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Here we go, another blog on mobility / licenses and costs? No not this time (although I agree on many valid points stated in there 😉 ).

In this blog I like to explain the track we drove for implementing mobility at one of our customers.

Initiate

As consultant we can be lucky lots of times. So were we at our current customer. When the department manager approaches you with a question on how we could help in building and implementing a mobile strategy, you’re for sure eager to advise. That’s basically how it started, end of Spring this year.

Going mobile

We got together with the client and started to dig in and dig up the various business needs and thoughts on the future. What is mobility? What do we want with mobility? What do we have? What do we need? Discussing the long-term and solidness were quickly part of this discussion. Paint the picture is what you’re basically doing in this process. Enable the broad use of mobile computing in a business context. In other words, picture enterprise mobility.

Discuss architecture

One of the major client requests was mobilize field engineers to be fully supported on the road doing their maintenance job. But alongside, the future thoughts were not only based on this particular solution. As the customer requestor is head of the competence centre department, there was also a broader wish; Provide mobile solutions to various other business units, like, for example approvals on a mobile device and for example incident reporting on a mobile device. With this vision of the future the discussion came to another level. To advice to have all sorts of mobile solutions, each with their own maturity, levels of security and multiple points of maintenance, wouldn’t be a good job. Having a unified, stable, secure, standardized architecture. That was the moment the word platform came into play. This would solve the risks of having non-unified unsecure solutions and tangling connections, sometimes called ‘spaghetti’. A central and single point of reference has a strong preference. See below for an illustration;

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Advise

The discussions done, weighing the strong preference for a platform. We did advise for SAP Sybase Unwired Platform as a mobility platform.

Most important reasons;

  • Easy connectivity to SAP backends is a must
  • SAP’s own platform is an advantage;    
  • Device registration and maintenance;
  • SAP’s mobile solutions do use the platform as well;
  • A platform, with multiple future options that are not only suitable for field engineers. The future is not just one application but lots more; choosing a platform versus a single point solution is wise;
  • A platform guarantees the security and scalability and is uniform

         

Based on this we started with a small proof of concept.

PoC

We setup a demo landscape on some available desktop machines. Doing it like this would help us speed up and quickly be able to show results. After initial installation of the Sybase Unwired Platform and SAP NetWeaver Mobile, we decided to build a small app as proof of the pudding.  As technology we selected Sybase Mobile Workflow, which allows you to easily build an HTML5 app in no-time. So we did. In only a few days we had the platform and the app (PeopleFinder) up and running. By leveraging some existing Z_* function modules and the JCO connector in SUP, it is quite easy to create MBO’s and generate an application without any coding. The customer was impressed by this success. (See screenshot below).

image

The real deal

Having a successful PoC allows you to move on to the next stage, as the architecture has proven itself. In the meantime a project is running alongside. Topic is mobilizing field engineers. SAP has a solution for that which requires SUP and NW mobile as well, and it is called SAP EAM Workorder Mobile. The project and the successful PoC made us start a new PoC on EAM Work Order mobile. Next step was install and setup of SUP and NW Mobile at the hosting partner. I won’t describe the mobilizing field engineers project in detail, but basically the solution interfaces via SUP and NW Mobile with the ECC backend. It gives engineers the possibility to view, adjust and create work orders, notifications etc. on a tablet. I will describe the PoC in another blog.

Conclusion

This ain’t all. There is much more to dive deeper into. There are all sorts of questions that are important mobilizing your business.

  • Managed vs. unmanaged devices.
  • Mobile device management, internally or hosted.
  • Relay server or APN, or both in different situations.
  • New area of support, knowledge of full chain is important.
  • Device subscription.
  • Handle lost devices.

         

One thing for sure, the Sybase Unwired Platform stands tall at our customer. It fulfills the need of serving as a platform. It does fulfill the long term strategy and fits into the initial mobile strategy question.

This mobile readiness attracts even more attention within the business. Workshops started to mobilize approval workflows for several frequently used workflow processes. And that is just typical for the SUP platform and its capabilities :-).

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