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Mobility = Transparency. From Idea to Product.

As we move closer to the end of the year, perhaps a short recap of SAP’s communication strategy around Mobility would be helpful.
SAP has made a lot of progress in creating more transparency around the mobility portfolio – from Ideation to Delivery. Here are the four cornerstones of this approach:

  • Idea Place for Mobility. If you want to learn more about this ideation approach, you should listen to this SCN Podcast: Using Idea Place to Crowdsource SAP Mobility Apps Ideas interview (NEW!) by Jonathan Reed – interviewees: Nick Brown and yours truly. All the App ideas for new Apps are collected within SCN, and customers, partners and SAP colleagues can propose, discuss and vote on ideas in that single location. Since the launch in September, 150+ ideas (~20 per week) were put forward by 60+ contributors.
  • SAP has published the roadmap of App ideas slighted for internal development here in the PartnerEdge Portal (on the right side, labeled “Road Map Information”). This is an important step, as partners can now more easily see what SAP is planning, which allows them to more easily pick ideas complementary to SAP’s activities – although nothing prohibits a partner from building an App that overlaps with an SAP App project, as long as it is build on Sybase Unwired Platform (for example, partners are free to pick an App idea from Idea Place for Mobility too).
  • Hundreds of partner Apps are now published in the Partner Mobility App Catalog. These Apps include concepts as well as final products. Many are already available on Sybase Unwired Platform, and all others are being ported now.
  • Finally, all Sybase Unwired Platform-based Apps are made available in the SAPStore. Already 40+ Apps (from partners and SAP) can be downloaded from that location.

With these four channels, we come full circle from the idea to the delivery. As Mobility is a very fast moving area, high transparency is needed to make sure that the entire ecosystem is not only involved, but can also actively participate.

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  • … but now I’m finally over that hurdle ;-).

    So here goes: if I’m a SAP partner and I have this brilliant idea for a mobile app, why on earth would I publish it on Idea Place? To make sure any competitor (and we’re talking about a global market, so this means anyone anywhere, including SAP) could run away with it and implement it? Of course not: I would develop it myself.
    Same if I’m a customer, and I’ve identified a need for this app that would differentiate me from my competitors. Would I place it on Idea Place, hoping that maybe someone, somewhere is prepared to develop it? Again: no, I would do it myself, or hire someone to do it for me.
    So maybe you can explain to me the rationale behind this Idea Place for Mobility thing. Thank you very much!

    Nice blog btw and you’re right: transparency from SAP to their customers and partners is very important! Too bad that the list of apps SAP is planning to deliver themselves is in the not publicly available partneredge portal…
    Other than that I really like the blog (no sarcasm!). But I would appreciate an answer even more ;-).

    Cheers, Fred

    • Thanks for the post; your comments reflect some of the feedback that I hear more often.
      First, nobody is “forced” to publish any idea in “Idea Place Suggest Mobile Apps”. Whether a partner or customer would do so, is entirely up to them. On the other hand, SAP will undertake every attempt to publish SAP ideas in this location (and yes, optimally they should include the ideas from the roadmap as well, but we have some lag there).
      The primary objective is to get feedback on ideas.
      There are some advantages for partners to publish ideas here. If the partner app is already on the market, the partner can list it in this resource too, marked as ”delivered”. The entire ecosystem will then know that an App for a whitespace is already available. To me that sounds like a great benefit. Perhaps, some partners will also want to publish apps that are being productized? This would allow them to block a whitespace in advance.
      Many customers, partners and SAP colleagues will initially take a more careful (perhaps even conservative?) approach, but over time, as we all start to feel more comfortable with this method, many will see that the advantages outweigh the concerns. We have seen this already in several other Idea Places that have been live for a longer time. 
    • Hi Fred,

      Agree that this a fundamental question partners and customers should ask before they commit to using idea place.

      For customers my opinion is that most of the IT usage is not a key differentiator against their competitors. Therefore,  I would much prefer SAP or a partner to build for example a timewriting app compared to implementing and maintaining it myself.

      For partners,  I would make sure that I’ve matured an idea properly and have a decent headstart on any competitor.Then I would reach out to the community and potential customers both to sell the idea and gain new insight from more creative minds.

      Would love some feedback from SAP on what customers and partners are saying to them about idea place for mobile.