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"Take our Kids to Work" is an annual program in which Grade 9 students are hosted by parents, friends, relatives and volunteers at workplaces across Canada every November. The program supports career development by helping students connect school and the business world, and helps students think ahead for their own futures. At SAP Waterloo, we welcomed seven students on November 4th, hoping to teach the kids about the world of working in a leading technology company as they begin to explore possible careers.


To be successful, students need to understand new technologies and how businesses operate – what better place that at SAP. Our goal was to complement the student’s in school learning by showing them what “A day in the life at SAP” is all about. While some days we are tied to our desks madly coding, writing documentation or creating presentations, we wanted to give these kids a taste of the workplace that is fun and engaging.



We put together a great agenda including a workshop in the “D-Shop” (Design Shop) that showcased how coding can be fun. The kids explored Lego Mindstorms by building creations to perform specific actions, and tried out Oculus Rift to see what it is like experience things through the power of virtual reality.



In the afternoon we gave the students a taste of seven different aspects of the business: Operations, Development, Technical Support, Technical Writing, Marketing, Events Management and Social Selling.


David Wellstood, a software engineer at SAP taught the kids about the role of being a software developer and how he enjoys the challenge of problem solving. He made a great analogy about how building a specific feature into a software app can be like building a car. You need to understand the exact specifications of what kind of car you need and the features you want it to have. He advised that when you write code, you need to think about how to make your code easy for futures coders to be able to understand it.






We had three technical support coop students show the students what a role in technical support is all about. Coop student Perlanie Panganiban explained how the coop program helps students gets prepared for the future and shows them how what you learn at school can be applied in the real world.  She said “The coop program gives you good experience on your resume to help you figure out what you want to do for your career and get the job you want in the future.”

We closed off with a session by SAP’s social selling expert Kirsten Boileau who taught the students the difference between using social media for personal use, marketing use and social selling. She had the kids create tweets to promote a video game for both marketing promotion and social selling.





The feedback we got from the kids was great. They really enjoyed learning about the “Barcode of Life” mobile app and receiving a kit to identify species by DNA testing and learning about how Big Data can be used in the real world. They were able to see the variety of skills that are required in a workplace like SAP. My personal perk was giving my son the opportunity to appreciate my own work and personal motivation at SAP.



I also received great feedback from the parents who now have the opportunity to talk about their own work experiences with their kids. We’re excited to be able to share life at SAP with a future generation of potential employees.

SapphireNOW last week in Orlando was an outstanding event for SAP's mobile team. An army of the company's mobility experts were on hand in the mobile campus to deliver presentations, panels, microforums and discussion on an incredibly wide variety of topics. In this blog I’ll share summaries of a few of my favourite sessions. My main area of interest is thought leadership topics that cover broad industry trends and issues facing companies today. Several links are provided below to watch ondemand videos of the sessions. Registration is required once to access all sessions - but its worth it!


  1. Mobile for Employees and Consumers: I enjoyed an excellent discussion with our customers doing mobile. In the session “Mobile Strategies for Consumers and Employees: A chat with Coca-Cola”, Onyeka Nchege, CIO of Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated and Doug Busk, Mobile Strategy for Consumers at Coca-Cola engaged in a great conversation with moderator Eugene Signorini of Yankee Group. The panel discussed mobile technologies for both employees and consumers, talking about best practices for how to build solutions for both audiences. I liked a comment from Onyeka in which he said people come to work not just as employees, but as consumers. Both organizations have created advisory groups and mobility center of excellence to partner with the business to address mobility within their organizations. The 30 minute session can be viewed online.
  2. The Impact of Consumer Technology: Another session that stood out involved a panel discussion with three customers who have had their business transformed by the impact of consumer technology in the enterprise. Three customers; Walther Fisher from Standard Bank of South Africa (SBSA), Manish Choksi of Asian Paints and Georges-Edouard Dias of L’Oreal joined SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann for a great discussion on using consumer technology to succeed in a dynamic, consumer-driven world. Each of these three companies has embraced new technologies and new ways of doing business – truly transforming their industries. L’Oreal is digitalizing the enterprise, while Asian Paints is seeking new channels to reach customers, and SBSA is reaching the unbanked with mobile. While their experiences were quite different, they share many common challenges and successes. The full video can be viewed online .
  3. Defining your Mobile Strategy: SAP's head of mobile strategy, JP Finnell, delivered a great session on defining your mobile strategy. JP looked at getting from Mobile 1.0 (simply extending the enterprise) to Mobile 2.0 (truly transforming the enterprise). His use case examples help to tell the story of mobilizing your business. There are two things I really like about this presentation; first, JP's "spider diagram" which gives a great visual to explain how four enhancers (repoting, knowledge, workflow and transactions) can help define your strategy, and second his Keurig platform analogy. This is a great session to watch and can be viewed online.
  4. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): The hot topic of the year in mobility has been around the concept of BYOD. Every conference I attend has a session or panel on the topic. At SapphireNOW, we were joined with three customers at different stages of considering BYOD adoption. John Dutsar from Pepperidge Farm is considering BYOD, Mark Reynolds from Fossil has just started a rollout, and Mike Golz, CIO of SAP Americas has firsthand experience of rolling out BYOD in 10+ countries around the world. This diverse panel, moderated by Philippe Winthrop of the Enterprise Mobility Foundation, made for a great conversation from three different perspectives. Why are these customers adopting BYOD? They agree that they don’t have a choice – employees want it and they see it as a way to manage a work-life balance. A newly released “BYOD Policy Guidebook” was created by BYOD experts at SAP including SAP’s Global IT team who managed the internal rollout. If you are interested in a copy of this guidebook
    please contact me via email. The full session can be watched online.
  5. Organizing for Mobility: A great benefit of attending SapphireNOW live is the ability to join the many microforum sessions moderated by experts. One of my favorites was a session on organizing for success with a “Mobility Center of Excellence.” SAP’s Vishy Gopalakrishnan hosted this session and shared best practices from his whitepaper on the topic (which can be downloaded here). Customers were eager to learn the important steps including securing executive sponsorship, partnering with the business and including them in an advisory capacity, keeping end users involved, starting with a straw man strategy, and evolving over time. Some attendees, including Coca-Cola Bottling from the panel above, already have active Advisory Boards, while others were exploring how to structure one. Overall a great session. If you are interested in listening to a webinar on the same topic, it can be played on-demand from the same Mobile Sense website.
  6. COPEing with Mobility: One final microforum session that deserves comment is one that I co-moderated with Philipp Winthrop of the Enterprise Mobility Foundation. COPE (short for Corproate Owned Personally Enabled) was discussed as an alternative to BYOD. Everyone who attended the microforum was concerned with the security implications of allowing employees to bring their own devices into the workplace. We spent 30 minutes debating the pros and cons of various strategies. Interestingly, there were a couple of organizations that saw the need for a mobile policy – but didn’t
    have one in place. Attendees of the microforum liked the concept of COPE because it was a win/win situation. The IT department doesn’t feel like it’s losing control and the employees get to pick whatever device they want. One attendee made a great comment that spurred Philippe to write a blog post on the topic. “You have to look at it like Costco. You’re not going to necessarily have all the options available to you, but usually, it’s going to be great quality.” I really like this analogy as it related to BYOD or COPE. It’s not about opening up the doors to any device – it’s about providing employees with choice – a good selection of devices that the IT can manage securely.



Overall, SapphireNOW was an outstanding event. I encourage you to watch these sessions, and the dozens of others that were held in the mobile campus. For those of you who were onsite – thank you for visiting us. And if you didn’t make it this year, I hope to see you either in Madrid in November or in Orlando next year.

This week, the first ‘Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise’ conference (also known as CITE) was held in San Francisco. The event brought together hundreds of IT execs and companies who share an interest in exploring how consumer technology is relevant in the enterprise. The week was earth shattering in a few ways, not the least of which was experiencing my first earthquake. Perhaps the 4.0 magnitude quake that jolted me awake Monday morning and made my hotel room sway back and forth was an indication of things to come. It certainly gave me an interesting analogy to share in my speaking session at the event – specifically how mobile and social are driving how the news of the quake was shared throughout the city. While the quake was an interesting start to the event, the CITE conference itself provided an impressive lineup of fantastic sessions and speakers. Here, I’ll share a few key takeaways on how personal technology is changing and infusing the workplace.

  1. We are at the beginning of an incredible journey. The pace of change is this market is truly incredible and the adoption by enterprises is set to take off. In his session, Rick Bauer of CompTia stated that “The CIO and the organization face not only the consumerization of IT (CoIT), but also the increasing velocity of technology diffusion into the enterprise.” While we have to be sure not to get too caught up in every technology wave, we need to embrace the technology that users want, and don’t let it get away from us. This journey is one that no leading company can afford to miss.
  2. Today’s technology is causing relationships to change. The connections that exist between IT and other lines of business including sales and marketing are morphing in a positive way. For example, one conference session featured both the CIO and CMO of a major insurance company, discussing how their departments work together in today’s CoIT-inspired environment. The CIO had a fantastic observation that “IT has to have enough insight to make a difference – and the relevance & credibility with the business to make a difference”. His observation as a CIO was that as he is approached for a technology request, “there are fewer times that a gap is a chasm when we are talking to LOBs about their technology needs.” Consumerization has driven users and lines of business to be better educated on what is possible and has made them more willing to work in concert with IT to meet their needs.
  3. Apps are a significant priority. I’ve been talking about the importance of mobile applications in almost every blog I write, and the conference focus was right in line with this core belief. Just before the show opened I heard that Apple announced that the 25 billionth app was sold over the weekend. The economics of that are staggering! When was the last time anyone had sold 25 billion of anything? At the CITE conference, the apps discussion was around building great apps. I really enjoyed sessions by Brian Katz of Sanofi. His buzzword is that we need to avoid building “Crapplications.” Our focus should be on building apps that meet the needs of users and take a ‘bottoms up’ approach when defining use cases. To do this, go for a ride-along with your technicians, sit for a day with your users and observe how they interact with data before you decide what to build into the app. Design is key – but overdesigning and putting too many features into an app can be a major downfall.
  4. Data is independent of devices. We’ve come a long way in the mobile world; if you look at the number of vendors who claim to manage some aspect of your mobile world (I’ve heard that today there are anywhere from 40-70 vendors) they will all tell you a slightly different story of how to do it. Soon, we will live in a world where information moves based on what device or system you are using. Consumerization has changed the model: BYOD (bring your own device) and COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled) combined represent what CoIT means. This forces us to rethink how we manage mobility. We can’t simply manage a mobile device; rather we have to think about management from a more holistic point of view – connectivity, security, application management and MDM are parts of a bigger, comprehensive EMM (enterprise mobility management) requirement.
  5. Adoption is the new ROI. If you are trying to figure out how to quantifiably measure ROI in this new mobile world I think you’re going to have a pretty tough time. Can you quantify the value of mobile email? In fact, can you even remember a time when you didn’t have mobile email to compare to? Smartphones and tablets are significantly impacting how we do business – but exactly how significant is it? Forecasts are now stating there will be 100 million iPads sold by the end of this year. With numbers like that, perhaps we simply need to consider mobile as the new standard business tool and look at a new way to track success: adoption. If your employees and customers are engaging with you through mobile apps then perhaps you are already achieving the ROI you are looking for.
  6. Think mobile first. Whether you are deploying apps to your internal employees, partners or customers, the crystal ball of the future predicts that taking a ‘Mobile First’ mentality would be a good strategy. I talked about how this concept in in use at SAP for both internal and external apps in this short video recorded at CITE. Mobile is a mindset that we are embracing wholeheartedly at SAP – it is driving how IT works internally and how we go to market with our product offerings. At CITE this topic came up several times as vendors and enterprises alike look to the future.
    Overall, the CITE conference provided a broad perspective of the impact of mobile and social from industry CIOs who are embracing the technology. One of the best quotes I heard this week was in a session about what mobile consumer technologies can do for your business. Often we think about mobilizing existing business processes – but the potential new ways that this technology brings about are what is really compelling. One CIO advised “Don’t pave the cow path.” In other words, open your eyes to the potential that consumer technology can bring about to transform your business.

One of my greatest weaknesses is that I am pretty much always late. I think I am consistently 3 minutes late for every conference call, 10 minutes late for most gatherings, and a few weeks late with my 2012 predictions. In this case, I’ll plead that I was waiting to read everyone else’s predictions so I could comment on theirs and share my own.

To start, I’ll quote Yankee Group’s 2012 predictions as they put it very eloquently; “The mobile gold rush is global in scale and touches all customers.” I think this summarizes quite nicely what everyone expects for the year ahead. Mobile is everywhere and impacts every business. We all know by now that it is here to stay.

Thinking back to 2011, there were a few big trends that made significant impact but started off as virtual unknowns. First, the consumerization of IT was a relatively foreign concept to most people last January. We spent a great deal of time writing about it and explain what it means. Now we all get it. The same applies for BYOD. We used to have to describe the acronym. Now BYOD is a word ready for the next issue of the Miriam Webster dictionary. For 2012, I believe that these two trends are here to stay. Look for some upcoming programs from SAP around helping your embrace both concepts, and check out this Consumerization of IT video I recorded at CES with our CIO Oliver Bussmann.

Here are my personal predictions for 2012.

  1. With mobile, we all know that user experience is king. In my own experience I know that I often prefer using my mobile phone over a desktop for personal apps like airline check-in, facebook and even email. Overall, my prediction is that mobile (and especially tablets) will force a rethinking of user experience for all apps. This will drive a “mobile first” mentality for many applications. We are taking this concept very seriously at SAP, and are now building many of our applications first for a mobile device. Sure, we’ll build desktop or cloud based apps where it makes sense too, but our first thought it to the mobile user. There has been a fundament container shift from ‘monitor to mobile’ and it is changing the way we build apps. Watch vendors and see if they follow suit with a mobile first mentality.
  2. I’ve been speaking with several colleagues about my next prediction. As a long time MDM fan, I struggled with the idea that “MDM is dead.” But my prediction is just that. MDM as we knew it doesn’t exist anymore. It has served its useful life and will be replaced. This year we will be forced to rethink what MDM was and understand that in a BYOD world, it is all about enterprise mobility management (EMM). You aren’t managing just a piece of hardware any more. In a BYOD world, you are managing data and applications. Godspeed MDM – welcome EMM!
  3. Mobile touches all customers. I think in 2012 we’ll see a shift beyond smart phones and tablets to new endpoints. We won’t only be talking about the mobile devices that we carry and use for work and play. We’ll be talking about all forms of connected end points (telematics, medical devices, gaming consoles, smart meters, TVs etc). You’ll see it first in many consumer devices - you’ve probably read about sensors, machine-to-machine (M2M) and the “Internet of Things”. I think this concept will start making its way more and more into enterprise thinking this year.
  4. I’ve read a lot of predictions surrounding mobile video, and I think it’s a point worth discussing. Mobile devices were designed for great video capabilities. With their large screens and smooth play, they make for a very engaging way to interact with people and information. While today you probably watch videos mostly from a consumer perspective (I’ve been obsessed with watching every episode of Prison Break on Netflix), I think this will be the year that enterprise video consumption gains signification growth. Our CIO Oliver Bussmann agrees. See a discussion on this point and more of his 2012 predictions in this video interview with SAP Imagineer Denis Browne.
  5. And finally, I don’t like to get into a lot of debate on which OS will dominate and who will be around a year from now (or 11 months from now if I’m not late). What I think we can all agree on is that the pace of change we saw in 2011 will only continue, and that new form factors, OSes, processor speeds, etc. will continue to advance at the same crazy pace.  

To quote my colleague Philippe Winthrop of the Enterprise Mobility Foundation, He believes (as I do) that 2012 will be a transformative year - when organizations fully embrace mobile devices, applications and services. In the EMF 2012 predications article, Philippe stated “This business transformation will not be seamless, but will provide tremendous competitive differentiation and financial benefits to organizations that embrace the mobile wave.”

To go along with my predictions, my best advice for 2012 is if you’re not on the mobile bandwagon yet, you better hurry and jump on. 2012 is going to be a wild ride!

The Consumer Electronics Show was held in Las Vegas this week, bringing together over 100,000 techies to ogle over the latest innovations. The hilights of the show include cool new connected devices including Ultrabooks, connected vehicles, TVs you can control from your iPad and yet another new form factor from Samsung called the 'Note'. While there is a lot of excitement around the hardware, it is the application of this consumer technology in enterprise that I find more interesting.

I've spent a lot of time this week with SAP's CIO Oliver Bussmann, talking about our predictions for what 2012 will bring (stay tuned for more on that topic). A good portion of these predictions center around how consumer technology will impact businesses around the world. The last two years have been significant - and it's not going to slow down. There isn't anything new to this story, but the adoption rates of consumer technology at work are skyrocketing.

Oliver had an opportunity here at CES to talk on a panel and discuss the impact of consumer trends on the enterprise.  The panel discussion opened talking about the challenges of adopting consumer devices. Most of us are both consumers and employees so we can daily relate to this - I know I have the same expectation of a good user experience both at home and at work. The challenge then for IT is to satisfy the demands of employees while managing risk and security concerns. Oliver's perspective on consumer mobility is that it has helped SAP to drive a mobility mindset of all employees. By providing developers, sales reps, marketing, operations and others with the tablets and smartphones they want, people start to think about mobility intrinsically. According to Oliver "Employees are embracing technology, using it, getting to know it, and want to use it in their work."

One interesting perspective discussed at this session was that in the past IT had to drive users to accept technology. Today that has flipped - employees are driving the enterprise to adopt the technology they want. And because of this - price no longer drives the sale of technology. One panelist from Verizon stated that "it is the creativity - not the utility that drives the adoption of technology."

Every discussion I have been a part of on this topic inevitably lands on the topic of management and security. I really liked a quote from another panelist: "Data and knowledge are assets and you have to protect those assets." Everyone agrees wholeheartedly that any device (whether corporate owned or BYOD) needs to be secured.  With the speed that the mobile market is moving, Oliver's advice was to think beyond today's devices - the future will bring many new devices and you need a tool that will give you flexibility to grow and change over time. Securing the content on devices is becoming more and more critical - driving to mobile application management as a key trend in 2012.

When we talk about productivity, we know that mobile devices drive increased productivity. Everyone in the room (including me) agreed when one panelist observed that "You don't watch TV anymore without an iPhone or iPad in your hands." Business doesn't stop at 5:00pm or even 11:00pm - it is happening all the time. My phone is the last thing I check before owing to bed and the first thing I check in the morning. I believe that companies can probably recoup their annual costs of a device in a week or two simply through productivity increases.

Oliver noted "The combination of easy access and real time corporate information is what drives consumption." We automatically think about productivity gains being achieved by replying to email, but the real benefit for executives is instant access to checking pipeline and the status of their business in real time. According to Oliver, this is the killer app. One last observation and bit of advice: "The CEO of the future has to understand the trends in the consumer market and make decisions on how to apply them. Consumerization is a trend that is unstoppable."

I’d like to expand the conversation on a topic that I started a couple of weeks ago. Let’s dive back into the dimensions of a Mobility Center of Excellence. If you didn’t join our webinar on this topic from December 1st, I encourage you to lsten, and also read the first two posts on this topic: What is a Mobility Center of Excellence?  and Why should I consider a Mobility Center of Excellence? . Now to talk about the dimensions of a mobility COE.

As you can imagine (and are probably living), different organizations are in different stages of their mobility adoption and maturity. This shapes their experience level, competency mix, and comfort level with mobility. Where do you think you are in terms of experience? Regardless of your answer, a mobility CoE can be a good idea. And there are dimensions to consider; Scope, Organization and Governance.

Scope: Defining the scope and the charter of the mobility CoE is a critical first step. Ask yourself these questions to get started:

  • What is the core function of the MCoE?
  • Are you hoping to drive better collaboration across the organization?
  • Do you want to shape and drive a mobility strategy for mobility initiatives?
  • Do you want the team to provide support on mobility projects?
  • How broad is the span of mobility capabilities that the MCoE covers?
  • How will the MCoE interface with your existing IT organization?

Further details on these questions and additional thoughts can be found in the whitepaper written by Vishy Gopalakrishnan.

Organization: Once the scope for the MCoE has been defined, the next element to review is the underlying organizational structure and associated ways of working. Again, we go into much more detail in the whitepaper, but to give you a taste, you need to start with securing buy-in from your major stakeholders – executive buy in is critical to success. The next steps are to outline roles and reporting structure to build out the team. Of course, what is a team without a leader – picking this person is a big decision. You need to choose someone who has vision, can drive and deliver on innovation and at the same time is grounded in real-world IT project delivery.

 Governance: In defining the governance for the MCoE, it is important to keep this process lightweight and pragmatic. If you look back over the past 12 months in mobility you’ll notice an incredible amount of change has occurred. Only 12 months ago, BlackBerry and Nokia were major players in the space and Android was an up-and-comer. We didn’t even have the iPad 2 yet. For a space that is moving as fast as mobility, you need a governance process that is nimble yet robust enough to get the desired results. Being transparent about how mobility projects are reviewed, approved, and delivered is a critical part of the governance model. Again, I encourage you to read the whitepaper to dive into Governance in more detail – there are so many areas to cover in the governance space that I can’t even being to get to them in this blog..

In my next and final blog on this topic, I’ll look at best practices recommended by Vishy in the whitepaper. Again, if you haven’t listened to the webinar yet, I encourage you to watch it ondemand  now.

In my last blog I started a new series on setting the stage for a mobility center of excellence. Now we’ll talk a bit more about what a center of excellence is and some key dimensions of them. This information is based on a whitepaper written by SAP’s Vishy Gopalakrishnan. Vishy works with Global 1000 customers to develop and deliver on their mobility strategy. He is also a co-author ‘Work Goes Mobile” (Wiley, 2006). If you are interested in more detail on this topic, I encourage you to join Vishy and Mike Golz, SAP’s CIO of the Americas, as they discuss this topic in a webinar on December 1st. We’ll also send you the whitepaper when it is available.

Now, getting to our topic… What is a Mobility Center of Excellence? To make typing easier, I’ll shorten this to MCoE going forward. Vishy defines an MCoE as ‘an attempt to coalesce around a set of principles for an effective and efficient use of mobility across the entire enterprise’. The goal is to capturing learnings, best practices, and reference architectures from mobility projects within your company. Of course collecting is one thing – but the ultimate goal is to accelerate the adoption of mobility within your company.

A Mobility Center of Excellence can facilitate success by:

  • Leveraging existing IT processes (standards, governance) and people;
  • Defining standards, vendor and technology selection and security policies relevant to mobility;
  • Acting as the trusted advisor to the line of business leaders;
  • Reviewing, evaluating and approving mobility projects;
  • During implementation, providing technology expertise to the business, authoring best practices, facilitating training and technical support;
  • Post deployment, offering thought leadership, consulting on mobile technology, and providing metrics reporting and support.

If you think that this kind of approach makes sense for your business, it important to next understand how mature your company is in mobility. Everyone reading this is probably at different stages of mobility adoption and maturity.  Regardless or where you are in terms of comfort and expertise, a mobility CoE has three dimensions to consider; scope, organization and governance. We’ll introduce the areas here and talk more about them in the next blog and in the webinar.

Scope: As a first order of business, you need to define the scope and the charter of the Mobility CoE. This is an essential element to grounding the MCoE for everything it does going forward.  We recommend that you answer the following questions to help define the scope of your MCoE.

  • What is the core function of the MCoE?
  • How broad is the span of mobility capabilities that the MCoE covers?
  • How will the MCoE interface with your existing IT organization?

Organization:  Once the scope for the MCoE has been defined, the next element to review is the underlying organizational structure and associated ways of working. This starts with securing buy-in from major stakeholders across the organization. Since mobility has an impact across most of the organization, it is important to get sponsorship from senior and influential individuals across business and IT for the MCoE. The next steps are to outline the key roles and reporting structure and finding the right person to lead the CoE.

Governance: This element of the MCoE defines the ground rules for its operations, the funding model, the mechanism by which decisions are made, the criteria used to track its ongoing effectiveness, and the process for communicating key decisions and milestones to its stakeholders 

These three areas will form the basis for what your CoE becomes and will evolve to. I encourage you to register for the live webinar to dive into this topic in more detail and to ask questions of Vishy and Mike Golz. Registration is available and the whitepaper will be available soon.

As mobility adoption across the enterprise continues at a rapid pace, IT organizations are trying to deal with many challenges that are unique to mobility. We are often asked to share recommendations on how companies can structure their business to support this environment. This is the next topic that we are exploring in the Mobile Sense series; specifically we’ll talk about Best Practices for Setting up a Mobility Center of Excellence. A whitepaper was written on this topic by SAP mobility expert Vishy Gopalakrishnan. A webinar on is being held on Thursday December 1st from 1-2pm eastern and registration is now available.

To get started on this topic, first we should explore some of the unique pressures that mobility is placing on enterprise IT departments. In future blogs, we’ll dive deeper into specific recommendations.

  1. There is an unprecedented rate of change across the ecosystem - The pace of change in innovation and technology in mobility is faster than other IT areas. This rapid pace of change results in the need for greater alignment between lines of business and IT on mobility initiatives, to prevent duplication of effort.
  2. Mobility has the potential to be applicable across the entire organization - Mobile devices are everywhere and being used by everyone from true road warriors to information works and well beyond. This pervasiveness creates opportunities to make employees more productive, to engage with customers in a more targeted and deep way, and to collaborate with partners in a streamlined fashion. IT needs to be ready to meet a diverse set of requirements while being agile to meet these needs in a timely manner.
  3. End user expectations of delivery lifecycles are significantly different - As consumers ourselves, we are used to the relatively smooth and easy process of downloading and using mobile apps from the various app stores. This experience has conditioned people to expect a relatively rapid application development (and enhancement) timeline, without compromising on the quality and user experience of the application.
  4. There are implications for security - Enterprise IT needs to put in place the appropriate infrastructure, processes, and organization to ensure it can get the desired visibility and control across the lifecycle of these mobile assets (devices, users, and applications). The blurring of lines between professional and personal devices leads to diversity and complexity, as well as data security considerations. IT needs a robust set of tools that automate as much as possible the operational complexities of a mobile infrastructure and still provide actionable insights to deal with issues and exceptions as needed.

Now that we understand the context of today’s mobile environment, we can next look at what a Mobility Center of Excellence actually is. In essence, it is an attempt to coalesce around a set of principles—organizational and architectural—for an effective and efficient use of mobility across the entire enterprise.   I’ll dive deeper into Vishy’s opinions on this topic in the next blog. For now, don’t forget to register for the webinar. You’ll also receive a copy of the whitepaper when you register.

Yesterday was the SAP World Tour event in Toronto - and it was an awesome day. The excitement started early when I pulled into the parking lot of the Toronto Congress Centre to find a sea of cars and an entry way packed full of people. The buzz in the crowd was awesome.

A highlight of the day was the keynote session discussion with Mark Aboud, Managing Director of SAP Canada and Amanda Lane, CBC reporter. One of the lines that stuck with me was that “productivity is about working smart”. Amanda Lane speaks and writes about productivity and innovation and she explained that “productivity is an indicator of wealth – when productivity goes up we get richer, when it goes down we get poorer.” The conversation got me thinking about how mobility can help employees, partners and customers work smarter and be more productive.

The conversation dove deeper into the topic of innovation – since this is what makes businesses more productive. Today’s enterprises need to focus on innovation.  But how exactly do you innovate? According to Amanda, “you simply encourage people to ask why or why not... Ask yourself ‘what am I doing to be more innovative every day’.”

Sometime we think that innovation has to be a big deal – perhaps a think tank set apart from everyday operations of your company. But the more important venue for innovation is with every employee in their everyday activities. Innovation is not about invention. It is about finding ways to do things better. I think executives wrestle with how to encourage innovation at the ‘everyday’ level - and with how to use technology to do this. Mobility is an area where we can truly innovate in everyday activities. I recently spoke with a customer who ran a contest for their employees. The concept was simple – submit ideas on how mobility could possibly improve your day to day job. The response was overwhelming and the ideas came flooding in. All submissions are being considered as a possible use cases for the company’s mobile applications initiative. Now that is innovation.

In the World Tour keynote, Mark About made a very valid comment; “If people don’t have the right tools and information they get dissatisfied.” If they have the potential to contribute to innovation and increase their own productivity, employees will be happy. Mobility really gives enterprises a fantastic opportunity to innovate.

During the keynote, they talked about Service Innovation being one of the most important areas for companies to focus on. I think the opportunity for mobility to truly transform how services are delivered in incredible. Just think of the potential for customer self-service via mobile devices, for retailers to offer customized services to individuals based on their unique needs, for employees to deliver world-class service based on up-to-the-minute data. The opportunities are endless and the technology is here today.

The mobility sessions and conversations at World Tour Toronto offered a lot of food for thought in this area. The first mobility session, delivered to a room filled to overflowing, featured John Ramsell (VP of mobility at SAP) who discussed how SAP not only offers a wide range of mobility solutions to our customers and partners, but also how we run mobility in-house. Josh Bentley (IT at SAP) shared how SAP had embraced mobility across the company with over 11,000 iPads, 22,000 BlackBerry smartphones, and over 3000 iPhones. Carol Richardson (operations for Canada) shared fantastic demos of how we use our own mobile analytics solutions to gain instant insight into company operations. This has transformed how we run our business with a change from weekly reports to instant reports.

As a consumer (especially working in this industry) I am sometimes frustrated by companies who aren’t addressing the opportunities of mobility today. But as an SAP employee, I’m excited that our customers are the innovators who will change this by deploying game changing mobility solutions tomorrow.

The technology is here people – let’s take advantage of it!

Analogies over the years (and centuries) talk about building your house on a strong foundation. In mobility, we’re not talking about driving up a ‘mobile home’, and camping for a few days. We’re talking about putting the right foundation in place to build a house that will last - a “sustainable, responsive and flexible” mobile enterprise strategy.  In the whitepaper ‘A Guide to Successfully Deploying Enterprise Mobile Applications’, written for SAP by Chris Marsh of Yankee Group, outlines recommended principles that help enterprises lay the right foundation for any application mobilization program. The principles listed here are Chris’, and the comments are mine. For Chris’ thoughts on each topic, I encourage you to read the full whitepaper here.

1. Lay a mobile foundation.

Start with mobile in mind. I like the way a colleague talks about this. At a recent conference our Sybase Unwired Platform product marketing expert, Carolyn Fitton, asked “What do you get if you mobilize a broken process?”  The answer is “a broken mobile process.” The truth of the matter is that mobility won’t fix broken processes – to be successful you need to start by rethinking the actual business process being mobilized.

2. Think agnostic.

The devices that are popular today may or may not be here tomorrow – things are constantly changing. If you look back over the year 2011, you’ll note that it’s been an incredible eventful year in mobility. With the loss of WebOS and Symbian, the rise of iPad, the quick uptake of Android, and the acquisition of Motorola by Google – we’re in for an interesting 2012. For this very reason, a long-term mobile apps strategy will require apps to be agnostic in many aspects. In the whitepaper Chris Marsh specifies that they need to be agnostic “of the different OSs supported, of the platform on which apps are developed and of the back-end systems they utilize.”

3. Focus on the UX.

In mobility, the user is king. You’ll see that the concept of user experience is a common thread throughout the entire whitepaper. Companies need to keep this is mind from day 1 - invest in UX so apps are easy to use and meet the standards that people are used to in their personal lives. You don’t have to make your app look like Angry Birds, but you do need to make it easy to use and navigate.

4. Build in security from the start.

When we talk about security, we are our own worst enemies. After all we’re only humans and we’re working with easy to lose devices (trust me I’ve lost a few). Unfortunately, we leave devices in airplanes or taxis (or both), and they can easily be stolen. Chris suggests you “carefully consider the degree and type of security required and make sure there are contingencies in place to handle a security breach if it occurs.”

5. Think about where social adds the most value.

Just as mobility is changing the enterprise, so is social networking. Chris discusses how social is increasingly used to “bind platforms together into a sticky proposition”. Consider how social features will add the best value to your mobile applications.

With a foundation that takes these 5 aspects into consideration, you’ll be in a good place to start. Please remember that you can listen to the webinar on November 1st from 1-2pm eastern. Chris Marsh and SAP’s senior VP of Mobility, Dan Mahowald, will also take live questions.

We've learned from consumer use of smart devices that unless the app is easy to download, install, and get up and running, people won’t use them. Our expectations for simplicity are really quite astounding. If an app on my phone takes more than 5 seconds to load I get frustrated. If I have to tediously enter several fields of configuration data I might just give up (or at least call IT and have them talk me through it). If you take a look at the amount of information that is often needed to connect your mobile apps into your back end system, you’ll quickly realize that it is imperative to automate several things to make the experience with your apps a great experience. Just remember: you can build the most fantastic app, but unless you take care of a few critical things first, it may be all for naught.

In this blog, I’ll expand on my last three blogs about enterprise apps with a focus on what you need to think about once the app is released. The value that you expect to gain from deploying your mobile apps will only be realized if the right application management process is in place.  I think that distributing, securing and maintaining your applications are just as important as building the app in the first place.

In the whitepaper ‘A Guide to Successfully Deploying Enterprise Mobile Applications” written for SAP by Chris Marsh of Yankee Group, Chris breaks this topic down into three core areas of importance: Mobile Application Distribution, Mobile Application Security and Mobile Application Maintenance.

Mobile Application Distribution

When getting your apps out to your users, the most important aspect is getting it to the right device at the right time. Pretty basic, right? It is certainly basic, but it’s a critical step that may not be easy – especially as your application usage scales into the thousands or even tens of thousands of users using a host of applications. Marsh tells us that it is important to clearly define policies to guide the distribution of apps - after all you don’t want a contractor accessing an analytic app built for the CIO.  You can get very specific when defining policies and you can manage them with the right software, distributing apps based on employees’ roles, devices (even OS version), location and more. This is where the issue of configuration becomes important to minimize the burden on your users. Your strategy for app distribution is important, so consider rolling out an internal “App Store” to distribute apps directly to your users, as well as a tool to manage this for you.

Mobile Application Security

When it comes to buying a house, people always say the most important 3 factors are location, location and location. When it comes to mobility, people often say the 3 more important factors are security, security and security. Security is absolutely critical, especially with mobile devices that live outside your corporate firewall and operate over public networks. In the whitepaper, Chris discusses the importance of a layered security approach that protects the device, the app and the data flowing in between. I recommend you read this section of the whitepaper for more detail (you can receive a copy when you register for the webinar on this topic).

Mobile Application Maintenance

Getting the app on the device is an important first step, but ongoing maintenance and administration will ensure that you keep operating smoothly. According to Marsh, this includes remotely updating the app and monitoring its usage, monitoring the app life cycle and ensuring that ongoing feature enhancements are made. Furthermore, if a mobile device is lost, or an employee leaves the company, or a consultant’s contract ends, you’ll probably want to remove business applications and data from those devices. If companies support a BYOD policy, they must be able to perform these tasks without touching the personal data on the device.

Overall, the heart of an effective application management strategy is in having a robust application management platform that takes care of application distribution and configuration, managing who gets which applications, and managing different methods of distribution. At SAP, we recommend looking for these key capabilities in an enterprise grade application management platform: compatibility with the widest selection of device types and mobile operating systems; remote provisioning and control; dynamic device interrogation, group policy management; and support for an App Store distribution model.

If you’re an IT person, you want maximum control, minimal user configuration headaches, and some self-service functionality for your users. Remember that your mobile strategy should be able to scale as you deploy more and more apps over time.

I hope you will join a webinar with Chris Marsh of Yankee Group to talk about the big picture approach to application development and application management. The webinar is being held on November 1st and registration is open now.

Looking back over the past decade or more in the mobile world is something I always love to do.  Mostly because it reminds me how far we’ve come. I was at the Mobility Bootcamp at CTIA recently, and I love the way Philippe Winthrop put it – “We are at the end of the beginning of mobility”. When it comes to mobile apps I think this is absolutely true. Mobile applications in businesses have been around for a long time.  Over the past ten years they have most frequently been for sales forces or mobile ‘frontline’ field workers. With the advent of mobility for everyone, the opportunities for the broader workforce to enjoy the benefits of mobility has grown significantly. So now its time to look at the next steps in getting started: which apps to deploy and the architectures to get it done. If you missed the first two parts in this series please catch up by reading Why are so many companies launching mobile applications? and So you want mobile apps… now what?

In the “A Guide to Successfully Deploying Enterprise Mobile Applications” whitepaper written for SAP by Chris Marsh of Yankee Group, there is a great chart that looks at apps that enterprise already have deployed, and the apps that companies plan to deploy in the future. (See Exhibit 4 in the whitepaper, which uses data from Yankee Group’s 2011 US Enterprise Mobility: IT Decision-Maker Survey, Q1-Q2, and 2011 European Enterprise Mobility: IT Decision-Maker Survey, Q2)

There are a few interesting things to notice in this chart. First, is that historically mobility was about extending access to existing applications – notice how almost everyone has email and many have access to corporate databases and intranets. What we are starting to see in the future is that smart devices (and especially tablets) are really transforming how things are done. They aren’t necessarily just replacing laptops or paper-based processes – today mobility is bringing about brand new ways to do business. 

So now that we know we want to build mobile apps, it is important to figure out which apps to mobilize first.  Of course, it will be different for every company and will be determined by how you want mobility to contribute to your own strategic or tactical goals.

In the whitepaper, Chris Marsh outlines a framework to help prioritize the focus for companies when making investments in mobility solutions. The entire framework is included here for your consideration.

  • How will you measure success? A successful application will be one that provides measurable benefits. These will vary but could manifest in measurable productivity gains, staff engagement, new customer business or rationalized infrastructure. Applications that can tie back to measurable KPIs should be prioritized.
  • What integration, if any, needs to occur with back-end IT systems? In addition to sales force and field force automation applications, there is growing interest in business intelligence applications that give information workers access to real-time data and operational applications addressing, for example, stock, order and supply chain management. The latter typically require deeper integration into back-end IT systems that will be a key determinant of the platform being used and the type of applications being deployed on that platform.
  • How many users are being targeted? Clearly the scale of the implementation is a key factor determining how an application is deployed and the cost of deploying and supporting it. The degree to which this is an acceptable cost inevitably depends on the anticipated strategic benefits of the implementation.
  • Are the targeted business processes B2B, B2E, E2E or B2C? Identifying which processes have a business-to-business (B2B), business-to-employee (B2E), employee-to-employee (E2E) or business-to-consumer (B2C) orientation lays the foundation for more specific considerations on user roles and application types.
  • Is the process transactional, informational or collaborative? In tandem with identifying the target audience, it is important to establish the exact use case in the contact zone between these end-users. For example, a B2E mobile app might need to fulfill one or all of the following: relay information to employees, transact a particular process such as an expense form approval, or provide access to collaborative tools such as wikis and portals.
  • How mobile are the user roles identified for deployments? The right combination of device and application features and, crucially, the policy management governing the application solution will be strongly determined by the degree to which the worker being targeted is mobile. While applications can have transactional, informational and collaborative capabilities, the extent to which the end-user is mobile will determine his or her mix in the final solution.

Once you’ve thought through these questions, you probably can begin to narrow down some uses cases that may make a good starting point. With a first well-defined use case, the fun part really begins - and its time to decide what kind of app to build.  Of course, this new topic introduces yet another level of complexity since there are many mobile application types (nothings easy, is it?) Again, in the whitepaper, Chris Marsh outlines four main models of application development. Each one may or may not address every use case. All four models are briefly introduced here and are compared in detail in the whitepaper. 

  • Purely customized development and deployment: These downloadable apps are customized for specific business objectives, but they lack the agility and pace of standardized development and deployment.
  • Prebuilt and off-the-shelf: These downloadable apps provide quick deployment and task-oriented applications but lack the close and customized alignment with business processes.
  • Modifiable templates: As enterprises look to more closely align mobile apps with specific business processes, there has been a change in direction among vendors. Increasingly platforms are pursuing a middle-road solution attempting to offer downloadable apps with a combination of flexibility, customization and speed in design and deployment.
  • Web-based/HTML5: Rather than being downloaded onto the device or via an application store as a piece of software, Web-based apps are more akin to a Web site designed specifically for a mobile device.

It is important to note that one size doesn’t fit all. You should not attempt to choose one single model for all of your applications – in fact if you try this approach I can assure you that you will most certainly fail.  This is because every use case and every user has unique requirements for mobility. I encourage you to read the full whitepaper comparing the pros and cons of each model for your own needs.  I think Chris makes a great observation that is very important to consider. In the whitepaper he stated “The optimal solution for the CIO is to have a platform that provides as much of the flexibility to facilitate all of these ways of deploying applications as possible.” In other words, by relying on a platform you don’t need to choose – you can have the best of all worlds.

I’ve shared a lot of great detail from the whitepaper in this article, and I’ll continue to cover more this week and next.  If you haven’t signed up yet, please register now for this webinar with Chris Marsh on November 1st.  

In my first post in this series on mobile enterprise applications (Why are so many companies launching mobile applications?) I talked about the why companies are considering deploying mobile apps. Assuming you think you want to move ahead with some kind of mobile app, we can now talk about ‘what happens next’? And while you’re thinking about it, you probably want to register for the “Key Strategies for Enterprise Mobile Apps” webinar based on the whitepaper written for SAP by Chris Marsh, Senior Analyst for Yankee Group. Now let’s dive deeper into the content from this paper.

For many companies today, mobility can be approached in a haphazard manner. Many companies use mobile technologies that address a specific set of workers (such as field workers) or a specific business application (such as mobile CRM). At this point most people understand the benefits that mobility can bring to the organization (if not, read the whitepaper in detail). According to Chris Marsh, approaching mobility in a haphazard way with ‘opportunistic’ solutions can be limited in scope and not scalable and actually slow you down in the future. The following are some characteristics and limitations that Chris lists as opportunistic mobility:

  • Point solutions address one specific application or business need, and in many cases are a bandage approach to mobility—a solution is rapidly applied to enable one specific application need (e.g., wireless e-mail access).
  • These specific solutions don’t consider the broader mobility requirements within an organization.
  • Projects are initiated before policies are established, and administrative and management tools to enforce policy are limited or nonexistent.

So is this a bad thing? It can be in the long term, but it the short term maybe not. After all, these solutions can be used to show the benefits of mobility to executives. They can be used as a litmus test to reaffirm your beliefs that mobility is really worth investing in. I recently spoke at the EMF’s Mobility Bootcamp at CTIA and asked “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer of course is “one bite at a time.”  So if you’ve gone the path of ‘opportunistic mobility’ as Chris describes it, just consider it your first bite of that elephant. But don’t stop your journey after one or two bites. Think big while you start small. In fact, starting small can often reveal the policy and management issues that you are going to have to face when you tackle a bigger company-wide mobility strategy.

According to Chris, the first step to creating a more integrated approach is to understand how mobility is critical to your success. This mobility assessment must consider the full scope of employees, assets and business processes. From there, executive management, finance, IT, affected line-of-business leaders and end-users can establish policies.

I really like the list provided in the whitepaper that demonstrates when you’re doing it right. Yankee Group indicated that you are on the right track when your mobility initiatives take on the following characteristics:

  • The key focus is on specific business processes that will benefit most strongly from mobilization. This has to be the starting point if companies are to actualize the full potential of mobility for business transformation.
  • Individual mobile projects “plug in” to a common management and security infrastructure. Mobility is driven by policy rather than by ad hoc end-user pull.
  • Projects can be supported and management and security policies can be enforced. This is regardless of the type of network used (public or private, wired or wireless), the application accessed or the device used.
  • A broader set of technologies and mobile tools is considered a “mobility package” for end-users. This includes integration and coordination of voice, data and remote access services.
  • Common middleware, software and security architectures exist. These can be leveraged across different mobility services within an organization.

So there is certainly a lot to think about when you start ‘eating the elephant’. But don’t get overwhelmed! These guidelines are a very logical and tactical starting point when you think you are ready to move ahead. Once you feel like you have this checklist covered and you’re ready for the next bite, we’ll talk about how to choose which applications to deploy.

The next topic in the Mobile Sense series will dive into the topic of Mobile Applications.  This is a topic that I am very excited to talk about – specifically because SAP has been launching our own expanding series of enterprise mobile apps to solve many key business needs. If you are thinking about apps (and who isn’t!) then I encourage you to read on – and also register now for the “Key Strategies for Enterprise Mobile Apps” webinar being held November 1st. A whitepaper on this topic was written for SAP by Chris Marsh, Senior Analyst for Yankee Group. I think you’ll enjoy the content – it provides a great introduction into many important aspects around deploying enterprise mobile apps.

I’ve been working on the mobile space for 14 years and I’ve seen a lot of growth and change over that time. However the change in the past two years has been the most rapid. In the past mobility was for executives and field workers. In fact, at Sybase, we used to refer to our mobility team as the ‘frontline’ team. That’s because at the time, mobility was almost exclusively for frontline workers – those who spend the vast majority of their time outside of the office.

New technology has truly exploded in both the consumer and enterprise spaces – and it is changing the face of mobility. In several recent posts I’ve talked about why the BYOD model is becoming pervasive. People have been clamoring to bring technology that they are comfortable and familiar with in their personal lives to work. I think it really comes down to the fact that today’s devices provide a fantastic user experience - which has been driven by an ‘apps’ mentality.

The world is now truly mobile - and increasingly productive because of it. According to the Yankee whitepaper titled ‘Key Strategies for Deploying Enterprise Mobile Applications’, there are “just over 160 million mobile workers in the U.S. (38 percent of the entire workforce), and nearly three-quarters of companies consider working from home or on the road as part of their wider organizational culture, and the vast majority of companies now believe these workers are as productive as those working in an office.”

So what this means is that mobility isn’t just for ‘frontline workers’ anymore – it’s also for knowledge workers of all types and it has “spread outward across different job roles and downward from executives to non-managerial staff.”

So what does this rapid adoption mean when it comes to apps? 

Chris Marsh highlighted a lot of great factors that are driving growth in mobile applications. He states, “Key factors include the evolution of higher-speed mobile networks, the explosion of smart mobile devices, users’ familiarity with apps and mobile app stores, and a decrease in the costs associated with developing, distributing and maintaining mobile applications.” All of these factors lead to one main conclusion – mobility is for the masses. And the masses want apps.

I’m excited to share some great content in my next few posts from this whitepaper. Over the next few weeks I’ll try to break down the fantastic content and provide commentary around the great insight provided by Chris. We’ll talk about choosing a focus for your mobile projects, building and deploying apps, how to support enterprise mobile applications and more. I look forward to walking through this great research and hope you will learn a lot from it too.

I hope you’ll follow along and be sure to register for the Webinar on November 1st.

Today I had the privelige of representing SAP at the Enterprise Mobility Bootcamp 2011 at CTIA. The event, run by Philippe Winthrop of the Enterprise Mobility Forum, was packed to overflowing. Here are a few takeaways that I learned from the event.

1) “Mobility is no longer a privilege”. Philippe concluded his opening session with this statement and I couldnt agree more. In the past it used to be an issue to decide who gets a mobile devices – today that is not relevant because everybody has one.  Because if this, enterprise mobility is not about the devices anymore – it’s about the apps. 

2) “The IT-ization of the consumer”. Yes, this is a made up word, but the concept is absolutely true. We often talk about the  consumerization of IT . But there is a second side to this coin – with mobility, consumers have become more tech savvy and know enough to ask for what they want.  

3) The UI is incredibly important when building mobile apps. Enterprises have a vast amount of critical data within their walls, they jsut need to free it up in a way that users want. We still want access to ERP and business intelligence data – but we don’t want a clunky user interface. The importance of a great UI will become critical going forward. 

4) Fire, Aim, Ready is the wrong approach! Even though you want to move quickly you still need to start thinking strategically. In my session I asked ‘How do you eat an elephant’? The answer of course is ‘one bite at a time’. It’s important to have a strategy for growth up front. I recommend you think big but start small. Start with an app that will gain significant adoption and showcase the ROI of mobility.

5) “We are at the end of the beginning of understanding what enterprise mobility really means”. I think this just about sums it up.


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