It’s almost impossible to describe the growth of the mobile market without using terms like “staggering” or “explosive.” According to market researcher IDC, more than 300 million smartphones were sold in 2010 — a 74% increase from 2009. And Gartner reports that sales of the Android operating system saw close to 900% growth in 2010.
The speed at which mobility has infiltrated the enterprise world has been just as staggering as in the consumer world. “Mobility has caught on significantly faster than anyone anticipated,” said CTO of SAP and Executive Board member Vishal Sikka in his keynote at SAP TechEd 2010. “There has been a fundamental shift happening in how we consume information.”
Rather than standing on the sidelines in awe of how rapidly mobility is growing, your business should be viewing the phenomenon as the biggest opportunity it may ever see — with the IT organization right smack in the center of it all. “With mobility, there are tremendous opportunities to develop new device-based applications that are only possible because people and systems are mobile,” said Sikka.
To truly benefit from mobility, you need to build a game-changing strategy that focuses on how to best leverage mobile devices within your industry, company, and business processes.1 Enterprise mobility will not bring the same benefits to every company, and how you maximize it for your business may be the differentiator that sets your company apart from its competitors.
After putting a strong mobile strategy in place, you need to pinpoint the mobile solutions and infrastructure required to execute on that strategy. From devices to applications to security to integration, there’s a lot of IT backing up those smartphones, as well as a rapidly growing universe of providers to evaluate. And picking the right partner could be the decision that changes your game.
Leveraging the SAP Ecosystem for Mobility Expertise
It’s certainly good news for SAP customers that their software provider of choice, SAP, has committed wholeheartedly to enterprise mobility. The 2010 acquisition of former partner Sybase not only brings a wealth of mobile technology and expertise to the company, but also demonstrates its level of commitment to enterprise mobility.
But the breadth and depth of the mobile landscape is beyond any single technology provider, and companies’ success in enterprise mobility will be built on partnerships and collaborations — not on proprietary technology and approaches. Another piece of good news for SAP customers is that SAP may be the strongest proponent of the benefits of partner collaboration and gladly offers businesses support for finding the right partner for a specific mobile project.
While your company might not be able to acquire its own Sybase, it can do the next best thing — leverage the SAP ecosystem to bring in mobile expertise. Whether you’re seeking guidance for early-stage strategy planning, for selecting and integrating the right mobile solutions securely into your IT landscape, or for finding an outsourcing provider to assist in mobile app development, bringing in an SAP-certified partner with mobile industry experience can streamline the mobilization process and minimize the risk.
Tips for Managing a Mobile Enterprise
Getting advice from others who have previously developed and executed on mobile strategies is always a good idea. During their presentation on “Keys to a Comprehensive Mobile Management and Security Strategy,” two senior employees at SAP — James Naftel and Britt Womelsdorf — gave attendees of the SAP TechEd 2010 conference some valuable guidance that is worth passing along. Their advice is not only a good jumping off point for a mobile strategy, but also a chance to identify where outside partners could bring value:
- Plan to manage a broad range of devices.
- Consider how you will manage and secure the devices and applications before you put your data on them.
- Establish governance or guidelines for mobile users addressing issues of security, acceptable use, and what to do in the case of a lost device.
- Give IT the tools they need to control the devices.
- •Ensure all details are secure and encrypted.
- Provide technology that is transparent to users.
- Do it all “backstage” so that it doesn’t slow down end users.
The following three articles highlight examples of SAP partners that are offering mobile solutions and expertise to SAP customers. Read these stories to learn the details:
1 For more information, read “How to Turn Mobility Momentum into Real Business Value: Best Practices for Defining Your Enterprise Mobility Strategy” by Dr. Ahmed El Adl and Sam Lakkundi in the January-March 2011 issue of SAPinsider. [back]