We all know the mobile market is exploding and we have seen sales projections by market analysts suggesting sales of smart phones will increase from 190M to 250M+ in 2010. We can also expect “new” devices like Apple’s iSlate to emerge into the world of mobile computing which pleases me –I hate having to reach for my glasses every time I want to read my Blackberry.
To make decisions more complicated we have many operating systems to chose from such as iPhone OS, Symbian, Android, Windows and BlackBerry. So overall the Enterprise IT department has quite a few decisions to make to ensure they can support the majority of mobile devices.
This takes me to my first key point #1) When reviewing potential mobile solutions ensure you chose a solution that adopts a framework architecture that will support all of your devices in one area. From our experiences we have found that clients will chose a mobile solution to resolve an issue such as CRM and BlackBerry may be their choice of device. Which is an easy issue to resolve and has many potential options from a variety of vendors. However, further down the road, the same client has a demand for a mobile field service application running on a Motorola device and Executives are requesting iPhone’s to replace the BlackBerry’s. Now the IT department realizes the mobile solution they original purchased does note support any additional platforms. In this case IT Managers face a dilemma – scrap what they have invested in and bring in a framework that supports all devices OR – bring in new solutions and hopefully stitch it all together hoping it will work. This is where we see the demise of many IT Management careers when they are forced to tell Execs that they have made the wrong solution choices and wasted $1m in funding and resource.
Integrate from outside in or inside out?
Like most market segments mobile solutions come in many forms. As they say there are many ways to skin a cat, but in reality in this economy who can afford to play “Russian Roulette” with their scarce IT funding or their valuable jobs.
If you look at all the various mobile solutions and dig deep into how the solutions are designed you will find that some vendors develop a mobile solution around the actual device. Which means they will develop the business process the client requires on the device and then try to hook it back into the SAP business process which inveitably fails. Designin g the device side of the process is the easy part, full functional integration is the most difficult part. Key Point #2 Chose a solution that resides inside your SAP system, utilizes your existing working process and pushes the required transaction out to the device.
This may seem completely obvious to most but implementation using this method can be as quick as 4 weeks for a fully functional mobile application using 1 resource. Utilizing an outside in approach can take 6 months and never really works properly. Consider the resource cost of implementation when reviewing mobile architecture.
Is SAP still my Master System ?
Have you ever came across a situation where a customer has deployed a mobile solution but still cannot determine how accurate his data is?
Unfortunately, many mobile deployments make the mistake of replicating SAP process to non-SAP systems removing the integrated business that they started with. As an example – don’t be fooled into replicating your field service or CRM functions into a “middleware” based mobile solution. This will only create “two versions of the truth” and eliminate the benefits that come with implementing SAP, such as a fully integrated view of your business.
Key Point #3 Ensure there is only one set if data and it resides on your SAP system and nowhere else.
Another obvious point but you would be surprised how many clients do not realize until its too late that there are multiple levels of data being stored on their mobile devices across their network and country, which causes an incredible amount of grief when trying to establish stock levels.
Design your mobile framework for the future.
My last and most important key point. If and when you are thinking about a mobile solution, just look where we are today. Multiple choices of devices, multiple operating systems and we are on the brink of a mobile technology explosion. Please ensure you chose a solution that involves utilizing a framework that resides inside your SAP system. A framework that will evolve to support all mobile devices of today and tomorrow. A system that will manage your transactions and control all your mobile data in one place. A system that is tried and tested by SAP, RIM, Apple, Motorola and all leading hardware providers.
Mobile SAP works today efficiently and effectively for 100’s of customers around the world. Make sure you fo the research and chose a solution that will meet your requirements in every aspect.