Mister B’s Business Apps

August 28, 2012 by Andreas Schmitz 0

Oliver Bussmann, CIO of SAP

When Bussmann cycles in to work from Heidelberg, the MapMyRIDE app registers his every rest, every incline, and every top speed along the way. The app knows if the SAP CIO takes a short break on the banks of the Neckar River, if his bike chain has come off, if he is waiting at a red light, or if he picks up speed while going downhill.

Business apps at work in Walldorf

It’s not that different from the apps managers use most often at work in Walldorf: business apps that record the tempo of daily business. “Dashboards are the drivers of business apps – especially for managers,” says Bussmann. For example, you want to know the figures for the last quarter, compared to the previous month or year – or which products were the most profitable. Bussmann can call up the data quickly, with just a few swipes and taps on his iPad. Revenues are shown in green, expenditures in red. The SAP CIO is convinced that “mobilization and the real-time processing of data have definitely changed user behavior.”

Leveraging the strengths of swift in-memory processing and making them available on a mobile front end is the current trend, according to Bussmann. But the SAP CIO is already looking ahead to the future, at Predictive Analytics. These are predictive models in which external influences are factored into the forecasting; and it only works if you have the right data processing speed.

Read on the next page: Bussmann’s favorite business apps

Mobile missionary Bussmann arrives to the interview, iPad tucked comfortably under his left arm. This is how he shows up for business meetings, management committees, and team meetings. He always comes thoroughly prepared, thanks in part to his assistant, Sarah Gervers. She loads documentation prepared for such meetings into the Board Doc business app, using a content management system from OpenText, one of SAP’s partners. Originally developed for the Supervisory Board and committees, the Board Doc app was made available to executives in May of this year.

SAP Box is a useful app that allows SAP employees to access their own folder on the SAP server. Bussmann believes that the mobile device management app Afaria solves the security problems associated with the public cloud. “Afaria closes gaps, it means we send the data to our private cloud and not to the public cloud,” he explains. Security guidelines require devices using SAP Box to be hardware encrypted and have Afaria installed on them. Users can then process, review, and share their documentation securely.

“I don’t read print anymore”

The third essential app for Bussmann is “Pulse News for iPad.” He compiled 50 sources of information, such as Fortune, Business Insider, VentureBeat, and Harvard Business Review, to learn about the latest topics in the business press. A leader in the paperless office concept, Bussmann admits, “I don’t read printed material anymore. I find it better to read exclusively on a mobile device, because then I can forward information right away, submit comments, and be active on the network.” Bussmann estimates he spends half an hour a day posting, commenting, and networking.

Read on the next page: Bussmann on testing Fujitsu’s Windows 8 tablet

On testing Windows 8 tablet

He is a living example of SAP’s “mobile first” mission – for SAP colleagues and for external customers. As part of that mission, SAP currently uses 18,000 iPads, 1,500 Android devices by Samsung, 13,000 iPhones, and 18,000 BlackBerrys. The 1,500 personal devices are additionally protected by Afaria, which is a prerequisite for using private devices and part of SAP’s bring-your-own-device-policy. Even though SAP sees itself as an iPad pioneer, Bussmann is currently testing Fujitsu’s Windows 8 business tablet to be released in October. “We want and need to be prepared,” he points out.

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2 comments

  1. Oliver Fan

    Great article and great to see that someone in SAP is remaining ahead of the game in terms of mobility. Perhaps Oliver should consider overtaking our mobile strategy as a whole which seems to be lagging big time. We should stop paying Gartner to gain placements and really start to earn them for a change. Great job to Oliver. I think folks at SAP truly admire and appreciate the social and innovative spirit that he brings to SAP. Look forward to see what’s ahead in the future.

  2. Mike

    Mr. B. does indeed seem to do a great job. But sounds like you work at SAP – you think you’re doing him a favor? 😉 And by the way everybody is paying Gartner and the likes, that’s the way the whole industry works. In the end, the customers will decide whether they want to buy your stuff or someone else’s.

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