Jürgen Röhricht, from the Center of Excellence Mobile Business Solutions at SAP Deutschland, recently gave an overview of SAP’s mobile strategy at the Mobile Business Conference staged by NEO Business Partners in Berlin. We have summarized the key points in a two-part article. Part 2 will follow next week.
Three pillar strategy
Currently, SAP’s mobile strategy is based on a three pillar approach: apps, SAP Mobile Platform (including the SAP Mobile Platform development tools), and SAP Mobile Secure – SAP’s enterprise mobile management (EMM) suite. These core elements are supplemented by services such as consulting, rapid-deployment solutions, cloud offerings from SAP, and managed services from partners. Röhricht indicated that the next component SAP would add to its mobile strategy would be its own and a partner-offering for the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communication. An initial statement to this effect was made at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, when SAP and Ericsson announced that they were collaborating on cloud-based M2M services for enterprises.
Apps for B2E, B2B, and B2C
The topics in detail:
At SAP, the term “apps” does not just refer to applications for employees in an enterprise (B2E). Röhricht pointed out that there are also solutions for B2B scenarios – that is, designed for customers and business partners – and for B2C scenarios – with the focus on end consumers.
SAP supports its own standard applications such as SAP Sales Manager and SAP Retail Execution, certified apps from partners, and customer-specific mobile business applications. However, there are still many applications for which SAP and its partners have not (or not yet) supplied apps. SAP therefore develops customer-specific apps for cases like these. For example, it has developed an app for U.S. food distributor Sysco that allows the company’s customers to manage their goods inventories.
New apps on the way: In addition to the 200 or so apps that are already available from SAP and its partners, a large number of new apps are currently under development. SAP and partner apps can be downloaded directly from the SAP Store. According to Röhricht, SAP is currently working on making existing iOS apps available for Android and the mobile version of Windows.
SAP Fiori: Joint interface with HTML5
User experience: In the future, SAP’s apps will concentrate even more closely on maximizing ease of use and “consumerized” user appeal,” said Röhricht. “We will step up the consumerization of SAP apps and make them even more attractive and easier to operate,” he explained. As an example for simplified user experience, he referred to the SAP Fiori solution, a collection of 25 frequently used business functions, which was presented at SAPPHIRE NOW 2013. A joint interface based on HTML5 gives the user access to transactions such as trip requests, time recording, and travel expense settlement. “When we developed Fiori, we incorporated feedback from more than 200 customers and collaborated with some of them on co-innovations,” said Röhricht. SAP plans to make additional functions available via SAP Fiori by the end of the year, he announced.
Next page: Suite Concept Unites Apps
Suite concept and configurability: Up until now, apps tended to be programs that fulfilled a specific function, such as making certain customer information available to sales personnel, transmitting work orders to maintenance technicians, and enabling employees to submit leave requests. Generally speaking, they did not interact with each other; and customer-specific configurations were mostly only possible on a small scale. SAP’s future strategy will increasingly follow a suite- and configuration-based approach.
1. The configuration approach has already been implemented in SAP Work Manager, which customers can use to create and manage maintenance orders and much more. SAP Sales Manager 2.5, which is slated for release in July, will also follow the configuration approach. Users will be able to adapt branding to match their enterprise and add any functions that they specifically need, such as a particular entry or output field.
Merging apps into suites
2. The suite approach consists of consolidating several smaller applications in a single app – such as the suite of consistent workflow approvals used in SAP Fiori. This merging process could even go as far as enabling one app to access data from another app to fulfill specific queries. In this approach, mini applications join forces rather than remaining as closed silos.
In Part 2 of the article, to be published next week, you can read about how enhancements around the SAP Mobile Platform are progressing and what mobile security solutions SAP has to offer.