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Before we start, maybe some background music by Dire Straits? Guess Where Do You Think You’re Going is quite applicable 😉

I got a bit confused last week and I wanted to share my confusion with you and hope that my SAP mobile life gets demystified.

So, SAP Mobile – Quo Vadis?

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SAP’s three pillars

Now we all know SAP’s 3 main pillars:

  • Cloud
  • Mobile
  • HANA

Needless to say that SAP shares a lot of PowerPoint slides and stories around these topics at events like SAPphire NOW and SAP TechEd, at local events like SAP Forum, press conferences and here on SDN and other sites.

Last week SAP held a very important press conference, the announcement of #SAPonHANA. And to be honest – it made me feel a bit jealous. Great story telling, together with customers and partners SAP shows the added value of running SAP on HANA. There is plenty of training material to be found in the HANA academy, a developer license, contact persons, … bottom line: SAP is supporting you in adapting this new technology into your own business.

Now this blog is not about HANA, but about mobile. So why jealous? There is developer.sap.com with a specific SAP mobile platform area and the possibility for developer licenses. (Do you still remember how long it took SAP to provide these developer licenses? OK, OK forget about that, as it is there yet. Stop whining.)

Why this blog? Let me try to explain as I got disappointed by SAP Product Management last week.

Do we need a strategy?

Enterprise Mobility is not about the app. It is about mobilizing your business process, bring enterprise functionality to the end user so that he or she can access it via a user friendly interface, at the right time, with the right information and on the device of choice.

SAP is doing a good job in explaining its mobile roadmap, as you definitely need a strategy to be successful in the mobile area. Mobile is the new desktop, tablets and smart phones will outnumber PC’s quicker than we think. Roadmap presentations at SAP TechEd were clear. Talks by Ian Thain are very understandable and sharing a lot of enthusiasm (E.g. The state of the mobile union). It is clear that we need a platform for integration, synchronization and providing back end functionality to mobile devices. And when SAP buys the two market leaders in that area, Sybase and Syclo, that proves that you have a strategy.

Again, why this blog? Because the long (define long in the mobile world 😉 time strategy is clear, but what if we want to start with mobility tomorrow?

So here’s the customer case

With my current customer I am trying to lay out the solution architecture to bring service management functionality to service engineers. In order for the service engineer to focus, it is important to have the right user experience, not only for service management functionality but for all relevant functionality. Unfortunately our case is not really a regular service management mobility use case as the engineers face security issues (you can’t always bring your own equipment), process issues (besides service management, custom functionality is to be available as well), connectivity issues (sometimes you have, sometimes not, but you still need to do your job), …

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Our challenges

  • Is SAP Work Manager (the app formerly known as Syclo SMART work manager) sufficient for our service engineers?
  • Can we offer custom functionality via Syclo?
  • As the user experience is so important, is Sybase the preferred platform? But what about integrating SAP Work Manager?
  • Hey, SAP is integrating the two platforms into SAP Mobile Platform. What are the consequences?
  • Are there any references, in a comparable environment, and how are these questions answered?

Thanks to SAP NL we got an appointment with SAP Product Management in Walldorf. Or at least that’s what we thought. We planned to visit SAP in Walldorf last Friday, but unfortunately our visit got cancelled two days before, as “Our road map for integrating the two platforms is not clear yet, please come visit us in about 4 weeks”… (speechless) …

OK, I can understand that the road map might not be 100% crystal clear, then show us some disclaimers as we are already used to that. But please start supporting us in making the right decisions.

Do you understand my disappointment now?

SAP, what about executing your strategy?

Again the big picture is clear. But please SAP there are customers that can’t wait for 2 different platforms to be integrated. Or wait for future companies and solutions that SAP might buy. We want to start today and need some expert advice from SAP to prevent to make decisions that we regret later. “If only we knew that 3 months ago …”

Please SAP, don’t leave customers and partners in the mobile darkness. Mobile is one of your three pillars. If you have a strategy built on three pillars and one collapses, what would be the impact on the other two?

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Just my 2 cents

Allow me to make some final remarks, tips if I may say so:

  • SAP don’t try to sell technology or licenses. Show the added value, sell solutions to real life customer cases.
  • At DKOM I learned about the new SAP by Jim Hagemann Snabe. An SAP that collaborates with customers and partners. Unfortunately on the mobile area SAP is not showing this off. Be open and partner with customers and system integrators.
  • The customer case as I described in this blog is not by itself. There are multiple stories about SAP leaving customers in the dark in executing the mobile strategy.
  • We all understand that integrating two different platforms and repositioning is a difficult thing to do. But please SAP get out of the ivory tower. Listen to customer use cases and take them into account. Don’t just sell apps, provide solutions!

Still with me? Recognizable? Please share your experiences and, hopefully, prove me wrong. If so, please connect me to your personal Yoda for “Answers you get”.

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50 Comments

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  1. Mark Teichmann

    Thanks for this important blog. Now that more and more customers are seeking for mobile solutions it is important to know where to go. But the currently available solutions seem to fade away soon (e.g. CRM Sales, DOE etc.) or will experience major changes in their technology used. Therefore on the one hand it seems to be a good choice to wait for another year but on the other hand it is a long time span to fall one year behind your competitors in the mobile area.

    Let us hope that we get a clearer vision in 4 weeks from now 😉

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  2. Tobias Hofmann

    Still with you. Yes: recognized.

    Another example is Mobile Infrastructure and DOE. DOE was “dead”, and then SAP bought Sybase and with it, their apps based on DOE. Partners started to create their own SUP apps using DOE as SAP gave statements like: “preferable for large scenarios, proven infrastructure, management, etc”.

    Mobile may be a fast area, at the same time can take some serious amount of time to actually implement a solution. If you took the decision to start a project using DOE > 1 year ago, chances are good you are still busy implementing it and you’ll use it for another few years.

    Enters Syclo. And suddenly you hear: DOE is a stable product that won’t receive any new features. Translated: while it is supported, your app is using a “dead” product and obsolete architecture.

    What may be the next? Agentry for UI? Will you have to rewrite your UI created manually for your SUP-only project? Makes it still sense to start a CRM Mobile Sales project?

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    1. Twan van den Broek Post author

      Thanks Tobias for staying until the end and recognizing my story. Completely agree with your example. An ‘end of life’ scenario on products or platforms is a bad experience for customers. Of course I do understand that you can’t maintain all your old versions for the next 100 years. And yes, the mobile word is developing fast, faster then we ever have experienced so far. So that makes it even more important to have a proper advice.

      Kind regards

      twan

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  3. Scott Schuetz

    Great post Twan.  While the short term strategy is a little challenging, you have to admit the longer term roadmap is pretty exciting.  I see a lot of value in the merged SMP blurring the lines between SUP and Syclo as separate technologies.  Then sales can better do as you suggested – sell solutions for business problems and not target specific technologies. 

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    1. Twan van den Broek Post author

      Thanks Scott. Totally agree, I have nothing against the integrated SAP Mobile Platform. Interesting times ahead with the Sybase and Syclo possibilities combined.

      My blog is about the support and clarity that is not provided on this topic, yet.

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    2. Joao Sousa

      Long term roadmap will become short term when they buy the next big thing. Sybase momentum was crippled by syclo aquisition and poor communication.

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  4. Nick Brown

    Twan, 

    Thank you for your post.  You have clearly articulated many of the challenges that face SAP, our partners and customers as it relates to a Mobile Strategy.  I could not agree more with you that Mobility is not about the App, but rather about the User and delivering a consumer grade experience to the user that accelerates business anywhere, anytime and on any device.  As we (SAP) enter into 2013 our Mobile focus will be on solutions that deliver great business outcomes for our enterprise customer for B2E and B2C users and insuring the SAP Mobile Platform and Afaria enable a secure, stable and scalable base for SAP, Partners and Customers to innovate on. 

    SAP’s innovation focus will be centered around our customers in 2013 and beyond.  Partners will also play a key role in our Mobile Innovation agenda.  We will be expanding the role of partners in mobility base on the successes we had with customers and partners in evolving our Mobile Solutions in 2012. 

    I would like to personally invite you and anyone else on this post, to discuss how SAP can do a better job of providing guidance and advise in the ever shifting world of Mobile Solutions.  Please contact me at n.brown@sap.com so we can work together and drive joint success for our customers.  I will get you answers in less than 4 weeks even if they are not 100% as we want to have an open dialog with our customers and partners and insure we are giving you the correct guidance you need.  I will be in Walldorf Jan 28 – Jan 31 and would be happy to meet in person or via conference call to discuss.

    Look forward to working with all of you in 2013 and I am definitely still with you.

    Nick Brown

    SVP, Mobile Solution Management and Strategy

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  5. Joern Brabandt

    Dear Twan!

    Your pain is “only” SAP and missing strategies in this sector. How about all the other modules and customers that SAP abandoned over the years? On the ABAP side i do see code from 19xx in the application servers. How can one mobilize a business process, if the code base is procedural (SAP Business Partner, SD, MM, PM, PP, IS-U are perfect examples). Understanding your frustration, i would suggest, SAP would need to completely revamp the product base. The data models are good, but the rest is hmmm.

    Another Database can not help with the problem. The (counter) acquisition of Sybase was more about getting rid of Oracle – and why? Former Software AG’s MaxDB (actually MaxDB = Adabas 4, then being further developed by SAP, then MySQL, which eventually became part of Oracle). MaxDB was great, but SAP and Oracle is a No-No.

    Mobile Apps are neither the strength of SAP nor of Sybase. I would acquire a game-making company, such as OutFit7 (Talking Tom), if i wanted business processes to be downloadable from an app-store, ready to run, and working offline as well.

    IMHO there is no need for a Mobile Strategy, as long as the SAP core business process implementations are as clumsy as they currently are, caged in SAPGUI.

    Cheers

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    1. Twan van den Broek Post author

      Hi Joern, thanks for your reply. A bit bold – but hey – that’s what I did as well 😉

      You are right without a proper back end process it is very hard to mobilize. Personally I’m really happy with the efforts that SAP does in opening its core processes. SAP Gateway helps in offering ‘old school’ code to mobile users. What doesn’t help is that you have to take licensing into account for your business case with SAP Gateway.

      Twan

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  6. Jens Koerner

    Hi Twan,

    I read you blog and wanted to provide some answers to your questions.

    You asked for execution on the strategy: we just released SUP 2.2 into Ramp-Up with many new enterprise features (open HTTP REST APIs, end-to-end tracing, lifecycle management). The next step is to integrate Syclo into the platform and that is happing as we speak (remember we aquired Syclo just last year and it takes some time to integrate software right while at the same time delivering on existing commitments to our customers and deliver new innovation). But it’s happening – watch out for the announcement.

    I would highly recommend you pick up his offer and meet with Nick Brown.

    Also, here are some more resources that might provide clarity on strategy and execution (as well as customer references).

    SAP Mobile Platform – “Apple of the Enterprise”

    Looking for SAP Mobile demos, customer references, roadmaps, performance and sizing information, training, documentation or tips & tricks?

    And make sure to register for the SAP Mobile Insights Webcast Series where we provide updates and insight into various topics including roadmaps and release dates

    Hope this is helpful.

    Jens Koerner

    Product Management – SAP Mobile Platform

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    1. Twan van den Broek Post author

      Thank you Jens for your reply. Let me clarify a bit, I know that you are busy integrating the two platforms and I completely understand that this will take some time. My point is that when you want to start doing mobile today – what points to consider to go for either Sybase or Syclo variant. We just want to prevent start working on a scenario that becomes end-of-life with the new release of the SAP Mobile Platform.

      Twan

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  7. Gregory Misiorek

    Twan,

    forgive me for not knowing what work manager is or what it does, but after some early attempts of delivering some kind of workflow apps in the marketplace i still see no single or easy point of entry with which to test any ECC originated workflow.

    if there’s no out-of-the-box workflow then i can’t think of any other traditional application that fits more into existing installed customer base. it should be accessible via standard browsers, have small footprint, and work within the VPN firewall to start getting any traction in the corporate world.

    no amount of videos, powerpoints, or sponsored blog content can replace a proven and not license trap ridden, gargantuan, and multi-step business-process-oriented application that SAP is risking in hoping for worldwide adoption.

    now, what’s with the Roman pictures? who’s the emperor and who’s the gladiator? i think i know. we need to fight for our cause or be eaten by lions with others watching from their seats and enjoying the show.

    regards,

    greg

    P.S. i still don’t understand how they could miss your appointment in Walldorf.

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    1. Twan van den Broek Post author

      Well the Roman pictures fit the title ‘Quo Vadis’ 😆

      – The guy that looks worried – resembles my customer and me

      – The arena one – resembles the elite sitting in the ‘ivory tower’ and watching what happens in the field

      Looking back, with your comment, I was not thinking about “fight for our cause or be eaten by lions with others watching from their seats and enjoying the show” 😉

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      1. Mark Finnern

        Hi Twan,

        The movie Quo Vadis with Peter Ustinov is a legend in Germany and I think in Holland too. Not so in the US, I think this is where the disconnect is. Loved the movie especially Peter’s performance as Nero ordering the burning of Rom.

        Great discussion, love that Nick Brown and Jens Koerner stepped in.

        You are in good hands, Mark.

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  8. Sergio Ferrari

    I’m with you Twan.

    Six months ago, to decide how to build the relevant custom Apps I had to deliver to a large account, I started analyzing the available packaged ones.

    Thanks and together with John Moy we are trying to keep the wiki page http://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/mobile/SAP+Mobile+Store+Apps updated. It difficult, it is not complete but I think it provides a great overview.

    Having the opportunity to conduct also an SAP RETAIL EXECUTION project (1st go-live in the world), I opted for Sybase Unwired Platform with the native MBO-based approach.

    🙂 Offline is fully supported

    😎 UI is developed with the best tools in the market, I mean the ones provided by Apple, Google, RIM,…

    😕 realization time: maybe not so fast as expected by the customers

    😯 landscape complexity is close to rocket science, not for kids

    🙂 end-users are happy

    In a nutshell, in order to select the right architecture you may have to “toss the coin“.

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    1. Twan van den Broek Post author

      Hi Sergio,

      You’re kidding me, this doesn’t look like “tossing the coin”. You did your best to give a proper advice and made sure that your end-users are happy. After all the goal that we all aim for.

      Of course I’m familiar with the idea that a consultant collects all relevant requirements, future direction for customer, available of the shelf solutions and investigating the custom built scenario. And with the expert advice that gives you a solution architecture to build your project on.

      My point is that your expert advice is worth almost nothing when your solution direction is declared end-of-life during, or soon after, delivery. That makes you look foolish. That’s why I would appreciate open discussions on real life customer cases.

      BTW: great overview that you and John provide. Delivers a better insight than SAP store.

      Kind regards

      Twan

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  9. Matt Harding

    Hi Twan,

    From observing what’s going on, my crystal ball prediction within 3 years is that:

    a) There will be a continued focus on Syclo for heavy process centric mobility like Syclo SMART Work Manager and the CRM app that is moving to Syclo. This will be the last remaining cross platform SAP supported mobile app development tool.

    b) Gateway will increase in popularity now licensing is sorted, and for many scenarios, SUP will be overkill, so lightweight apps (web based or native) on the SAP App store will start to appear without requiring the traditional SUP – it will also leverage more mobile software/design trends outside of Enterprise to engage more developers.

    c) Offline content will be simplified for the secondary scenario taking more of a Syclo direct retrieval approach (especially now everyone is on HANA and sync will more be a network concern than a backend concern)

    d) SUP will fall back into being part of the Afaria platform, taking the best bits of it from a security/authentication perspective.

    e) Project Glass will become reality and all execs will want their dashboards appearing over people’s heads so firing people becomes much more efficient. This will leverage the same architecture as b) above…

    i.e. This is completely different outcome based on the current story being told, but I’m left guessing the mobility space so this is what I’ve come up with – Note – some of my predictions above may be a little off 😉

    Cheers,

    Matt

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    1. Tammy Powlas

      Matt – I have seen b) with SAP Solution Manager mobile apps from SAP Store – you only need Gateway (of course it supports SUP too but that is not required)

      You should turn your response into a blog 🙂

      Tammy

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      1. Matt Harding

        Hi Tammy,

        Good point about Solution Manager.  In terms of blogging,I think this blog is probably the start of something bigger already so will hold off on exploring Project Glass just a little longer…

        Cheers,

        Matt

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      2. Frank Koehntopp

        I so knew this would backfire… 😉

        The only reason Solution Manager Apps _also_ run without SUP is licensing. As they are part of SolMan we can’t require other licensed software to make them work.

        This is well documented in the security guide, and also solely meant for inhouse (i.e. Intranet) use. It’s definitely not the beginning of a strategy change or something like that 😉

        The reason you want SUP is unification of your mobile apps landscape, security, administration and device agnostics.

        I’ll play the broken record again: if you’re a customer running mobile Apps from more than one supplier, you want a single point of infrastructure and administration. You also don’t want every single supplier to explain why they think their apps might not compromise your security concept and provide a gateway (pun intended) for every hacker into your ERP system.

        On a similar note: can anybody talk about experiences with Mobiliser from a customer perspective?

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        1. Haridas Nair

          Mobiliser is the platform for consumer facing applications that have to work across multiple channels Rich Client, Mobile Web, SMS and USSD. Its been deployed predominantly in banking and telco for solutions like Mobile Banking, Mobile Wallet,  Mobile Money, & additional solutions for Utilities and Retail are being built on it. It serves as a unification point for consumer facing apps, and comes prebuilt with a payments and transaction processing engine. It supports adding business logic for new use cases, orchestrate transactions across multiple backends, handle payments, and provides support for managing various types of accounts like stored value, bank accounts, credit cards etc. One of our customers Dutch Bangla Bank runs a mobile money service on this platform with more than a milllon registered customers accessing services like P2P, Remittance, Bill Payment, AirTime Topup, Disbursements etc.

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    2. Twan van den Broek Post author

      Thank you Matt for sharing your crystal ball predictions. I always thought that the Sybase part would get the focus in the new SAP Mobile Platform, as its features and possibilities are richer. But you are right, with Gateway, a lot of scenarios are already possible. Does that make SUP overkill. Interesting discussion that you pointed out…

      Wish I had a working crystal ball. But then a wise man (?) once said:

      Impossible to see the future is.

      Yoda (http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0000015/quotes)

      Anyone at FKOM to comment on these predictions?

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    3. Tobias Hofmann

      a) Syclo was bought because of the apps, I’m eager to see what will happen to the UI generation tool. SUP + Agentry for UI should be ease the development effort SUP gives you.

      b) still means that you have to install GW and that you are OK with OData. In cae your ESA is web service based, GW does not offer ootb benefits.

      c) yes, HANA should also eliminate the need for DOE and the long running syncs of offline data, but the offline scenario will stay a huge topic for every company that either operates in regions with bad internet connection or where 3G/UMTS/LTE is just a marketing buzzword.

      d) isn’t fair for SUP, ignoring that SUP does more than just authentication. SUP allows to mobilize different backends, be it SAP or non-SAP in a homogenous way: MBO.

      Btw: for most mobile scenarios, SUP is already overkill. You only do have SAP/ABAP to mobilize? For that, even GW is overhead. The most efficient solution is a online web application that also runs inside cordova.

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  10. Prashant Kamat

    Twan,

    First of all, thanks for starting a discussion on this topic.  For all of us, connected to SAP Mobility, I can’t think of a more fundamental issue we face, than the one you bring up.

    As a Global SI partner (and strong believer) in SAP, I am always in the position of being an advocate for SAP platforms and products for our customers.  This is proving to be quite difficult without knowing where exactly the platform is going to land up.

    A typical use case we face, is not just an opportunity for mobilizing a single process (like the Service Management with Syclo/SAP Work Manager that you mention), but a more comprehensive scenario that includes:

    a. End-to-end processes that require complete mobilization (e.g. Service Management)

    b. Standalone use cases where COTS mobile apps are an option

    c. Specific use cases where clearly only a custom developed app can fill the need

    In such a case, things become complicated when we (as trusted advisors of our customers) feel that a Syclo product may be suitable for (a), some of (b) can be catered to by SAP Mobile Apps while some are better fit for custom development and SUP is the best platform for (c).

    The most information I’ve seen (and maybe this is my fault) is that the SAP Mobile Platform will include both SUP and Agentry and they will eventually (no idea when) be integrated together.  What does this mean for a project I’m planning to start in Q1/Q2 2013?  The SAP Mobile Platform is more a packaging strategy from a marketing perspective – at least, that’s the impression I get.

    SAP is traditionally reticent about product roadmaps, as it’s cautious about making statements to the market that may not turn out to be true.  If you recall the case of the BO acquisition, there was a similar bit of confusion that lasted quite a bit before a clear portfolio strategy and roadmap (‘SBOP’) emerged, which left no doubt on the fate of overlapping products.  Trouble is, you don’t have the luxury of that kind of time in the mobile world, where timeframes are significantly compressed.

    On the other hand, there have been significant changes and back-and-forth over individual product releases.  SUP 2.0 to 2.1 was a significant change that required us to redevelop our apps (yes, on the iOS side, even though I believe the stated position is that minimal redevelopment is required).  SUP 2.2 came out and then went back in again and the only thing I know is that it is ‘significantly different’ (heads up: one more redevelopment exercise in the offing).  On the MDM side, we’ve seen Afaria drop from #1 to several notches lower, due to an obvious disadvantage in terms of features compared to some newer players.  Yes, now a separate solution is announced for MCM – what does that mean?  Will customers have to pay a separate license and buy two products where other players offer only 1?

    On the SAP Mobile Apps front, my main grouse is with the architecture.  If you see the list of 30-plus apps, almost 80% of them are based on an architecture that includes BOTH Gateway and SUP (some are on even more complicated architectures).  I’m yet to see any valid reason for having Gateway and SUP in a single app – yes, of course, I can see the point of having both in a single landscape, but in a single app?  More license?  I read earlier in this thread that ‘Gateway license issues had been sorted’ (if someone can point me to more details, that would be much appreciated) and maybe that may help.

    On the commercial side, things are unclear as well.  For a recent engagement with a prospect, I came to know that SAP is offering SUP either free or at a vastly reduced price with Syclo (and the required platform).  Is this correct?  Is it specific to a region?  If I need to recommend a strategy for the use case above and recommend both Syclo and SUP, commercial points like these are an important consideration.

    On an overall level, my biggest issue is that in all forums – be they marketing oriented like Sapphire or technical-oriented (like this discussion or TechEd), SAP’s official communication is heavy on marketing and light on content.  Even if you see the responses to some points in this thread, you can easily make it out.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m an ardent supporter of SAP and have staked my career on it and I strong believe in SAP in Enterprise Mobility, as well.  It’s just that in Mobility, I don’t think we have the luxury of the ‘months-based’ timeframe that we had in Enterprise Systems.  I also believe in the ‘selecting acquisition’ strategy that SAP follows (as opposed to the wanton, ‘acquire anything in my path’ that some others do 🙂 )

    I really appreciate the trouble Nick has taken to follow and respond to the original post.  Thanks, Nick and you can rest assured I’ll be reaching out to you separately.  Here’s hoping that all of us get the clarity we urgently need in 4 weeks or less.

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    1. Joao Sousa

      Even from a technical standpoint I don’t think the landscape is clear enough. Lets say I want to develop a sales automation scenario, which is:

      a) Heavy on data loads (delta is a must);

      b) Offline is required;

      What is the correct choice? Not Gateway because of offline, but when I choose SUP, do I use DOE in SAP? It seems the correct choice, but that’s not very clear especially when DOE is seen as a legacy product.

      If you consider all these dificulties, and then compare the cost / effort of working my solution into SUP requirements (+ licensing), with a custom solution, it’s difficult to sell the SUP scenario.

      And lets add requirement c), my data model is dynamic (i.e new pricing tables can be created in SAP by functional people). How do I handle this is SAP Mobile Apps? Do I have to compromise?

      Sure the scalability is great, and for huge customers is a must and they can afford it, but for most clients the architecture is way too complicated/expensive.

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      1. Prashant Kamat

        The moment Offline is a requirement (as it often is), choices are narrowed down immediately to a single option – Native + SUP.  Not only Gateway, but even SUP HWC cannot support Offline.

        I think DOE is pretty much not an option – if I’m not mistaken it’s legacy by now.

        SUP can connect directly to multiple back-ends (including SAP systems).

        I don’t know of any way that dynamic tables can be supported by SUP – you would have to do additional development (as in creating new / modifying existing MBOs and then integrating the code with the front-end).

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        1. Tobias Hofmann

          but even SUP HWC cannot support Offline.

          In 90% of the use case this may be true, but HWC is also offline capabable, even if its limited.

          – you can act on received notifications received when the device was online

          – you can interact with the HWC app to create new entries. They will be stored offline and HWC will take care of syncing them later.

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          1. Prashant Kamat

            “you can interact with the HWC app to create new entries” when the device is offline.  This is news to me – are you referring to any special tweaks?  Out of the box, HWC apps don’t even launch if the device is Offline – you get an error messaging saying no connectivity or some such thing.  At least that’s what I see (SUP 2.1.3).

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            1. Tobias Hofmann

              Works perfectly on my smartphone even when no internet connection available or in flight mode. HWC opens, I authenticate, can call the workflows installed, interact with them.

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              1. Prashant Kamat

                Checked it again, and to be precise, the app does load if the first screen is a simple controls only (no data) screen.  E.g. a PO approval app has a first screen with a single button – get POs.  This screen does load even when Offline, but clicking the button gives the error “Alert: Device not connected”.  So yes the app does load, but not much point in seeing just the first sceen(s) without any data.

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                1. Tobias Hofmann

                  It is possible to realize that in offline mode using HWC. Instead of letting the user click on get POs these need to be send to the HWC. They get queued and made available. Of course, this is not the same screen as when the user opens the HWC app.

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              1. Prashant Kamat

                Yes, and we’ve created some PoCs using HWC and custom HTML5 / JS that presents a significant difference in UI from the standard HWC interface.  But I’m given to understand there’s a limit to what you can do – e.g. split screens are not possible.

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        2. Joao Sousa

          But what is really the alternative to DOE? Long running sync processes in the backend?

          For me that is clearly not an option, you need to have some sort of push mechanism into SUP so that it quickly knows what objects to sync. SAP should have a clear recommended “best practice” for these sorts of scenarios which are common place.

          The dynamic tables are also a problem that I haven’t quite figured out. I have a custom iOS/Android app that just pulls SD configuration and determines which tables are needed or not according to pricing determination that is relevant for a specific sales person (and dynamically generates the required objects). For me this is very important because the alternative makes changes to SD pricing very costly. Although on this issue I can agree that an out-of-the-box solution is not easy.

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          1. Tobias Hofmann

            “Long running sync processes in the backend?”

            That’s easy to answer now: use Suite on HANA.

            push mechanism into SUP

            Not sure what you mean, but for pushing specific pieces of information to SUP you can use DCN

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            1. Joao Sousa

              HANA is not an option for everyone, unless licensing has changed a LOT during the last year. 

              As for DCN, it’s not exactly integrated with SAP, you have to to all the custom work yourself. All changes, you need to implement exits/BADIs for changes in ERP, there a lot of custom, unsupported work, involved.

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              1. Tobias Hofmann

                The DCN servlet does not care from where it get’s the notification.

                What worries me more is that I find it hard to get a list of mobile apps that use MBO sync based on DCN or by the cache definition. Or: is someone actually using DCN in production and is happy with it?

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                  1. Tobias Hofmann

                    “seems to be quite performant.”

                    Agreed, but did you find any sizing informations that compare it to non-DCN or DOE scenarios? I have the general sizing documents, but when it comes to a specific use cases I find it hard to get official SAP documentation that help choosing one over the other, or to justify the effort of doing DCN.

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          2. Sergio Ferrari

            About the best practice I’m with you and you’re perfectly right about the concept.

            After implementing SAP RETAIL EXECUTION and studying SAP CRM Sales  I can confirm that the first does NOT take advantage of the DOE performing full export of data from the backends while the second App seems really to use DOE.

            That’s why I think there is no released Best Practice but also I have some doubts about the existence of an internal  SAP Best Practice.

            In all the custom Apps I have been involved, I chosen to go directly into the backends figuring out there out to be as much fast as possible.

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          3. Prashant Kamat

            Is it a possible solution that the BAPI / custom RFC that returns the pricing information handles the dynamic tables aspect?  If so, a solution using SUP is still possible.  In such a case, the BAPI would have the task of identifying the new tables and selecting data from it, based on input parameters (such as Condition Types).  As long as the data for all possible condition types is in exactly the same format, which is output by this BAPI a single MBO in SUP will suffice.

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    2. Twan van den Broek Post author

      Thanks Prashant for your extensive reply and starting off a detailed discussion.

      What you describe as redevelopment is something that customers scare away. Of course you can’t take ‘things’ or ‘platforms’ into account for decades, and yes things go fast in the mobile area, but it is hard to explain when you deliver a solution today, that its used architecture is end of life tomorrow. That’s where we can use some help. Connect the marketing stories to the technical ones.

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  11. Sanjay Poonen

    Happy New Year everyone!

    I am happy to see continued good dialog from various partners and customers of ours, on the CO-INNOVATION they desire with SAP on the future of our SAP Mobile Platform, Mobile Apps, as well as Mobile Security, in sessions we are doing with several of them under NDA in the next few weeks.  I look forward to that dialog, there is a lot we have planned that you will like, and our goal is to continue to evolve the BEST Mobile Platform in the industry.  If you have continued interest, just stay in touch with Jason.Liang@sap.com.

    I’d encourage every one of you to read the press releases from the results of SAP’s Q4 and full year 2012 results, were we disclosed the size of our Mobility business, and when you add to that the Messaging business, you can see why our ambitions to create a billion dollar license/subscription Enterprise Mobility leader is in sight! 

    To reach those ambitions, we need PARTNERS and CUSTOMERS with us in the journey, so we are going to do just that – engage with all of you customers and partners even more strategically in 2013 than ever before, that is our commitment, it is the way I seek to run things in the Mobile Division at SAP.

    Sincerely,

    Sanjay Poonen

    President, Corporate Officer, SAP

    Technology Solutions and

    Head of Mobile Division

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