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Creating the Individual Enterprise

The IBM-Apple Partnership Enhances Existing SAP Mobile Portfolio to Help SAP Users Transform Their Business

by Dale B. Young | SAPinsider, Volume 15, Issue 4

October 1, 2014

Organizations now need to move to an individual enterprise, where every employee is empowered with all of the data and capabilities needed to do their jobs most effectively. However, this move is not always easy considering the need to implement powerful mobile applications and analytics. Read this article to see how you can create the individual enterprise and transform your business.


It’s a meeting most salespeople dread: sitting down with a longtime customer who is overdue on payment and not knowing why. The future of the account hangs in the balance and the salesperson is walking into the meeting blind. It could be something minor that is easily rectified — or it could be a major issue that requires a detailed, thoughtful response. Whatever it is, it’s likely going to be a surprise to that salesperson.

But if that salesperson is armed with the right information at the right time, then the meeting takes a completely different tone. Imagine the salesperson pulling into the customer’s parking lot, taking out an iPad, and instantly reviewing a wealth of real-time data for the account. Order histories, delivery data, pricing information, and even social media postings are all on a familiar device that allows the salesperson to interpret the data easily and identify the customer’s pain point. Then, the salesperson can walk into the meeting prepared to address the issue and take the action required to get the account back on track.

How can you make this happen? By embracing the idea that mobility plus systems of record plus analytics can change how businesses work and how individuals perform their jobs. What makes this possible?

  • Mobility compresses the time between identifying situations and taking action, and allows for the reconfiguration of workflow around every individual.
  • Integrated and harmonized systems of record enable the complex value chains required to operate an organization to be masked from users while enabling rapid deployment of new transformational applications.
  • Integration of analytics and big data increases
    situational understanding and facilitates real-time decision making.

Welcome to the Individual Enterprise, where every employee is empowered with the capabilities needed to make the right decision and take the right action during the most critical times. Empowering employees at the point of engagement — whether that engagement is with customers, business partners, or colleagues — dramatically changes decision making and courses of action. In short, you’ve put the power and knowledge of the enterprise into the hands of the individual.

These capabilities are achievable for SAP customers with the proper strategy, roadmap, and partners. And it’s the logical strategic progression for companies that have already done the heavy lifting of business transformation. Building upon the investment in SAP systems of record, business process optimization efforts, and mobile, the Individual Enterprise represents the next iteration of enterprise transformation — designed to leverage the native capabilities of SAP and iOS-based mobile development platforms, while harnessing the power of data and analytics to empower individuals in ways never imagined before.

Empowering employees at the point of engagement dramatically changes decision making and courses of action.

Off and Running

Organizations that have implemented SAP systems have already made a significant investment and commitment to global integration and transformation built on process standardization and data harmonization. Those SAP deployments serve as the foundation to provide core processes, transactions, and information to drive the enterprise. To maximize this value, the capabilities have to be securely delivered to the right users at the moment they are needed, in an easy-to-understand format, and augmented with additional content to improve decision making. Expanding the reach of the SAP system is how ROI improves and how individual users within the enterprise become truly empowered. By embracing the concept of the Individual Enterprise as the foundation for the next wave of transformation, SAP customers can focus on empowering individuals to do things never before possible to increase differentiation in the marketplace and improve organizational effectiveness, while also improving the overall work experience for the millennial generation of employees and business partners.

Many enterprise mobility-driven transformations face integration, security, and user experience challenges. A growing number of devices and a variety of mobile apps in the enterprise are combining to make provisioning, management, and security an ongoing issue for an internal IT organization. Changing mobile platforms can make application development cost prohibitive, and an approach focused on simply translating screens designed for a desktop environment to a mobile device can yield unexpected results.

Thanks to a continuing wave of enterprise technology innovation, individual users have better access to information and the ability to improve their effectiveness for the enterprise. For example, SAP users today have options for a mobile interface robust enough to provide access to the wealth of data and analytics in their ERP system, yet intuitive enough to make access quick and easy, clarifying the way forward to enterprise mobility and transformation. With SAP’s capabilities and the recent release of SAP Fiori and SAP Lumira, that path is clear, and the recent IBM-Apple partnership bolsters those offerings by helping SAP users to:

  1. Enable the base. SAP customers gain even more flexibility in putting the power of mobility into the hands of users on an enterprise scale. Embrace the move to mobility with the same rigor, discipline, security, and support that you apply to the rest of your IT environments.
  2. Mobilize the base. Leverage the power of SAP’s platform and robust analytics to put SAP into the hands of more users via their existing devices and improve the overall effectiveness of your enterprise.
  3. Begin the journey to the Individual Enterprise. Embrace the idea of the Individual Enterprise and identify those process areas that can most benefit from a mobility-led transformation.

Mobility, analytics, the cloud, and big data have all come together to enable SAP customers to create the Individual Enterprise by deploying mobile devices with the right functionality to their extended users. 

Competitive Advantage

SAP customers looking to move to the Individual Enterprise want to do so with minimal risk. That means using powerful business applications on a well-known device that is provisioned by a trusted business partner.

The recent partnership between IBM and Apple will provide SAP users with a low-risk, cost-effective option to begin the journey to the Individual Enterprise.1 The partnership involves four key elements that empower individual users at SAP customer organizations:

The addition of more than 100 MobileFirst for iOS industry-specific enterprise solutions developed exclusively for the iPhone and iPad that complement accelerated deployment of SAP Fiori. (This addition bolsters the more than 300 industry-specific apps that SAP offers.) This includes a new set of solutions targeted specifically for SAP customers in areas such as Contextualized Workflow for Sourcing and HR, Location Inspection, and Client Engagement.

  • A unique set of mobile integration services,
    optimized for iOS devices.
  • AppleCare for the Enterprise.
  • A set of new packaged offerings from IBM for global device activation, supply, and management to provide SAP customers more choice in mobilizing the enterprise.

Deploying this next generation of capabilities and transformations that bring together the enterprise platform, analytics, and mobile capabilities in a class of applications will truly change how employees work. For SAP customers, the MobileFirst for iOS solutions complement the growing list of available SAP apps, targeting specific industry issues or opportunities.

The Supply, Activate, and Manage service gives SAP customers another option to deploy mobile initiatives without getting hung up in the execution phase of provisioning and distributing the right devices to the right users. In this model, an iPad is scanned for a specific user and all the apps and functionality that the user needs are put on that device with the proper security levels.

More Choices for Targeted Transformation

Here are some of the industries and process areas targeted for IBM MobileFirst solutions:

  • Banking and insurance
  • Travel and transportation
  • Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Energy and utilities
  • Life sciences
  • Chemicals and petroleum
  • Consumer packaged goods
  • Customer interaction
  • Field service assistant
  • Workplace inspection and survey
  • Customer service
  • Contextualized workflow and approval

To learn more, visit

Strong Finish

You have set the foundation with your SAP deployment, and the tools and capabilities are in place to take the next step in extending your SAP user base. Solutions that offer consumer-grade experiences will engage employees at all levels. Secure and efficient provisioning services streamline the process and minimize risk. The expanding list of targeted and powerful apps will unlock the information deep within your systems of record and put it in the right hands.

The result of these trends is transformative: a dramatically empowered end user with instant access to the information and knowledge that used to reside only in various pockets across the enterprise. The knowledge and insight of an entire enterprise available on a single device for a single user: That’s the promise of the Individual Enterprise, and SAP customers are ready to achieve it. Visit for more details.

1 "Apple and IBM Forge Global Partnership to Transform Enterprise Mobility" (July 2014; [back]

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Dale B. Young
Dale B. Young

Vice President & Partner
SAP Global Center of Competency Leader

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