Few tech companies are like FaceBook or Apple, getting gobs of attention from the media. Instead, most focus on cultivating active-but-insular ecosystems of end users, developers and partners. Here, high-level information exchange can take place without the dumbing-down filter of journalists and bloggers.
For instance, Microsoft runs two massive community sites, TechNet and MSDN, for its IT pros and developers, respectively. To encourage their vibrancy, Microsoft awards its 2,000 most active members of TechNet and MSDN with the designation Most Valuable Professional, or MVP, which brings along perks such as early access to software and meetings with Microsoft executives and developers.
SAP has two similar programs. Its SAP Community Network is an awesomely rich source of contacts and information about SAP software. Just in time for TechEd Berlin last week, SCN officially launched a new sub-site devoted to Enterprise Mobility.
As part of Sybase' ongoing integration into the SAP family, Bryan Whitmarsh was recently chosen as Sybase's first-ever SAP mentor. Whitmarsh is a senior product marketing manager in mobility at Sybase.
Despite being based in Idaho, Whitmarsh has earned a reputation within Sybase as being a hands-on contact and advocate for customers using products such as Sybase Unwired Platform and the mobile SAP apps such as Mobile Sales and Mobile Workflow (I wonder if he's in the same league frequent flier mile-wise as George Clooney's character from Up In The Air).
Whitmarsh told me earlier this month that the biggest myths he still has to dispel with new people he meets are a) Is Sybase just a database company? b) That rolling out anything that involves SAP and mobility is "going to be a two-year project."
Anyway, Whitmarsh should be in attendance at SAP's TechEd conference in Las Vegas this week. If you're looking for an expert on all things related to enterprise mobility, Whitmarsh is your man.