Most customers are not particularly enthralled with the software
they rely on every day to drive their business. For the most part, they have
been making the best of a bad situation. The application they rely on was
designed to serve the needs of a broad swath of potential customers, which is
to say it doesn’t exactly fit the needs of any one customer. As a result,
organizations have spent a fair amount of time trying to bend packaged
applications to their will, rather than having software be bent to the needs
of the business.
However, all that may be about to change. With the general
availability of any number of application development tools for creating mobile
computing applications it’s now become significantly easier to create custom
solutions that leverage mobile computing devices to re-engineer business processes.
A good example of that kind of effort is a new alliance between Capgemini and SAP. Under terms of a new agreement between the two
companies, Capgemini is building a new set of mobile sales applications that Fernando Alvarez, vice president and mobile solutions
global practice leader for Capgemini, says will provide the foundation for a
broad range of business process and workflow re-engineering opportunities.
The implications of that activity are profound. Instead of
invoking the user interface that has been developed for an enterprise
application, more end users at they rely more on mobile computing devices will
be invoking a custom user interface that integrates multiple enterprise
applications. That creates a significant opportunity for solution providers to
leverage mobile application development toolkits to create those composite
applications, also known as a mashup.
Most organizations put up with software that because of the way it
was designed forces business processes down a certain path. More often than not
those processes are not only cumbersome; they usually involve more steps than
is necessary. The challenge facing solution providers is that they have to get
close enough to the customer to really understand how their processes work.
Once armed with that information the opportunities for the solution provider
abound because most customers are either too close to those processes to see
how they might be made more efficient or have completely lost sight of why
certain processes are configured the way they are.
In short, mobile computing is one of the quickest and surest paths
there is to creating a business consulting engagement. The challenge is that
most customers still think of mobile computing in terms of accessing their
email, rather than as a platform that changes the way their organization works
for the better. Unfortunately, when it comes to mobile computing applications
seeing is frequently believing, which means solution providers are going to
have to make some investments in building mobile applications that show
customers the new art of the possible. The good news is that the tools needed
to create those applications are relatively inexpensive, which means relative
to the investment required mobile computing could easily wind up being a
lucrative opportunity for the channel that is simply too big to ignore.