Readying for 'The Facebook of the Enterprise'

by Kenneth Murphy

November 2, 2012

by Ken Murphy.

Mobile adoption has led to an explosion of data consumption, and social media has increased the focus on collaboration as a business tool. It’s a comprehensive analytics strategy that leverages all these trends that is best positioned for success in an increasing mobile age. These were a few of the topics SAP Global CIO Oliver Bussman covered in an interview with mobility analyst Kevin Benedict last month at SAP TechEd. Bussman couldn’t overstate the importance of collaboration when discussing SAP’s vision for the intersection of mobility, cloud computing and social media in enterprise – all megatrends that, he notes, “cannot be seen in isolation.”  

And collaboration, he pointed out, isn’t limited to internal communication, but how a business interacts with customers, partners and influences in its larger ecosystem. The “Facebook of the enterprise,” he predicts, “will be defined in the next one or two years.” 

SAP, of course, has a stake in the game with Jam, the social platform tool on SuccessFactors and its 4 million users, and he also  mentions SAP Box as another useful collaboration too l. Bussman intimated that this idea of having a central place to collaborate and link business together – whether on the cloud, on-premise or on a mobile device – will be a theme at the upcoming SAPPHIRE NOW conference in Madrid. 

Asked to share SAP’s own scale of mobile deployment, Bussman had some numbers at the ready: Roughly 40,000 company-issued mobile devices and 18,000 tablets, mostly iPads. Another 4,000 SAP employees take advantage of the BYOD policy, where based on job function an employee can sync their personal device to the network as long as it matches one of the 10 standard issue – which include BlackBerry, iPhone, and Galaxy SIII, and now, in testing, Windows8 tablets. "We have to spend more time thinking about certain user groups who don't need laptops anymore,” he stated recently in a profile in the Guardian. “Our first target is the sales personnel.” And of course Bussman hammered home the importance of analytics in a comprehensive mobility strategy, saying that mobile business intelligence is the No. 1 use case in the mobile space.  

Bussman likened having increasingly unfettered mobile access to real-time analytics and business updates to what used to be cutting-edge connectivity - 24/7 email access. “So the work/life balance, I have to disappoint you, will not change,” lamented Bussman with a smile. My guess is that Bussman does not see unlimited, actionable business intelligence as a problem. What we do with that access? That’s up to us.

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