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Mobile Expert Interview Series: SAP’s Matthew Schwartz

I am excited to be able to share an interview I did with Matthew Schwartz, SAP’s VP of Enterprise Mobility for North America. He kindly agreed to share his thoughts and advice on SAP enterprise mobility with us.

Note:  Matthew reviewed this article before publication to ensure that I did not misunderstand or misinterpret his comments. 

Kevin: What are your current roles and responsibilities? 

Matthew: I am the VP of Enterprise Mobility for North America at SAP.  I orchestrate SAP’s efforts to be the leading Enterprise Mobility Software and Services company.  Specifically, I am focused on creating a portfolio of software and services that will allow SAP’s Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) to be the enterprise standard for Mobile Enterprise Application Plaforms (MEAP) and Afaria to be the enterprise standard for Mobile Device Management (MDM). At the end of the day, My team and I help SAP customers to get up and live on mobile solutions.  I am excited to announce that we have been able to put together an exceptional team of experts including Dr. Ahmed El Adl.

Kevin: Where are you located? 

Matthew:  I live in San Diego, California where I have been for the last 3 years.

Kevin: What mobile device(s) do you carry? 

Matthew: I carry a Blackberry Curve, iPhone 4, iPad, and a MacBook Pro (that I rarely use anymore as I mostly use the iPad).  I love the Zagg case for my iPad.  It is an aluminum case with a built in keyboard and stand for my iPad.  With this case I have cut back on my laptop use by about 75%.

Kevin: What are some of your favorite mobile applications that you have on your mobile device? 

Matthew: The Kindle app for both my iPad and iPhone.  I am a big e-book reader.  Also Dragon Dictation – I dictate notes to myself while driving, Hertz, Delta and American Travel apps. 

Kevin: Do you ever use your mobile device to buy things? 

Matthew: Yes, every day.  Airline tickets, hotel, car reservations, books, Amazon, iTunes. 

Kevin: How many computing devices do you have in your home?  

Matthew: Fourteen

Kevin: How long have you been involved in enterprise mobility? 

Matthew: Three years in enterprise mobility after years of doing lean mobility projects in the supply chain space.  Recently, I was involved in some very cool new mobile applications in the media and entertainment space

Kevin: How did you get involved in enterprise mobility? 

Matthew: I am old school supply chain and manufacturing guy.  I worked on SAP old school mobility projects at major Auto Manufacturing, Semiconductor and High Tech customers.  When I saw SAP focus on enterprise mobility following the Sybase acquisition I decided to dive headfirst into that space.

Kevin: What is different today, than when you started with enterprise mobility? 

Matthew: The complexity and chaos surrounding the number of choices that currently exist.  This is overwhelming for many CIOs, but with this chaos come great opportunities for advancement.  Mobile devices now compare to the power of laptops and desktops.  In the past these capabilities and options just did not exist. 

Kevin: What industries do you see adopting mobility today? 

Matthew: There is a lot of interest from Government institutions – both civilian and defense, plus healthcare, retail and utilities are moving fast in mobility.

Kevin: What business processes do you see companies mobilizing today? 

Matthew: Companies are starting slow – they first need a mobile strategy.  Then they will focus on low hanging fruit like mobile workflows.   Examples of workflows are purchase orders, purchase requisitions,  time approvals, vacation requests, time entry, etc, really any kind of back office approval.  These apps might not seem sexy, but they are hugely effective in making companies more efficient.  In the past there were self service portals, but users needed to boot up their laptops and login.

Kevin: What are some of the most surprising trends you saw in mobility 2010? 

Matthew: Android charged past Symbian.  Nokia announced defeat.  Tablet sales were shocking!  Laptop sales have gone down, but tablets.  Microsoft abandoned their win tel chip, now going with an ARM chip (the chip for mobility).  Microsoft endorsing chips that focus on mobility – the end of the PC’s reign supreme is near! 

Kevin: What are some of the biggest challenges you see in mobility today? 

Matthew: Companies lack an enterprise mobility strategy.  Once they have a mobile strategy, they need to be able to meet the demand of their end users for mobile applications.  This is a significant IT challenge.

Kevin: How are enterprise mobility implementations different from other typical IT projects? 

Matthew: The speed at which apps can be designed, developed and deployed.  Also there is often zero end user training.  The apps need to be intuitive enough for people to use without training.

Kevin: What do companies fail to plan for when implementing mobility? 

Matthew: Companies fail to anticipate the pent up demand for mobile applications and when the floodgates open there is a tremendous flow of ideas and requests that need to be managed.  Also, just because you can move an on-premise app to a mobile device, does not mean you should.  You must implement the appropriate infrastructure, policies and approval of apps.  It must be documented and managed.  It is like the old days when ever department wanted their own website.  Lastly, companies need a strategy for Mobile Device Management and Security.

Kevin: What advice do you have for companies just starting down an enterprise mobility path? 

Matthew:  Read all of Kevin Benedict’s blogs!  They really should do their research on enterprise mobility.  They need to know all about OSs, platforms, etc.  Get a mobility education.  Engage with their vendor of choice, meaning SAP and Sybase, to help them go from on-premise to mobile device.  Make a plan first and have a good strategy.  It is easy to develop a mobile app and launch it, but does it satisfy a business need?

Kevin: How important is mobile device management and security? 

Matthew: It is paramount to the success of a project.  It must be addressed.  It needs the utmost focus and attention.  It is absolutely required.  A nuclear generating company I spoke to recently is starting mobility – they must consider the risk of people gaining access to their systems via a mobile device.  Each device is a potential entry point to their corporate systems.

Kevin: What should people know about your services at SAP? 

Matthew: SAP consulting considers itself one of the leading mobile consulting organizations in the world.  The combination of SAP’s value engineering, business transformation services, IT transformation services and innovative business solutions group give us the ability to help customers develop a strategy and roadmap, architecture, design, deploy, develop apps, maintain apps for the enterprise.  We do end-to-end mobility.  If you don’t do a strategy upfront for mobility, you can be in production 4 weeks later and going the wrong direction – this can and should be avoided.  If you allow mobility to become uncontrolled within 3 months you can create complete chaos.  It can easily become a disaster for IT without good planning.  A lot of SAP customers want us to give them direction and guidance.

Kevin: Where do you see mobility going in 2011? 

Matthew: There will be expansion of all mobile apps.  In-memory, analytics and mobile apps will all work together.  Smartphones will have in-memory analytics and a on device memory.  Monitors and screens will become ubiquitous and separate from the portable/mobile devices.  You should be able to connect your mobile device to any available display and keyboard via bluetooth.  Also, M2M (machine-to-machine communications) will be transformational, but also a bit scary.  It’s the Terminator kind of stuff that can give you nightmares, but the dreams of the Jetson’s world we have all been waiting for can trump the fear. 

I am pleased to announce that in SAP’s Mobile COE  (center of excellence), Dr. Ahmed El Adl we be my new partner.  In his new role, Ahmed will focus on the following:

  • Orchestrating elements of our mobility services which span all SAP Consulting’s existing service lines –  VE, BTS, ITTS, SBO, CDP, Core, PDS, Education and Global, including Delivery Enablement. 
  • Crafting our portfolio of mobility services and defining industry-specific offerings through close collaboration with Product Development, Sales and customers. 
  • Working with our License Mobility CoE and Alliances to help drive the creation of an ecosystem around our mobility solutions and to ensure the success of customers who have invested in our products.

While Ahmed focuses on mobility practice development and delivery, I will continue to focus on the business development and customer sales and support aspects of the CoE. 

Matthew – thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts and insights with all of us!

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