The way the business world accesses its data is undergoing a phase of rapid upheaval. One tour of the SAPPHIRE NOW exhibition areas and it’s clear that many companies have not been able to withstand the magnetism of the iPad. Not only is nearly every stand giving away one of Apple’s new tablet computers at least once a day; a significant number of presenters are using the handy touchscreen device to access a wide variety of SAP software. An array of such apps are already available for iPad – such as the Hasso Plattner Institute’s dunning app for SAP Business ByDesign 2.5, displayed above – or are in the final stages of testing. With HPI’s app, for example, users can display open customer invoices in Google Maps based on their geographic location. In a demonstration at SAPPHIRE NOW, this data was loaded in real time from SAP Business ByDesign.
Even in the United States, iPad has sold out at nearly all Apple Stores throughout the country; most customers must now register on a waiting list to purchase the device. However, consumer demand was not the sole factor that drove Apple’s sales figures past the one-million mark in the device’s very month. At SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, you get the feeling that iPad may establish itself in the field of business even faster than iPhone.
More proof of this is seen in the many presentations involving complex business applications, where Apple’s computer interfaces are considered the ultimate in user-friendliness. The talk is often of small apps with which users can access larger SAP applications from their iPads and iPhones. For many SAP partners, this opens a new field of business – one that many would have not predicted just one year ago.
In the near future, everything will be mobile: various devices, the corresponding software, and any users who have not already made the transition. With the right tools and integration, employees will be able to work on and analyze any business data from anywhere by smartphone or tablet PC. It’s evident that most SAPPHIRE NOW attendees have developed something of a dependency on mobile connectivity, constantly checking their e-mail and synchronizing their appointment schedules during short breaks at the event.
SAP is also accelerating its development of software for mobile devices. It wants to become the world leader in mobile business software, particularly with platforms and databases from the recently acquired Sybase. SAP plans to address the full range of mobile devices in the future, from smartphones like iPhone and Blackberry to tablet computers like iPad. The conventional desktop PC is no longer a topic of conversation.
Here, we present a number of iPad apps that have debuted at SAPPHIRE NOW.
Syclo Smart Mobile Suite
Syclo is showing off its Smart Mobile Suite, a development platform for mobile devices that makes SAP Business Suite 7 integration possible. It also includes the following functions for SAP systems:
- Smart Service Manager
- Smart Work Manager for SAP ERP
- Smart Inventory Manager for SAP ERP
- Smart Rounds for SAP ERP
Speaking with Syclo, it became clear that different devices need to be available for specific fields of use. Development platforms like Smart Mobile Suite thus have to support multiple mobile operating systems.
Mellmo Roambi Visualizer for Business Intelligence
Mellmo is offering integration with SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2/3.0/3.1 based on its own Roambi Enterprise Server 3. Roambi Visualizer functions as an interface to Enterprise Server 3 for iPhone and iPad, making it possible to prepare data for graphical presentation in business reports on the latter device. The data can take the form of RPT files created with Crystal Reports 2008 or earlier versions of the software. Users can also access non-SAP environments, such as IBM Cognos Reports 8.3/8.4 or later and Microsoft Reporting Services 2005/2008.