This is a guest Computer Weekly post by Rick Costanzo, SAP executive vice president and general manager of global mobility solutions. Costanzo joined the company around the time of Mobile World Congress 2013 and in this article he articulates the mechanics behind SAP's mobile market strategy.
I recently talked to Reseaux & Telecoms online in Paris about the current state of the enterprise mobility market and was a bit surprised to see the article titled "The Big Jump In SAP Mobility And Cloud" (actually, Le grand saut de SAP dans la mobilité et le Cloud) -- because I would suggest that that big jump was actually a long, steady climb.
There is a huge effort underway in the industry to go from MDM (mobile device management) to EMM (enterprise mobility management). We think we already accomplished that move two years ago.
While SAP has had a mobile strategy for over 15 years, our position in enterprise mobility started with the acquisition of Sybase in 2010. That sent the first clear signal to the market that we would not start from scratch by building everything ourselves. Instead, we would adopt a more pragmatic approach to buy as well as make.
In 2012, we bought Syclo, a move that reinforced SAP Mobile with apps, services and especially human resources with the essential 'knowhow' to position the growing portfolio to our industry and LoB customers.
ANALYST NOTE: In terms of capabilities for "building the mobile enterprise" SAP is ranked positively by analysts from IDC, Gartner, Yankee and Forrester.
Consolidation is the name of the game
I see the industry consolidating; Fiberlink was acquired by IBM, Boxstone was purchased by Good Technologies, and Citrix bought Zenprise. I would not be surprised to see some venture capital backed organisations merge with others as they struggle for differentiation.
With this consolidation, enterprise customers are understanding that investing in spot solutions for their mobility requirements spanning Security, Applications, Application Development, Analytics and Messaging may not be the best strategy. They are realising that the downstream integration efforts and related expense of making these spot implementations work together would be cost prohibitive.
Customers are actively evaluating investing in platforms to support their broad requirements. This has been a huge area of focus for SAP over the past several years.
Inhibitors for complete ubiquity
For the last 5-10 years, enterprise mobility has consistently been regarded as one of the most significant IT trends.
However, it's no secret that companies are still grappling with successful implementations.
Fragmentation is one of the main inhibitors to success.
There are many challenges here including device OS versions and hardware choices. Most enterprises are eager to move to the cloud, but one of the top concerns is security and the related concern of privacy. A single security flaw can be cause significant damage to an organisation.
Think about the issue of BYOD that has already pushed enterprises to confront the topic of security, and we know the next logical step is bring your own anything (BYOx) which raises a number of additional issues such as agility, compliance, complexity of app development, and integration across platforms and backend systems.
... and let's not forget that CMOs and LOB leaders are becoming more interested in working with IT to help make technology decisions.
What a winning mobile approach looks like
People often ask me where I see cloud and mobile intersecting. (Ed - we know Costanzo sees it intersecting right inside SAP, but let's move outwards).
Cloud is mainly about delivering a set of on demand services in a very CapEx friendly way. The most popular user consumption paradigm for these on demand services is mobile. This is a key point in our Mobility strategy. Our vision is to extend our Enteprise Mobility position to enable and deliver the best, most secure, most scalable HANA based user experience for SAP Cloud services.
Let's get real
Here's a good, real world example of Enterprise Mobility and the Cloud at its best. The Societe de Transport de Montreal (STM), one of the largest public transport systems in North America, was losing riders and revenue. They worked with us and developed an idea to use their loyalty programme to connect businesses and passengers via a mobile app named STM Merci. The app uses the latest innovations in cloud, big data, analytics and mobile to analyse the situational context of 1.3 million daily passengers along with their shopping preferences and interests. It then examines what local businesses have on offer and sends passengers highly personalised, relevant promotions and recommendations in real-time to their mobile devices as they ride the trains.
Not only has STM completely changed the rider experience, but they are generating revenue for themselves and the ecosystem while saving money for their customers thanks to a new mobile experience. In fact, mobile is all about experience!
"Mobile is the way we experience the cloud and the services that it delivers"
At SAP, we're starting to talk about ubiquity instead of mobility, because it's like the air we breathe. It's everywhere.
We're just launching SAP Mobile Platform (SMP) 3.0, the platform that allows enterprises to develop new, innovative apps like STM Merci and run existing apps at the same time. I'll be writing about that in more depth in the weeks to come.
I look forward to continuing this dialogue about ubiquity and talking to users about real business challenges and IT requirements.