Florian and I have been attempting to schedule an interview for sometime now, but he is always on a train to Switzerland, Italy or going out to dinner with big shots in Munich. What a life! I am happy I was able to catch up and get his insights into the SAP enterprise mobility market.
Florian worked at SAP AG in Germany from 2002 through 2008 and was involved in many early mobility projects with SAP. It was during this time that he got to know my good friend from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Dr. Ahmed El Adl.
Florian's job was to resolve and fix SAP related mobility problems that had escalated. As you can image, in the early years there were a lot of escalations. The benefit for Florian is that he got to see the world and learn all about enterprise mobility. After a few years of accumulating frequent flyer points, he joined Energy4U.
Kevin: Florian, what is your role at Energy4U today?
Florian: My organizational role is that of Business Unit Manager. In practice, it means that I mainly work in two areas. First of all, I am interacting with our customers and partners to design mobile workforce management solutions according to customer requirements and strategy. On the other hand, I am managing our project teams which are working directly on-site with our customers. If there is still time left, you will find me on conferences, giving speeches about mobility and in talks with prospective customers.
Kevin: What mobile device do you carry today?
Florian: An iPhone 4. My team convinced me that I needed an iPhone. I had a great Nokia smartphone before. I like my iPhone, but it is not holding a charge all day, and I run out of battery
by 2:00 p.m. when I use the phone a lot. That is not the mobility experience you want to have.
Kevin: Energy4U, a Siemens company, is a systems integrator, right? What is your focus?
Florian: Yes, we are a system implementer and one of SAP’s special expertise partners. My business unit focus is helping SAP customers implement enterprise mobility. We spend most of our time working with utilities but also focusing on different industries (health care, manufacturing…)
Kevin: What geographical area do you cover?
Florian: Our customers are all over the world. We have many customers in Europe, but in 2011 it looks like many will be in the US.
Kevin: What is your company's core strength?
Florian: Approximately, 80 percent of my team came from SAP. With this background and our project experience, we are experts in SAP. Most of my team also has over five years of enterprise mobility experience. We live in the world of SAP mobility. Our third area of growth is the inclusion of our own (Energy4U) as well as third party scheduling tools like ClickSoftware into our workforce management solutions. An efficient workforce management solution can only be designed and implemented, if you have experience in all three of these areas: SAP, mobile and scheduling.
Kevin: What were the most surprising developments in mobility for you in 2010?
Florian: SAP acquiring Sybase, although I think the acquisition was more for Sybase's databases, in-memory solutions and their markets rather than for mobile solutions.
Kevin: What do you predict for the next year in SAP enterprise mobility?
Florian: Everyone will be focused on supporting the Sybase Unwired Platform and the question of how to integrate SUP into SAP needs to be answered (Mobile 7.x, SAP Gateway, Syclo Integration Framework, SAP JCo, WebServi
ces…). There will be many more mobile devices in the market. There will be a convergence of consumer and enterprise mobility applications. Enterprise mobility solutions will look and feel much more like consumer applications. Silos of mobile applications will be replaced by a strategic platform approach. Small start-up mobility vendors will slowly go away in favor of the platform approach. Energy4U plans to focus on the scheduling capabilities of ClickSoftware solution combined with Syclo mobile suite running on top of SUP in 2011.
Read Part 2 of this interview.