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This past week our (SAP) co-CEO Bill McDermott spoke with Washington Technology about 3 mega trends that are shaping SAP’s strategy – the move to mobility, big data, and cloud computing.  I don’t think anyone working with enterprise software or delivering services to this space would question those trends.  In fact, I see the convergence of two of these trends, mobility and data analytics, every day at work.  At SAP, a number of executives have now added tablets to their mobile device arsenal.  A good friend of mine showed me how he can view his teams’ sales pipeline and slice and dice the data any which way to instantly ask, and answer, questions on the fly.   To instantly mine the data and make relevant business decisions is something that was not previously possible without this convergence.

That ability to analyze large amounts of data on a mobile device, such as a tablet, is definitely a benefit.  In fact, it will no doubt play a strong role in the direction of enterprise software.  It empowers the right people to make the right decisions, at ideally, the right time.  But I’ve got to tell you, while it is great to have real-time data at your finger tips, it’s not magic data.  The phrase, “a monkey with a gun” popped into my mind when thinking about companies who anxiously push data out to tablets without fully evaluating their mobile strategy. 

Shiny Gadgets Still Need a Strategy

Yes, empowering end-users with real-time data in an easy to use interface is absolutely a good thing.  However, don’t let the bright lights of shiny gadgets blind you to the basics of smart business practices.  You still need to remember the basics of clean master data, consistent terminology, and sound strategies on business intelligence.  And then you need to weave in your mobility strategy.  You’ll need to consider device selection, supportability, security.  There is even a trend around BYOD “bring your own device” to work.  Is your IT department prepared for that sort of mixed hardware environment? 

Don’t Forget the Training

Let’s say you’ve got a pretty good data strategy and you’ve worked out how you want to deploy and secure your mobile devices.  At this point, you may think you’re done.  Not so fast.   I would implore you, do not forget to invest in training these newly empowered employees on what to do with all of this new-found data.

The convergence of analytics, mobility, cloud, and more recently, in-memory technology, open up more new conversations around solving business issues.  It is absolutely an exciting time in the enterprise software world.   What do you think about the merits of pushing analytics down to every employee that needs it?  What about combining that with mobility?  Do you have mobility strategies in place already, or are you just starting down this exciting journey?  Let me know your thoughts – happy to kick around some of your ideas.

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