Q4 2012 will see the release of Visualization Solutions by Nakisa 4.0 and with that will see the release of Nakisa’s first mobile solution: Nakisa OrgHubfor Mobile. Nakisa have finally evolved their 2 prototypes into a full-blown OrgChart mobile app that leverages the configuration and customization in the “desktop” application that is operational within the client’s environment.

The big news for customers who wish to implement or upgrade to 4.0 and use the OrgHub for Mobile app is that they will not need the SAP Gateway infrastructure that is required for SAP’s standard mobile apps. The other news is that the app can be enabled with a simple configuration checkbox in the AdminConsole, with no other configuration or customization required.

OrgHub for Mobile is aimed at all SOVN OrgChart users and will be available for the Apple iPad (and therefore available via iTunes). It leverages all of the existing configurations that have been made within the application, but in additional it also leverages mobile device functionality such as recognizing the language of the device or opening the Mail app when clicking on an email address hyperlink. As you can see from the screenshots, the shipped theme differs from the desktop version and takes advantage of the slick screen that the iPad offers.


The layout of some features differ from the desktop version, such as the modules being located at the bottom of the screen and tabs on the details panels being at the top of the screen. This is an intentional design decision in order to optimize the user experience specifically for mobile use. Despite the layout changes, even casual users of the desktop application should be able to use the app with little or no additional training. Having used the application myself, I found it even easier to use than the desktop version.



The graphics for some features, such as the analytics and tables, have been altered to reflect the difference in system architecture of the iPad.





So, what are the gotchas with the app? True to form, there are some catches – but nothing that I think are significant impediments. Naturally there is no print or export functionality and there are no Styles for changing the layout of the chart. The SocialLink module is under development and will be included in a later release.

From an authentication perspective, the Forms Login screen is the only authentication method available. Even if Single Sign-On (SSO) is enabled in the desktop application, the Forms Login screen will still be used. Anonymous security is not supported, but this makes sense in a mobility context.


As mentioned above, SAP Gateway is not needed to use the OrgHub for Mobile app. The application connects directly to the desktop application on the application server. In order to access the application users must be connected to their company network via WiFi or via VPN. When logging into the app for the first time the OrgChart URL must be maintained so that the app can connect to the desktop application.


Requirements and Licensing

Right now the app is available on the iPad and requires the iPad to have iOS5 or above. A deployed and configured version of the SOVN OrgChart 4.0 application is required. Since the app leverages the SAP backend and role-based security then there is a license cost. The app is only available from Nakisa (and from SAP) and will cost $10 per user (one-off fee), in addition to the standard OrgChart license. The app will be free to download from iTunes.

Future Plans

Since the app is built in HTML5 it is platform agnostic and can be ported to other platforms. Nakisa plan to make versions available both for Android devices and PlayBook, although there are no definitive release schedules. I do know that Nakisa have been working on a demo for PlayBook and this seems to be working well based on initial tests.

Nakisa are committed to providing mobility options for all of the “desktop” applications while continuing to extend the functionality available in the existing app. While there are no specific plans afoot, Talent Management is the likely focus of the next mobile app to follow OrgHub for Mobile.


There is a big gap in the market for SAP mobility solutions and OrgHub for Mobile offers organizations the opportunity to provide the org structure and related data to HR professionals, managers and employees while they are “on the go”. Due to the flexibility of the SOVN OrgChart application it could be possible to leverage OrgHub for Mobile to display data that might otherwise require an SAP app that relies on the SAP Gateway infrastructure.

The major downsides are the need to upgrade to SOVN OrgChart 4.0 (although not a major task) and the fact that a corporate WiFi or VPN connection is required. While I can’t comment on how widespread corporate VPN is for iPad’s, many organizations will need to evaluate the benefit of upgrading from a previous version of SOVN OrgChart to 4.0. However, for organizations that are using SOVN OrgChart 3.0 SP2 or a previous version then undergoing an upgrade to take advantage of improved performance and stability should be a no-brainer.

Introducing the OrgHub for Mobile app is a big step forward for Nakisa and when they finally introduce a TalentHub for Mobile app then they will be able to deliver greater value for SAP customers while also providing continuous access to important talent data to those individuals who are always on the move.

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  1. Stephen Millard

    The infrastructure diagram includes what looks suspiciously like an iPhone in the line-up with a simple org chart on screen.  In the future plans section you note Android and Blackberry Playbook development.  So I’m wondering where non-tablet hand held devices figure into the release plans.  Presumably even assuming some sort of element of responsive design in the HTML5 based app, porting to much smaller devices presumably requires a significant effort in terms of UI re-design?

    As I’ve mentioned before I’m intrigued by the social media icons displayed at time index 00:20 of the video.  It clearly shows Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Twitter and Skype.  Is this related to SocialLink (noted as still in development) or is it simply something else (will they be in the desktop version for instance)?  Whilst tapping on these might take you to the web page associated with an individual, Skype would suggest app launching (iOS includes protocols to do this) is more appropriate (if the app is even installed) and certainly with the Facebook and Twitter integration in iOS6, it may drive a greater desire to hook into external apps other than Safari.

    Whilst it is good to see minimal licensing costs it is a shame in my opinion that this isn’t automatically bundled in with the standard Nakisa licensing.  Whilst I would not imagine that this application would be the only driver for deployment of tablets and remote connectivity, the cost of deploying, licensing and maintaining the architecture to support direct connection of such devices to corporate networks is not insignificant (and I speak from direct experience on this).

    All that being said I think having up to date interactive org charts literally to hand and the intuitive navigation will make this a powerful tool in any organisation’s HCM arsenal.

    1. Luke Marson Post author

      Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for the comments. Yes it does look like an iPhone, but since it is a diagram about infrastructure I don’t really mind. Currently there are no plans for handheld devices other than tablets, but this could change as Nakisa expand their portfolio and offerings over time.

      At the time of writing the icons are actually dummy icons, so that is why no information has been included. The plan is to have various integrations that can be leveraged through tablet apps, such as those mentioned above. Some of these icons are also included in versions of 4.0 applications (see attached screenshot). Skype might not be of much use on an iPad, but on some of the tablets that have cellular connectivity this might be useful (such as some of the Android devices by Samsung). The icons will have dependency on data maintained, most likely through the SocialLink module which will be available in a later release.

      Regarding licensing, for me there are several reasons around why this is not being sold by SAP. All SAP mobile applications must use the SAP Gateway infrastructure, which the app doesn’t. Selling the app means SAP must charge maintenance fees and must therefore support the app. SAP may not be able to support the app, but crucially it may not want to support the app as it is not using  the SAP Gateway infrastructure

      For me leveraging this infrastructure would be prohibitive for many customers (as it is for SAP’s other mobile apps) and I welcome the move to have the device connecting directly to the NetWeaver AS. I think it provides valuable options and I think the licensing costs offset versus the cost of SAP Gateway make it a viable and cost effective mobile orgcharting solution from a key SAP partner.

      I hope that answers some of your questions 🙂

      Best regards,


      1. Stephen Millard

        Hi Luke.

        Thanks for the extra info.

        I’m really surprised that they aren’t actively investigating the use of smart phones.  I suspect that they will be more prolific than tablets for many years to come and with a bit of thought I can imagine they would actually make a good platform for delivery of at least some of the features.  The SuccessFactors ‘BizX Mobile’ phone app displays org charts a level at a time.  I’m sure the talented folk at Nakisa could come up with something similar or even better 🙂

        Regarding the icons, it’s a shame they’ve included them in the demo video then.  The iPad does come in 3G/4G flavours as well as WiFi only and I’ve used Skype on my iPad a few times with no problems at all.  It was great for plugging in a hands free and working in the server room with reference material up on screen in places I couldn’t fit a laptop and chatting to other team members on Skype elsewhere in the building (Skype just runs in the background).

        With regards to the licensing I was just suggesting that for a $10 one off charge, perhaps they could have waived it to be even more encouraging for organisations to branch into this new area?

        – Stephen.

        1. Luke Marson Post author

          Hi Stephen,

          The focus at Nakisa right now is the new 4.0 release, so there will be additional time spent investigating more options for both the “desktop” and mobile app. As I mentioned, because the app is written in HTML5 it can be ported quite easily to other platforms. However, I genuinly don’t know if it is planned for smartphones and I do agree that it would be beneficial. The iPhone screen might be a tad small, but the new Galaxy S3 would be perfect 😉

          The icons are planned to be in use for the release candidate, but at the time of writing they were still being developed. I can’t say more than that, other than they are planned to be leveraged and integrated in time for release. Beg my ignorance about Skype on the iPad, I recently ditched Apple for Samsung (as you probably guessed by my comment above). Putting OrgHub for Mobile onto the Samsung is likely to be the final push for me to get a Galaxy Tab 😉

          I think licensing is always tricky and customers would always like to get something for free. I think the alternatives could be more costly and the value for only $10 per user isn’t so bad in comparison.

          Best regards,


  2. Jarret Pazahanick

    Very good article Luke with lots of detail and it is pretty telling where the SAP and Nakisa “partnership” is heading as SAP STRONGLY recommends that all their partners build all their mobile functionality on the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) and it is also the only way (that I know of) to be eligible to be listed on the SAP Store. That said I think it was a smart move to build their mobile app not needing the SUP infrastructure as it does not have wide spread adoption and is very expensive for customers both in licensing/infrastructure.

    I think Nakisa would have been smart to off their mobile product for free to help sell the underlying software which is what most of the SaaS vendors and just curious if you feel organizations will be willing to $10 as for larger organizations it could become pretty expensive.

    1. Luke Marson Post author

      Thanks Jarret. From what I know, the Nakisa and SAP partnership has not changed and remains strategic. I think Nakisa recognize that the SAP Gateway (SUP) is prohibitive for some customers and made a call. Since the SuccessFactors acquisition Nakisa have been given more freedom and control over their product and the direction they are heading, so I feel that they have decided to exercise that freedom here and offer customers more value by licensing it directly.

      Given that SaaS vendors are quite similar in offerings, things like mobile can be a differentiator. However, right now from what I’m seeing and hearing from customers is that they are making decisions to move to the Cloud based on other factors. I still hear from lots of customers that they cannot go to the cloud for one reason or another, but mobile isn’t one of them.

      Some organizations will be willing to spend $10 per user, but I think mobile could be limited to more senior members of the organization in a large company. I’m definitely interested to see what the early uptake is and whether entire organizations will roll-out OrgHub.

      Best regards,


  3. Venki Krishnamoorthy

    A very good article, Luke. I do not know how many organizations will be interested in SOVN on the mobile? Beside the cost of 10$, SOVN is more widely used by folks in HR (on a daily basis), compared to others who use it on a when-required basis. Hence, a smaller crowd is not going to give the penetration that will make this attractive.

    I will be very interested to see the STVN on mobility.

    1. Luke Marson Post author

      Thanks Venki. I have seen an appetite at some clients to have their OrgCharts available via mobile, as well as a search directory to access contact information (which SOVN OrgChart is very good at acting as).

      I think HR, managers and executives will have far more of an interest in using the app. I think there will be more interest in an STVN application and Nakisa are considering developing such an app. However, at this stage it is more of an idea than a plan, but I expect Nakisa to realize it as a focus on their app strategy for expanding the portfolio.

      It is important to note that mobile apps are new for Nakisa and will evolve greatly over the next 12 to 18 months.

      Best regards,


  4. Stephen Millard

    Nakisa had a formal press release for the OrgHub for Mobile application recently and have made some iterative updates to the very first application released on the Apple App Store (iOS).  There are also some variations to the way the application’s UI looks and works when compared to the Vimeo video.

    To tie into this formal release I’ve posted a two part blog that takes a detailed look at the functionality available in the application and walks you through getting the application, finding your way around it and some considerations around deployment.  So even if you know very little about Nakisa products these posts will hopefully walk you through using OrgHub for Mobile.

  5. Simon Kemp

    Thanks for this Luke,

    Just one question. You state:

    The app is only available from Nakisa (and from SAP) and will cost $10 per user (one-off fee), in addition to the standard OrgChart license. The app will be free to download from iTunes.

    In these two sentences you seem to say that the app costs $10 and that the app is “Free” from the iTunes store. I assume the $10 isn’t paid via the app store but instead paid with the OrgChart license…? Is that right? Is this then audited or estimated by the customer or SAP?


    1. Luke Marson Post author

      Hi Simon,

      The application is free on iTunes. However, the customer needs a license of $10 per user which is purchased directly from Nakisa. This $10 is in addition to the standard OrgChart license that is purchased from SAP.

      Best regards,



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