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Here is my report from SAP TechEd 2010:

Tuesday:

I am sure one could have found sessions and topics unrelated to SAP enterprise mobility at TechEd today, but I didn’t.  My day was packed from 7:00 am to 9:00 p.m. with non-stop enterprise mobility.  Here was my day:

  • Vishal Sikka spoke all about enterprise mobility during his 8:00 a.m. keynote.  Yes, you read that right, an 8:00 a.m. keynote. This is Las Vegas!  You can’t schedule 8 AM keynotes.
  • I interviewed Willie Jow of Sybase today about all kinds of Sybase mobility related subjects.  I will be publishing his interview next week.
  • I interviewed Oliver Bussmann, SAP’s CIO on enterprise mobility.  I posted the video interview here.
  • I interviewed Adobe’s Matthias Zeller on Adobe’s enterprise mobility work.  I posted the video interview here.
  • I lead an Expert Networking session on SAP enterprise mobility and spoke to many companies that are implementing mobile proof-of-concepts.  We had some fascinating discussing about real life experiences.  I will certainly blog more on those discussions.
  • I spoke with Sybase’s mobility guru, Senthil Krishnapillai.  We discussed the Sybase solution “mobile workflow” an under-appreciated, but powerful application.
  • I had a long discussion with fellow SAP Mentor John Appleby on his experiences with enterprise mobility in the UK.
  • I spoke at length about mobile strategy with Dr. Ahmend El Adl of PWC.
  • I spoke with Vivido Labs’ mobility guru Steve Goldman and discussed his most recent mobility projects.
  • I am exhausted, but have two more meetings this evening.

Wednesday:

Wednesday was another long and interesting day at TechEd.  It started with a 7:00 a.m. breakfast with SAP’s Premier Customer Network (largest worldwide customers) where Sybase’s Sam Lakkundi and Senthil Krishnapillai briefed the attendees on the Sybase Unwired Platform.

For the first time, I saw a product roadmap slide in the presentation from Sybase.  Sybase has always been hesitant to share the product roadmap in the past.  I am not sure why.  SAP likes to say that 70 percent of the world’s GNP runs through SAP systems.  With those numbers, it seems they have some responsibility to ensure  roadmaps are defined and published so the rest of their partner ecosystem and customer base can plan and design accordingly.  Sybase – thank you for showing us that roadmap slide!  Now if I can only get my hands on it.

I used my Flip digital video camera to interview Puneet Suppal, SAP PCN, Dr. Ahmend El Adl of PWC and Sam Lakkundi on issues related to SAP enterprise mobility.

I interviewed SAP’s CIO, Oliver Bussmann on SAP Live TV yesterday on what SAP is doing internally to mobilize their workforce. 

I led another session on SAP enterprise mobility in the Expert Networking Lounge, and followed with a very interesting discussion with Smartsoft Mobile Solutions, a service partner of SAP, on the topic of business analytics and mobile retailing solutions.

SAP’s TechEd was very good.  All three days were packed with sessions on SAP enterprise mobility, so this is a great place to get educated.

I do have some recommendations for SAP/Sybase on selling enterprise mobility:

  1. Even though mobility can be very complex, complexity can make even decision makers indecisive.  I believe it would be useful to start offering recommendations, rather than just saying there are a million different ways mobile apps can be designed, developed, deployed and supported.  Just point us to some basic models, with the understanding there are many options.
  2. In all the sessions and discussions I participated in this week on enterprise mobility, the common theme seemed to be, “Where and how do I start?”  This is key to closing sales and starting POCs.  (WARNING – soapbox time – why do companies waste time and resources on POCs (proof of concepts) when they are doing simple projects that have been done thousands of times before and are in production with proven results?  Do they think their vacation request or stock ticker iPhone app controls a nuclear arsenal?)
  3. We need SAP/Sybase to publish basic diagrams and architectural models of how various mobile solutions can and should be implemented.  Pictures paint a thousand words.  I remember a few years back asking Sybase for advice on how to design a mobile application, and their answers were always the same – there are a million ways.  THANKS, that does not help.

I see the SAP mobility strategy coming together.  I see a lot of progress inside SAP.  Everyone in SAP seems to be focused on learning about and supporting mobility. 

Thursday:

Today (Thursday) I was able to finally get enough time to sit down in the Innovation Center with SAP folks and see demonstrations of their new enterprise mobility applications.  I saw the following applications:

  • SAP Prove – Workflow approvals (expense approvals)
  • SAP CRM Mobile
  • SAP Expense Reports

I loved the SAP Prove application because of the GUI.  It was an image of a desk with a crumpled piece of paper on it that had an expense request written on it.  Next to it were two rubber stamps.  One that said Approved, the other Rejected.  By tapping one or the other it would stamp the paper.  I loved it.  I kept stamping all of them with Reject, Reject, Reject.  I could do that all day.  What power!

I was able to sit down with Martin Fecteau from MSC Mobile and have a good discussion on enterprise mobility.  His company is made up of a group of mostly former SAP folks that are developing various enterprise mobility applications out of Montreal, Canada.  You can watch the interview here.

One of the best interviews I got all TechEd was with Rob Noce from Sybase.  He works in the professional services group at Sybase and has spent his entire career in mobility.  This guy has some of the best insight into enterprise mobility and project management that you can find anywhere in the world.  This is real world advice and experience.  Watch his interview here.

On Wednesday I was able to interview SAP’s CIO, Oliver Bussman at the SAP TechEd Live studio.  The 15 minute interview about what SAP is doing internally to mobilize their business processes.  It can be found here.

I taught a session called CD112 The Future of Enterprise Mobility at 5:45 pm.  It had over 200 people registered for it.  It was fun and we had great questions and post-session discussions.  Thanks everyone that attended!  Just a note – I have been conducting a workshop version of this session for large companies and it has been very well received.  It is a good way to get management and executives up to speed on enterprise mobility and thinking about best use cases for mobile applications.  Contact me if you would like to learn more about this workshop and how it might benefit your team.

I only saw two enterprise mobility companies exhibiting at SAP TechEd 2010, SAP/Sybase and Syclo.  I am not sure why as there were over 5,000 technical attendees and a heavy emphasis on mobility at this conference.  I did see representatives from many other enterprise mobility vendors, but there were not exhibiting.

TechEd, what a fun and exhausting experience!

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