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Research Uncovers the Drivers Behind Enterprise Mobility

by Kevin Benedict | insiderPROFILES

April 1, 2012

Kevin Benedict, Founder of Netcentric Strategies, and Davin Wilfrid, Senior Analyst at insiderRESEARCH, teamed up to conduct a survey that studied the impact of the mobility revolution on the SAP customer base. This article outlines their findings, including the reasons why SAP customers are going mobile, and how many have already shaped an enterprise-wide mobility strategy.

The acquisition of Sybase in 2010 was a clear signal that SAP was betting big on mobility. By acquiring Sybase’s mobile application platform — the Sybase Unwired Platform, which allows developers to write bus iness applications once and deploy them to a variety of mobile platforms including iOS, Android, and BlackBerry — SAP made a strong statement that it was not only joining the mobility movement, but wanted to lead it.


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This study is based on a survey of 602 SAP practitioners from around the world. The complete research report is available for free at

 “This is a game-changing transaction for SAP and Sybase customers who will be better able to connect their employees with key functionality and information from anywhere, and make it easier for companies to make faster, more-informed business decisions in real time,” SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott said.

How have SAP customers responded? insiderRESEARCH, the research arm of SAPinsider, recently teamed with independent mobility analyst Kevin Benedict, founder of Netcentric Strategies, to study the impact of the mobility revolution on the SAP customer base. The resulting research report, “Mobile Outlook 2012,” illustrates a world on the precipice of a fundamental transformation.

Mobile Strategies Gathering at the Center

When it comes to building mobile strategies, enterprises clearly recognize the need for an enterprise-wide mobile strategy governing all applications and devices. The percentage of SAP customers deploying an enterprise mobile strategy is expected to more than double over the next three years, from 32% to 67%, according to the study (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 — In the next three years, the percentage of firms that have enterprise-wide mobile strategies will double.

However, it is also clear that companies see several challenges to developing a mobile strategy. The percentage of organizations relying on a distributed strategy — in which each line of business or location sets its own strategy — is expected to remain largely the same over the next three years. This anticipated inactivity reflects the reality of global organizations, whose size and complexity often inhibit their ability to centralize applications or IT strategies. Of course, continuing in this vein will prevent these organizations from capitalizing on the efficiencies of horizontal mobile solutions, platforms, and management options across the enterprise.

Our research found that the key challenges to developing a mobile strategy include identifying or prioritizing business cases, choosing the right platform or technology, defining the budget, and avoiding security lapses. Application development and user adoption were considered the least challenging parts of a mobile strategy.

Why Are SAP Customers Going Mobile?

Increasing productivity is the primary reason SAP organizations are mobilizing, followed by improving customer interactions, providing business intelligence to decision makers, and enabling field staff to access necessary data (Figure 2). These results show that organizations expect improvements in both top-line and bottom-line revenue from enterprise mobility solutions. In a competitive environment, these are the areas of focus that separate the best-in-class from the rest.

Figure 2

Figure 2 — Increased productivity is the primary mobility driver, but organizations expect top-line and bottom-line improvements.

No matter the reason for pursuing a mobile strategy, organizations must then ask several key questions as they move forward:

  • How will mobile applications help us meet our strategic goals in this area?
  • What kinds of applications will be necessary to support those goals?
  • What features are necessary to give us an advantage?

As in any IT project, these requirements must be documented and shared with the IT organization before it can execute the strategy. In some cases, there may be too many challenges to solve with a single mobility platform. However, the organization should attempt to deliver as many results with as few platforms as possible.

Who Influences Mobile Strategy?

Conventional wisdom says that mobile strategies are propelled by user demand — imagine employees storming the gates of IT demanding that they be able to connect their iPhones to back-end data. When it comes to influencing the organization’s actual mobile strategy, however, end users rank near the bottom of the list. Line-of-business managers and executives are the most influential roles, as shown in Figure 3, while end users, consultants, and technology vendors are the least influential. IT management ranks near the middle.

Figure 3

Figure 3 — Line of business managers exude the most internal influence on mobility strategy, while end users and vendors rank near the bottom.

Among external, non-human forces influencing mobile strategies, it’s no surprise that security tops the list (Figure 4). Giving thousands of mobile workers access to confidential and mission-critical data is burdened with risk. However, there are proven security systems and providers that can help manage devices and applications. The larger challenge may prove to be integration between mobile applications and back-end SAP data. SAP solutions for connecting the two — especially SAP NetWeaver Gateway and the Sybase Unwired Platform — are rapidly maturing and improving.

Figure 4

Figure 4 — Security and integration issues are the top influences on mobile strategy, while device concerns are the lowest.

Tough Decisions

SAP customers have several difficult choices ahead as they move into the era of mobility. Many will face challenges in the areas of training, staffing, education, technology choice, application design and development, support, and change management, among others. If they are able to successfully navigate their way to a productive mobile strategy, they will reap the rewards through better decision making, increased productivity, and streamlined business processes.

Mobile Outlook 2012 Sponsors


Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict, Founder, Netcentric Strategies

Davin Wilfrid

Davin Wilfrid, Senior Analyst, insiderRESEARCH


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insiderRESEARCH conducts independent research across the worldwide base of SAP and SAP BusinessObjects customers. Research projects are commissioned on a first-come, first-served basis. Each custom report is tailored to deliver comprehensive, accurate, and actionable results. For more information, contact

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