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The Mobile Convergence

How SAP Is Shaping Enterprise Mobility and the Mobile Economy

by Rick Costanzo | SAPinsider, Volume 15, Issue 4

October 1, 2014

The enterprise mobility landscape is undergoing significant changes. These changes are largely driven by three major trends: device fragmentation, a shift in focus from native apps to apps that can be run on any platform, and the centrality of the mobile app to the mobile economy. Find out more about the implications of these trends and changes for your organization’s mobile strategy.

 

An enormous shift has taken place in enterprise mobility. At first, the market was focused on devices, moving from a BlackBerry-only landscape to one dominated by Apple and Android. Then came the plethora of mobile applications and content. The ubiquity of smartphones gave rise to a new economy dominated by application creators and their channels to market — i.e., Google Play and iTunes. These developments are the forerunners of a major change in what mobile means to businesses and the emerging mobile economy.

SAP is actively innovating with a mobile portfolio covering more than 300 industry apps, security, and a mobile development platform for building custom apps suitable for any back-end system. In addition to mobile, the portfolio also embraces other major technologies: cloud, social, and big data. The solutions delivered by SAP have helped many customers, including Phillips 66, Verizon, and Hallmark, make the impossible a reality — by making banking accessible to the underserved, bringing sports fan experiences to mobile devices and improving players’ performances, providing insights and analysis to doctors to improve patient care, using smart glasses in manufacturing plants, and much more.

To better understand SAP’s ability to deliver these experiences, let’s consider some of the key mobile trends shaping the industry: device fragmentation, open-source development standards with HTML5, and a new mobile app economy.

The Impact of Device Fragmentation

Device fragmentation can be viewed as a matrix of operating systems, screen form-factors, and device capabilities, and as a key driver of the increased focus on apps over devices. Whether or not your company embraces a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, most employees have any number of tablets, phones, and smart devices from a variety of providers and various content. This trend has accelerated the emergence of the Internet of Things, wearable technologies, and connected devices (such as cars, smart watches, and parking meters). The need to support the growing number of device types has major implications for how and what apps are built, and how the resulting data is managed and secured. No longer are enterprises deploying one or two smartphones per staff; tablets and, in some cases, even wearable technologies are used. Scalability and manageability are rapidly becoming even more integral components in the enterprise mobility space than they are today.

The easiest approach to building a single app to run on multiple device types is to use hybrid technologies. With the mobile services now available on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, customers can quickly build cross-platform applications that leverage enterprise class authentication, data security, codeless integration with any back-end system, and deep offline synchronization. Beyond making SAP’s applications more powerful and easier to use, SAP HANA Cloud Platform mobile services allows third-party developers to deliver premium services for their applications. In short, SAP is bringing together SAP HANA and the cloud to help push mobile forward.

The convergence of device fragmentation, open-source development standards with HTML5, and a new mobile app economy is shaping SAP’s strategy to deliver a mobile app experience that provides the right information to the right users when and where they need it.

Open-Source Development

There has been significant progress in the open-source community around hybrid app development, and SAP has recently adopted the Apache Cordova project (one of the world’s largest open-source projects) in a rather unique way. SAP extends Cordova through its plug-in architecture to give developers easy access to new capabilities without the need to modify the Cordova codebase after release by the community. The SAP plug-ins (referred to as Kapsel) provide key functionality such as authentication, offline and synchronization of data, app update, logging, etc. Additionally, SAP has developed and released its UI5 technology (a responsive HTML5 framework) as open source. OpenUI5 is part of our standard mobile development toolkit, and is the technology behind our popular SAP Fiori applications. For customers that do not want to develop apps, SAP offers more than 300 packaged, industry-specific apps from SAP and SAP partners in the SAP Store. In some cases, an app use case calls for high performance on the device, fast response times, or additional capabilities like augmented reality or 3D visualization. In these cases, SAP also provides extensive tooling to build true native applications on the target hardware.

The New Mobile Economy

To make mobile apps simple for end users to find and IT to manage, SAP created and launched “mobile place” software, part of the SAP Mobile Secure portfolio. Mobile place is a cloud-based mobile application management tool to enroll, provision, and securely onboard and deploy enterprise apps and services for employees, partners, contractors, and customers — on both managed and unmanaged devices — regardless of the mobile device management vendor. As mobile apps increasingly become a fixture in the enterprise and at home, they must be simpler, smarter, more contextual, and more powerful. Context-aware mobility is the information intersection where the physical and digital worlds meet, and mobility lies at the heart of cloud and big data context awareness.

As the cloud company powered by SAP HANA, SAP is in a great position to drive technology and thought leadership in industry processes to unlock the power of contextual awareness. Our SAP Mobile Platform allows designers to incrementally add all the pieces necessary to build context-aware mobile app experiences, while our broad SAP Mobile Secure cloud offering makes your content, apps, and devices safe and ready, and SAP mobile applications already use context awareness to improve business processes and customer experiences.

Take customer buying patterns as one example. When a mobile app delivers useful, contextual information to a customer at the point of purchase, the probability of making a sale rises in accordance with the relevance of the personalized information that is delivered. With SAP HANA powering all data relevant to a particular customer in seconds and delivering real-time, predictive analytics, a merchant gains insight into what a customer’s next purchase might be.

This convergence of device fragmentation, open-source development standards with HTML5, and a new mobile app economy driven by cloud-based, API-enabled services is shaping SAP’s strategy to deliver a mobile app experience that provides the right information to the right users when and where they need it.

The Importance of a Mobile Partnership

Partners are integral to SAP’s mobile strategy, but especially to SAP HANA Cloud Platform mobile services. Third-party applications are key to driving the platform, whether in the development of net-new apps, the positioning of our mobile services as part of an overall solution for customers, or the creation of unique solutions that harness the incredible opportunities this platform creates.

Our partnership with Ericsson, a communications technology and services provider, is a perfect example of how we are collaborating to bring innovation to our customers. Recently we jointly announced that Ericsson will bundle and host aspects of the SAP Mobile Secure portfolio in its cloud, targeting more than 400 mobile network operators globally for sale to their enterprise customers the opportunity to purchase mobile device management, mobile app management, and content management on a software-as-a-service on-demand or subscription basis.1 Considering the breadth of coverage that Ericsson and its mobile operator customers reach, this partnership alone has the potential to affect hundreds of millions of end users.

Leading the Mobile Charge

The bottom line is that SAP’s comprehensive and scalable mobile and cloud platforms, combined with our vast enterprise experience across numerous industry verticals, make us a ready and willing partner for customers who wish to leverage this experience to begin their own mobile journey. Visit www.sap.com/mobile for more information.

1 See www.ericsson.com/thecompany/press/releases/2014/09/1855103. [back]

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Rick Costanzo
Rick Costanzo

Executive Vice President and General Manager
Telco Industry and Global Mobility Solutions
SAP



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