If you've been reading our manufacturing research for some time, you know that we've grouped the influential IT vendors in the manufacturing industry using the acronym SHOMI (pronounced "show me") to represent SAP, HP, Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM. Manufacturers invest heavily in these SHOMI vendors for IT applications, infrastructure, hardware, services and, sometimes, even mobile devices.
It's not unusual for manufacturers to first investigate what the SHOMI vendors can provide today or will provide within the next 18 months before they consider other vendors for new IT investments. We expect the same process to continue as manufacturers explore and expand on their mobility capabilities. In the past few years, the SHOMI vendors have been working to create a mobility portfolio to support manufacturers' increasing interest in mobility.
In Table 1, we've summarized the core elements of a mobility portfolio, and we don't expect (or need) each of the SHOMI vendors to deliver every mobile product or service.
Like the IT environment in general, the mobility portfolio will be a heterogeneous environment. As we expand our research, Cate White and I are working with our IDC mobile experts, including Stephen Drake and Nick McQuire. We've already published an overview document that expands on this article, and over the next two months, we'll publish a separate profile on each of the SHOMI vendors to highlight how their offerings synch with what manufacturers will need (starting with IBM's profile, available for subscription clients).
We recognize that we're still in the early stages of harnessing the potential of mobility, and manufacturers need to start thinking about what is possible and how their strategic vendors will contribute, with products, partnerships, or even the acceptance of open or ad hoc standards. Having an open dialogue with your vendor is key not only to making sure your mobile needs are met today but also to allowing the vendors to know what manufacturers are prioritizing in future mobile solutions.
The Bottom Line for Buyers
As manufacturers identify their mobility requirements and evaluate how the SHOMI vendors can contribute, we suggest manufacturers keep in mind some very basic guidelines:
· Don't Get Locked into a "One Vendor" Mentality
· Know When You Need to Upgrade to Take Advantage of SHOMI Vendors' Latest and Greatest in Mobility
· Remain Hardware Agnostic But Recognize the Implications of Flexibility
· Know How Your Strategic Vendors Will Improve Your Business Decisions and Business Processes
· Ask Your Vendor How It Will Enhance Your IT Productivity
· Know When You Need Industry Expertise and When You Don't
Finally, the SHOMI vendors are on the mobile bandwagon but their products and services are not fully tailored specifically for manufacturing with a few exceptions. Mobility expectations are changing so quickly that both end users and vendors are struggling to stay ahead of the changes. IDC Manufacturing Insights research has shown that manufacturers that forge a partner-style relationship with their strategic vendors are more likely to be satisfied with the direction those vendors are taking. Given that we expect the rapid pace of change to continue for both the manufacturers and vendors, now is a good time to start that dialogue to make sure mobility will take your company in the right direction.
Let us know what you're thinking about mobility investments and where you expect to turn for mobile applications and services by emailing me at email@example.com or by leaving a comment on our IDC Insights Community.