel comfortable no one’s going to target my tablet.
3. Get Insurance.
If you live or work in an urban area or travel a lot for work or pleasure, consider getting specialized device insurance. Telcos and traditional insurance companies offer them. The cost starts at a reasonable $5 a month, or 17 cents a day.
You may also be able to cover your mobile device through homeowner’s or renter’s insurance and their “personal articles policy” option. That reportedly costs between $15 to $40 to add.
4. Install Device Recovery Apps.
All of these apps let you track a lost or stolen device. Apple’s Find My iPhone is the standard for iOS. There are plenty of other options: Lookout Mobile and Where’s My Droid for Android, Find My Phone for Windows Phone 7, Prey and AirCover for multiple platforms.
Here’s a nice piece explaining how to use Find My iPhone. Anyone got a device recovery story with a happy ending to share?
Remember the limitations of these apps: your device must be on, can’t be wiped or reformatted, or had its SIM card taken out. Experienced thieves know this. If not, your battery will run out, too. So time is of the essence.
5. Back Up Your Device.
Monetary value is one thing, but what about all of those great photos of your friends and family that you took? The Notes you took detailing that great business idea? All of your Contacts? Those can’t be replaced.
With iCloud, it’s easy to make sure your iPhone or iPad data is backed up to within the last 24 hours (you can also manually back up data whenever you have a Wi-Fi connection).
With Android, it appears to be more about mixing and matching various free and paid services – anyone got recommendations?
Once you’ve got Nos. 4 and 5 covered, it makes doing No. 6 much easier.
6. Choose Your Life Over Your Device.
Replacing an on-contract smartphone is about $200. The most expensive tablet costs less than $1,000 to replace. Your life is worth more than either of those amounts.
So just as you shouldn’t fight back or refuse when someone armed demands your wallet, you shouldn’t bluff or refuse when someone armed demands your iPad. Most robbery attempts don’t turn out like this.
7. Get Your Company To Install MDM Software.
That stands for Mobile Device Management software, and it’s used by your IT manager to prepare new devices, secure corporate data on them, and kill these devices if lost or stolen.
MDM software is powerful stuff, combining more powerful versions of the features from Nos. 4 and 5 – plus dozens more. Any company with even a small population of corporate-deployed or BYOD iPhones or Android devices should be running it.
8. Teach Your Kids.
As a father of two young boys who love mobile tech and have their own devices, it scares me to think that all of these risks apply to them, too. So besides installing device recovery apps and getting insurance, make sure you have the talk with them about being aware in public and giving up their devices without a struggle if facing a mugger. I’d advise that even if you are raising mini-Donnie Yens. Finally…
9. Help Shrivel The Market.
Buying used is good for the environment. Just make sure you aren’t mixing good with bad by buying something that “fell off the back of a truck.”
Next time you are browsing ads for Samsung Galaxy Tab tablets on Craigslist, take care to avoid ads where the tablets are suspiciously cheap, or there’s some excuse why they are missing the cable and power supply, receipt, manual, box, etc. If you do contact them, say you need all of that stuff for warranty reasons or that you’re a paperwork freak.
If their excuses for not supplying you this stuff sound fishy, don’t just stop dealing with them – call them out on your suspicions, or file a complaint with Craigslist.
I’m not alone in using the term “enterprise mobile/mobility” when I want to talk about something of interest to all business customers. That’s lazy writing, though. Strictly speaking, enterprises means large firms, which in Europe, means more than 250 employees/50 million euro in revenue, or more than 500 employees in the U.S.
Defined that way, two things are clear: 1) the vast majority of companies are small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); 2) the needs and attitudes of SMEs can differ from their bigger brothers.
Getting an enterprise CIO on the phone can be difficult. But finding out who actually runs IT at an SME can be even more elusive.
So I turned to a colleague at SAP who deals with this world every day.
Shawn Robertson is a vice-president in charge of SAP mobile inside sales based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
SAP’s inside sales team for mobile has grown by leaps and bounds since the acquisition of Sybase in mid-2010. There were just two Inside Sales Executives devoted to mobile in the second half of 2010. That grew to ten mobile ISEs last year. That has grown to 32 mobile inside reps (out of 1,000 inside sales reps worldwide for SAP) under Robertson’s watch.
Unlike field-based account executives, inside sales reps do most of their work over telephone and e-mail. That doesn’t make their work any less demanding. ISEs are expected not only to be able to sell SAP’s entire mobile portfolio, which also now includes the Sybase 365 and Syclo apps, but even help customers “mock up a potential custom app” written for them by SAP.
And because they focus on deals under $175,000 in worth, they tend to talk to more SMEs than other SAP mobile reps, says Robertson.
And what do Robertson and his reps see? Poor mobile device management and security, for one. Many SMEs are still wrestling with how to handle the BYOD influx.
One company Robertson worked with recently was starting to deploy iPads due to the CEO’s sudden conversion to the merits of mobile real-time sales dashboards.
Of course, the CEO hadn’t considered the security implications – but his director of IT had. She bought a 25-seat package of SAP Afaria mobile device management software as part of the proof of concept deployment, which she fully expects to be successful, Robertson said. When that happens, “it will trigger them to go big” on mobile, Robertson said.
Arming salespeople with CRM apps – popular with enterprises – is also popular with SMEs, too.
One consumer goods vendor had a problem with field reps that would go out in trucks. Once out in the field, though, the company had no visibility into their real-time inventory, while reps had little to no information on customer accounts.
“The customer’s reps would go in blind every time,” he said.
Ironically, the company did have a CRM application running on laptops. But it was inconvenient to use, requiring reps to dial into a server to refresh data. That doomed it to poor usage, Robertson said.
To fix that, the company deployed SAP CRM Sales Mobile app to 75 field reps. “What they have now are reps who actually use the system now, and can intuitively access the latest account information, be more intelligent about the account, and get back to the job of relationship selling,” he said.
The final thing that smaller customers tend to embrace today are apps that accelerate internal workflows.
“Everyone’s got pain points,” Robertson said, citing his own personal bugaboos – approving his employees’ gas receipts, and getting all of the necessary signatures on a sales contract during end of quarter crunch time.
“This stuff is very easily understood,” he said. And SMEs “just want to make things light speed faster.”
Two years ago, BYOD was just another acronym jockeying for acceptance by the technorati. (more…)
Bigger ain’t always better. Ask anyone who’s watched the world’s greatest soccer player, the 5’7″ Lionel Messi. Or anyone who’s just snarfed down a Supersized meal and now regretting it.
This is smart, and long overdue. Google said today that it will begin releasing an Android Platform Development Kit (PDK).
(Updated June 18, 2012) Without question, more enterprises are rolling out iPads and iPhones than their Android counterparts today. But there’s finally some large-scale Android deployments to talk about. (more…)
While iPhones dominate the post-BlackBerry era of enterprise smartphones, analysts such as IDC expect Android to catch up by next year. (more…)
Without a new iPhone 5, iOS 6 became the mobile star of Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference keynote today.
It would seem foolhardy and stupid to try and guess the final league standings for a sports season four years from now (though the continued embrace of Big Data-based predictive analytics by pro sports teams may change that someday). (more…)
Every enterprise has a Chief Information Officer. How about (groan) the Starship Enterprise?
Ah, June. The beginning of summer, when the kids are finally released from school, and Gadgets are finally released from the Purgatory between Digitimes Taiwan rumor and Midwestern Best Buy store shelf.