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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.


Security

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.


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High level picture of the security architecture (From the HANA Cloud Documentation).

Set-up cost.

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.


Implementation Time

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.



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17 Comments

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    1. b28 guest

      I think the biggest advantage in future would be the possibility to use all SAP standard apps like for example Customers and Contacts or Material Availability in the cloud. Carolyn – do you know the planned strategy for this? I stumbled upon the customer financial factsheet and the Windows 8 app which supports the cloud. SMP on premise is really expensive for just one app…

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      1. Njål Stabell Post author

        Hi Denise,

        With Neptune you can create any apps on whatever functionality you have in your Business Suite quite easily. In addition our partners will upload PM, SD, CRM, HR apps to the SAP store soon.

        Also the Fiori initiative is producing a great number of apps, and I guess they will be SMP Could enabled in  a while.

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        1. b28 guest

          Hello Njål!

          Yeah I know Fiori – we have it up-and-running. So I am into the SAPUI5 topic.

          For me the biggest advantage is that it doesn’t need SMP onPremise (expensive). What would a cloud edition do? Since offline support/caching is planned with oData – also for Fiori – would SMP cloud be capable of that (onPremise for sure)? Or is it something to replace the WebDispatcher/ReverseProxy-Security layer to get the Fiori URL from my SAP System in public?

          Sounds interesting that partners will upload apps to the SAP store. Yeah maybe the better approach – since HTML5 would work on any modern device/browser – than the actual native apps from SAP. Is there a special partner program for that? We are also SAP mobile partner, but never heard that initiative/plans.

          Anyway, thanks for your great input – I will go through the Neptune tutorials because it seems quite interesting.

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          1. Njål Stabell Post author

            The Cloud solution is licensed per user per month. This means that the initial cost is low and you will have the opportunity to quickly start with enterprise grade security on pilot users and verify ROI.

            There have been some changes to the Partner programs from SAP.

            We are hosting a webinar about this together with SAP in the near future.

            If you send a mail to info@neptune-software.com someone in our channel sales department will pick that up.

            Regarding offline for SAPUI5 you can always cache models 🙂

            I know SAP are working on Phonegap plugins to add both encryption and database support for REST based solutions as well. I do not know any release dates for this.

            BR

            Njål

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  1. Michael Heyn

    Hi Njal,

    do you have any further Information or describtion of the seamless implementation of SMP Cloud in the new NAD Version? Would be very helpfull for us.

    BR

    Michael

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    1. Njål Stabell Post author

      Hi Michael,

      I wrote a blog about it here.

      You just need to specify the SMP url and name of the SMP configured app.

      The solution is based on the REST API and we are working on adding KAPSEL functionallity which we also hope will be available for the Cloud edition.

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  2. Midhun VP

    Njal, You have mentioned the right points. SMP on cloud is a nice product every customer can try with. I like the simplified administration console of SMP cloud that provides easy monitoring, basic analytics and troubleshooting. And of course the Hana connector. But only thing that made me sad is that, it supports only online apps.

    – Midhun VP

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    1. Njål Stabell Post author

      Hi Midhun,

      Thanks for the feedback.

      We have actually created a few offline capable apps running on the Cloud Edition. We have either used local storage (for smaller apps like workflow) or SQLLite phonegap plugins for larger applications (PM, Retail Execution etc).

      But I hope KAPSEL will be available for the cloud soon so we can have even better offline capabilities and also encryption.

      I guess you can check out Mocana as well for encrypting the app.

      BR

      Njål

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      1. Midhun VP

        Hi Njal,

        Thanks for your comment.

        Is Kapsel going to support SMP cloud too ?

        Good to know that you developed apps those are capable of storing data locally in device. By Offline apps I meant by, the apps which are capable to show data and support operations/transactions while the device is offline as SMP on premise do (using MBOs, but it’s gonna die soon with the rise of odata offline), where we have APIs that are capable to work in offline.

        I checked Mocana. It is an interesting tool for mobile app security. In my opinion Mocana suits for BYOD concepts where we need to install the apps in employee owned devices. Most employees will not be interested to enroll their devices with MDMs (ex.Afaria) since the application has permissions to his personal data.

        – Midhun VP

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        1. Njål Stabell Post author

          Hi,

          I believe it will be supported, but not certain when. Both solutions use the REST API now so as far as I know the plan is to align both solutions (They are porting the Cloud Admi UI to On-Premise as one example)

          Our offline solutions do support working offline with SAP transactions. We have also developed an automatic sync framework for larger offline solutions. For SAPUI5 apps with native json it is very easy to handle offline capabilities. Here is an example of a simple workflow app running on our IDES system. If you check the network you can see that you can work offline. Use the settings if you also want to store the travel receipt pdf’s offline.

          BR

          Njål

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          1. Midhun VP

            Hi,

            The sample app provided really looking cool and simple. It is working while I am offline too. But it is running on some tool right.

            – Midhun VP

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            1. Njål Stabell Post author

              Hi,

              Thanks!

              The link was to our wrapper solution (to test look and feel and responsiveness ondifferent devices)

              Here is a link to the pure app without the wrapper

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  3. Pradeep Akula

    Hi Njal,

    I checked some videos  of Neptune application designer  and is really cool ,it helps

    ABAP developers to leverage their existing skillset to build some nice Apps using SAP UI5 and Neptune application designer.

    On the other hand SAP SMP Cloud is also a good choice for SAP Customers who wants to go with pay per usage mode but what should SAP Customers do with SAP Onpremise Mobile solutions when they have low cost SAP Mobile Cloud  solution ?

    With SAP having big plans for cloud revenues and shifting itself  to Cloud wave  where would onpremise solutions stand?

    Thanks,

    Pradeep.

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    1. Njål Stabell Post author

      Hi Pradeep,

      You are right that there will be a huge Cloud push in 2014 from SAP.

      I still think on-premise SMP will be viable for larger companies that prefer to run their systems in their own landscape. They pay per user per month will be very affordable for smaller companies or companies that starts off with a limited number of users but when you have tens of thousands I could be wise to make a TCO analysis 🙂

      I talk a bit about it here in this TechEd interview

      BR

      Njål

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