“Testing innovations: mobile business applications”
Interview with Dr. Stephan Verclas, T-Systems and Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich (LMU) joined forces in 2009 to collaborate on innovation.
What were the goals of this arrangement?
We recognized the increasing importance of the mobile enterprise. Our collaborative relationship with the university allows us to develop pioneering ideas and products for demonstration and testing purposes, without having a business case in place – in line with the concept of rapid prototyping. The aim is to accelerate innovation processes by working with university partners, industrial players and their customers, and to shorten mind-to-market time by efficiently developing functioning prototypes. Another goal is to more closely align R&D activities with the needs of the market.
What role does the T-Systems Innovation Center play?
The Innovation Center is a platform for showcasing all T-Systems innovations. It allows us to demonstrate functioning prototypes in customer workshops on a daily basis. This means we don’t just talk about products and technologies T-Systems is capable of developing – we can present them up-close. This makes the Innovation Center a key platform and driver of solutions to customers’ concrete problems.
Mobile SAP CRM and open-source unified communication are good examples. They allow us to demonstrate that the interoperability of existing unified communication and collaboration solutions is one of the central challenges businesses face. Since the introduction of the iPhone, apps have become highly popular in the consumer world.
What challenges are associated with deploying mobile apps in the enterprise?
They must be compatible with all operating systems. Developing an expensive application that only addresses 15 percent of the customer base that owns an Apple device does not make good business sense. You have to make sure that all customers can use it on all smartphones. The fact that platforms are so heterogeneous is a major challenge – and analysts agree that this will definitely not change in the coming five years. Security is another issue that all mobile platforms manage differently. For example, it is good to be able to remotely wipe a lost device that contains sensitive data. But how can you do this if it’s not online? Can you still “kill” it? There are already some proprietary methods in this area – but no end-to-end concepts. This is a problem for enterprises.
Dr. Stephan Verclas
Head of Innovation Center, T-Systems
After studying physics in Heidelberg, Stephan Verclas (43) completed a doctorate at Düsseldorf’s Heinrich Heine University – while gaining a second degree in business administration and engineering from the Berlin University of Applied Sciences (FHTW).
He started his professional career with Deutsche Telekom in 1998, as a senior research and development expert at the Technology Center in Darmstadt. Having held various senior positions in marketing and portfolio management, he was appointed Head of Innovation at T-Systems in July 2009. In this role, he is responsible for the entire innovation process – guiding ICT solutions from design to market launch. Dr. Verclas also runs the T-Systems Innovation Center in Munich, and lectures on mobile business applications at the city’s Ludwig Maximilian University.