Greg Tomb, former CEO of SAP North America, and current CEO at startup Vivido Labs has reason to be excited with his company’s announcement at the CTIA show in Vegas last week.
The announcement from Vivido Labs of their Mowego application platform definitely pricked my ears, as I begin to cover enterprise mobility applications with the mobile and wireless team here at VDC.
MEAP Segment Keeps Growing
Vivido Labs has just emerged from development mode with the announcement of its Mowego platform, and is the new MEAP in town (Mobile Enterprise Application Platform or “MEAPs” are enterprise class platforms for mobile application developers, and are designed to enable IT managers to integrate mobile devices to their back-end IT systems). Vivido Labs looks to give Sybase, Syclo, ClickSoftware, and others a reason to pay attention with its Mowego platform. The announcement makes Vivido Labs the latest in a growing list of vendors focused on enabling mobile connectivity to SAP users. Here is a recap of some of the earlier announcements:
Sybase, a market leader in the enterprise mobility segment forged an alliance with SAP in March of 2009, and followed up with announcement just this month (on March 2nd) when it announced the availability of the very popular SAP Business Suite applications SAP CRM, and a Mobile Workflow application. The solution is based on Sybase’s Unwired platform.
SAP and ClickSoftware announced a global reseller agreement in October 2008, and move the ball forward this past January, when SAP announced it would resell ClickSoftware’s workforce management application as SAP Workforce Scheduling and Optimization.
Syclo announced a co-innovation agreement with SAP last March, and has since been offering customized asset management and mobile field service applications from SAP – these offerings are based on Syclo’s Agentry Mobile Platform.
3i Solutions has partnered with SAP for several years, and recently announced the availability of ERP HCM (Human Capital Management) to BlackBerry users.
Just SAP – for now
Users of enterprise applications from the likes of SAP, Oracle, and Infor are increasingly asking for mobility extensions for their workforce (particularly users of CRM). While new on the scene, Vivido Labs has leadership with significant knowledge of SAP environments, and customer requirements – this expertise along with their focus on applications that are specific to business processes and well understood workflows should translate to some early adopters . The business applications currently available on the Mowego platform are what I would call “lite applications” that can extend a company’s SAP ERP platform to an employee’s smartphone. The applications are primarily horizontal in nature, and focus on business processes such as procurement (read purchase approvals), asset management, workforce management, and field service – these types of applications that can be broadly implemented across lines of business without significant integration headaches should also help Vivido Labs establish a user base on the Mowego platform. While the platform will initially only support SAP’s ERP platform, there’s no question that others will want to be part of the Mowego app. roster. The development platform is built on JavaFX Mobile, which will certainly allow the company to target other application suppliers as well – they expect to ramp the number of applications currently available (33) to 200+ in the next 12-18 months.
While the details have yet to be disclosed, accessing applications from the Mowego platform will require backend integration with the Mowego MEAP with existing SAP ERP installations (this is the case with every vendors MEAP platform). Once integrated, mobile applications can be managed by SAP administrators to manage mobile users, applications, and security – for the Mowego platform, initial access is limited to Blackberry, iPhone, and Android based devices, with broader device access planned. I expect to learn more about the integration element of Mowego’s platform next week when I speak with Greg Tomb. A positive for Vivido, is that they have a services arm headed up by another SAP veteran (Steve Goldman) - he helped run SAP’s consulting delivery for the last 14 years.
The company has yet to disclose the details of its pricing model (it will be subscription based), yet it has disclosed that it’s pricing will be “inexpensive”, and will charge per app./per user/per year.
Still a Nascent Market
Most large companies are still early in their adoption of mobilized enterprise applications, and may be discouraged to learn (once they are able make the business case for a mobile applications) that the solutions being offered aren’t “turnkey”, and will require very specific customization and integration (and time). The integrators and consultants that regularly work with large ERP vendors will continue to be see requests for mobile solutions increase as Smartphone adoption in the enterprise continues – they will be looking for mobility providers with successful track records and partner strategies – while there is a growing numbers of players, the Mowego platform definitely has an opportunity to participate in the space.