I am the CTO of Neptune Software, a company that delivers a third party SAP UI development tool. For the past two years I have been involved in more than 20 enterprise-wide mobility implementations across Europe. In addition I have, of course, participated in many pilots as well as having engaged in a vast number of customer dialogues regarding the mobilization of SAP systems.
Even though most of the companies I meet intuitively understands the business benefits of mobile solutions, there are three show stoppers I have identified that prevent companies from mobilizing SAP: security concerns, set-up cost and implementation time.
I believe the SMP Cloud Edition will be a great enabler for companies to overcome these challenges.
For most companies the first challenge to overcome is security concerns. There are two main issues here; the extensive calendar time often needed to evaluate alternative security solutions, and the complexity of the on-premise security implementation scenarios. The former issue jeopardizes the mobility project’s initial enthusiasm and momentum while the latter raises questions regarding maintenance difficulties as well as cost. Combined, these two issues are quite capable of quelling the excitement of getting SAP applications on your mobile devices.
Now, with the SMP Cloud Edition, you have an alternative approach. The only OnPremise installation you need is the SAP Cloud Connector. This component is used to establish an SSL VPN tunnel from your backend system(s) to the SMP Cloud instance. This solution should be secure enough for nearly all SAP customers’ IS/IT policies (Here is a security whitepaper from Timo Lakner ). The basic setup of the Connector and the SMP Cloud configuration can be completed in a matter of days and there is no risk of losing the enterprise mobility momentum.
High level picture of the security architecture (From the HANA Cloud Documentation).
Not the least in today’s economic climate, companies tend to invest in software that has proven quantitative value propositions. With enterprise mobility being a new area for most companies the initial cost of setting up new infrastructure demands budgets that are not easily available before actual ROI is confirmed. In a lot of the projects I have been involved in, the major mobility benefits – such as improved end-user satisfaction and reduced process times – are accepted and quantified during pilot testing. Thus, a high set-up cost inevitably slows down the enterprise mobility decision-process, or worse: it terminates it.
With the SMP Cloud approach you pay per device per month. This enables companies to start up small to demonstrate the key mobility benefits. Once there is a proven business case it is so much easier to rapidly scale up the solution, both in terms of number of users and scope of applications.
Partly linked to the set-up cost is the calendar time needed to implement mobility. Smart-phones, tablets and other mobile devices are FMCG with major changes occurring more or less on a quarterly basis. This pace is also something all employees are accustomed to, which is one of the reasons for the growing enterprise BYOD trend. Most, if not all of the companies I discuss enterprise mobility with, consequently regard implementation pace as critical, including deployment possibilities on all devices with instant upgrades.
Using a set-up of SMP Cloud, combined with a third-party development platform such as the Neptune Application Designer, allows for very moderate implementation time and virtually instantaneously upgrades on all devices. Making a straight-forward process such as T&E available on mobile devices would be a matter of days. More complex processes, e.g. an off-line retail execution solution, would be possible to implement within a few weeks.
I am very excited about the new possibilities the SMP Cloud Edition brings in terms of overcoming the obvious show stoppers that have slowed down the adoption of SAP enterprise mobility. And I hope a lot of companies use this opportunity to get started with mobilizing their enterprise.