SAP and Sybase expect 90% of all mobile SAP apps to be developed by partners and independent software vendors (ISV). These developers will likely be able to build focused industry- and line-of-business apps more quickly than SAP.
Partners and ISVs who want to benefit from the huge market potential of mobile SAP applications, however, first need to gain experience in developing apps on the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP).
That’s why SAP has instituted various programs to support and educate developers in building apps for SUP. The SAP Co-Innovation Lab (COIL) and SAP Mobility Unit carried out one such program called PAdMA, or Partner delivered Mobile Applications, with five SAP partners: Accenture, AkaaRa, Arteria, SIGGA, and WIPRO.
On the following pages, we’ll tell you all about the apps these partners developed:
For more details on the PAdMA program and where you will be able to get these apps, skip to the end of the article:
Accenture: HCM Employee Lifecycle
Accenture developed an app that addresses some of the inefficiencies within HR processes. For example, non-automated workforce processes can be time-consuming and error prone. In addition, they aren’t transparent to users. Many automated processes, however, are not very user-friendly.
That’s why the HCM Employee Lifecycle app is all about simplifying and speeding up workforce management tasks in all industries. The app is designed for the iPad running iOS 4.2 or newer and has a streamlined user interface. HCM Employee Lifecycle works with enhancement package 4 for SAP ERP HCM and SUP 1.5.5.
The HCM Employee Lifecycle app carries out approval requests using workflow notifications on the iPad. Say an employee wants to reduce his working time to 80%. His manager initiates the request for a change in the app and sends it to the HR service rep. Here, the changes are made in the app and sent to the senior manager for final approval. Once it has been approved, the new work time and salary are updated in the SAP system automatically. Everyone involved in the workflow receives a notification of the update.
The business benefits entail not only improved transparency, reduced errors, and faster workflow processes, but also cost savings since the existing HCM forms are used in the backend. Another advantage is the ability to immediately check whether data complies with business rules in SAP.
In addition, Accenture provides multiple access channels – mobile channels or the SAP Standard Portal solution – so users can choose the one that’s right for them.
Next page: AkaaRa app for project management
AkaaRa Consulting: Manage Infrastructure Projects with “Project Insight”
The app from AkaaRa Consulting aims to help companies complete projects on time and within budget through improved project management. One of the biggest challenges for companies is the communication barrier between employees working online at headquarters and employees working offline at the project site.
The “Project Insight” solution from AkaaRa Consulting meets this need for real-time visibility and communication in project management with a set of applications for both off-site monitoring from company headquarters and on-site inspection and reporting at the project location. Within the solution are apps for different roles – Project manager, Site Supervisor, Site Engineer and Quality Engineer – and for various aspects of project management.
In the demo, AkaaRa Consulting showed how the app can be used in an inspection scenario. An employee notes that a spool is malfunctioning and creates a site report. Here, you can choose to attach a photo, document, or audio memo. The manager who receives the report can then input further information, such as the subcontractor who will repair the defect, the due date for repair, priority, and status. Here, you will also find an overview of all outstanding issues for the project organized under categories like “quality assurance” and “inspections.”
This is an example of what AkaaRa Consulting calls “evidence of execution.” By automating processes like repairs, materials management, inspections, and ad-hoc purchasing, companies always know exactly where the project stands in terms of budget and time.
This app is designed for Apple iOS and integrates with SAP ERP. It is intended for use in the infrastructure industries such as Engineering and Construction, Industrial Machinery, Mining, Oil & Gas, Mill Products, and Utilities.
Next page: Arteria app for mobile sales force
Arteria: Mobile Sales Force Automation
The needs of sales representatives are fairly straightforward. They want to be able to provide customers with up-to-date information on placed orders, inventory, product pricing information, and be able to book new orders while on the move.
Arteria met those needs with mSFA, an app that enables sales force teams in the field to access SAP ERP data in real time. This app is suitable for sales teams in all industries, and it is designed to be used on a BlackBerry device.
Arteria showed how the app works in a typical sales scenario: A sales representative has an upcoming meeting with a client. He starts mSFA on his BlackBerry and gets the latest information on order status, product inventory and latest product pricing from the SAP system.
Here, he can also access customer order history, credit limit, and contact details. He makes an order on the BlackBerry and then syncs the app with SAP ERP. The order request is immediately input in the SAP system. The corresponding delivery, goods issue, and invoice are sent back to the BlackBerry.
The app integrates with SAP ERP 6.0 and it can be deployed in six to eight weeks.
Next page: SIGGA app for work order execution
SIGGA: Mobile Asset Maintenance: Work Order Execution
SIGGA aimed to extend the SAP Plant Maintenance (PM) module by automating the data entry process in SAP ERP and mobilizing field service employees. The resulting app, SIGGA SM2, is suitable for all industries with maintenance operators in the field and can be deployed on several mobile operating systems.
The demo shows the function of creating maintenance orders. In this case, an employee verifies a maintenance order, including tasks and materials, in the SAP PM module and then opens the SIGGA web application to dispatch the order to a mobile device.
The field service employee receives a push notification on his mobile device with the new maintenance order. Once the order is closed, the changes made in the app can be synced back to SAP ERP where the cost, status and performed work can be checked.
The new version of SIGGA SM2 is in the ramp-up stage now and general availability is planned for Q4 2011. Further information about SIGGA and the currently available version of SIGGA SM2 can be found at SAP Store.
Next page: WIPRO app for meter reading
WIPRO: Meter Reading and Billing Solution
For the utility industry, meter reading is a time-consuming and data-intensive process. Accurate readings are essential for billing purposes. Some countries like India, however, still enter readings manually which can lead to errors. Countries where meter reading is already automated, on the other hand, haven’t taken the next step to mobilize meter data. The readings still have to be downloaded manually to the backend system. WIPRO developed an app to address both of these weaknesses.
The meter reading app is designed for the commonly used Windows Mobile operating system, rather than industry-specific devices. Once the meter reading is entered in the app, real-time synchronization updates the data in the SAP system. The app also works in offline scenarios. In that case, it synchronizes the data once connectivity is regained.
The app also enables utilities companies to bill customers directly at the time of the meter reading. An invoice is sent via SMS or email.
Next page: Overview of PAdMA and app availability
Overview of PAdMA and app availability
The PAdMA program is intended to educate SAP partners on the technical aspects of developing mobile applications on SUP. Partners learn the pros and cons of the different architectural approaches they can use while designing their mobile solutions. The PAdMA program also supports partners throughout the actual development phase.
At this time, many of the more intricate technical capabilities of SUP are not widely known. For development teams to produce apps like the ones highlighted above, they have to work with SAP and Sybase.
“Adoption has just started,” said one PAdMA program leader. “PAdMA offers partners and ISVs an opportunity to build high-impact mobile solutions with the latest SUP release in a collaborative environment. At the same time, it also serves as a testing ground for the Sybase engineering team to determine the needs of and goals of partners when it comes to mobility.”
The program was set up with two waves in mind. In the first wave, Accenture, AkaaRa, Arteria, SIGGA, and WIPRO built apps with offline and online support for SUP 1.5.5. The partners showed demos of these apps during SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando.
The second wave began in July with six partners who are developing apps on SUP 2.0. These more lightweight apps will likely be shown during Q3 at SAP events like TechEd and SAPPHIRE. There is talk of a second phase for wave two.
The apps are planned to be available through the SAP Store. Partners can also choose to bring their app to market on their own.