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Mobility at SAP World Tour

The leaves are falling, the days have chilled and the fall season is now in full swing.  The other sign that fall is upon us was an event that happened last week – SAP World Tour. The North American series kicked off in Chicago and continues with stops in San Francisco, New York and Toronto in the coming weeks. 

I had the pleasure of attending the Chicago event and wanted to share a few mobility highlights. Overall the event was chock full of mobility content – including 5 mobility breakout sessions and several microforums. I personally enjoy microforums, I find these interactive discussions are an excellent opportunity to talk with you. In the past few weeks, as part of the SAP Mobile Sense series, I’ve talked a lot about Enterprise Mobility Management: Webcast Wednesday and Recommended Actions for Embracing BYOD. We again shared this conversation with a packed room in Chicago.

Gary Hamel, world renowned author and speaker, delivered a keynote session at the event, and one statement he made was very relevant to the topic. He said “the battle today is between individuals and institutions.” This is absolutely relevant in this microforum discussion on the BYOD model. In fact, I always find it fascinating when I survey the crowd in these sessions – time and time again, when I ask how many companies support BYOD to some degree, the results are the same. And the individuals are winning this battle. The audience in Chicago was no exception with more than half of the participants in the room allowing BYOD to varying degrees. The great news is that SAP can now raise its hand too. SAP recently initiated its own BYOD policy in several countries (including the US). I can assure you that SAP employees are excited about the fact that our own IT department now allows personal devices at work.  Today we have 3300 corporate owned iPhones and 11,000 iPads at SAP – I can assure you with the perfect storm of the iPhone 4S having just been released coupled with this new policy – those numbers are about to skyrocket.

The second microforum I wanted to share was around Mobile Apps. This is a topic that we wlil start to spend more time on in the coming weeks. I have to admit this is the topic that I am most excited about. Mobility isn’t about email anymore, it isn’t about security, and it isn’t even about the devices. Its about how we can transform business via applications. I think its important that we not let mobility become an overwhelming conversation – it doesn’t need to be a massive undertaking to solve all of your company’s mobile needs – in fact getting started with small projects is the best way to start.  In the mobile apps microforum, SAP’s Vishy Golapakrishnan shared some interesting points about how software development paradigms have changed with mobliity. It is now truly an interative and fast paced process. I think the way to approach apps is best explained by another quote from Gary Hamel. He stated “the dinosaurs are gone, but the bacteria are still here.” So don’t treat mobility like a dinosaur – take it one step at a time and start with a successful simple application.

Wrapping up on World Tour, there were also a series of breakout sessions that provided a great opportunity dive deeper into SAP’s Mobility strategy. There were several great sessions including an overview of our strategy, a deep dive into our mobility platform, and overview of our new apps, and the services we can offer to help you quickly ramp up.  As the ‘Poster Child’ for lost mobile devices, I presented the Enterprise Mobility Management session. While almost everyone has lost a mobile device and one time or another (you have, right?), I seem cursed having lost 4 devices in the past two years. My experience has helped me relay that even those who truly understand the importance of mobile device security can unwillingly put corporate data at risk. Hopefully those in the audience gained a glimpse into the importance of having a comprehensive mobility management strategy in place. 

With that quick summary of SAP World Tour Chicago, I hope you can join us at upcoing dates in San Francisco (October 20), New York (October 25) or Toronto (November 10). I encourage you to register for SAP World Tour today. I’m sure you’ll find it a great experience.

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