Report from the SAP Influencer Summit 2010 on Enterprise Mobility
Last week I attended the SAP Influencer Summit in Santa Clara, California. About 220 people were in attendance at the Santa Clara Marriott on Mission College Blvd. The purpose of the summit was for SAP to provide an update to industry analysts, bloggers and other people with loud voices in the market place, on the progress they have made on the goals that were shared earlier in the year. A consolidated view of my real time tweets from the event last week can be found in a blog article here.
This is a long article, so if you have limited time here is the executive overview. At TechEd in October 2010, SAP did not seem prepared to talk about any roadmaps or details on the integration of SAP and Sybase. However, at the SAP Influencer Summit 2010, they brought the right people that were prepared to answer detailed questions. I was impressed that knowledgable people are in charge and taking SAP enterprise mobility in the right direction. That direction should result in product releases by Sapphire 2011 (May 2011).
The stated goals related to enterprise mobility that SAP announced on August 19 in Boston were the following:
- Bringing together technologies to deliver a leading mobile platform.
- Delivering industry specific mobile applications built on the next generation platform.
- Releasing an SDK for their mobility platform at Sapphire NOW in 2011.
In the opening keynote, Jim Snabe, co-CEO of SAP, helped focus attention immediately on enterprise mobility with the following comments:
- The preferred method to access business applications in the future will be on mobile devices.
- Mobility is the new front end to business applications.
- Mobile devices are the new desktop.
- Mobility is not just about connecting to the ERP, but connecting complete business networks and value chains via mobile devices.
- Mobility will add value to the investments companies have already made in SAP solutions.
One of the predictions I heard at the event is that in the future applications may be developed first for mobile devices and second for desktops.
SAP also emphasized that in-memory computing will benefit mobile solutions by enabling reports, business intelligence and queries to be fast enough to support mobile environments. Reports that once took hours to generate now can take seconds. This is fast enough to satisfy even impatient mobile users.
SAP also reminded the audience that they process between one and two billion SMS messages per day through their 365 solution. This solution is often overlooked in discussions regarding Sybase’s enterprise mobility. The 365 services offering is a key component of Sybase’s product inventory, because in much of the world SMS is the way mobile business and mobile banking are conducted. This is a very important component now and in the future.
Prashant Chatterjee, with SAP’s Mobile Business Unit, strongly suggested, over breakfast, that SAP ecosystem partners should focus on developing industry specific mobile applications. The reason – the mobile middleware category and basic mobile sales force, field services, enterprise asset management and business intelligence categories would be applications eventually covered by SAP’s Mobile Business Unit. These will be basic or generic versions. Business processes (e.g. oil and gas specific processes) that requires an in-depth understanding of industry specific requirements and processes are outside of the focus of the SAP Mobile Business unit, and SAP encourages partners to fill that void.
Since Sybase’s Unwired Platform is the new standard for SAP mobility, all ecosystem partners should quickly align their solutions to use relevant parts of this platform. If a mobility vendor does not support SUP, it will not be aligned with the interests of the SAP sales force for long.
Lightweight mobile applications or Productivity Applications (new terminology used at the event) may be better suited for SAP’s Project Gateway which is also targeted for release at Sapphire 2011. This is a platform that exposes SAP objects as web services.
NetWeaver Mobile/DOE will be integrated with SUP and in the future customers who have not deployed NWM (NetWeaver Mobile) can simply deploy SUP. All customers who have already deployed NWM will continue to be supported; so technically SUP is not replacing NWM, rather they are integrating NWM into SUP. In support of this direction, the NetWeaver Mobile team has moved into the SUP team.
The SAP Business One team announced they have now mobilized many of the processes. I was able to record a video interview with Andreas Wolfinger from SAP’s Business One team. See attached video link.
SAP discussed that the first phase of SAP mobility was simply making SAP available on mobile devices. However, the second phase will involve thinking through what can be done differently with mobile devices.
SAP is still targeting Sapphire 2011 for the release of the mobile SDK, Project Gateway and having NetWeaver Mobile integrated into SUP. SUP will provide the platform and code for about 80 percent of a mobile application. Twenty percent of most complex mobile applications will still need coded.
Following are my notes regarding specific SAP strategies for enterprise mobility:
- Number one goal of Sybase Mobile is to enable a containerized web style approach to mobile app development.
- Sybase will invest in the mobile SDK so it can be used to support the SAP mobile applications they will deliver. There will be a lot of room for additional add-ons that partners can develop that will add value to the mobile SDK.
- Sybase will save some mobile applications templates in HTML5 and make them available. This library will evolve over time.
- The Sybase mobile SDK will begin to enable GUI design via HTML5. It will provide a good headstart for GUIs but not all features.
- It is the goal of Sybase to help web developers become mobile developers with the help of the mobile SDK.
I heard this interesting remark made at the event: “Mobile 1.0 was extending the enterprise. Mobile 2.0 is transforming it.”
One of the Sybase presentations highlighted some of their existing mobile retailing solutions by showing the following bullet points:
- Brand Mobilizer, mobile marketing, subscription.
- Brand Mobilizer, mobile surveys, loyalty profiles.
- Brand Mobilizer, loyalty, vouchers, location services.
- Money Mobilizer, mobile payments, mobile top-up, mobile remittance, mobile banking.
Sybase just mentioned these solutions in passing, but I hope we can learn more about them soon.
A fellow SAP Mentor, John Appleby, wrote a great SAP Influencer Summit 2010: What’s really happening in Enterprise Mobility? on what he learned about enterprise mobility at the SAP Influencer Summit.
I have another conference call scheduled with SAP’s Mobile Business Unit to get some additional questions answered this week. I will write follow-up report once that call is completed.