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Bring your own device … yes, we made it!

Applies to:

Vendor Management Office, Sourcing and other IT professionals that deal with external relationships, in terms of buyer-seller.

First of all thank you very much for the great feedback received for our first blog “New ways to add business value – the SAP Global IT Vendor Management”

I also received many questions on the topic of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and what speed in this regard means to us at SAP Global IT Vendor Management.

Regarding speed at SAP, my experience demonstrates this best in terms of transparency and cost as well as quality improvements. A company must be open-minded, flexible and dynamic enough for the fast-moving, fast-growing world with new generations of products, technologies and platforms such as: tablets, smart phones, applications, social media, etc. through to SAP products and solutions (SAP HANA, for example).

BYOD is only the beginning. The world is moving faster and faster; transparency, quality, costs and mainly speed are the keys to success.

In the last years we saw product lifecycles of several years, today we have in some areas product lifecycles of a few months only.

Businesses with advanced IT organizations have looked to increase the flow of information within their business and externally. Virtualization, the cloud and next generation mobile devices coupled with social media only further increase the scope and speed of information flow. This will have a direct impact on the behavior of businesses.

What was pushing us to think about and establish BYOD?

End-user requests:

  • Do not wish to carry two devices
  • Ask for flexibility to perform personal tasks during business time and business tasks during personal time
  • Would like to use personal equipment for work (e.g. iPad), but there is not enough justification to assign corporate device
  • Would like to use personally-owned, most-current technology

Key line of business requests:

  • Requirement to reduce/minimize corporate investment in mobile hardware
  • Identifying and securing personal devices already connecting to the enterprise
  • Establishing transparent policies around exploding BYOD market
  • Attracting new technologically savvy employees, retaining existing employees
  • Legal requirements to comply with regulations
  • Providing connectivity to all employees during crisis situations

What were the key pre-requirements and stakeholders?


What were our learnings / what you should consider during the start into the BYOD world?

  • Ensure that you have all necessary resources to inform end users about the BYOD policies and support
  • Create clear rollout procedures and document them
  • Limit your initial rollout to smaller group of people, preferably within one country
  • Set timeframe to conclude the pilot and move to full production mode
  • Review your rollout after specific timeframe (e.g., 6 months), identify “lessons learned,” and make necessary adjustments
  • Consider replication of your rollout approach in other countries
  • Your existing documentation will help to shorten rollout timeframes

But, as always, the best way to share experiences is to demonstrate them.

SAP recognized that employees were bringing their own devices into our network and, rather than restricting this, we thought about enabling all employees to use their own devices in a way that was secure both for them for and SAP. Here in my VMO team we are doing it – some of my team members use their own iPads (in conjunction with their SAP issue laptop) and others use their own iPhones.

Alex Martin (Global IT Vendor Management) told me that he has recently started using his own personal iPhone 4 as his SAP corporate phone:

“Previously I had been carrying two phones – SAP corporate issue BlackBerry and my iPhone. I used my BlackBerry as a phone and emailing tool and my iPhone for web browsing and using social media platforms.

SAP recently rolled out its BYOD strategy and employees can use any of their own devices on the SAP network (including Wi-Fi) if employees meet some prerequisites: line manager’s written approval, alpha-numeric passwords are used (on the device itself), devices are encrypted and managed with SAP Afaria , Touchdown apps are installed and a legal consent form is signed.

SAP installs Afaria security software in the form of an app, and then installs Nitrodesk Touchdown which is password protected and acts a container with SAP data separated from the rest of the device in quarantine – emails, calendar and other Outlook items, as well as your contacts.

All I had to do was secure my manager’s approval via email, sign and scan the disclaimer and raise an IT ticket with the documents attached. The whole process including the IT ticket was completed in one working afternoon and I have since been using my iPhone as my SAP corporate phone.”

Further to SAP and other companies’ BYOD policies, I strongly believe that social media platforms (Facebook, Google+, etc.) coupled with BYOD will completely replace email and company desktop assets over the next decade. On social media platforms already, users can create and join groups which can be project specific for work purposes* to a particular audience, therefore giving the user the opportunity to maintain the status of work with ease. The user can maintain a separate account, as many do already, for personal purposes. Social media platforms also allow for point-to-point communication, as e-mail currently does, for direct messages, which is one of the main arguments/fears of social media in the professional life.

Therefore, some office environments of the future may look like: BYOD hardware infrastructure supporting Android or iOS (for example) software infrastructure with users operating within social media platforms. But why stop here – can we not move this further by stripping out property on companies balance sheets and maintaining a work-from-home culture instead? Complete remote working through employees’ own locations and devices.

One question, which will probably be the most commented on this blog, is around data security. The obvious but not always satisfying response; install Mobile Device management applications for data wiping/cleansing for lost or stolen devices and ensure that devices meet baseline security requirements. This is what we currently do at SAP.

From a financial perspective, Marcell Vollmer, SAP´s Chief Procurement Officer, stated, “The main advantage of BYOD: end users can use their own mobile devices. No instructions, set-up or trainings needed “how to use the device in the best way”. This results in lower support costs for the company and allows higher employee productivity. They can perform their work more easily and more efficiently. The BYOD model is attractive for employees, because they can choose their devices themselves. This leads to higher employee satisfaction.”

I hope that you find this blog series interesting and I would like to encourage you to connect with the VMO team or directly with me if you require more detailed information.

All of your feedback is of value to us! It will assist us in the collaborative approach to resolve any related challenges with the goal to get the best possible results benefiting Global IT and SAP at large.

You may also contact me directly at:,  or join me at: LinkedIn, Xing,SAP Intranet, and Facebook.

Best regards,

Harald Vetter

*SAP Community Network (SCN) has the capability to offer a platform for project specific collaboration. SAP also has a dedicated tool, SAP StreamWorks, which allows users to do exactly this in a safe, professional environment.

Pls find following another interesting link around the topic BYOD:

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