Sapphire sketches: On mobility in the enterprise

Summary:Earlier this month, I covered SAP's Sapphire Now conference in Orlando. But a few things slipped between the cracks. These are my Sapphire sketches for 2012.

Earlier this month, I traveled to Orlando to cover SAP Sapphire Now, the company's annual conference for customers and industry analysts. There was plenty to cover, and you can read my coverage for ZDNet here. But a few things slipped between the cracks. These are my Sapphire sketches for 2012.

WHO

Lexmark CIO Keith MoodyDutch-Bangla Bank deputy managing director Abul Kashem Md. ShirinFossil IT infrastructure VP Mark Reynolds.

WHAT

Panel discussion on mobility in the enterprise.

NOTES

Moody:

  • "The work environment has changed…it's a state of mind. You want to be able to do whatever you do without being locked to a device."
  • "We needed to enable people to bring whatever device they choose" but allow for security differences that match IT's comfort with a given device. Access levels vary based on device.
  • Lexmark is primarily focusing on iOS devices.
  • Next steps: creating applications, e.g. a better CRM system for the sales team. The old system required a PC and an active connection; salespeople found themselves taking physical notes. A mobile app gave them real-time access.
  • Today, roughly 2,000 (of 12,000 total) users are supported for BYOD. Some have multiple devices. Eight hundred to 1,000 of those are salespeople with the CRM platform.
  • Lexmark is collecting a lot of usage data about customers' devices; they want to provide employees with big data capabilities on a mobile platform. Social, too.
  • On costs and ROI: "It's a requirement; our users are expecting it. People weren't aware of costs. By providing a stipend, it makes them aware of it." The CRM app for sales reps had a great ROI because they spend more face time with customers and less time doing administrative tasks. What's harder to quantify in terms of ROI: business reports and dashboards for executive teams.

Shirin:

  • Dutch-Bangla currently working on mobile banking in Bangladesh. More than half of Bangladesh's 160 million people use mobile phones.
  • Cashless society disconnect: plastic isn't all it's cracked up to be because it still requires a device, e.g. ATM. But a mobile device does away with that.
  • "We're trying to make customers understand that this is banking. This is not just sending money."
  • "Bangladesh is the land of micro-finance."
  • Always-on connectivity has a greater purpose than simple productivity here. "Citizens have rights: health, education, banking."

Reynolds:

  • Doing BYOD out of necessity. Limiting to BlackBerry and iOS; costs are minimal.
  • "It started with bring your own device...while it may seem simple on the surface, once you get down into the details it gets very, very sticky."
  • In terms of privacy issues, "one policy will not fit all" around the world.
  • "We will standardize on a couple of devices just to minimize our internal support requirements."
  • Fossil is currently supporting a mix of BYOD and company-supported devices.
  • For Fossil, BYOD solved a problem in a sales associate environment where turnover is naturally high. "It's hard to have your retail people be up to speed and know your story when you have thousands of products." How do you connect a green sales associate to a customer support rep who has much deeper product knowledge, right on the sales floor in front of the customer? With a mobile app that can show you inventory in real time.
  • Fossil's mobile app "helps with people's work-life balance," because they can check sales numbers during their kid's soccer practice. "They can stay connected, avoid emergencies and be on top of their game."
  • It also saves the company a lot of money in shipping information out on paper to associates in the field.
  • "I absolutely see BYOD continuing. The age of our employees is very young and they like the flexibility." For Fossil, whatever devices are put upon them by the employee population.
  • "I can certainly envision when the folks in the field want to…do their own data mining, if you will."
  • On persistent connectivity: "People come to our service desks and demand to have their device connected It's such a depressurizer for us," because emergencies can be handled much more quickly. "I don't believe there's any type of internal pressure that says, if we're giving this to you you have to be more productive."

Topics: Mobility

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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