Ah, June. The beginning of summer, when the kids are finally released from school, and Gadgets are finally released from the Purgatory between Digitimes Taiwan rumor and Midwestern Best Buy store shelf.

 

The hottest gadget rumor, lately even hotter than the iPhone 5, and wayyy hotter than the quickly-dismissed Facebook phone, is the Google Nexus tablet. This would be Google's second attempt at mobile hardware - its Google Nexus smartphone was a non-starter. It will allegedly be built by Asus, not Google's recently-swallowed Motorola Mobility, and run Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 chipset. It will be 7 inches, cost a Kindle-matching $200 and be the debut of the latest Android update, version 5.0, aka Jelly Bean.

 

For consumers, Jelly Bean should indeed be sweet. Rumors say goodies include a Siri-like voice assistant, Google's suddenly market-leading Chrome Web browser, better touch keyboard, more integration with Google services and more tablet-specific features.

 

For enterprises, rumored features they would care about include the ability to run on laptops (and possibly even dual-boot with Microsoft Windows), a file system, increased protection from malware, including the dumping of Adobe's already-dying mobile Flash player.

 

The other good news for enterprises is that Jelly Bean heralds a new era wherein Google will only release one major Android update per year.

 

 

How sweet will Android Jelly Bean be for enterprises?

Credit: Shutterstock.com

 

Google started off frenetically, taking the 'ship early, ship often' mantra literally. In 2009, Google released three updates to Android (Cupcake, Donut and Eclair).

 

After complaints, it slowed the pace to bi-annual updates in the last two years.

 

The problem is that Google's hardware partners still haven't caught up. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is only running on about 5% of devices today. Almost two-thirds of devices are still running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Even Android 2.1 Eclair, released 2.5 years ago, has more users than ICS.

 

The Samsungs and HTCs of this world remain slow about releasing their newest hardware with the latest Android update installed (though the vendors would retort that Google's processes are to blame). They are also excruciatingly slow about making Android updates available to devices already out in the field (if at all).

 

By going to one update a year, providing better previews to key hardware and software partners, and clamping down on roadmap rumors, Cupertino-style, Google can go a long way towards turning a negative (fragmentation) into a positive (sustained, regular innovation).

 

I am also hoping that the lack of leaks about hard-core enterprise features in Jelly Bean are only because these kinds of features aren't sexy enough for the Rumor Mill.

 

Broadly speaking, Android remains the least secure and manageable of the major mobile platforms, partly because it lacks those features itself, but mostly because it doesn't allow third-party developers to easily implement them.

 

If Google opens up a significant number of Android APIs related to securing and managing devices, this would improve its reputation immensely, and overnight turn it into a true enterprise and BYOD contender versus iOS.

 

In the meantime, enterprises wanting to deploy Android should consider emulating companies like my employer, SAP. SAP has more than 1,000 workers using Android devices. But not just any devices: it has only approved Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets. Samsung has done special engineering work on Android to grant IT departments running selected Mobile Device Management (MDM) software, including SAP Afaria, stronger manageability and security than they would have over other Android devices.

TigerText doesn't count down when your text messages will disappear, Mission Impossible-style. Nor, thankfully, does it blow up your smartphone.

 

But in every other way, this 2-year-old app can make your text messages go Ghost Protocol nearly any way you want them to.

 

The free consumer version of TigerText was introduced in February 2010, just after Tiger Woods' adulterous text messages had been made public (TigerText's founders claimed they just liked the alliteration, and that they'd chosen the name well before the whole scandal blew up).

 

Judging by the 1.5 million downloads since then, there are plenty of spies and lovers on the down low...

 

Available for iPhone/iPad, Android devices, BlackBerries and Mac and Windows PCs, TigerText lets users set expiration dates for messages sent via its secure private network, delete message/chat histories - even recall mis-sent messages that could cause reactions like the ones below.

 

Credit: ShutterStock.com

 

TigerText's founders' story, and they're sticking with it, is that they created the app in response to an European Union law that all phone and Internet providers had to keep cellphone and e-mail data for a certain period of time. "This just seems wrong and an invasion of privacy," TIgerText founder Jeffrey Evans told Time magazine at the time.

 

Turns out that TigerText has plenty of use in the business world, too.

 

Most of TigerText's 50+ enterprise customers are hospitals, who not only must comply with strict HIPAA rules around patient data, but, at least in America, must now prevent their doctors from communicating with patients via regular text messages (a ban that TigerTexts, because they are over a private network with automatically-deletable messages, are exempt from).

 

And according to an unverified comment on my blog post at Forbes, "At the hospital I work at, we have the burden of meeting HIPAA requirements, particularly since many doctors send and receive patient info via text messaging on thier BYOD phones," wrote 'Joshua Jericho'. "We got the doctors to use Tigertext, which deletes the text messages after a period of time, making it HIPAA compliant. I don't know if this is the best solution for everyone, but it was an easy and cost effective way to deal with this issue. It was added to the IT departments responsbilities, but once the departments business objectives where (sp) redefined on this issue, they were able to handle it better."

 

TigerText, which just closed an $8.2 million round of VC funding, also has customers like banks who must comply with Sarbanes-Oxley rules.

 

TigerText isn't the only provider of secure enterprise text messaging. Others include DocBookMD and MobileStorm.

 

But the Santa Monica, Calif.-based just introduced a new version of its app, with improvements such as: instant-messenger-like speed of delivery, PIN protection of the app, image sharing and remote wipe of the app for network administrators.

 

I spoke with CTO Sumeet Bhatia of TigerText Wednesday to learn more about the app's guts.

 

(Warning: this is the part of the post where it gets a bit nerdytechnical.)

 

TigerText messages reside inside a sandbox created by the TigerText app. As a result, they can't be copy-and-pasted to other apps, or forwarded to another person, Bhatia said.

 

TigerText integrates with Active Directory and other LDAP technology, meaning that users can start typing a co-worker's name and have the rest auto-filled by the corporate address book. Future versions will let users send messages to those without the TigerText app like those outside the company.

 

Bhatia says that TigerText is a targeted solution that can accommodate the devices that doctors and other workers want to use, and is also far less expensive than large-scale Hospital Information Management System software or integrated tablet-software solutions from vendors like Cisco or Alcatel.

 

Though TigerText has some mobile device management-like features, the company has no major MDM aspirations, Bhatia said. Instead, TigerText has an open API and alliances with several MDM vendors including MobileIron, Airwatch and Manage Mobility. It is working with one of those MDM vendors to enable its app to be managed via that software's console and policies, Bhatia said.

 

"We're not focused on becoming an MDM vendor, we just want to be the hands-down best secure real-time messaging platform. There's so much opportunity in that," he said.

It's the strategies, stupid.

 

Even smart CIOs and well-managed enterprises are having problems as they embrace mobility. And while mobile devices and apps are new and complicated in ways far different from PCs and server applications, the challenges confounding IT leaders tend to be less technical and more business and strategic.

 

That's according to an IDG Research survey of 140 CIOs and IT managers that are members of the private CIO Forum on LinkedIn.

 

The survey, sponsored by SAP, shows a gulf between vision and the plans to make those visions reality. For instance, while 71% of CIOs see mobile as transformational or strategic, only 18% have a strategy to enable mobile to achieve those lofty goals.

 

There's also a disturbing lack of faith in mobile. 56% say they are unclear on how to present the business case for mobile. That may be due to a lack of time or resources (39%) or a lack of processes or know-how to measure the hard and soft benefits of mobile (34%). Not every company has got it together as ADT, which has been able to show that some of its salespeople have doubled their sales as the result of deploying field service apps on tablets.

 

There's also naivete. Half of enterprises admit they lack mobile developers even while 62% say they expect to roll out mobile apps that are either custom-built or need heavy tweaking. That work can be done by outside developers, for sure, though CIOs may be shocked at the cost.

 

You can download an in-depth whitepaper with more survey results and expert interpretation at www.sap.com/mobileCIO or by taking a picture of the QR code at the bottom of the below infographic.

 

But you can skim the findings via the Infographic below. You can pass it along by right-clicking and saving, or giving them the no-registration required permalink for the Infographic http://bit.ly/Ld2wJ5 perfect for Twitter or Facebook.

 

Here are a handful of partnerships, launches and momentum updates that show SAP's seriousness about building a vibrant mobile ecosystem.

 

1) Large developers Cap Gemini and Mobiquity agreed to build apps using the SAP Mobile Platform.

 

(The SAP Mobile Platform was recently awarded the top spot in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms.)

 

2) SAP launched a Mobile Apps Partner Program aimed at making it easier for smaller developers to get access to the Sybase Unwired Platform quickly and at a reasonable cost. It also helps those developers start to sell packaged apps via the SAP Store for Mobile Apps.

 

 

As you can see, the basic subscription is 1,990 euros a year, which gives access to up to 10 developer editions of SUP. That's a huge discount from before. And the whole process should be far more streamlined than before.

 

3) Speaking of streamlining access...the SUP development platform is now available as a free trial in the cloud. This is a new feature at the SAP Developer Center (go there and click on Mobility).

 

 

According to David Brutman, senior director of developer relations at SAP, developers can quickly connect their SUP app to a real SAP ERP back-end system so that they "can run through exercises and get their hands dirty."

 

The trial edition, alas, is limited to 30 days. But moves are afoot to expand that length of time and make it otherwise more flexible for developers.

 

4) Even before those moves, SAP was successfully wooing mobile partners and customers.

 

At SAPPHIRE NOW, there are 90+ partner apps on the show floor. These include Liquid Analytics, which has built a slick supply chain management app, and Smartsoft Mobile Solutions, with its field sales app. Check out video demos here.

 

Watch more videos featuring SAP mobile partner apps.

 

Also, SAP announced this week some uptake figures for its SAP Store for Mobile Apps, which only launched last fall: 1.2 million registered users, 1,200 companies, 81 apps on sale, 40,000 downloads.

 

(Watch this interview with SAP vice-president, Usman Sheikh, about the Store.)

 

And from CRN:

Systech  Integrators, a San Jose, Calif.-based solution provider, has  built an  extensive mobility business by developing turnkey systems and  services  around SAP's technology, including mobile applications based on  the SAP  Business Suite and mobile business intelligence software based  on SAP  BusinessObjects.

"Mobility is a very big market," said Rajeev  Tyagi, Systech's COO, in an  interview at Sapphire Now. "That's where  we're spending all of our  strategic dollars."

 

5) The SAP Store for Mobile Apps' interface was also refreshed. See this screenshot:

 

 

Australian developer and SAP mentor, John Moy, who took this screenshot, praised it. "I must say, the new look #SAP Mobile App Store on iOS looks great. Big improvement on the earlier version."

I stalked the Mobile Campus of SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando on Monday, looking to shoot video of some of the most interesting enterprise apps on display.

There was no shortage of candidates. SAP announced nine new mobile apps on Monday. View the screenshots here and let us know if we're achieving our goal of making beautiful/gamified user interfaces.  And there were 90+ apps on display by SAP partners - evidence that we're wooing developers and on track to meet our stretch goal of having 80% SAP mobile apps built by those in the ecosystem.   

 

At the Test Drive Tables on the Mobile Campus, I captured videos of six apps.

 

 

This was the coolest-looking app I saw. The topic is mundane - helping factory and plant warehouses prevent parts shortages. But the UI had a colorful, cartoony feel that reminded me of 70s kids shows like Sesame Street. That's intentional, said mobility architect David Parker of Liquid Analytics, which created the app. The simplicity but directness of the UI - there are traffic lights that turn red when parts are in extremely short supply - drives the point home to time-pressed supply chain managers. 

 

 

Sybase 365 is the market leader in mobile messaging that is also pushing strongly into m-commerce. For SAPPHIRENOW, SAP and Sybase 365 engineers built native app front-ends connecting to Sybase 365 services. Achim Hebestreit, telecom solutions manager for SAP, showed me two of those apps. The first is a mobile banking app for telcos that turns your iPhone into a debit card. Perfect for parents who want to parcel out cash to teens, not unlimited credit card/bank account access. The second app is basically a turnkey solution for telcos that want to offer a Groupon or LivingSocial-type coupon service.   

 


Lots of workers can't do perform work until they've passed industry or governmental certifications. Think medical workers or field service technicians in regulated industries. This E-learning app from SAP shown to me by Jason Palmer, director for Oil and Gas solutions at SAP, could help workers take their courses and pass necessary tests 15-20% faster.   

 

 

Outages are the bane of power companies, whether they operate in the Hurricane Belt or the Earthquake Zone. Lisa Dalesandro DiCristofer, a principal in the utilities industry solutions group at SAP, gave me a demo of a new app running on iPad that could help field techs fix problems faster.   

 

 

SAP's Value Engineering consultants advise companies on how they can wring process improvements out of their use of enterprise software. Smartsoft Mobile Solutions built an app to help these consultants better show relevant data to enterprise IT, including generating and e-mailing a PDF immediately after the wrap-up of a meeting with potential customers, according to Edward Krufka, senior vice-president for product management at SmartSoft.

It's hard to impress me with statistics and factoids. I'm inundated by them all day, every day. But these new findings, courtesy of iPass's latest Mobile Workforce Report, blew me away:

1. The average mobile worker globally carries 3.5 mobile devices.

 

 

Click on the infographic above to go to the Times of London, which created this and other snazzy chartsbased on iPass's stats.

 

At first blush, that 3.5 device/worker figure seemed awfully high. Then I started thinking about how I plan to pack for the SAPPHIRE NOW conference in Orlando next week. One company-issued Dell laptop, one personal iPad and one individually-liable, company-paid iPhone. That's three devices right there. And I know plenty of people, especially those working at BlackBerry-only companies, that carry an additional iPhone or Droid for personal use.

 

iPass's survey reached that figure in a different manner:

 

 

From this, it looks like:

 

- only about half of workers today carry tablets (though that's double from the prior year);

- about half of mobile workers carry an additional laptop/netbook for work;

- about 40% of workers are carrying two phones, i.e. one for work and one for pleasure.

 

2. 80% of mobile workers will be carrying a tablet within 6 months, according to iPass's data. So yep, the overall number of devices per worker is set to keep growing (it's up 30% from 2.7 mobile devices a year ago).

 

3. On the other hand, the number of phones/worker may hold steady or actually shrink. Why? Because workers are clamoring to have their smartphone enabled for both work and personal use - 92%, according to iPass- presumably in order to to lighten their load and soothe their aching shoulders. Expect companies to accelerate the pace of adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in response.

 

4. The data begs the question: how many of those devices are being secured today? Most of those laptops are probably secure. PC management software is, at this point, fairly common and widespread.

 

But my other guess is that most of those tablets and probably half or more of those smartphones are not or only lightly secured today by Mobile Device Management (MDM) software.

 

That's because MDM software remains underused by IT, often because companies remain unsure whether they should or need to secure employee-owned devices brought in under BYOD policies.

 

It's a risk, though: mobile devices increasingly hold important data (think of the private customer and financial records that your CEO's iPhone holds) that if lost or stolen can cost companies plenty in remediation costs or regulatory/legal penalties.

 

The excuses for IT not to choose a strong MDM solution get fewer and fewer. Take SAP Afaria, part of the larger SAP Mobile Platform that was ranked tops in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms.

 

Heard that Afaria is complicated to learn? Well, the latest version 7.0 brings a new, simplier UI.

 

Think Afaria's expensive? You can get Afaria as a managed service from Verizon Wireless or ATS, which caters explicitly to small to medium-sized businesses. Managed services don't require pricey, lengthy installs, instead letting users pay monthly subscriptions that can be discontinued anytime.

 

Like the cloud but still want to have more management control? Then you can get Afaria as hosted software running on Amazon.com's cloud storage.

If you're coming to SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando next week, please come by the Mobile Campus to check out Afaria demoes. Or register for one of 18 sessions where you can learn more.

The old SAP would never have been able to deploy apps in a matter of weeks, either for customers (via its Rapid Deployment Solutions group) - or for itself.

 

As Captain Kirk might've adlibbed, this is not your father's SAP.

 

Earlier this spring, SAP released its first HANA-based mobile consumer app, Recalls Plus.

 

Recalls Plus has delivered more than 10,000 food, drug and toy alerts to concerned parents since its release.

 

SAP's in-house developers used the popular HTML5 app development framework, PhoneGap, from Adobe Systems Inc., to accomplish this.

 

PhoneGap, as you might recall, was one of three frameworks that SAP announced in April would be integrated with SAP's mobile platforms. Sencha and Appcelerator are the two others.

 

PhoneGap is known for its ease of development. One YouTube video by SAP mentor John Moy shows a PhoneGap app being built in just 5 minutes.

In our case, it took SAP five weeks to port the app written in iOS's native Objective C code to HTML5-based code that can run on Android devices using PhoneGap.

 

That is still impressive, considering the translation work required, as well as the complexity of the data Recalls Plus relies upon.

 

Recalls Plus draws on data from four different U.S. government agencies  that are stored and pulled from the fast SAP HANA data platform.

 

Download the Android version of Recalls Plus from Google Play here, or send the link to your parent friends.

 

If you want to meet the folks behind Recalls Plus, find them at the SAPPHIRE NOW conference in Orlando next week. They will be at the Mobility Campus giving demos, speaking at microforums and talking to influencers and any other interested attendees.

 

The world needs another piece of tech jargon like I need a hole in my head.

 

Still, I like SoCloMo, created by the smart fellas at Aberdeen Research, because it captures in rhyme three out of four of today's key enterprise computing trends - Social, Cloud and Mobile.*

 

While SAP's roots are in 80s-era client-server computing, we are busily re-inventing both our products and our internal technology for the SoCloMo era.

On the latter internal side, here are four ways, as shared with me by SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann in an interview last week.

 

1. On Cloud, SAP is starting to roll out SuccessFactors internally. The acquisition of Successfactors was finalized just three months ago. Since then, its cloud-based Human Capital Management software has been rolled out to more than 1,500 employees in Ireland and North America, said Bussmann. Starting in July, Bussmann's team will start rolling out all 19 modules of SuccessFactors, including the mobile dashboard, to all 50,000+ employees at SAP worldwide.

 

"It's a really nice front-end that will make information about yourself much more accessible" to SAP co-workers, Bussmann said.

 

Deploying SuccessFactors and other HR/HCM-oriented apps to on-campus employees is part of the third stage of Bussmann's mobilization plan. The first two were getting devices into employees' hands and getting business analytics and salesforce automation apps into the hands of executives and salespeople, respectively.

 

2. On Social, Bussmann is leading by example. Bussmann believes that Generation Y's habits are changing intra-company communication, not the other way around.

 

"It will be less about e-mail, and more about text messaging, about Facebook, to Twitter," he said. He also believes that influence inside of a company will be earned by employees the same way it is earned in the social world today - by making yourself heard and building up your network through intelligent contributions.

 

Unlike some CIOs, Bussmann is not strongarming SAP employees to dump e-mail or radically alter their behaviors. He prefers to lead by example, by blogging regularly, tweeting multiple times a day, and gathering nearly 5,000 followers on Twitter. It's why Bussmann was recently ranked the most socially active CIO among the Fortune 250 by social software vendor, harmon.ie. By its scale, Bussmann had 9,824 points, far ahead of the number two, the CIO of Google. Bussmann was also recently awarded the distinction of European CIO of the Year, in large part because of his social activity.

 

(By the way, Bussmann will be speaking at four different talks and presentations at our SAPPHIRE NOW conference in Orlando next week. His first talk, "The   Big Five: How SAP Aligns its Strategy with Key Innovations," will give  a  broad overview. Another, "Drinking Our Own Champagne: SAP Moves to  the  Cloud," will be on the cloud, while two others will focus on  mobile.  Those talks were already on my list of the 11 Most Intriguing Mobile Sessions for SAPPHIRE NOW.

 

Also,  Oliver and I will be co-hosting an SAP TweetChat from SAPPHIRE NOW on  Wednesday May 16th at 1 pm ET/10 am PT. We'll talk about SoCloMo, BYOD  and any other acronymed enterprise technology you care to discuss. Click  here to download the calendar invite which you can then add as a reminder in Outlook, Notes, etc.)

 

3. On Cloud, SAP has built its own enterprise-friendly alternative to DropBox. Announced last November by Bussmann to this very blogger, the cloud storage app is called SAP Box, and it is one of nearly 50 apps available to employees via SAP's own Enterprise App Store, called the App Gallery.

 

It has been downloaded 5,400 times since January, said Bussmann, and lets users easily and securely exchange up to 2 GB of files between iPad, iPhone and Windows PC. "People love it," he said.

 

The Afaria mobile device management (MDM) application will integrate SAP Box so that it can be offered to external customers, too.

 

4. On Mobile, SAP continues to execute ambitious plans. SAP is well-known for having one of the largest iPad and iPhone deployments around. Bussmann hopes to deploy up to 20,000 iPads internally by year's end. On Android, 1,000 employees are already using Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Those users can download the 50 apps available via SAP's App Gallery, as well as the 40 other beta apps in SAP's app "playground."

 

SAP also plans to invest in building and using apps running on Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 8, said Bussmann. SAP will show off a test version of a mobile CRM app running on Windows 8 at SAPPHIRE NOW. Bussmann also said that apps from another recent acquisition, Syclo, "are definitely on our radar screen," and hinted that apps based on RIM's coming BlackBerry 10 operating system are, too.

 

* If we want to add Big Data, perhaps we could rename it to SoCloMoDa?

Cleveland-based Safeguard Properties inspects and maintains more than a million foreclosed homes per month across the United States. It does so on behalf of their owners, primarily large banks and government agencies like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

 

The huge number of foreclosures, as well as the slim margins in the inspection business, forces Safeguard to be more resourceful than competitors.

 

In August 2011, the privately-held company began piloting to its network of 8,000+ freelance inspectors a field service app called INSPI2 that runs on their personally-owned iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

 

The new app has several advantages over its predecessor, for both inspectors and Safeguard, said Bill Cook, a senior IT project manager at Safeguard. First, the app boosts the speed and accuracy of inspectors. One way is by pre-filling out the electronic forms based on existing data, as well as informing users when new, incorrect information they've entered in doesn't reconcile with existing data.

 

"Even a 5% increase in accuracy can translate to significant speed and cost savings on back-end processing," Cook said.

 

The app boosts speed by letting users attach photos of the home taken with iPhone or Android smartphone straight into the relevant part of the INSPI2 form.

The increases are especially strong for the substantial percentage of workers that were still documenting a house on site using paper forms and digital camera, and then entering data and uploading images into INSPI afterward via their laptops.

 

The app also creates driving routes for inspectors based on what homes they have been scheduled to work on that day. That also saves inspectors, some of whom will inspect 70 to 100 homes a day, a lot of time.

 

"Most of the users love it," Cook said.

 

FASTER RESULTS, FASTER PAY

 

INSPI2 augments a Web site and client application that is still in use on laptops and PDA-type Windows Mobile devices. After just six months, it is already proving to be less expensive to support, with fewer calls per user to the help desk, said Cook.

 

The biggest boon of the new mobile app is in how much sooner that inspection results can be uploaded to Safeguard's servers: a 50% reduction in time, says Cook, that he credits to the 3G capabilities of the iPhones and Android smartphones, unlike the PDAs and laptops which only have Wi-Fi.

 

This nearer-to-real-time data transmission lets Safeguard deliver results to clients faster, as well as allow inspectors - who are paid per inspection - to get their checks more quickly.

 

Though Safeguard has 1,000 full-time employees, it only has two mobile developers on staff. So it turned to a California-based consultancy, Appstem Media, to port INSPI from Windows Mobile to iOS and Android.

 

Appstem built INSPI2 using the Appcelerator Titanium development framework. Appcelerator, which last month announced that it would connect with the SAP Mobile Platform, was chosen because it supported native apps on multiple platforms as well as HTML5 mobile Web apps.

 

Appstem wrote most of the application, with Cook's team doing the final 20%.

 

(Appcelerator executives including COO Sandeep Johri, vice-president of sales Trenton Truitt and vice-president of strategy Brent Maxwell, will be at the SAPPHIRE NOW conference in Orlando next week, including hosting a cocktail party on Monday May 14 at 6 pm at the Peabody Orlando hotel. Sign up here.)

 

Cook is pleased with the Appcelerator platform, though he notes that it took more work and time to get the Android app working as well as the iPhone. There has been a steady increase in the stability and capabilities of Appcelerator’s framework over the past year, he says.

 

With all of Safeguard's inspectors on contract rather than full-time, the company can encourage, but not mandate, that inspectors switch from laptops to the iPhone app. Nevertheless, a growing number of Safeguard's inspectors (360, or about 5%) are doing so voluntarily. About 57,000 inspections, or 7%, in April were conducted via INSPI2, said Cook.

 

Cook has also started Appstem working on a list of improvements for INSPI2, including: improved routing including geocoding to verify that inspectors are at the right home, a native UI for tablet versions of the app, better camera integration so that users can take and tag photos faster, and real-time notifications of contractors via text messages.

 

"These changes will give us real bang for the buck," Cook said. “We expect a huge jump in adoption of the app at our annual vendor conference this summer once we take it out of ‘pilot’ mode.”

 

Safeguard is also looking into building other apps for its REO and Property Preservation service lines, which provide services such as securing a property, debris removal, property maintenance, and rehabilitation on behalf of mortgage holders, Cook said.

 

************

The quarterly Enterprise Mobile newsletter that I edit has moved from Sybase to SAP. You may view the latest issue here or sign up to subscribe here.

 

Who suffers more when an employee loses his or her unprotected iPad, the large enterprise or a small business? In absolute dollars, probably the big company. An executive or salesperson could have tens of thousands of confidential customer records worth hundreds of millions of dollars of business stored on a tablet or smartphone.

 

But in terms of who proportionally gets hit harder, a smaller firm could find itself crippled if a few hundred key customer details are compromised.

 

That's why mobile device management (MDM) is probably even more imperative for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) than large enterprises.

 

And not just SMBs in heavily regulated industries like law, healthcare, or finance, but SMBs of every stripe.

 

Of course, buying and installing MDM software is too difficult and expensive for most smaller firms, who are usually lucky to have a single full-time IT person.

 

MDM software in the cloud is a good alternative. Also called managed mobility, there are a number of SAP partners offering our Afaria software as a hosted solution. In the US, that would be Verizon.

 

 

But Verizon isn't tailored at SMBs. Enter Advanced Technology Services Inc., or ATS. The Peoria, Ill. firm, which provides outsourced services to factory and plants, is debuting a hosted MDM service based on Sybase Afaria that is aimed at companies with as few as 25 devices, according to J.T. Wood, a senior product manager at ATS.

 

This not only scales all the way to "hundreds of thousands of devices," says Wood, but also can be tailored for companies of whatever flavor, not just industrial factories.

 

(ATS is not the only company to recently agree to use Afaria as the back-end of its managed service. In March, SAP inked a deal for Systex, a $500 million-a-year Taiwan-based tech services provider.)

 

A spinoff of tractor maker Caterpillar, ATS already has years of experience managing and supporting client computers, mostly fixed PCs and ruggedized mobile devices. "We do this today for companies like Sears and Coca-Cola," said Wood.

 

Data gathered by Afaria from the mobile devices will feed into Remedy service management software from BMC Software used by ATS. That data then feeds in SAP BusinessObjects where it will be analyzed and tracked by ATS managers on behalf of customers.

 

Wood, obviously, is bullish about the market. Factories, plants and other industrial companies all need help, as they are quickly moving away from ruggedized devices to iPads and Android-based devices, he said.

 

Sure, the breakage rates are slightly higher: a 500 worker deployment might require the company to buy 6-700 devices total over a 2-3 year lifecycle. But such "ruggedizing by 'sparing'," as Wood calls it, is still far cheaper than going with ruggedized devices, most of which cost between $1,000 to 4,000 dollars.

 

(Though many companies are sticking with tried-and-true rugged devices, like Australian electricity distributor Powercor, which is using Afaria to help keep the lights on.)

 

Beyond ATS's legacy market, though, demand is being driven by Bring Your Own Device as well as enterprise app stores.

 

"I'm talking to one company that has about 150 devices, all BYOD, at least 3 different kinds of devices, and 2-3 versions of iOS," Wood said. "These guys just cannot handle it on their own."

 

Wood and ATS will be at the SAPPHIRE NOW conference in Orlando in mid-May.  Find them at the Mobile Managed Solutions table on the Mobility Campus  at SAPPHIRE NOW, or contact Wood at jawood@advancedtech.com to set up a  meeting.

 

**********

 

Last year, it was actor Gabriel Byrne who lent his celebrity gravitas to SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, and Sting who rocked the stadium. This year, it will be athlete Lance Armstrong gracing us at the SAPPHIRE NOW keynote starting Monday May 14 at 8:30 am ET (sign up to watch it online here) and the original lineup of Van Halen rocking out. I can't wait til I hear them play this:

 

1. Do you have a smartphone or a tablet for work?
Yes, a smartphone. (+5)
Yes, a tablet. (+5)
Yes, both. (+10)
No, neither. (+1)

 

2. If smartphone, how smart is it?
It won the Scripps National Spelling Bee. (+5)
Smarter than your genius cousin. (+5)
Do you mean smart as in intelligent, or smart as in stylish? (+10)
Not smart. I need an upgrade. (+1)

 

3. Can you get your company e-mail on your device/s?
Of course. (+10)
Of course not. It’s against company policy. (+5)
(Ahem.) No. (+1)
Did someone tell you to ask me that? (-1)

 

4. And IT is aware of all this?
Yes. (+10)
What they don’t know won’t hurt them. (+1)
Hold on a sec while I go wake them up and ask. (-1)

 

 

5. Hypothetically speaking, if IT doesn’t know, what would they do if they found out?
Fire me. (-1)
Tighten down the screws on the company network. (+5)
Shrug. (+1)
Help me set it up the right way. (+10)

 

6. Can you access enterprise apps from your mobile device/s?
That’s what makes it/them so useful. (+10)
Ha! That’ll be the day. (+1)
If by “access” you mean “look at, like a child outside the window of a candy store” then yes. If you mean “actually use,” then no. (+5)
Again, did someone tell you to ask me this? (-1)

 

7. Who owns your device/s?
I do. (+10)
My company does. (+5)
Are you going to tell IT about the e-mail thing? (-1)

 

8. If you own it/them, does your company pick up any of the costs?
No, the cheapskates. (-1)
Yes, they cover some or all of the purchase price. (+1)
Yes, they cover some or all of the monthly service fee. (+5)
Yes, they pay for the whole enchilada. (+10)

 

Funny Graphs - Uses for a Home Telephone

 

9. If you own it, did you get to choose the device you wanted, or did you have to pick from a list?
My choice (+10)
Picked exactly what I wanted from a list. (+5)
Picked the least of several evils from a list. (+1)
I got what I wanted, and then pretended like
I didn’t know there was a list. (-1)

 

10. At your company, who can bring their own device?
No one. (+1)
Anyone with the chutzpah to flout official policy. (-1)
Just the suits. (+5)
Everybody: delivery truck drivers, CEO, admins. (+10)

 

11. How often do you have to change the password on your device/s?
Password protection is for wimps. (+1)
Whenever the things lock me out and force me to. (+10)
Never. I use the same PIN for my voicemail, ATM card and phone, and if I ever changed it, I’d be completely incapacitated. (+5)

 

 

12. Does your company have a mobile governance policy?
A what? (+1)
Yeah, but I’ve never read it. (+5)
Yes, I got a copy when IT set my phone and tablet up on the company mobile device management platform. (+10)

 

13. What does “remote wipe capability” mean?
Do not use that kind of language in the workplace! (+1)
When the touch screen gets really dirty, you can clean it from across the room? (+1)
I’m pretty sure it’s something to do with security. (+5)
IT can permanently erase everything on my phone if I lose it. (+10)

 

14. What’s an enterprise app store?
Beats me. (+1)
Someplace where I can download Angry Birds for free. (+5)
Is this a Star Trek reference? (-1)
That company web site where I download all the apps I need to do my job. (+10)

 

15. On a business trip, you leave your phone in a cab. You:
Swear. Loudly. (+1)
Threaten the dispatcher bodily harm if they can’t deliver it to you before your plane leaves. (-1)
Use Find My Phone to locate it. (+5)
Email IT from my tablet and tell them to lock it immediately. (+10)

 

16. From the following list, select all the places where you’ve done work from your mobile.
A coffeeshop. (+5)
The airport. (+5)
The beach. (+1)
In bed. And they wonder why we don’t use video chat. (+10)
The dog park. (+5)
My in-laws’. (+1)
The golf course. (+5)

 

17. Do you email, instant message or text your colleagues when you’re in the same room?
Never. Face-to-face interaction is always more satisfying. (+1)
You’re just mad that you can’t text as fast as me. (+5)
Just making sure everyone is included, and has conversations in writing for future reference. (+10)

 

18. When your device goes on the fritz, you:

“Accidentally” break it so you can get a new one on the company’s dime. (-1)
Turn it off and back on again, which usually clears up the problem. (+10)
Call help desk. They always help. (+5)
Call help desk over and over again until they show up at my desk, because they ignore me otherwise. (+1)

 

*************

Tally Your Score

 

Above 160: Exemplary
Your company is so hip to mobility, we’d like it to be our case study.

 

135 - 159: Ahead of the Pack
Pat your IT department on the back. It sounds like your CIO is plugged in, and making a concerted effort to support mobile workers, but there’s still some room for improvement.

 

90 - 134: Steady as She Goes
Your company is on Mobilization Road, but has a way to go to wring out full benefits. A governance policy is probably in order, as are the security and administration features available in mobile management software.

 

50 – 89: Lagging Behind
Scoring somewhere between Clueless and Draconian, your company needs to get with the program. Password protection, secure company email and allowing more devices are good places to start.

 

Under 50: Accident Waiting to Happen
Your company is operating in the Mobility Danger Zone. It’s time for IT to recognize that Denial is more than a river in Egypt, and that company data is already at risk.

 

----------

 

This article is excerpted from the Mobility Manifesto. Find similar pieces when you download the e-book by visiting http://www.MobilityManifesto.com.

I'm gonna knock you out. Mama said knock you out...Gartner just released its Magic Quadrant report (read the full report for free here) on the best Mobile Application Development Platforms.

 

SAP - and pending acquisition, Syclo - knocked out the competition, taking 2 out of the top three spots in the Leader's Quadrant (Antenna Software was the third).

 

It was a huge move up and to the right for Sybase/SAP from prior years. So rather than quietly humblebrag about it, I think it deserves its own bombastic theme song from rapper LL Cool J:

 

 

Over the competition, I'm towerin'...

 

SAP and Syclo placed ahead of big names such as Adobe, RIM, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, IBM...22 firms in all.

 

Though anyone glancing at the chart can see who Gartner picked as the real leader:


Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms

 

Don't call it comeback. I been here for years...

 

The Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) has long been one of the leading Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAPs).

 

Similarly, Sybase 365's Mobiliser Platform is also a very popular Mobile Consumer Application Platform (MCAP).

 

So why did SAP leap to the top this year? Because the market is moving the way we anticipated, and embracing our vision.

 

Enterprises are eschewing the chaos of multiple mobile app development platforms, which they are discovering to be as much of a headache as coping with multiple unmanaged mobile devices on their networks.

 

Instead of choosing a best-of-breed MCAP to build that B2C marketing app and a separate MEAP for the field service apps, firms are "increasingly" looking "for a single MADP that can address most, if not all, of their future projects across all scenarios," Gartner says.

 

That's what the SAP Mobile Platform announced April 10th offers. It already combines SUP with SAP's vaunted back-end software (some via the Netweaver Gateway middleware), as well as SAP's fast-growing fleet  of mobile business apps.

 

But very soon, the SAP Mobile Platform will integrate 365's Mobiliser for mobile banking and other B2C apps, as well as popular Web development  platforms such as Adobe PhoneGap, Appcelerator and Sencha, and, eventually, the Syclo mobile business apps and platform that Gartner also ranks so highly.

 

Don't ever compare me to the rest that'll all get sliced and diced - Competition's payin' the price...

 

"SAP has one of the largest mobile development efforts, both in terms of devoted internal resources and partner management. Gartner observed partners actively integrating with SUP during 2011, and we anticipate that continuing in the long term," wrote Gartner.

 

Moreover, SAP "has the most flexible application development environment, offering plug-ins for Eclipse and Visual Studio, as well as a proprietary studio...Sybase continues to have the broadest device support among all the multichannel vendors, and the strongest MDM offering, Afaria."

 

Rockin our peers and puttin' suckas in fear...

 

Meanwhile, "SUP has a widening support base" due to "significant market traction" and partners like Syclo and Sky Technologies integrating with SUP, wrote Gartner.

 

And the "Sybase 365 platform is scaling well in mobile banking, especially in emerging economies," said Gartner. "It has a large global reach [and the] SAP's mobile messaging offering is best-of-breed, with strong database/interface support, global reach, campaign management and prebuilt application modules."

 

*********

 

Speaking of free analyst reports, Forrester Research just published a report entitled "Mobile is the New Face of Engagement."

 

In it, analysts Ted Schadler and John C. McCarthy make the Big Argument that smartphone apps are developing contextual intelligence based on our location and other app usage.

 

That means that apps will proactively cater to us in a much more holistic and personalized way.

 

To me, it sounds like the early manifestations of what we may later label as the beginnings of Artificial Intelligence, albeit at the network, not single computer, level.

 

Whatever you call it, the shift will have major implications on enterprises, who need to step and create an Office of the Chief Mobility Officer to keep up on this enterprise strategy.

 

You can download the whitepaper here.