Alpha DevCon Engineering Roundtables

Adventures in Alpha Land

Episode 12: Brian Katz, Enterprise Mobility at Sanofi

Brian Katz has been on the leading edge of enterprise mobility since it's been available, and in this interview with Dan Bricklin he shares his experience and wisdom.
Show Notes

00:00 Dan: Intro to episode 12.

01:08 Dan: Can you give me some background on the number and types of workers you serve?

01:17 Brian: Sanofi is a pharmaceutical company with over 100,000 workers around the world.

02:15 Brian: We have workers in sales, research, manufacturing, and IT.

03:23 Brian: I'm part of the end-user technology solutions group.

03:48 Dan: How many mobile apps has the company deployed?

03:56 Brian: About 200, but there are also multiple language versions of some.

05:04 Brian: These are mostly custom built or customized versions of existing products.

07:01 Brian: We have a enterprise mobility management solution that serves as an internal app store.

09:34 Brian: We also have a custom CRM system for use by sales.

10:24 Brian: We found that tablets were the best solution for sales presentations.

11:01 Brian: The tablets led to various cases and handles that we supply.

11:51 Brian: Signature capture is a common need.

12:26 Brian: We gave out more than a thousand tablets and only 10 were broken, lost or stolen.

15:20 Brian: One of our first custom apps was a who's who or directory.

17:16 Brian: We also built external apps for customers.

20:00 Brian: We are using Google Glass. It isn't dead as many believe.

20:49 Brian: We go beyond clipboard replacement and provide workflow solutions.

22:11 Brian: There is an internal development team for things we can't get built for us.

23:34 Brian: A lot of the development companies we've used haven't been strong enough in security.

25:21 Dan: Now I work mostly with HTML5 and use Apperian for security.

28:05 Brian: We also use geofencing, and identity based access management for security.

29:56 Brian: We had to teach app vendors that you can't just move a desktop app to a tablet.

31:40 Brian: One mistake we made was buying poor devices.

35:03 Brian: We learned that some apps have to be tablet only.

37:02 Brian: We do a little BYOD, but mostly use company provided devices.

39:08 Brian: We get devices with data plans or wifi-only, depending on the use case.

41:17 Brian: Build vs. buy is based on many factors.

42:12 Brian: I'm a big believer in building APIs to open up our data.

45:25 Brian: Security has to be involved from the very beginning.

48:41 Dan: We use HTML5, so we manage security through a wrapper.

50:19 Brian: One question for us is still how much to use native coding vs. HTML5.

50:51 Brian: I believe it has to be decided based on the use case.

52:25 Dan: It also depends on whether you use a low code vs. a no code framework.

55:25 Brian: I get a lot of information on this space from Twitter.

58:43 Brian: I run the #mobilebiz Twitter chat every Thursday at 1 with Benjamin Robins.

01:02:01 Brian: I go to mobile conferences and speak at 6 to 8 a year.

01:04:13 Brian: I'm a big believer in involving users in the development process.

01:08:10 Brian: The focus between centralized and line of business development changes over time.

01:11:16 Brian: You can't think mobile-only. There is still a need for laptops.

01:13:24 Brian: I blog at AScrewsLoose.com.