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Today we take a behind the scenes tour with Noam Gilady, SAP Product Owner (PO) of Mobile Applications in Business By Design (SAP On-demand ERP solution for SME). SAP Business ByDesign is a fully integrated business management software solution. This software enables companies to benefit from large-scale business applications without the need for a large IT infrastructure. In this interview, Noam shares with us his background, views and how his team succeeded developing an SAP Business ByDesign App for iPhone (click here for demo) in only two months!


Get to know Noam’s SAP SCMMOB team by watching this video:

 

How did you end up working for the software industry?

In 1999 I had an Object Oriented Programming (C++) course: this was the first and the last time I wrote code. A few weeks after I finished the course, I bumped into a friend who recruited me as an implementer at his company.

What makes mobile such a big trend?

Mobile applications were quite common in warehousing, sales force and service force quite long ago. But the devices were expensive and the user interaction was quite poor. In the last years there was a quantum leap in the usability and affordability of mobile devices and the network coverage improved so much that continuous usage of mobile applications is possible. Nowadays, everybody wants to get data, entertainment, services and to be able to work everywhere via mobile devices.

What are SAP’s ByDesign strengths points in the mobile topic?

Our solution in Business ByDesign is quite unique. We do not touch our core business objects of our solution at all! We just create simplified screens (Floorplans) via our tool – UI Designer (Oberon). Those simplified screens have XML schemas which are interpreted by on device software (UI Player) which renders them with the “look and feel” of the specific device and can also leverage device-specific capabilities such as GPS, Camera etc. In other words – a Smartphone user gets a UI Player from the relevant Applications’ Store, and then gets access to our application with his Smartphone’s native “look and feel”. When we (or our partners) introduce new screens, they work on the device “out of the box” – just like any other regular UI (that run on Web Browser or other Desktop Client).

What is the first step when you create software?

First of all, I like to really understand the requirements of the end users.

What was the idea behind your product?

For the Smartphones’ Applications, the idea is to support the Sales Representatives and Managers in their daily work when they are out of office.

For the Warehousing Applications, the idea is to enable the Warehouse shop floor workers to work in more efficient and accurate way.

Why is your product needed?

A full-suite ERP solution for the mid-market (SME) these days needs mobile capabilities to be competitive in the market.

What makes it unique?

Being online enables end-user to access up-to-date information in real-time. In addition, any transactional task is immediately reported into the backend; this speeds up the entire end-to-end process for time-critical orders or similar things. Compared to many consuming applications, BYD mobile includes many scenarios with creation and modification of business data. As we act like a regular UI, the concept compromises all other benefits, like field extensibility or partner content – without modification of the client applications.

Could you please describe the creation process of your product?

We had started to work on the product in 3 parallel streams:

  • Business Requirements
  • Technology
  • User Experience

     

We had decided what would be the business scenarios we would like to have, and finalized the architectural concept and the technical details. Then we had drilled into each business scenario and understood how to implement it technically and how it should look from usability perspective. Then we had started to implement it – but naturally we had to adjust sometimes those 3 factors…   

How did you succeed developing software in just two months?

We separated technology from application content. Clear requirements, user interaction style guides and development guidelines were in place to work mostly independently on each area. And also the different contributing teams were constructed of very talented, committed, flexible and professional experts that did their best to deliver the product on time, on scope and on quality.

How do you think SCN assets (blogs, forums and wiki) can help you in your work?

In general, the mobile area is very agile and fast growing so it is very interesting to hear and to learn from other experts’ experience. Specifically in SAP, the mobile is one of the pillars of the company’s strategy and therefore I assume that lot of teams around the world work on mobile solutions and it can be very helpful to share this knowledge. Also, (Potential) customers and partners can help to prioritize scenarios and technology better.

 

Want to share your Mobile story as well? Contact me 

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4 Comments

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    1. Noam Gilady
      Hi Supharoekrat,

      Unfortunately the iPhone UI-Player is currently available only on USA, Canada, China, Switzerland, Austria, UK, Geramny and France…

      BR, Noam

      (0) 
  1. Syed Abdul Nasir
    Hi Noam,
    I don’t see any API or SDK for Business ByDesign. How did you build this app without an API or SDK? Or is this something that is available to limited audience only?

    Thanks,

    (0) 
    1. Noam Gilady
      Hi Syed,
      We don’t have a special SDK – what we use is the UI Designer which is the standard development tool for floorplans(UI’s) in ByDesign. This tool is also available for partners as part of the PDI (Partners Development Infrastructure) suite. In most of the scenarios we rely on the original ECO (and core BO offcourse) without any changes. So also partner can develop on top of such standard ECO\BO (assuming that it is public) or create is own BO via BODL (BO Definition Language) and build a model UI for it. A guideline\cookbook for mobile UI development is being written these days…
      BR, Noam  
      (0) 

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