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The mobility world has never seen the pace of growth and innovation that it’s enjoying today. While mobile is becoming common and expected, how are you evolving your mobile strategy for manufacturing? Where are the strongest business cases? Which users and processes should you target
and what technology should you use?

We discussed these topics on April 15th at the SAP Manufacturing Industry Forum in a lively panel discussion.  I was fortunate to moderate the topic with Anand Kumar – Principal of SAP COE, Fujitsu, Mark Provost – Perkin Elmer, and Jeff Kleban – Global Vice President, Mobile Strategy, SAP.  The following is a summary of our Q&A session.

How would you say mobile strategy has evolved in the last 24-36 months?  kleban.JPG

There was universal agreement that organizations were talking about independent projects that were isolated.  The mindset is becoming more strategic as leaders recognize the entire business is mobilizing.  That means the platform approach has significant advantages for repeatability and learning curves for subsequent projects.  Also having deployment models such as Rapid Deployment Solutions is a less risky and reliable way to mobilize.

What are best practices for establishing an organization’s mobile roadmap?

Anand Kumar shared with the audience their Fujitsu’s Mobile Roadmap Strategy approach.  They start with a Enterprise Mobility Awareness Workshop that provides management consulting to help you explore the opportunities and benefits of current mobile technologies and their potential business value.  Next they quantify the ROI of process improvements and assess the organizational impact.  This helps them map out a successful enterprise mobility strategy for your business.  This leads them to Design and implementation planning while also offer enterprise mobility managed services.

Which users and processes did you target for your mobile projects?  Why?

Mark Provost told us the decision was straightforward.  They looked for the highest ROI which was field service.  Mobility eliminated paperwork and unnecessary steps.  This also aided in helping them generating more accurate and timely field service reports.  Moreover they were able to configure seamless request for replenishment of stock for the field service technicians.  The are able to deliver “best-in-class” responsiveness and professionalism in all customer interactions.  They deployed SAP CRM Service Manager worldwide.

What areas of mobility do you believe get overlooked when planning?

Anand shared that looking at other departments and areas that can be mobilized can get overlooked so you miss that in your planning.  However their approach is designed to help customers scale and evolve their mobile strategy. 

Jeff Kleban had a great insight that organizations forget to measure their success.  Its easy to claim success when the users love the mobile solutions.  But that doesn’t get you more funding for the next project.  You defined at the start the reasons you were mobilizing.  Build KPIs around those and show the before and after results to have a concrete ROI.  It will help you take less time and likely get more money when you can easily point out how the organization has benefited financially.  Get beyond the warm fuzzy and you get more executive sponsorship.

What promising technologies and approaches should organizations consider? 

We discussed a number of technologies including a noteworthy wearable technology.  Annand from Fujitsu showed these new gloves that interpreted hand gestures with sensors and helped with tagging.  This truly speeds up data input and makes for a smart hands-free solution.

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For more on mobile and what was shared at the SAP Manufacturing Industry Forum 2014, click here.

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