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It is always a challenge tracking down the degree of market penetration for mobile apps.  Getting download counts directly from the app stores isn’t really possible so you have to use other means and tools to get the information.

To figure out the relative success in the marketplace of mobile apps created by SAP, I used a variety of data sources.

SAP Store

The obvious first choice was the SAP Store which also provides the download-count for mobile apps:

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[SOURCE]

Here is a list of the most popular mobile applications based on their download count.

Application

Download count

SAP Timesheet

1497

SAP CRM Sales

1366

SAP Travel Receipt Capture

1200

SAP Employee Lookup

1144

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile

1134

SAP Leave Request

918

SAP Mobile Apps

916

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer

685

SAP Travel Expense Approval

505

SAP Support Desk

501

Note: Data collected on 04/04/2013


A quick analysis

  • Very low download counts – embarrassing low. I couldn’t decide whether the SAP Store was the wrong place to look or whether the apps were just exceeding unpopular.
  • I also noticed that SAP’s “consumer apps” (MyRunway, etc) weren’t listed there.

xyo.net

XYO.net is a site that provides additional details about app store statistics and provides some estimates regarding download counts.

Based on xyo.net’s estimates, what are the most popular mobile apps created by SAP AG?

iPhone

SAP app

Estimated total downloads

Downloads in Feb 2013

Recalls Plus

16,000

1,000

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer

12,000

<1000

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile

13,000

<1000

SAP Business One

11,000

<1000

SAP StreamWork

6,000

<1000

SAP Mobile Apps

6,000

<1000

SAP CRM Sales

4,000

<1000

SAP Business ByDesign

1,000

<1000

SAP EMR Unwired

3,000

<1000

Note: Data collected on 04/04/2013

I also looked at some of the statistics for selected mobile apps of competitors.

Other competitors

Estimated total downloads

Downloads in Feb 2013

Workday

25,000

2000

Netsuite

55,000

<1000

Oracle iReceipts

11,000

<1000

Oracle Mobile Sales Forecast

14,000

<1000

A quick noteThe longer an app has been on the market, the more downloads – even at a slower rate – are possible. Some of these applications, for example, that of NetSuite, have been on the app store for a while.

iPad

SAP app

Estimated total downloads

Downloads in Feb 2013

SAP Business ByDesign Dashboard

6,000

<1000

SAP BusinessObjects Experience

6,000

<1000

SAP Visual Enterprise Viewer

5,000

<1000

SAP RealSpend

4,000

<1000

SAP Sales OnDemand for iPad

3,000

<1000

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile

2,000

<1000

SAP Business One

2,000

<1000

SAP HCM Interview Assistant

2,000

<1000

SAP HCM Manager Insight

2,000

<1000

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer

2,000

<1000

Note: Data collected on 04/04/2013

I also looked at some of the statistics for selected iPad apps of competitors.

Other competitors

Estimated total downloads

Downloads in Feb 2013

Workday

15,000

<1000

Oracle Fusion Tap

3,000

<1000

Oracle Fusion Mobile Sales

<1000

<1000

A quick analysis

  • The number of total downloads described xyo.net is quite interesting and appear to show that most customers still use the app stores directly rather than download apps via the SAP Store.  This difference is also illustrated when you examine individual apps. For example, the mobile app SAP CRM Sales has a download count of 1366 in the SAP Store and an estimated download count of 4,000 in xyo.net.
  • xyo.net just has estimates whereas the SAP Store has actual download counts.
  • The Workday mobile app (both iPhone / iPad) is more popular than any single mobile app provided by SAP.  This is true for business or consumer apps (for example, Recalls Plus) created by SAP.

AppAnnie

AppAnnie focuses on the application ranking rather than trying to estimate the number of downloads. The site has excellent metrics and allows you to view trends and zoom down into the results in individual countries.

In my opinion, the most interesting data from AppAnnie are the historical ranking data.  The data is usually restricted to a particular app category.

Let’s take a deep dive into one app (SAP Timesheet) as an example.

Note: The rankings are just based on iTunes.

This diagram shows the all-time ranking for America.

/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/image002_201791.jpg

[SOURCE]

Here is the same metric for the same app for Germany.

/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/image003_201792.jpg

[SOURCE]

The application reached a higher ranking in Germany than in the US.

Note: AppAnnie has 89 mobile apps registered to SAP AG. I’m not going to show all their rankings in this blog.

Let’s take a look at few other mobile apps to get a better understanding of the underlying trends.

Here are the stats for SAP’s MyRunway in China which shows its popularity in the “Lifestyle” category.

/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/image004_201793.jpg

[SOURCE]

The Workday mobile app is very popular in the “Business” category in the States

/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/image005_201794.jpg

[SOURCE]

Note: It would be an interesting task to correlate this metric with certain events (for example, Workday’s recent IPO).

Here is the ranking for the NetSuite iPhone mobile app.

/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/image006_201795.jpg

[SOURCE]

NetSuite’s mobile app has been around for a while and its decreasing ranking is one indication of how the mobile market has expanded since its release. The lack of updates (the last release was in December 2012) is bit strange though

I’ve just shown just a few metrics from AppAnnie. Readers should register on the site and explore the data themselves.

A quick analysis

  • AppAnnie rankings confirm the results from the other sources (especially xyo.net). For example, the Workday mobile has a higher ranking than other SAP mobile apps.

Conclusion

My initial goal of this blog was to get an indication of the relative popularity of SAP’s mobile apps. What I discovered was that individual business apps of other enterprise software vendors (Workday, Oracle, etc) are often more popular than those of SAP.  This can be seen in the AppAnnie rankings or the estimated downloads by xyo.net. However, a broader analysis over all mobile applications provides some interesting insights.

Note: The following graphs were based on the estimates in xyo.net and combine the data from the iPad and iPhone mobile applications.

/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/image007_201796.gif

/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/image008_201797.gif

/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/image009_201798.gif

Note: These charts are based on the mobile apps created by SAP itself – there is no way to track those apps created by the ecosystem for a particular customer or project 

The quantity of SAP mobile applications on iTunes is the most interesting trend.  No other large enterprise vendor provides such a wide variety of mobile applications. Oracle still has more total downloads (estimated) but many of these downloads are associated with its database offerings rather than its business applications. The estimated downloads in 02/2013 also demonstrate that SAP is moving ahead in this area. 

Some might say that it isn’t fair comparing Workday – with its focus on HCM – with SAP with its much broader industry focus. Yet, exactly this broad industry foundation provides SAP an advantage by focusing on higher volume – lower download counts but spread over more applications. 

My charts also reflect a moment in time rather than show the associated trends. It would be worthwhile to revisit these metrics in six months to discover what changes.  I’m assuming that the number of provided apps will increase exponentially as the mobile-related experience of SAP’s internal developers increase and the associated development tools improve.

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27 Comments

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  1. Tammy Powlas

    Interesting blog and I myself go to the Apple app store rather than the SAP app store

    I wonder what the time period was for the first table chart in your blog? 

    Interesting statistics for sure and thank you for sharing.

    Tammy

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    1. Richard Hirsch Post author

      Thanks.

      Regarding the SAP Store stats… I don’t know when the counter started to track downloads. Originally,  I wanted to publish my blog two weeks ago. When I looked at the SAP Store download stats today, they had changed quite dramatically in the meantime – so I really can’t judge their accuracy. 

      D.

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      1. John Astill

        A great read, I was not aware of App Annie.

        I really like the comparisons you make in various scenarios. I personally find it difficult to compare. Should the comparison be on a single app level or on the equivalent functionality in a suite of apps, even then I find it hard to be really comparing Apples and Apples. Either way it is interesting to see the statistics you put together.

        Download statistics of apps reminds me of the popularity of the ‘hits’ metric when counting web page visitors. Unfortunately number of downloads does not always translate to number of people using the app, which as an app developer is a much more important metric.

        Of three personal apps I have on the app store there is quite a wide variation between usage and downloads. For real usage I can only accurately measure on the server side.

        Regards

        JohnA

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        1. Richard Hirsch Post author

          I really like the comparisons you make in various scenarios. I personally find it difficult to compare. Should the comparison be on a single app level or on the equivalent functionality in a suite of apps, even then I find it hard to be really comparing Apples and Apples. Either way it is interesting to see the statistics you put together.

          As you say, the comparisons aren’t easy. There is also a mixture of consumer-facing apps (like Recalls Plus) and more business-focused apps. Or apps from different categories. Or possible comparisons at a company level.  I wanted to start somewhere so I picked a few examples with which to start.

          Download statistics of apps reminds me of the popularity of the ‘hits’ metric when counting web page visitors. Unfortunately number of downloads does not always translate to number of people using the app, which as an app developer is a much more important metric.

          The only entity that really get the actual usage figures is SAP itself – via analysis of app usage in customer environments. There would probably be data privacy issues to accumulate such data – so I’m not expecting such metrics any time soon.

          D.

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  2. Paul Aschmann

    Hi Richard, Thanks for sharing some interesting metrics. What I found interesting is that after checking the stats on one of my apps (SAP Note Viewer for iPad) is that xyo says it has 6,000 estimated downloads where App Annie (Which I use for analytics) is +- 17,000 which is correct. As a general rule of thumb, I like to keep a close track on “App Updates” stats which often give a good indication of your actual user base.

    I am also curious to know if the download counts from the SAP App Store are “purchased” versions, or simply click through’s to the relevant app stores. or possibly, a combination. Since majority of users would use the SAP App Store more as a discovery site and then subsequently look up the app on their device for download.

    Cheers, Paul

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    1. Richard Hirsch Post author

      What I found interesting is that after checking the stats on one of my apps (SAP Note Viewer for iPad) is that xyo says it has 6,000 estimated downloads where App Annie (Which I use for analytics) is +- 17,000 which is correct.

      Interesting. As an outsider, download stats are tough / impossible to get – that is why I focused on comparisons / trends.  I assume if SAP uses such a service -like AppAnnie – they actually have the correct figures.

      As a general rule of thumb, I like to keep a close track on “App Updates” stats which often give a good indication of your actual user base.

      This is actually a great idea. Unfortunately, I don’t know of metrics tool that provides such information.

      D.

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  3. Jeremy Masters

    Hi Richard,

    Great stats on SAP mobile apps – it’s interesting that 3 of the top 10 downloads are in the HR space (SAP Timesheet, SAP Employee Lookup, and SAP Leave Request), but yet I don’t see the “2nd killer app” (Mobile HR Approvals). I would have thought mobile approvals would be above all the other HR ones. Go figure.

     

    Coincidentally, I just posted a blog on HR mobile apps here. I discuss a few quick items ahead of my SAPInsider Q&A Forum later this month.

    Thanks again for the interesting information on mobile usage.

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    1. Richard Hirsch Post author

      It would an interesting task to go through the mobile apps and categorize them based on associated SAP offering (ERP, SRM, CRM, HCM, etc).  I think you are right in that the category “HCM” would probably be one of the ones with the most apps.

      Mobile HR Approvals has a current estimated download count of 2,000. Getting there but still not on the “Top 10” list yet.

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  4. Steven Taylor

    Hi Richard,

    Its an interesting article but I think the numbers might be slightly misleading as there is no mention of other SAP owned solutions such as Afaria from Sybase or BizX from Success Factors. Also you have broken down SAP solutions by product, where you have aggregated the competition numbers. I’d be interested to see an updated blog with the total SAP portfolio taken into account.

    FYI, Afaria alone.

    Estimated downloads:    88,400

    Downloads in Feb 2013:     3,300

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    1. Richard Hirsch Post author

      You are right. I didn’t include the apps for Sybase (Afaria) and Success Factors. 

      The Sybase Android apps look more like apps for developers rather than end-users. The Afaria client app does have over 27,000 estimated downloads but I find it hard to designate this as a “traditional” app. A look at the AppAnnie analysis for the app, however, show that the ranking in the USA looks pretty good.

      SuccessFactors currently has one app (“BizX Mobile“) with an estimated 7,000 (iPhone) and 1,000 (iPad) downloads which mean that it definitely make the “Top 10” list for popular SAP iPhone apps.

      The aggregate numbers for the competitors was just based on a summing of the figures from xyo.net. For Workday and NetSuite, this was easy since their offering was limited in terms of size.

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      1. Luke Marson

        Do you know how many Android and Blackberry downloads there are of SuccessFactors Biz Mobile? According to Google Play it has “5,000 – 10,000” installs on the Android platform.

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      2. Henrique Pinto

        I agree Afaria is not an “end usage” app in the classic sense, however it should be included, since it is a huge part of SAP Enterprise Mobility offering, more or less like a antivirus app or a remote wipe/lock security app. It adds more value to IT than to the final user, but it does add value nonetheless.

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  5. Luke Marson

    Top work again Dick. This is quite interesting and I’d also like to make the point many consultants I know (me included) have downloaded the SAP apps although we aren’t using them productively. For such low volumes, this must skew the figures for SAP a little.

    Best regards,

    Luke

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  6. Tobias Hofmann

    I am not sure if it makes sense to trust these numbers at all. When a customer buys a SAP app, this does not mean the customer is downloading the app from the app store. The app is downloaded from SMP. There are cases when a single app is used by hundreds to thousands of users.

    Now, are these “downloads” considered when SAP publishes the numbers in their app store?

    Also, not all download the app / container from an app store. This can be delivered directly to their device by MDM.

    The download number IMO should be replaced by numbers that make more sense when you are evaluating an app like:

    – corporate size

    – number of clients

    – number of apps per corporate size

    – device types %

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    1. Henrique Pinto

      Depends on the app. For the productivity apps/CRM/Syclo etc., you are right, since SAP licenses them by user and the deployment is usually done in a IT centric way, distributed through some MDM tool (such as Apps tab in Afaria).

      For SAP BI mobile apps (BO Explorer/BI Mobile), as well as SAP Jam/Streamwork, on the other hand, since SAP doesn’t license the mobile usage directly (the mobile apps are an additional offering to the already licensed BO/SSFF/Streamwork users), then the deployment approach is user centric, usually done through the AppStore/Google Play itself.

      So, it’s a mixed situation.

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      1. Tobias Hofmann

        But a company can still install these apps using MDM, bypassing an app store. So the numbers you can find do not reflect reality and because the numbers are pretty low even are counterproductive when you evaluate SAP’s app store and mobile app success.

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        1. Henrique Pinto

          Of course they can, I just told you what usually happens. In summary, you should understand that the correlation between these numbers and the reality for SAP productivity apps/crm/syclo etc. is really low (I’d say 25-%) and for the BO/jam/etc apps, it’d be high (75+%).

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          1. Tobias Hofmann

            and here we have the actual problem: as no one knows how these numbers correlate to reality, they are useless do not offer much value.

            I think SAP put the numbers there because in a “normal” app store like iTunes, Play you can also see the download number. May be the same reason that there is a rating section which is not offering a great benefit for evaluating user feedback …

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            1. Richard Hirsch Post author

              As Henrique suggests, the numbers provided by these sites might be more relevant for certain kind of apps which don’t require SUP – take a look at increasing number of  more consumer-facing apps which SAP is creating.

              Since most enterprise vendors face the same situation, the comparison between vendors is also relevant.

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              1. Henrique Pinto

                True. While an absolute number analysis won’t say much, nor will a comparison between consumer apps and enterprise apps, a relative comparison between enterprise mobility vendors would bring some meaningful insights.

                I’d say the strongest conclusion we get from the numbers you’ve presented is that SAP Mobility is “hotter” than the other vendors’.

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    2. Richard Hirsch Post author

      You might want to take a look at John Moy’s blog “Deconstructing download statistics of a Mobile App” which provides real time stats for his mobile apps. In John’s blog, you do see that there are differences between the stats that an external analyst has and those available to the mobile developer.

      I’d love to have stats like the ones you suggest – and I’m sure that SAP has such metrics for internal usage – but I doubt that we will ever be provided with them.

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