GRC
HR
SCM
CRM
BI


Article

 

Special Feature: SAP Solutions for Mobile Business

by SAP and Partners | SAPinsider

July 1, 2004

by SAP and Partners SAPinsider - 2004 (Volume 5), July (Issue 3)
 
Who Says You Can't Take It With You?
Lessons for Looking at Mobile Business Solutions


Manfred Muecke
Vice President,
SAP Global Mobile Business Initiative

>>INSIDE<<

IBM and SAP Solutions for Mobile Business — Mobile and Wireless e-business on demand™

The Mobile Value Equation: Solutions and Technologies from SAP and Intel

Keeping Your Mobile Workforce Connected

Q&A with Manfred Muecke
Vice President, SAP Global Mobile Business Initiative

Q. Some lofty expectations come with mobile applications, including increased worker productivity, heightened business process efficiency, and better customer service. Clearly, these things are easier said than done. How should a customer size up a mobile business applications vendor?

First, don't let discussions of technology factor into your analysis more heavily than they should. Mobile business is happening today on a business-driven basis, not at the technology level. There was a time when companies had to delay mobile activities because mobile devices, wireless networks, software, and applications just weren't ready. That's not the case anymore. Now, mobile devices are more powerful, wireless networks are faster, and tools are more robust — technology is more than adequate to do the job.

So when sizing up an application vendor, take a critical look at the business goals at hand. For example, if your objective is to provide salespeople with access to critical account information, make sure the solution can provide the appropriate information anytime, anywhere. If your objective is to give mobile workers access to the information they desire, evaluate such things as how well the mobile solution is integrated with the backend system, if existing skill sets and infrastructure can be leveraged, and how well it works in both a connected and disconnected mode. If your aim is to enable field service engineers to obtain work orders, provide high-quality services for clients, and communicate a completed job for billing purposes, make sure the application integrates well with the CRM system on the backend.

Another key consideration is the degree to which the mobile portions of the application are integrated with your overall ERP, CRM, supply chain management, and other key business processes. This cuts right to the heart of TCO and ROI. So with regard to integration, make sure the mobile application is part of all the major developments within these applications and their underlying technology infrastructure.

Q. Are SAP's mobile business applications integrated with all of the major application areas SAP supports?

Yes — and with SAP's industry solutions, too.

This is hugely advantageous for current SAP customers. Since mobility is integral to all our major solution areas and to our infrastructure, it takes only nominal effort to enable it, and the returns are enormous, certainly delivering on the three key benefits you mentioned earlier — increased worker productivity, heightened business process efficiency, and better customer service.

We have customers in a variety of industries — from telecommunications and utilities to high-tech and manufacturing — that are generating additional revenue from utilizing these mobile business solutions. They are experiencing a quantum leap in terms of the utility they are deriving from their current IT assets.

Q. Any predictions about the shape of things to come?

It will be the mobile device that serves as the center from which you execute all your tasks. You'll be away from your desk a lot more, but that won't be a problem because you'll never need a fixed line as you do now. Productivity will soar. I need to temper these remarks a bit, though — these are not far-off futuristic scenarios. In fact, we're seeing them take hold across our customer base already. With great surety, I can tell you that mobility is already a key differentiator between competitors and will prove even more so in the months and years ahead.

SAP Solutions for Mobile Business at a Glance

Available SAP Solutions for Mobile Business:

Mobile Applications
Prefigured scenarios that are ready to run out-of-the box, mobile solutions work in an online/connected or offline/disconnected mode. Here is a list of mobile applications available today:

  • SAP Mobile Sales — Supports salespeople who need to perform revenue-generating tasks quickly and productively (see Figure 1).

Figure 1
SAP Mobile Sales — Sample Screen from a Handheld Device

  • SAP Mobile Service — Enables field service engineers and technicians to react quickly to customer problems (see Figure 2).

Figure 2
SAP Mobile Service —Sample Screen from a Handheld Device

  • SAP Mobile Asset Management — Allows field service engineers to access relevant business processes anywhere, anytime to solve maintenance issues.

  • SAP Direct Store Delivery — Provides enterprise functionality for delivery personnel to service customers and manage relationships while working away from their main office.

  • SAP Mobile Time and Travel — Gives mobile employees access to HR functionality such as time and travel management.

  • SAP Mobile Procurement — Empowers mobile staff to manage the entire procurement function, from price comparison to ordering.

In addition to providing these ready-made solutions, SAP provides mobile capabilities in warehouse management, business intelligence, and other key areas of the SAP solution set.

SAP Mobile Infrastructure
SAP Mobile Infrastructure (SAP MI), a component of SAP NetWeaver, offers a robust Mobile Development Kit that enables customers to modify SAP mobile applications or create applications from scratch. SAP MI also provides a powerful administrative tool for easily deploying or upgrading mobile applications (remotely/wirelessly), load balancing, and resolving synchronization conflicts. SAP Mobile Infrastructure provides the infrastructure that all of SAP's solutions for mobile business are built on.

For more information on SAP Solutions for Mobile Business, please visit www.sap.com/mobile or contact www.sap.com/contactsap.

back to top


IBM and SAP Solutions for Mobile Business — Mobile and Wireless e-business on demand™


Larry Werbeloff
SAP Mobile Lead,
IBM BCS

Leveraging the "Last Mile" of Integration

With today's competitive pressures, expectations for accuracy, immediacy, speed, and flexibility in business processes are at an all-time high. While SAP solutions enable companies to integrate functions and accelerate business processes, implementations are leveraged by fewer than 10% of the employees inside a typical company — and even less by its partners and customers. Traditional implementations often stop short — ending at the user's desktop. This limits the velocity, accuracy, and flexibility that these systems are capable of providing.

Mobile and Wireless Solutions for SAP Solutions Deliver the Next Level of Integration

As part of our e-business on demand vision, IBM mobile solutions transform the "last mile," integrating quickly and easily into your technology environment and business processes for a faster return on investment. Pervasive mobile and wireless computing extends the reach of business processes to include a wide range of devices, modes of interaction, and connections.

On Demand Workforce: Enabling Employees, Enhancing Returns

SAP integrated business processes need to reach the field without delays, empower employees, and improve information velocity.

Mobile support, mobile asset management, and mobile service management solutions enable personnel to stay close to business activities — wherever they might occur — without sacrificing productivity or data accuracy. Efficiencies come through handling more service calls, improving dispatch processes, and meeting service requirements or regulations, in addition to creating up-sell opportunities.

On Demand Supply Chain: Improving Velocity and Traceability

Mobile and wireless offerings enhance a business's capacity to synchronize supply and demand. Changes to information have rapid visibility, so accurate data and relevant information can be accessed on demand for greater business agility.

These offerings also address the information sharing requirements of external logistics, where a single transaction is automatically distributed to all relevant partners. Automatically tracking inventory and streamlining processes also reduces cycle times and their associated costs.

Helping Reduce Risks and Costs

IBM Business Consulting Services (BCS) and IBM end-to-end integrated mobile and wireless solutions drive faster, lower-cost implementations, simpler maintenance, lower risk, and faster time to value.

Relying on Proven IBM Expertise in Wireless, RFID, SAP, and Your Industry

  • IBM is a world leader in wireless and pervasive computing technology. Successfully generating value from mobile solutions requires industry insight and proven business process transformation expertise. We bring broad, deep experience and expertise to fuse business and mobile technology end-to-end for integrated mobile solutions.

  • IBM BCS enables the on demand workforce with mobile sales, service, and asset management solutions, appropriately employing SAP Mobile Infrastructure and applications, as well as IBM and IBM Partner wireless technology and middleware.

  • IBM BCS enables the on demand supply chain with mobile warehouse management and logistics solutions, appropriately employing SAP Mobile Architecture (including Web-enhanced SAP Console and SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure), as well as IBM wireless technology and middleware, Global Goods Tracker, and supply chain RFID compliance solutions.

For more information on IBM mobile and wireless solutions for SAP, contact larry.werbeloff@us.ibm.com or visit www.ibm.com/bcs.

back to top


The Mobile Value Equation
Solutions and Technologies from SAP and Intel


Chris Thomas
Chief Strategist,
Director of Strategic Initiatives,
Solutions Market Development Group,
Intel Corporation

Most forward-looking businesses today do not need to be sold on the value of mobile computing. What is critically important to business executives is the inherent value that any given set of mobile solutions delivers, the cost of deployment, the longevity of the solution, and the speed at which they will realize a return on their investment.

Achieving Optimum Value

While a vast number of mobile computing technologies are available today, Intel and SAP believe optimum value is achieved through deploying mobile solutions that enable strategic extensions of the enterprise, extending mobile business processes across multiple systems, and standardizing on both applications and technology.

The Difference Between Mobile Computing and Mobile Solutions

Mobile computing may consist of disparate devices running proprietary software to solve very specific needs — perhaps PDAs or cell phones being used to provide a browser view to a backend system. A mobile solution, however, is more all-encompassing, enabling businesses to share data between multiple devices and multiple systems, and is optimized for network usage and performance. To achieve this end, mobilized software is an essential part of the solution.

Intel and SAP are embracing mobile solutions with mobilized software due to user demands and impressive return on investments. Early results have revealed one major European airport is saving US$100,000 per year through a mobile solution that enables them to eliminate physical archives. Another company, a US-based professional services organization, is improving its operations by invoicing at the customer site — previously a 4-week process. This improves their cash flow and increases consultant and support staff productivity and overall job satisfaction.

Mobilized Software Plays a Critical Role

Mobilized software strategically uses standards and asynchronous messaging to provide four key features:

  • Offline capabilities — workers remain productive when traveling beyond network reach or when the network is being serviced or is experiencing an outage

  • Application network connectivity

  • Multiple device support

  • Increased power and performance

With mobilized software, data synchronizes to the devices and can be processed on the devices themselves; this reduces network utilization to just the manipulated data. Since the software separates data from UI, these applications can also share data between multiple devices; data can be synchronized between backend systems, laptops, handhelds, and cell phones. The amount of data exchanged and the manner in which it is displayed alters depending upon the device.

Intel's Role in the Mobile Value Equation

Intel understands the unique needs of mobile and wireless solutions: The balance of performance and low power combined with reduction in components and expansion in storage options to meet form factor and system requirements. Intel provides such innovation today through:

  • Intel Personal Internet Client Architecture (Intel PCA) for cell phones and handheld devices

  • Intel Centrino mobile technology for notebook and tablet PCs

In addition to mobile and wireless technologies, Intel facilitates mobile adoption through:

  • The flexibility to deploy across a full range of powerful industry-leading platforms (handhelds, tablets, laptops, desktops, and servers)

  • The largest ecosystem in the industry offering customer choice of OEMs and operating systems

  • SAP Solutions for Mobile Business optimized to run on Intel architecture

  • Leadership performance at a fraction of the cost, freeing up IT resources for innovation

  • A rich technology roadmap with over $4 billion in annual R&D spending

  • Accelerating global mobile adoption via large investments in mobile infrastructure and standards

Intel Personal Internet Client Architecture (Intel PCA)

Intel Personal Client Internet Architecture (Intel PCA) is a hardware and software platform framework for designing cell phones and handheld client devices. It separates computing and communications subsystems for easier development and faster time-to-market.

Intel Centrino Mobile Technology

Intel Centrino mobile technology is designed to help the enterprise fully realize the benefits of wireless mobility.1 It is the first architected CPU, chipset, and wireless LAN from Intel, designed from the ground up to deliver the benefits of mobility for the enterprise — enhanced employee productivity, lower total cost of ownership, and longer platform stability. Intel Centrino mobile technology offers the mobile worker value through its breakthrough mobile performance and extended battery life, in thinner and lighter designs.

1 Wireless connectivity and some features may require you to purchase additional software, services, or external hardware. Availability of public wireless LAN access points limited and some hotspots may not support Linux-based Intel Centrino mobile technology systems. System performance measured by MobileMark* 2002. System performance, battery life, wireless performance, and functionality will vary depending on your specific operating system, hardware, and software configurations. For more information see www.intel.com/products/centrino/more_info.

Optimized Mobile Solutions at Low TCO

For over 10 years, Intel and SAP engineering teams have worked to optimize SAP application performance and scalability on Intel processors. Today, Intel and SAP continue their engineering efforts for second-generation mobile solutions through seamless integration of Intel architecture-based devices with SAP Solutions for Mobile Business and SAP backend servers delivering best-in-class, scalable mobile solutions at a low total cost of ownership.

Creating and Articulating the Advantages of a Mobile Solution Strategy

SAP and Intel believe a well-planned and properly executed mobile business initiative builds stronger bonds with customers, makes organizations more efficient, and provides a technical foundation for the next generation of innovative products and services. Recently, SAP Systems Integration (SI) and Intel Solution Services developed a comprehensive mobility assessment program intended to help customers create and articulate their mobile strategy.

Intel's engineering collaboration on the SAP NetWeaver technology offers customers a robust set of SAP Solutions for Mobile Business optimized on Intel architecture for a wide range of mobile devices. This collaboration provides customers with a competitive advantage by extending enterprise applications, increasing workforce productivity in connected and disconnected modes, lowering TCO, and maximizing ROI.

Through a rigorous and in-depth program, customers are able to identify and validate the mobile solutions best suited to their specific business needs, goals, and technical environment. The program focuses on business areas that promise the highest cost savings and efficiency gains, ranging from warehouse management to service, sales, and distribution. SAP SI and Intel Solution Services help companies create and articulate their mobile strategy through a three-step process:

  • Business assessment — Identifies mobile usage models that offer productivity gains and cost savings

  • Technical assessment — Analyzes mobile solution based on existing IT landscape, security standards, and emerging technologies

  • Prototype and solution architecture validation — Provides working prototype, implementation plan, and cost estimate

Intel is focused on accelerating the adoption of innovation in IT. Innovative mobile solutions can add real business value in any industry; resources for such innovation can be freed up by lowering TCO with Intel architecture-based solutions. Intel and SAP are ready to assist companies in mobilizing their operations faster to gain competitive advantage, and with minimal risk.

To learn more about the mobile assessment program, visit www.sap.com/mk/get/mbnew.

For more on Intel technologies and solutions for SAP customers, please see the following resources:

back to top


Keeping Your Mobile Workforce Connected


Peter Zanetti
SAP Practice,
Psion Teklogix

Companies running SAP solutions recognize the value, now more than ever, of tapping into the full potential of this powerful system. To stay ahead of the competition, these enterprises are looking to gain every possible benefit from their processes, systems, and people by enabling every employee to access, process, and send critical information anytime and anywhere. Workers in logistics, field service, direct store delivery, asset tracking, route accounting, and other mobile business processes can now access information in real time at their point of activity. This has created enormous potential for improved customer satisfaction, productivity, efficiencies, and cost savings.

Traditionally, though, business processes relied almost exclusively on paper and PCs. Regardless of where employees performed their tasks — whether at a desk, in the field, in the cab of a truck, at a warehouse — the typical flow of information has been tied to a fixed network or paper-based process. The fundamental inefficiencies of these traditional processes, which rely on the PC for data input and output, create problems and operational challenges when it comes to basic and critical issues, such as:

Ensuring tracking and accountability of schedules and staff
Gaining broader access to ERP systems at point-of-work
Getting information quickly back into the ERP system, and avoiding late or long billing cycles
Preventing poor data collection and errors that will delay data after a process is already days past completion
Widening access to support resources, including work orders, inventory reports, customer data, manuals, part lists, and route planning
Reducing administration costs

Without a strong solution, customers will struggle with these pain points and never achieve the results they demand. With the implementation of an SAP mobile solution, however, customers will see a solution that addresses all of the challenges mentioned above, as well as realize:

Better customer satisfaction
Increased productivity
Improved efficiencies
Lower costs

Psion Teklogix's SAP Practice delivers solutions to mobilize the powerful functionality of SAP Solutions for Mobile Business and extend it to mobile workers throughout the entire supply chain. Psion Teklogix helps companies leverage their SAP investment by extending key business processes to their mobile workforce through a variety of handheld or vehicle-mounted devices. Psion Teklogix also works with SAP and its customers to deliver solutions that integrate barcode, RFID, and other technologies with SAP solutions, utilizing the SAP Mobile Infrastructure and SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure to optimize communication to and from mobile devices. As a result, SAP customers can drive real-time business processes and enable faster and smarter business decisions.

Based on extensive industry experience, Psion Teklogix has provided mobile computing and data collection solutions to over 500 SAP customers. Our reputation for rugged hardware, secure wireless networks, robust software, professional services, and exceptional support programs for SAP solution environments are second to none. We deliver comprehensive solutions to SAP customers, addressing the challenges of companies managing mobile information. This provides customers with a competitive advantage by extending "anytime, anywhere" access to their SAP enterprise applications to increase workforce productivity while lowering their TCO and maximizing ROI. Our experience indicates that a properly deployed Psion Teklogix's Mobile Solution can start delivering return on your investments almost immediately.

The netpad, a Rugged Handheld Computer with an RFID Reader Being Used for an Asset Management Application

For more information on our solution, visit www.psionteklogix.com or call
+1 800 322-3437.

back to top


An email has been sent to:






More from SAPinsider



COMMENTS

Please log in to post a comment.

No comments have been submitted on this article. Be the first to comment!


SAPinsider
FAQ