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6/11/2014
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Mobile Business Without The Apps

SAP technology helps Brazilian job site contact workers where they are -- on cellphones, but without apps.

Jacob Rosenbloom approached Brazil's labor market as an investor. He saw, he said last week in a media conference at SAP's SapphireNow conference, a labor market of 102 million people, of whom only about 15 million have any education beyond high school. How could a company build a labor market to serve a laborer who doesn't know what a resumé is and has never used a personal computer? According to Rosenbloom, CEO and co-founder of Emprego Ligado, the largest blue-collar employment site in Brazil, his firm did it by building a company that was mobile from the ground up.

SAP, which announced general availability of the SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 on May 22, provides the backend application that allows Emprego Ligado to take information from cellphones and turn it into records that potential employers can use. The process is complicated by the fact that the workers in Emprego Ligado's target labor pool tend not to have smartphones, so an app isn't a good option. The company turns, instead, to standard SMS messaging to build a profile of each worker and communicate with them concerning job opportunities.

The lack of an app doesn't mean that Emprego Ligado has the luxury of ignoring user interface design. "Customers are so used to being spoiled by beautiful UX that we need to understand the wants and needs of everyone who's going to touch our app. The way the customer interacts with our system is through SMS -- they think they're talking to their mother or a friend. We had to look carefully at the language we use to maintain the relationship," said Rosenbloom.

[Learn more about SAP. See SAP Chairman Hasso Plattner: Exclusive Q&A.]

Careful use of the SMS interface coupled with backend analytics allows Emprego Ligado to match job seekers to jobs based on one of the most important indicators of a successful match: physical proximity to work. "We found that the defining factor in someone's success in interviewing was how close they are to where they'll be working," Rosenbloom said. He explained that this is an issue for both the workers and the companies that are Emprego Ligado's customers. "When turnover is too high, it's a problem for everyone."

Rick Costanzo, executive VP and general manager of global mobility solutions at SAP, pointed out at the media conference that mobile is the most prevalent technology in emerging markets. Rosenbloom agreed, saying, "We looked at the tools available to consumers in the emerging markets: They don't pay to have a professional network profile created, and they don't use mobile professional tools, but they do have mobile devices in their hands."

Rosenbloom's observations are in line with the results of the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project survey on mobile device use. According to the survey, 80% of Brazilians own a cellphone, with only 15% of those qualifying as smartphones. The cellphone ownership numbers compare with 49% of Brazilians who say that they either own a smartphone or occasionally use the Internet in another way. Since smartphone ownership and Internet use are each highly correlated with education, it's obvious that simple cellphone text messaging is the dominant technology for reaching blue-collar workers -- and is likely to remain so for some time to come.

Costanzo says that, while he has no question about the power and impact of the SAP Mobile Platform, there is one aspect of the product line that has a less rosy future: the product description. "Mobility is an archaic term because everything is mobile now," he said.

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Curtis Franklin Jr. has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He contributes to a number of technology-industry publications including Information Week , ChannelWeb , Network ... View Full Bio
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Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/21/2014 | 6:48:53 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@Broadway0474      Interesting I didn't know that but I agree.  Liking your own stuff is bush league.  : ) 
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Strategist
6/19/2014 | 10:28:48 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@nomii, as an editor, I know firsthand what it's like when someone thinks their stuff is the greatest ever ... when it's really not that decent. That's why editors have always existed, and why crowdsourced content is contingent on other people's opinions ... not the creator hitting like over and over and over ... ; )
Curt Franklin
IW Pick
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/19/2014 | 2:38:43 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
@Susan, the information I've seen indicates that the split in the US is more generational than socio-economic, and that the age split is an issue that will solve itself in the next decade. Those in their 70s and 80s still lean heavily toward feature phones while younger users are already deeply into smart phones.

Companies like Wal-Mart have made smart phones quite cheap here in the US: The real question for marketers is which platform to support with apps.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/19/2014 | 1:23:26 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
@PedroGonzales, one of the key issues is being able to discover which technology (or technologies) your audience has in place. For those who are trying to sell products or services to the general public, that can mean figuring out what sort of gadget "everyone" is using. One of the things that's becoming obvious is that there are huge differences from region to region or even nation to nation -- a situation that creates enormous challenges for companies trying to sell things around the world.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Moderator
6/19/2014 | 1:16:20 PM
Working with what you have
This is a wonderful example of targeting a strategy to the people who are going to use it with what they have. By not expecting the workforce to go out and get something to be able to access the program, they worked with what they already had and can make some really good positive change.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 3:20:02 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@Broadway0474 is there anything wrong in that :). I think its perfectly fine to appreciate your own comment as others might not have that insight. But feels that it should be ....... I hope you can make out what is comming next.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Strategist
6/17/2014 | 11:01:25 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@Technocrati, most any social media platform allows you to like your own junk. I have friends who do it, and have fought to urge to un-friend them ... on a lifetime basis.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/17/2014 | 4:45:47 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@Rich: Heh Heh. Then you've come to the right place.

 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
6/17/2014 | 6:50:05 AM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
Technocrati, the badge system hasn't been dominated by self-promoters to date :) Hopefully everyone finds it useful.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2014 | 8:05:27 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
As for going down an intelligent path of conversation, it's funny how many different directions people can take on that path. There are lots of collisions on that road.

 

@Rich    Or some might argue it is a path not much traveled.   But of course that doesn't apply here !  Lot's of heavyweights at IW.
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