Hans Jakob Reuter is a realist. Although consumer electronics retailer Media Saturn is about to start testing his new business app, Contract2Go, the managing director of SAP partner gicom isn’t jumping for joy (yet).
SAP.info: Mr. Reuter, the retail consumer electronics group Media Saturn is due to begin testing your “Contract2Go” app at the end of August. Does this mean you’re moving into a new field of business?
Reuter: No. Not just yet anyway. If we had to live off sales of business apps alone, we’d starve! What we do know, though, is that the tablet computer is on its way to becoming the primary personal computing device. Researchers predict that, before long, everyone will own a cell phone and a tablet. Processes will transform and concerns about security issues will be overturned.
What is slowing the progress of business apps right now?
IT departments are faced with the dilemma of whether to go for the iOS, Windows 8, or Android mobile operating systems. The problem is that, whatever they decide to do, the market could look completely different in a couple of years’ time. The financial risks of investing in IT infrastructure are currently holding IT decision-makers back from buying business apps and leveraging their added value for the company.
With Contract2Go, for example, buyers can simulate various different conditions during a sales negotiation meeting – such as lowering the cash discount overall, but raising the discount for a certain product group. The business app has access to the complete set of supplier data and previous negotiation results, and it offers tools for analysis and simulation. As part of the purchasing process, Contract2Go plays a key role in condition management. It is therefore part of a business software solution and cannot be bought as a standalone solution from an app store.
That’s right. Negotiation data flows straight into the ERP system and is therefore directly accessible for office-based personnel. When you consider that a one percent reduction in costs corresponds to an 18 percent increase in sales, you can appreciate just how important contact and condition management is in the overall purchasing process.
Is this one of the reasons why you were so successful in the SAP Appiade [a contest for SAP partners to develop business apps for specific applications]?
Our app maps a highly specific business scenario and it is aimed at a clearly defined potential group of customers, with some 4,000 buyers in the Germany retail sector alone. That’s the advantage. Although buyers would jump at the chance to use this tool straight away, implementation is still an issue – for the reasons I mentioned above. Basically, our business app is two years ahead of its time. Nevertheless, we keep on receiving encouragement to “hang in there”, so we’ll just sit tight, weather the lean times, and wait for integrated business apps to make their breakthrough in 2013.