Enterprise Mobility Minute #3: Got an Enterprise Mobility Strategy? Go Get a New One

SAP Guest

By Dr. Ahmed El Adl, Vice President, Global Mobile Solutions Services at SAP

Enterprise MobilityThis year, “How to create a mobility strategy?” was a hot topic – discussed at every industry conference and in every mobility publication. So with all the attention, it’s not surprising that some companies were successful in creating initial mobility strategies. Great step! But scratch the surface and you’ll see that many of those strategies aren’t really strategies at all. They’re simply a collection of initial steps taken to try to mobilize business processes.

Some companies have implemented a couple of mobile apps in different business areas. Some used a MEAP platform and introduced a Mobile Device Management solution. Others used a native SDK to implement their first apps. But how many companies have truly taken advantage of the tremendous opportunities mobile technologies offer?

As we enter 2013, it’s time to consider the major trends that are now shaping opportunity – and causing us to completely rethink our approach to mobility strategy.

1. Strategic Approaches for Leveraging Mobile Technologies

There are different approaches for leveraging mobile technologies in a sustainable and strategic way:

  • The traditional approach where a comprehensive centralized enterprise mobility strategy is created for the whole company and its relevant business areas.
  • The hybrid approach, being used by some companies, where a high-level enterprise mobility strategy is created as a framework of guidelines for the whole company. Then a detailed mobility strategy and roadmap is developed for a specific department or business area.
  • The fast emerging approach where a high-level enterprise mobility strategy is created as a framework of guidelines for the whole company – but then you take it a step further. You create your overall strategy for a specific business area or product line, but design it all upfront to leverage mobile technologies that can reshape your business or products.

Before deciding on the approach that is right for your organization, consider how quickly mobile technologies are evolving – and becoming more complex, embedding and converging with other technologies. This rate will only accelerate in 2013.

Also, consider how consumer expectations are shaping the direction of technology. Soon, it will no longer be enough to have an app on a smartphone – consumers will expect the functionality embedded in the product itself. Will your mobile strategy help you face these challenges and leverage all the new technological advances?

2. New Approaches in Mobile Apps Development

If you’ve created an initial mobile strategy, you’ve likely already answered important questions, such as: Should we acquire a mobility platform (MEAP/MDAP) or not? Do we need different platforms for B2E and B2C? Which business areas should we start with? Should we use off-the-shelf, prepackaged apps, or start building our own custom apps? Should we adopt a HTML5, native, or hybrid approach? Be aware – there are new developments that may change all of your answers.

On the platform side, the use of a separate platform for developing B2E apps versus another one for B2C or B2B is changing. In 2013, vendors who have separate platforms will integrate them into one unified platform – rather than just an installation-based integrated platform. Others, who are already providing a unified platform, will provide a cleaner integration based on partially new architecture, which will enhance performance, portability, security, and productivity.

The debate over HTML5, native, or hybrid might change or become redundant. Many of HTML5 capabilities, performance, offline usage, device hardware access, and developer tools are going to improve in the coming months. Technology companies and the developer community are strengthening HTML5’s unique capabilities such as cross-platform deployment and will continue adding more web APIs to tackle issues like hardware lockout. However, the hybrid approach will continue to be the most interesting architecture for building apps in 2013.

On the apps side, reusable Mobile Apps Development Components (MADC) will make a significant impact next year. More than just web APIs, MADC will streamline the development of generic, custom LoB and industry-specific apps with software factory style speed and precision. Only minimal effort, costs, and time will be required to build high quality bespoken mobile apps – from entry level to complex ones. Ask your developers how you can take advantage of these software engineering techniques and make it part of your mobility development guidelines.

3. Mobile Apps Procurement and Operation in the Cloud

In 2012, we witnessed a huge rise in the number of vendors offering different cloud-based mobility services using either their own MEAP/MADP platforms or a third party platform from a major vendors. The new ecosystem of mobility vendors now includes everyone from small startups to major companies such as SAP, IBM, and Amazon. Mobile cloud services now span the entire lifecycle of mobile enterprise apps – from distributed design, implementation, and testing to centralized mobility management and user support.

Based on the huge investments made in cloud infrastructure this year and its envisioned values, mobile cloud services will rapidly becomemore mature, reliable, and cost effective. Expect even more services and financially attractive offers. Leveraging this market trend as a key part of your mobility procurementand operation strategy will allow you to add reliable options and quickly lower your TCO.

4. Moving from MDM to EMM

Over the last few years the talk was about Mobile Device Management (MDM). Then, as the industry reached another level of maturity we started to talk Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM). If you are like most, your existing strategy probably focuses on how to secure the mobile device. However, it is clear that it’s not only about securing the device – it’s also about securing the content on it, and the information being transferred to and from the device. Therefore, a device-centric approach to mobility management no longer works and can be risky. Organizations must adopt a user-centric EMM strategy to increase security and reduce costs.

Another major trend worth mentioning here is the variety of data sources and types you need to collect, manage, and secure. In the past, companies operated on master and transactional data, which they collected, processed, and managed within their internal ERP systems. The sources, size, and format of the data were more or less limited and predictable. In 2013 and beyond, however, up to 90% of your valuable business data will come in a variety of formats from unstructured and social data sources. The size of the data will be big and unpredictable.

One more important consideration:  You need to ensure your EMM strategy and tools meet the standards of your industry and the special Information Privacy and Security Regulations (IPSR) of your company and region.

5. More Consumerization of IT

Many companies were taken by surprise this year by the consumerization of IT. Suddenly, employees expected their at-work mobile technologies to be more like their at-home mobile experience. Some companies were able to react quickly, adopting approaches such as BYOD combined with MDM solutions and policies – so that they could capitalize on this trend without compromising the security of their business information. Others were skeptical and stuck to old IT technology adoption roles.

So far, the major effects of IT consumerization have been user experience (UX) and BYOD. However, the consumerization of IT is expanding to the products and services you provide, as well as the processes needed to run your business.  Moving forward, you need a strategy that ensures you discover new technologies quickly and can adopt them even faster – so that you can leverage related business opportunities and avoid any surprises.

6. The Internet of Everything (IoE)

Machine to machine (M2M) communication and even collaboration is not new. However, the advances of the past year, particularly in hardware, networks, cloud, and in-memory computing (Big Data), removed major obstacles. We can now gather large amounts of data from a large number of distributed devices and sensors, then store and analyze it in the cloud and make it available for clients (humans or other machines) to consume it in different ways in real or near real-time.

Most of the technology needed to make the Internet of ‘things’ a reality already exists. In 2013, vendors will be investing aggressively to unleash the enormous business potential coming from this combination of technologies – especially since it could pave the way to a completely new generation of smart products and services. Make sure that your strategy doesn’t miss this trend – or you risk being left behind.

Finally, to get the full picture of the change ahead, you need to consider new generations of social business solutions, mobile business analytics, and new and even higher levels of user experience standards coming from innovative technologies such as augmented reality, 3D devices, smart TV (inside and outside the living room), and consumer apps.

Remember that mobility strategy should be an adaptive and continuous process. Now is the time to rethink what you’ve done so far. Don’t forget to bring along some new skills and new devices so that you’re ready for an exciting year in technology driven business transformation.

In the next Enterprise Mobility Minute Blog post we’ll discuss in detail how to update your mobile business and IT strategies in a way that will help you drive sustainable business transformation.

Follow the author on LinkedIn, Twitter: @aeladl

This post was originally appeared on the SAP Community Network and is republished here with permission.


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4 Reasons Why Retweeting Needs To Be A Part Of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Gerry Moran


If you only tweet your own content and do not retweet others’ content, it’s like you are talking to yourself!

If you are wondering how to tweet (or how to Twitter for others), then the best place to start is by retweeting. Retweeting needs to be a part of your content marketing strategy, even if you are a social media “veteran”!

Virtually every thought leader, blogger and business user on Twitter tweets their own content at one time or another. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with tweeting about your own content it’s one of the strengths of the platform. But Twitter is a social tool, not entirely a broadcasting medium. Even at SAP, you can see that we dedicate about 15%-20% of our editorial calendar to retweeting thought leaders.

Recent Hubspot research indicates that over 16% of link-containing tweets generate more retweets than clicks. So, many people retweet a Tweet with a link without even clicking on that link themselves, using it as a source of content!

If you tweet about only your own stuff, then that makes a person look like one of those cocktail party bores who only want to talk about themselves. More often than not, you will end up talking only to themselves.

Retweeting is a key part of the social interaction on Twitter. Here are four great reasons to share content posted by others.

  • Helps You To Build And Contribute To The Original Tweeter’s Brand. Retweeting provides others with both social (“nice work!”) benefits as well as the practical benefit of driving more traffic to their content. It’s a nice thing to do, and (usually) appreciated.
  • Provides Great Content For Your Followers. Tweeting only original content for your followers is very difficult and they do not expect it. You have followers that trust your judgment, which is content development and content curation. RTing someone is a way to provide content! In fact, about 15% of our Twitter content at SAP is retweeting thought leadership content! Tweeting and retweeting interesting and valuable content helps those who follow you. When you help your follows discover new knowledge and information, you become a valued information source and build trust.
  • Gives Your Great Retweeting Reaction. When you retweet, you receive more retweets. Others are more likely to retweet your content when they view you as someone trying to share helpful content with the community rather than just broadcasting your own material. This is a great pay it forward strategy that will help expand the reach of your brand and messaging
  • Helps You Expand Your Network. In otherwords, when you retweet, then you magically gain new followers! People want to be retweeted. Having retweets and other interaction in your message stream makes you a much more interesting and compelling to follow than someone whose tweets are one-way and scheduled obviously. Retweeting integrates you into two key Twitter showcase activities , #FollowFriday / #FF recommendations and “Thanks For The RT” messaging, which is a way that the author recommends you to their followers, that you should be followed.

Please share your reasons for retweeting on this blog, or reach out to me directly on MarketingThink of via Twitter @GerryMoran

So, quit talking to yourself by only broadcasting your own tweets and start to integrate others’ as part of your content marketing strategy. Give and you shall receive!


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Advanced Analytics: Winning In The Zero-Sum Insurance Game

Barbara Geraghty

When the almost Perfect Storm that was Super Storm Sandy took a sharp left onto the Jersey shore and into New York Harbor, no one was really surprised.

Thanks to waves of weather tracking data and the tools to analyze it, meteorologists had given everybody in the storm’s path a pretty good idea of what was coming.

It will be months before the full financial impact of this devastating storm is understood. But you can bet that insurance companies whose bottoms lines will take a related hit will be looking more closely at the data, too, to determine their own next steps.

In his 2011 white paper on insurance issues and insights, “Analytics: Turning Data into Dollars,” Deloitte’s Howard Mills contends that advanced analytics is particularly powerful for the insurance industry.

Analytics could improve any business that expects its people to repeatedly weigh multiple factors when making decisions. When the decisions are central to a company’s core processes (read “underwriting” or “claims management”), the company can use predictive models to exploit market inefficiencies.

With analytics, finding small changes can make a big difference.  In a business where 80% of each earned premium dollar is “claimed by the claims,” he who can equitably settle claims while reducing claims costs by just 1% stands to realize a huge benefit. Imagine taking a combined ratio from 105 to 95.

Having sold us on the opportunity, Mills then presents the implementation as manageable. To quote, “The good news is that, in some ways, introducing analytics can be easier than many executives may think.” To the good news he adds these simple operating principles:

  • Starting where you are: Assess your current capabilities and identify gaps. Focus improvements on low-hanging fruit first.
  • “Crunchy questions”: Focus on solving specific problems with very specific questions before exploratory work.
  • Signal strength: Detect and respond to the signals that are presented – especially weak signals – faster and better than your competitors.
  • Accelerated insights: Automate the delivery of the information people need to do their work – and automate responses wherever possible.
  • User engagement and visualization: Deliver insights that people need – in whatever forms they need – to make better decisions.
  • Fact-driven culture: Embed analytic capabilities and outputs into business process; make your culture one of discipline and accountability.
  • Right-fit analytics: Match statistical and analytic techniques to the job at hand. Buy what you need and need what you buy.

Mills also includes some Deloitte case studies and summarizes the results of its analytics services as applied to talent management, and medical malpractice prediction as well as insurance underwriting / pricing and claims management.

Download the white paper for the details.


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Speedy In-Memory Databases Put Lid On Costs

Irfan Khan

high speed in-memory databases

Source: cornelius30

With big data raining down on enterprises, it’s DBAs (database administrators) who are stuck trying to weather the storm. Their work is particularly arduous because vast increases in data volumes mean significantly more disk capacity to manage. Disk optimization becomes practically a full-time job.

With 20th century databases, disk optimization was a necessary art for a DBA. The best DBAs gave it a lot of thought. A lot. It even became an essential part of a DBA’s education. That’s because without the DBA’s optimization skills, application SLAs would seldom be met.

Devoting so much time to disk optimization is costly. Carl Olofson, research vice president at IDC, considers lowering operational costs, particularly the time DBAs must devote to disk management issues, as a side benefit for deploying ultra-high-performance in-memory databases. He writes, “No more unload/reload operations, index rebuilds, disk redistributions, and backups means that expensive DBA time can be freed up for more high value work.”

By migrating performance-hungry and SLA-critical analytics applications to an in-memory database, the relentless demand for improved response time from business groups can be met without DBAs having to regularly burn the midnight oil simply to squeeze out another millisecond or two in performance. These man-years of labor savings are not a one-time event, but long-term operational savings for IT.

Olofson cites response-time improvements ranging from 10 to 200 times when applications are moved to in-memory databases, pushing SLA metrics to their highest levels. It’s ironic, then, that in-memory databases help keep operational costs to their lowest levels as well.


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Why Every Corporation Should Employ A Futurist

Joshua Berlinger

A futurist planning tableMost people and corporations are terrible at planning for the future, according to prominent futurist Dr. Peter Bishop of the University of Houston.

“The way the public — and particularly the way policy and decision makers talk about the future, is with way more certainty than they should have,” Bishop explained in a phone conversation with Business Insider.

“To tell you what’s going to happen is asking the wrong question,” he said. “It’s not what the future will be, but what it could be or what it might be. And the problem is that in the halls of decision, in the boardroom or the pentagon or something like that, That degree of uncertainty is not welcome.

Bishop says there are subtleties to future planning that can only be grasped by a futurist.

Several major corporations feel the same way, which is why Google just hired futurist Ray Kurzweil as director of engineering and Cisco employs furturist Dave Evans. Bishop himself has worked with IBM, NASA, Nestle, and more.

Says Bishop:

“We’re encouraging companies to spend a little bit of time thinking about the future, single digit percents. They don’t do it because they don’t know how to do it so they think it’s a waste of time, and the reason that they don’t know how is because nobody in their schools has ever taught them how to do it.”

So what are the keys to thinking like a futurist?

Futurists think in terms of “multiple futures” rather than one. Not only does this increase the chances that one will have a plan for the actual future, but it also “intellectually conditions” one to adapt to change.

Futurists also see value in challenging basic assumptions.

 “What we do now is basically assume,” says. Bishop. “Then we go on and make plans, and those assumptions are fine. The problem is we don’t challenge those assumptions, and what we’ve been taught in physics class is to state your assumptions. We were never taught to say, ‘and what if those assumptions are wrong? What’s different about it?'”

Just look at what happened in New Orleans in 2005:

“One of the classic cases of this was the plan for responding in New Orleans to a hurricane, like Katrina in 2005. On the very first page of that plan, published by LSU under a grant from the Department of  Interior, and the very first assumption was, the levees will hold. They should say that, and they should make that assumption. The problem is that they should also have said, and what if they don’t? Now that may have sent them off to go look at them, number one, that would have been a nice thing to do. And secondly … what is the plan if the levees do not hold, because then water comes in pouring in from the lake and the river and stuff, and they had nothing about that.”

Bishop says big changes are coming in our lifetime:

“There will be significant change within our tenure within any position within our lifetime for sure, that we will have to learn to live in a new world — to some extent. It’s not completely new the way some futurists will say. But it will be new enough that we will be uncomfortable, we will be unprepared, and that we will have to learn new skills and new techniques in order to be successful in that future compared to how we are being successful today, or indeed how we were prepared to be successful when we were in school or training.”

Now see futurist Ray Kurzweil’s vision of the next 20 years >

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